Hunting Hogs with a Red Dot Sight
by Brad Fitzpatrick
Texas has a pig problem. The state has been plagued for decades with an ever-increasing feral hog population (now estimated at over two million animals) and biologists claim that to stabilize the population sixty-six percent of the feral hog population in Texas would have to be harvested. Each year the damage to crops and property inflicted by pigs in the Lone Star state runs in the millions of dollars.
Think if you don’t live in Texas you’re safe from this creeping tide of invasive hogs? Think again. There are feral hog populations in 39 states and the national population estimate is around six million animals. If there aren’t pigs in your back yard today then you might want to check again tomorrow.
There aren’t a lot of silver linings in the pig population explosion, but if you are a hunter then there are great opportunities to hunt pigs in places like Texas or elsewhere where wild hog populations are growing and causing conflicts with humans and native wildlife. Pig hunts are usually very inexpensive and bag limits and season date restrictions are quite liberal. Plus, they provide great lean meat and you can fill your freezer quickly on a single successful hunt.
More and more hunting products are being designed with hog hunters in mind, and optics are a key consideration when designing your perfect pig hunting rig. Sure, you can hunt pigs with your favorite scoped deer rifle, but high magnification is not always the best option when hunting feral hogs. Oftentimes you’ll find yourself in the midst of a sounder (group) or pigs at relatively close range, and with multiple shot opportunities you’ll need an optic that offers a wide field of view, a clear aiming point and is designed to allow you to take running shots if needed. I’ve hunted pigs in rice fields, in dense semi-arid thorn country, and in driven situations in forests—all very different habitats. But one type of optic works perfectly in all these situations—a robust red dot sight.
One of the best options in this category is TRUGLO’s TRU-TEC 20mm Red Dot sight. For starters, it offers a 20mm objective lens and a 2mm dot, a great setup for hunting with ARs, bolt guns, shotguns, and a variety of other weapons. With unlimited eye relief and a wide field of view you get a clear sight picture for rapid both-eyes-open shooting. In situations where you are taking multiple shots in a hurry this is a great benefit because you can transition from target to target more quickly, maximizing every opportunity that arises to take multiple hogs from a single sounder. Pigs are frequently taken at close range; I’d guess that of all the hogs I’ve taken while still hunting or in stands roughly three-quarters of the shots I’ve taken were at close range in dense cover with multiple shot opportunities. In those situations, the TRU-TEC’s bright red dot allows for maximum awareness and rapid target transition.
The TRUGLO optic’s design is very versatile, and while it lends itself perfectly to those close-quarters shots that are so common you can also stretch your range out effectively to a hundred yards or more. Having a 2 MOA dot gives the TRU-TEC a major advantage because the dot is large enough for rapid shots at running hogs up close but it is also small enough for more precise long-range shooting as well. With the TRU-TEC’s red dot design you also have a huge advantage when hunting at last light since you won’t lose a blackened reticle. Smart old boars have learned that it’s much safer to forage at dawn, dusk, or during the night, and since you can hunt pigs legally around the clock in many areas there are fewer restrictions on shooting hours (although, of course, you must always make absolutely certain of your target). On hunts in both Texas and Oklahoma I had really large boars appear just on the edge of darkness, and a dark reticle can become lost on a dark pig in low light, especially if the shot is rather long. Not so with a red dot. The type of versatility that the TRU-TEC 20mm offers hunters is a big reason that this is an ideal hog hunting optics. If the pigs are close and there are several animals you have a non-magnified optic with a clear aiming point for making multiple shots and there are few better options when you are shooting at a running target. But if that big boar hog slips out at longer range on the edge of darkness you’ve still got an optic that’s up to the task. Having that level of flexibility is vital in a hog hunting optic.
The TRU-TEC’s robust and user-friendly design is also of great benefit when pursuing feral pigs.
There’s an integrated Weaver/Picatinny-style mounting rail included that allows you to quickly and securely affix the optic to your rifle (or switch between rifles, if you choose) and since TRUGLO offers both a low and high mount option with each TRU-TEC sight purchased you can be guaranteed proper eye alignment. A host of other user-friendly features also make this an appealing hog hunting optic. Digital push-button controls with multiple brightness settings allow you to quickly configure the optic as needed for the ambient light conditions, and the auto-on/auto-off feature helps preserve battery life. Speaking of batteries, the TRU-TEC runs on one included 3V-CR2032 battery that has a long life. And if you eventually run that battery down over time it’s easy and affordable to replace. Simple-to-use click windage and elevation adjustments are precise and they allow you to zero your rifle quickly and maintain a constant zero. In addition, the parallax-free design means your eye doesn’t have to be perfectly aligned with the optic for maximum accuracy.
Hogs prefer the safety of very rough cover (especially during daylight hours) so you must choose an optic that is robust and built to stand up to some very harsh elements. The TRU-TEC’s design is waterproof and shockproof and is shock resistant to 1000g. Odds are you won’t need that type of protection against the elements, but it’s certainly nice to know that the optic you are running on your hog gun is durable enough to stand up to the worst conditions. Dense brush can also take a toll on larger optics, and they add unnecessary weight to your rifle. The lightweight, compact TRU-TEC slips through dense cover and doesn’t add a lot of bulk. And with an MSRP of $221 the TRU-TEC 20mm is also one of the most affordable optics that offers this level of performance.
Hog numbers are rising and it’s time for hunters to step in and help control populations. To do so, you’ll need the right weapon with the right optic, and the TRU-TEC from TRUGLO is a versatile, functional, affordable choice. Setting up a hog gun with this sight allows you to extend your hunting season and increase your odds of success. Just make sure that you have plenty of room in the freezer. www.truglo.com
Get the Most from Your Ruger 10/22 Rifle
The little “rimfire that could” can do a lot more with these simple upgrades.
by Rob Reaser
There’s no question that Ruger’s 10/22 carbine is the most popular and acclaimed .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle in the country. And for good reason. Its simple blowback bolt design leaves little room for malfunctions; it is remarkably accurate despite its “bolt-on” barreled action and given its short stature and light weight, it is the perfect range plinker and small-game hunting rifle.
Out of the box, the 10/22 is a winner. You can easily upgrade its performance and appearance to make it even more endearing to everyone; from serious shooters to hunters and even preppers.
If you’re looking to enhance your 10/22’s performance, or simply want to customize America’s bread-and-butter rimfire rifle to suit your own tastes, here are a few ways to go about it.
Nothing unleashes the 10/22’s inherent accuracy and fun quotient like a quality optic. Which optic you choose, however, depends largely on your intended use. Dedicated bench shooters obviously favor a high-magnification scope to zero in on their 50-yard cards. Such optics, though, are a bit unwieldy and impractical for plinking and hunting. For the latter, it’s hard to beat the standard fixed 4X rifle scope. With most small-game hunting requiring shots under 50 yards (and usually only in the 20- to 30-yard range), a 4X scope such as TRUGLO’s 4×32 Compact Scope (TG8504BR) is right on target. The 4X magnification offers quick sight picture acquisition for erratically moving game animals yet provides enough “optical reach” for accurate bullet placement on small targets. This is the scope we use on our Plain Jane 10/22 for hunting squirrels or when running trap lines.
For something a little on the uncommon side that also amps up the fun factor, consider a reflex sight. We recently modified one of our 10/22s with an M4-type fluted barrel and an old-school military style wood stock. Keeping the sighting system tracking with the tactical theme, we wanted a fast-action optic. The solution—the TRUGLO Multi-Reticle/Dual Color Open Red•Dot. Mount the rifle to your shoulder and you get a clear sight picture without losing your situational awareness (such as what can occur when sighting down an optic tube). Aside from the broad vision offered by this sight, we like the fact that it comes with four different reticle designs (to better match our target), red or green illumination (to accommodate the environment), and illumination level adjustment (to match the ambient light).
Fiber Optic Sights
Of course, one of the charms of a light carbine rifle such as the 10/22 is shooting with open sights—particularly when it comes to plinking. Open sights offer a challenge that is mitigated when using precision optics. To get the most out of open-sight shooting when lighting and environmental conditions are less than ideal, fiber optic sights are the solution.
TRUGLO offers a front and rear fiber optic sight set that is compatible with the 10/22 (with the exception of the Ruger Takedown® model). The Rimfire Rifle Fiber-Optic Sight Set includes CNC-machined front and rear sight bases with a 0.060-inch diameter front red fiber optic element and two 0.035-inch diameter green fiber optic elements. They’re ideal for low light or bright light shooting conditions, and easily replace the existing factory sights.
Let’s face it…most 10/22 OE stocks are about as exciting as a Model T at a Ferrari convention. Not only do they lack in the aesthetics department, their one-size-fits-all profile doesn’t necessarily provide the ergonomics needed to maximize the rifle’s accuracy potential.
There are many companies making aftermarket stocks for the 10/22. Choose your flavor, but try to make sure the stock actually fits you. Length-of-pull (the distance between the flat of the trigger hook and the back of the buttstock) is the most critical element. Too short or too long and you will always be adjusting your head position for the proper eye relief, and that’s a recipe for poor shooting form. Ditto for the drop-of-comb (the distance between the line-of-sight and the stock’s comb, where your cheek rests).
Our best stock upgrade was a laminated hardwood stock with a skeletonized buttstock (for light weight), pistol grip (for straighter trigger pull), and a free-float forend (to eliminate barrel torque). Whichever way you go, however, just make sure that the stock fits you.
One of the most accurizing elements of any firearm modification is a performance trigger. No matter how good your optic, how precise your barreled action machining, or the consistency of your ammunition, a rough, unrefined trigger can send everything south in a hurry.
Fortunately, trigger swaps are super simple in a 10/22, and if you’re not comfortable doing it, any qualified gunsmith can perform the work in no time flat. The downside to aftermarket trigger systems is that they cost almost as much as the rifle itself. For most plinking or hunting applications, a high-performance trigger is not necessary. Competitive shooters, on the other hand, should consider a trigger upgrade a must-have.
The 10/22’s factory barrel is good. A precision-manufactured aftermarket barrel is even better—especially if competitive shooting is in your plans.
One of the things that’s so great about the 10/22 is that swapping out the stock barrel could not be more simple. After removing the stock and barrel band (easy), removing the trigger assembly (pop out three retaining pins and you’re done), and removing the bolt and charging handle (also easy), you’ll see that the barrel is secured to the receiver by two screws and a V-block. Remove the screws and V-block and the barrel can be pulled apart from the receiver. Installing a new barrel is just the reverse of the removal process.
The Ruger 10/22 carbine is a favorite among shooters and small game hunters for several reasons—accuracy, weight, and reliability are key among them. What the 10/22 offers that so many rifles in its class do not is the ability to easily customize it to fit your specific needs and shooting style. So, if your 10/22 has been gathering dust, maybe it’s time to pull it out, shake it off, and treat it to some of the modifications we just mentioned. Who knows…you may rediscover the excitement and low-cost fun of rimfire shooting!
Shotgun Slug Hunting, Sighting Options
By Joe Byers
Shotgun slug technology has come a long way in recent years such that 100-yard shots are a certainty with a quality sight and solid rest. Slug guns have tremendous knockdown power, penetration, and lethality. A fellow recently took a slug gun to Africa on a plains game safari and took a Livingstone eland at 75 yards with a single shot. Despite a chest nearly two feet thick the copper slug stopped just under the skin of the far shoulder. The beast ran 50 yards and crashed. Although many states mandate shotguns due to the flat nature of terrain or urban development, you need not feel handicapped by those laws. Test your shotgun to see which brand of slug works best and top your buck-buster with one of these three sighting options. Adding a more precise sighting system to a shotgun will likely increase the effectiveness at distance. As they say in the military, “aim small, hit small.”
Open sight fans will love the TRUGLO Pro Series Slug Gun sights that keep your cheek on the stock and provide a precise aim, even on moving game. Sight down the barrel and you’ll see how naturally the red front dot fits between the two green dots of the rear sight. Line up the three dots and you get a precise shot every time. The added light grabbing ability of the fiber-optics work well in low light or inclement weather when traditional iron sights can be fuzzy and difficult to see. This is especially valuable for hunting deer or other game where shots typically occur close to dawn or dusk. The sights mount easily and solidly—attaching to any shotgun rib. The rear sight allows for vertical and windage adjustments. They are made of steel to take tough punishment and require no magnets or tape to mount.
Reflex or “Red Dot” optics are an excellent slug gun choice well suited for running shots and for shooters who are recoil sensitive. A red dot optic can’t reduce recoil, yet because of the unlimited eye relief you are virtually guaranteed it won’t put a ring above your eye. If you hunt deer by driving, you’ll rarely get a standing, broadside sight picture and here’s where that single aiming dot really shines, no pun intended. You get a simple sight pictured that can be aimed quickly and easily. For example, the new Tru•Tec 20mm sight provides a sharp 2-MOA dot with variable intensity so that it shows equally in bright sunshine or at the end of shooting light. It features ultra-long battery life, is shockproof and waterproof making it the perfect match for bad weather when the hunting can be best. Red dot optics are a frequent option for AR and tactical carbine shooters, but are every bit as practical for shotguns. The Tru•Tec identifies well with both audiences and comes with two different mounts (high and low) to match your shooting style. Finally, if you’ve ever seen a buck you couldn’t find in your scope, the ultra-wide field of view of this optic solves that for good. Best of all, red dot sights allow you to shoot with both eyes open and that red dot won’t get mixed in with leaves or tree trunks, important attributes that inevitably make aiming your shotgun quite a bit faster. You’ll be amazed how effective you can become at normal shotgun ranges of 20-80 yards.
Traditional scope lovers will relish the Tru•Brite 30 Hunter configured like a standard rifle scope that offers 1-4x magnification in a 30mm tube for increased brightness. This optic offers nearly four inches of eye relief and an extremely field of view when turned down to 1x. If you hunt in a region with point restrictions, the four-power option can quickly tell you if a buck is legal without affecting accuracy. 4x magnification has been a common and practical choice on rifle optics for decades. Being able to quickly zoom between 1x and 4x provides the advantages of speed and accuracy. Although designed as a slug gun scope, the same optic can easily double on your turkey shotgun or other models for varmints or wild hogs. It features fully-coated lenses for maximum brightness, clarity and contrast. Being nitrogen gas-filled, it is naturally waterproof and fog-proof. This scope is also shock resistant and Weaver-style rings are included.
Confidence is critical to deer hunting success and if you feel you are at a disadvantage with your slug gun, pop one of these sighting systems on your favorite pump or auto and you’ll quickly see the light.
Picking the “perfect” crossbow optic isn’t as straightforward or easy as you might think, as there’s a lot to consider. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
By Aaron Carter
The crossbow market differs from others in that all-inclusive “packages” dominate, and for good reason, too. Rather than having to piecemeal his or her way to a range- and field-capable crossbow, the bundler gets all of the items necessary for practice and hunting (except broadheads) with one buy. Included among the many articles is generally found some sort of optic for sighting; except for some bowfishing-specific and low-cost models, seldom are modern crossbows equipped with open sights. But, what if you’re displeased with the pre-packaged optic, the crossbow didn’t come with one, or it no longer works (for one of myriad reasons)? Below is a primer for purchasing a new, improved, or first crossbow optic.
The traditional-type optic rules the marketplace. Not only do these crossbow scopes resemble and function similarly to their firearm-mounted brethren, aiming is also by way of a crosshair (or multiple crosshairs and/or geometric shapes, such as triangles, or some combination thereof). Scopes with multiple aiming points (i.e. trajectory compensating reticles), such as TRUGLO’s TRU-BRITE XTREME, are preferable to those with a single one because you’re provided with exact holds at various ranges. Why? Despite the high velocities attained by modern crossbows, bolts still drop considerably—especially at the crossbow’s furthest practical ranges.
Key to accurate aiming points, however, is using a scope that enables you to match your crossbow’s velocity to a specific, preprogrammed trajectory setting on the second-focal-plane scope. Found on the magnification band, this feature provides precise aiming points for multiple ranges—most go from 20 yds. to 50 yds.—based upon the trajectory of your setup (i.e. crossbow, bolt, and tip/broadhead). For this reason, using published velocities by manufacturers isn’t “good enough”; you must chronograph the setup that you intend to use afield. It takes only minutes, and chronographs today are relatively inexpensive. I prefer Competition Electronics chronographs, which retail for around $100 and can calculate the velocities of everything from bows to high-velocity rifles.
Once set, you’re typically ready to shoot (not necessarily hunt) out to the scope’s maximum range without guessing holdovers. Verify the holds, though. Do not change the setting or the aiming points won’t be accurate. Too, if you change your setup in a way that affects the velocity you must chronograph it again. To eliminate confusion, some such optics have the distances (i.e 20, 30, 40, 50) listed beside the aiming points, though this isn’t necessary.
Your crossbow scope should be no less feature-filled than a riflescope. For example, it should be at least water resistant, though waterproof is preferred, as well as shock resistant and fog proof. Moreover, demand that it have fully multi-coated lenses and consistent, repeatable “clicks.” It’s also nice to have an illuminated reticle, particularly if you’re hunting from a ground blind during low-light conditions or hogs at night (where legal). These are usually rheostat controlled and have multiple colors from which to choose.
Surely you’re wondering if your riflescope can pull double-duty on your crossbow. To this I must say “no.” Standard riflescopes typically have a single aiming point, which would mandate zeroing and firing at a single distance. Do you want to be that limited in the field? Since you’re relying on hemorrhaging to kill an animal, not the tremendous terminal ballistics of a high-velocity rifle bullet, precision is key. Therefore, relying on “holding on hair” or some other imprecise compensating method can be viewed as unethical. Even riflescopes with trajectory compensating reticles wouldn’t necessarily correlate to a crossbow’s trajectories. Stick to crossbow scopes.
Dot- and Reflex-Style Optics
In general, dot- and reflex-style optics have grown in popularity—especially in the shooting sports. But, they’re not as popular for crossbows … yet. Unlike traditional-type crossbow scopes, the aforementioned optics are generally both lightweight and unobtrusive. For example, TRUGLO’s 1X 34 mm DUAL-COLOR red-dot sight weighs a trivial 5.5 ozs., and the 1X 30 mm TRITON is only 7 ozs. The TRU-BRITE XTREME scope is more than double the weight of the latter. The eye quickly focuses on the glowing aiming point, and that illumination is invaluable in compromised lighting. The only downfall is that there’s no magnification, which makes sighting at-distance more difficult than with the traditional-style scopes.
As for the reasons mentioned in the section above, single-aiming-point, dot-style sights that are meant for firearms shouldn’t be affixed to your crossbow; instead, select one that has multiple aiming points (i.e. trajectory compensating system) that get smaller as they descend. Why is this important? Remember, there’s no magnification so you don’t want an oversize dot to take longish shots. One of the best compensating systems I’ve seen on a dot-style sight is found on the TRUGLO DUAL-COLOR, as you can select from one of four speed settings to provide the correct aiming points for your crossbow. Will it be as precise as selecting the exact velocity of your crossbow? No, but it’ll be very close (unless your bow is way outside of the norm with regard to velocity). As mentioned previously, you want your dot- or reflex-style sight to be rugged and dependable.
Once you’ve selected your favored design, the only thing left to do is mount the optic and adjust it, then spend time practicing. Then, come fall, you’ll be confident to take the shot at that once-in-a-lifetime buck, bull, or bear.
Sighting-In for 3-Gun
By Rob Reaser
The country’s hottest practical shooting competition continues to grow. If you are looking to get in on the fun, TRUGLO® offers one-stop shopping for all your pistol, shotgun, and AR sighting needs.
If you do it, you already know. If you don’t, you’ll find out as soon as try it…3-gun competitions are a blast. Not only do 3-gun matches scratch that itch we all have to get out on the range, but participation in this popular and ever-growing sport has real-world benefits the likes of which you just can’t get from static range shooting. The practice of engaging multiple courses of fire with your three primary defensive weapons—pistol, shotgun, and semi-automatic rifle—allows you to hone your self-defense skills. What’s more, the trio of weapons you may use on a 3-gun course can be the same ones you employ for your daily personal and home defense.
Getting into 3-gun shooting is simple. All you need is a pistol in 9mm or larger chamber, a pump or semi-auto shotgun in .20- or .12-gauge, and, for most divisions, a .223 chamber semi-auto rifle, the most popular of which is the AR-15 platform. From there, it’s a matter of refining your weapons to suit your needs while staying within the rules for the division in which you want to participate. If you have questions, there are many resources to help you get started, including your local participating gun range or shooting club. The 3-gun fraternity is a friendly lot, and experienced shooters enjoy every opportunity to help new shooters get involved in the sport.
Although 3-gun equipment rules are in place, they are fairly simple—especially when compared to some competitive shooting associations. One area where the rules are fairly straightforward involves sights and optics; depending on the division in which you chose to participate, no magnified optics are allowed or one magnified optic is allowed in your 3-gun set.
For those of you who are ready to give 3-gun competition a try, these three products will get your gear ready for the buzzer.
TFX™ Pro Pistol Sights
If you’ve done any serious pistol shooting, you know that your original equipment front and rear sights do not provide an ideal sight picture in all lighting conditions. The TRUGLO TFX™ Pro tritium/fiber optic day/night sights, however, work in all lighting conditions, such as you
will often find on a 3-gun course. The advantage the TFX™ Pro sights have over conventional open sights, fiber optic-only sights, or tritium-only sights is that they combine Swiss tritium and fiber optics with a contrasting color front sight ring. This combination provides optimal sight picture acquisition whether you’re shooting with a high-noon sun overhead or you are on a woodland course darkened by storm clouds. What’s more, the tritium/fiber optic elements are encased in almost indestructible, hermetically sealed capsules that won’t be compromised by oils and cleaning solvents. Another advantage these sights have for the 3-gun shooter is their radiused, snag-proof design, which allows you to draw and holster your pistol smoothly and quickly.
TRU•BEAD Turkey Universal Sights
You’re probably thinking, “A turkey sight for a tactical shotgun?” Well, listen up. Three-gun courses are increasingly diversifying their courses of fire, and this includes the shotgun courses. In a shotgun course, you may encounter everything from close-quarter target “hosing” with #6s or 75-yard slug targets. As a result, you need an equally diverse sighting system. An ideal middle-ground sight is the TRUGLO TRU•BEAD™ Turkey Universal. You can use the orange fiber optic front sight to focus on your close-range targets. When it’s time to send a chunk of lead far downrange, the contrasting color rear sights will give you precise targeting. Of course, the rear sights are adjustable for elevation and windage, so you’ll know the steel is in trouble as soon as you hit the stage.
To Magnify or Not to Magnify
That is the question you must answer before deciding in which division you want to shoot. The Limited division, which is popular for those just entering the 3-gun world, does not allow any magnified optics. If this is your chosen path, you’ll want to consider using a fast-acquisition red dot, such as the TRUGLO TRU•TEC™ 30mm Red Dot. This sight provides a wide field of view and unlimited eye relief for the fast-paced 3-gun environment while the 2 MOA reticle ensures precise targeting for those way-out-there shots.
If you want to jump right into the highly competitive Tactical division, you will be allowed one magnifying optic in your arsenal. This, naturally, would be best served on your rifle. While some competitors combine canted open sights with a higher power scope to cover both short and long distance targets, fixed power or variable power scopes (1-4X and 1-6X) are commonly used for both. The scope is set at its low setting for engaging close targets, then the shooter cranks up the magnification to engage the 200- and 300-yard plus targets. For this, the TRUGLO TRU•BRITE™ 30 Series is your huckleberry. The TRU•BRITE™ 30 Series can be purchased with either 1-4X or 1-6X magnification and includes two pre-calibrated BDC turrets (one for .223 caliber/55grain and one for .308 caliber/168 grain) so you can be confident of your shot placement. Another feature that makes this scope optimal for 3-gun shooting is the ergonomic magnification adjustment ring, which minimizes fumbling and grip slip when you need to quickly transition between magnification settings.
Try It Out!
Three-gun competition is great fun, and it is a terrific opportunity for developing real-world defensive shooting skills. There are firearms clubs and associations around the country which host three-gun matches throughout the year. The National Shooting Sports Foundation maintains a listing of shooting ranges in the U.S., many of which host 3-gun competitions. Contact your local ranges for more info. You can also check out 3-Gun Nation for additional shooting opportunities in your area. In the meantime, check out this NSSF introductory video to 3-gun competition.
Tune Up for Long-Range Shooting
By Rob Reaser
“Long-distance” is a relative term in the hunting world, but whether 50 yards or 500 yards is stretching it out for you, here are some tips that will help extend your lethal zone.
Ask ten hunters what they consider to be a long-distance shot on a game animal and you’ll probably get as many different answers. The correct answer is measured not in distance, but in shooter skill and equipment. A long-distance, pushing-the-envelope shot for me is around 250 yards. When shooting in a hunting situation, that’s about as far as I can confidently make a kill shot. I simply cannot keep my rifle still enough to shoot any farther than that and know that the kill will be ethically quick. For other hunters, 300 yards may be their maximum ethical shooting distance, or perhaps 400 yards. Go much beyond that, unless you are shooting a highly specialized rifle and scope combination and have years of practice doping wind and calculating bullet drop, and most shooters are dancing in the “pull-and-pray” zone.
So, maximum shooting distances for ethically hunting game is relative to the skill and confidence level of the hunter. The thing is, it doesn’t matter whether you want to make clean shots at game animals that are 50 yards or 300 yards away, the principles of shooting accuracy are all the same. If you follow these shooting fundamentals, you’ll learn your maximum shooting distance, be confident that the shot you take will be true, and possibly push your personal “long-distance shot” a bit farther than you thought possible.
Is one rifle setup better than another? No question about it. That said, we all are going to shoot what we like and the best we can afford…be that a particular brand, model, chamber, cartridge, optic, or accessory. The important thing is that your equipment fit your body and shooting style, that everything is properly set up, and that you find the load that shoots best from your particular barrel and stick with it.
A common problem many hunters have that can adversely affect accuracy is not having a comfortable fit when they shoulder their rifle. The length of pull may be too long or too short, which can force you to shoot in an unnatural position, or the scope may be mounted too far forward or backward to achieve proper eye relief, which can also cause you to shoot in an unnatural position. Remember when you were a kid and wanted a particular pair of sneakers but the store didn’t have the right size? You convinced yourself and your parents that the ill-fitting shoes would be fine because, darn it, you wanted those shoes! Later, of course, you paid the price. Don’t be that kid again! If your rifle needs to be adjusted, there are aftermarket solution, such as installing a longer butt pad or getting a gunsmith to trim some stock length. The point is to make sure your rifle fits and the scope is properly set up, because failing to do so will only frustrate your efforts to maximize your shooting distance.
Speaking of scopes, there are so many on the market today that picking the right one can be an exercise in frustration. I’ve seen people drop a month’s worth of wages on a high-power, multi-function, BDC reticle scope designed for 600-yard-plus shots knowing full well that it will never be used for more than dropping a whitetail at 100 yards max. I’ve also seen people try to use their 3X fixed scope for western hunting and expect to drop a mule deer at 300 yards. Not that it couldn’t be done, but it couldn’t be done by these hunters. The point is, you need a scope that fits your likely hunting conditions.
If your primary tactic is hunting whitetail in woods and fields where 50- to 100-yard shots are the norm, a scope such as TRUGLO’s new TRU•BRITE™ 30 Hunter is ideal. With a 1-4X magnification, wide-view 24mm objective, and fully coated lenses for optimal light transmission, this scope works great for rapid target acquisition in tight quarters, yet will easily deliver the kill shot out to the average maximum 200-yard range of most hunters.
For those whose long-range endeavors including dropping western game at ranges up to and beyond 300 yards, a scope such as the TRU•BRITE™ Extreme IR Rifle scope is a good candidate. This scope offers several features favored by those who have developed the skill and confidence to make those outside shots, including illuminated Dual•Color Bullet Drop Compensating or standard duplex reticles in red, green, and black, large 44mm or 50mm objective lenses for a wide field-of-view and brightness in low-light conditions, and magnification options covering 3-9X, 3-12X, and 4-16X.
Okay, we’re not actually going to cover all of the shooting basics here because most of you already have those well in hand. What we want to zero in on are a few facets of shooting basics that many hunters tend to forget…especially when they are in the field.
First is trigger pull. Precise, consistent shooting accuracy demands precise and consistent trigger pull. There are two techniques to keep in mind when pulling the trigger. One is to position your body, grip, and trigger finger so that you are pulling straight back with the pad of your index finger. This is another example of where proper gun fit comes in. If you aren’t pulling the trigger straight back with the end of your index finger, it means you are pulling the trigger to the side and running the risk of pulling it all out of alignment as the shot breaks. This condition is particularly noticeable when shooting a pistol, but it also has a detrimental effect when shooting rifles as well. Always pull straight back on the trigger in a slow, steady pull. The second technique is to follow through the trigger pull after the shot breaks. Simply put, keep pulling straight back on the trigger after the shot goes off. If you immediately let up on the trigger after the break (for example, to cycle the bolt for a follow-up shot), you risk disturbing the rifle alignment before the bullet leaves the barrel. Following up on the shot also keeps you in place to better see what is happening downrange. Did you hit or miss? Did the animal drop or is it running for cover? Stay calm, follow up the trigger pull, and observe.
Staying calm is also a key part of long-distance shooting accuracy during the shot cycle—particularly breathing control. In order to maintain a steady target lock and execute a well-placed shot when high magnification and adrenaline wreak havoc on platform stability, timing the shot with your breathing cycle is critical. Your body and sight alignment is most stable at the bottom of your breathing cycle (exhale). When you’re ready to make the shot, the goal is to lengthen the bottom of your breathing cycle (not hold your breath!) and break the shot midway through that extension. Focusing on your breathing cycle will help you calm down when things get tense.
Now that you have your equipment and shooting fundamentals in check, it’s time to put them to practice.
It’s an old saw that bears repeating, but bench performance doesn’t necessarily translate to performance in the field. You may be able to stay in the ten ring at 200 yards from the bench, but it’s tough to do that when you’re stretched across a boulder or leaning your rifle against a tree. Fortunately, practicing under realistic field conditions (or as close to them as you can get) will serve you well when that trophy is standing on the ragged edge of your comfort zone.
Once you have your rifle zeroed, you should spend your practice sessions shooting from various positions away from the bench. Bring your hunting pack to the range, throw it on the ground and practice shooting prone at various distances. Do the same while sitting, shooting freehand, shooting with sling support, and shooting while propped against a vertical support. You may be surprised that your effective maximum shooting distance changes significantly with each shooting position. The same is true if you use shooting sticks or a monopod. Until you actually practice with these supports, you’ll never know your limits or be able to improve your accuracy at longer distances.
A side benefit of practicing for long-distance shots is the improved accuracy you’ll gain when shooting at closer distances. If you are also a bowhunter, you know that when you practice regularly at 50 or 60 yards, those 20- to 30-yard shots are as easy as buttering bread. The same is true when shooting a rifle. The difference is that you must be cognizant of changes in bullet trajectory and parallax changes due to scope magnification. That is one of the advantages of having a scope with a BDC reticle, which is available with TRUGLO’s TRU•BRITE™ Extreme IR Rifle scope. You can calibrate the scope to most centerfire cartridges on the market today, giving you precise and confident shot placement out to 600 yards.
Make life easier on yourself and maximize your range time by using high-visibility targets such as the TRU•SEE Splatter targets by TRUGLO. Their bright green impact rings allow you to see your point-of-impact at long distances much better than conventional paper targets. Using TRU•SEE™ Splatter targets will significantly reduce your zeroing time, and keep you from having to wait for the “all clear” every time you need to check your target.
As you can see, a lot goes into extending your effective (ethically lethal) shooting distance. Refine your setup to suit your needs, then practice the basics both on the bench and off. Then, whether that trophy is 20 yards or 200 yards away, you can shoulder your rifle with confidence.
Home Defense Solutions
When you need rapid sight picture acquisition in a high-stress, low-light home defense environment, TRUGLO delivers.
by Rob Reaser
While defense professionals are quick to state their preferences as to what type of firearm is optimal for home protection, the reality is that most of use what we are comfortable with, be it a shotgun, pistol, or AR-15 style rifle. Some of us maintain ready access to all three.
Yet no matter which type of firearm you choose to protect your home, there are a couple of common denominators that should be factored in—stress and low-light conditions. Sure, you may be able to drill the 10-ring at the range with your weapon of choice, but will that proficiency translate once the fight-or-flight mode kicks in, your cone of vision narrows, and you’re trying to line up on an intruder in the middle of the night?
The fact is, not all firearm setups translate well across multiple uses or conditions. This is especially true when it comes to sight picture acquisition. In a defense situation, such as a 2 a.m. home invasion, you need to cut through the mental chaos and quickly engage the threat regardless of the firearm in your hands. The good news is, TRUGLO offers several options to help you do just that—whether your go-to is a shotgun, handgun, or rifle.
Defensive Shotgun Sights
If you rely on a shotgun for home defense, it’s likely an 18-inch pump you purchased specifically for this purpose. Good choice. You have a weapon that is easy to operate under stress, easy to maneuver in the tight confines of a home, and has the “umph” to get the job done. The only thing lacking, most likely, is a proper front sight.
The TRUGLO TFO™ Shotgun Front Sight is the optimal upgrade for your tactical shotgun. Utilizing TRUGLO’s patented tritium/fiber optic technology, this sight is visible in all lighting conditions. The tritium glows in the dark with no need for batteries. In low-light conditions, where the tritium competes with ambient light, the fiber optic element provides the illumination. This is great when you are transitioning between lighting conditions, such as you have in a home environment. Another benefit of the TFO™ Shotgun Front Sight is that the robust housing conceals the tritium/fiber optic element from the target.
For those who have designated an older hunting-style shotgun as their home defender, you can still improve its defense capabilities for low-light conditions. The Home Defense Fiber Optic Universal Shotgun Sight is designed for quick and easy installation on plain-barrel (no rib) shotguns. This sight simply snaps over the barrel right behind the factory bead. It’s a simple solution for any “backup” defensive shotgun.
As a side note for those of you who have a Remington shotgun with dovetail sight mounts, TRUGLO recently introduced the TFX™ Pro Remington Shotgun Sights. This sight also uses the tritium/fiber optic combo for “all light” visibility, but includes a white front focus ring surrounding the tritium/fiber optic element (housed in a chemical and shock-resistant capsule for maximum durability).
For their convenience, high-capacity, and close-quarter effectiveness, it’s little wonder that handguns are the most popular choice for in-home defense. Yet even in optimal lighting conditions, acquiring a proper sight picture with a handgun can be difficult under stress for those who have not spent a lot of quality time on the range. This is where a high-visibility sight such as the TRUGLO TFX™ or TFO™ series can help. The TFX™ line of pistol sights has become increasingly popular with law enforcement professionals.
This year, TRUGLO has expanded the line with the new TFX™ Pro. The TFX™ Pro comes with same front and rear tritium/fiber optic elements, chemical and shock-resistant capsule, and CNC-machined steel housing as the original TFX™ sight system, but instead of a white front sight FOCUS•LOCK Ring, the TFX™ Pro features a high-visibility contrasting orange ring that further enhances low-light sight picture acquisition.
Another popular sighting option for defensive handgun owners is the TRU•POINT™ Laser/Light Combo. This is an ideal upgrade for home defense because it puts a bright, 200 lumen flashlight right on your pistol. There is no need to fumble for a flashlight when it’s right there on your gun. What’s more, an adjustable laser sight (switchable between green or red light) is integrated into the flashlight, providing you another sighting option. The TRU•POINT™ Laser/Light Combo secures to any pistol chassis with a standard Picatinny or Weaver-style rail.
Spot-On for ARs
While the ballistics of an AR-15 platform rifle don’t make it the ideal defensive weapon in a home or in close urban environments, its extended range and high-volume firing capability make it a desirable “homestead” defensive weapon—especially for those who live beyond the suburbs.
For the dual applications of defense and sport shooting, a red dot sighting system is ideally suited to the AR-15/MSR platform. For this, TRUGLO offers two new systems: the TRU•TEC™ 20mm and the TRU•TEC™ 30mm RED•DOT sights.
We say these sights are dual-purpose because a red dot-style sight is optimal for close-quarter defense situations. A magnified optic is a poor choice for close-range defense, and traditional A2-style open sights are challenging in low-light conditions. The TRU•TEC™ RED•DOT sights, on the other hand, provide excellent long-range accuracy for target shooting or hunting, as well as close-quarter sight picture acquisition and low-light visibility in a homestead defense environment. It’s the best of both worlds.
Both the 20mm and 30mm TRU•TEC™ RED•DOT sights feature a 2 MOA reticle, with digital push-button controls and multiple brightness settings to match the light conditions. Unlimited eye relief means its easy to get on target when you’re under stress and, of course, both mount to standard Picatinny or Weaver-style rails.
As you can see, an effective home defense firearm is more than the “spare” rifle, pistol, or shotgun you leave under the bed and hope you never have to use. To better serve you when stress is high and lighting conditions are anything but optimal, you need a sighting system built for the job. Fortunately, no matter which weapon platform you prefer, TRUGLO has the tools you need to get on target in any situation.
Choosing the Best Predator Hunting Setup, Long & Short Range
By Doug Howlett
The coyote first appeared as a quick flash of fur, darting along the skyline between two rocks on the opposite ridge. Through a small cut in the slope, the dog darted between shadow and light before topping out on a small outcropping, looking for the source of the terrified rabbit squeals. The rangefinder told me it was 162 yards out—a chip shot for a Westerner raised behind the stock of flat-shooting rifles in wide open spaces and, but a stretch for an Eastern hunter more accustomed to dense forests and close-quarters shots on game. The red dot atop the AR settled neatly on the shoulder of the beast as it tensed to move forward. It never got the chance as rabbit squeals gave way to the sharp report of a single 5.56 round.
Whether you’re a denizen of those open Western spaces or living stacked atop other humans along an Atlantic seaboard city, odds are there’s some fantastic predator hunting available nearby. Coyote populations are now exploding from one coast to the other and all manner of other furred critters are edging into new areas, couple that with the fact that gaining hunting access for predators is easier to get from landowners than hunting deer or turkeys and typically offers year-round hunting opportunities, it is no wonder predator hunting is the fastest growing hunting today.
Calls and camo, even motion decoys, will all work about the same whether you’re hunting open space or dense forests, but your gun setup may be vastly different depending on the anticipated distances to be shot and the type of terrain to be hunted. For wide open land where shots may be stretched out to 200, 300 and even 400 yards a flat-shooting, accurate rifle equipped with a precision optic or red dot and bipod to steady your aim is critical. Top performing calibers include bolt-actions in .17 HMR, .204 Ruger, .22-230 Rem., .243 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor and even the venerable .308 Win. For AR-style semi-auto choices, .223 (5.56mm), 6.5 Grendel and even the 6.8 SPC II will do nicely, as will those chambered in .204 Ruger and .17 HMR.
Where shots are expected to be long, outfit your rifle with a quality variable optic such as the TRUGLO® TRU-BRITE™ XTREME IR Rifle scope. The TRU-BRITE™ XTREME offers several benefits to long-range shooters starting with the availability of several magnification ranges to choose from. There are four models: two 3-9×44 options (one long and one short), a 3-12×44 and for maximum magnification, a 4-16×50 model. The BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) reticle allows shooters to accommodate for bullet drop at various ranges and adjust their aim for targets as far out as 600 yards. The Dual•Color illuminated reticle allows for a choice of a red or green colored brightness for easy sighting and rapid target acquisition in low light and can be used in black without illumination in bright light if preferred. Lastly, this optic won’t break the bank, priced at under $250. If an AR-style rifle is your firearm of choice, TRUGLO also makes the 3-9×42 TACTICAL 30MM IR RIFLE SCOPE with a BDC reticle calibrated to match most .223 or .308 loads.
A steady rest is absolutely critical for delivering shots with pinpoint accuracy so outfit your gun with a quality bipod such as TRUGLO®’S new TAC•POD™ adjustable bipod, which mounts easily to a sling swivel or Picatinny rail so you are not lugging around a separate pair of shooting sticks in your hands. The TAC•POD™ comes in fixed or pivoting models extendable between 6 inches and 9 inches and 9 inches and 13 inches.
For closer range shooting in the typically thick cover of the Eastern or Southern United States, an easily maneuverable AR or even a shotgun is the go-to firearm choice. A good scattergun loaded with 00 buckshot is absolutely devastating on coyote-sized predators at 50 yards or less. For these loads, go with a full or modified choke or even better try the Titan Adjustable Choke Tube, a screw-in choke tube compatible with most of the major shotgun manufacturers and adjustable from cylinder to XX Full with a simple twist.
Shots at these ranges often happen fast as hard-charging critters close in for the attack so a quality non-magnified red-dot with a wide field of view and adjustable brightness reticle is unequivocally the way to go. TRUGLO® offers a host of red dot options with key choices for the predator hunter the TRU•BRITE™ Dual Color Single Reticle (there is also a multi-reticle version) or the Multi-Reticle/Dual Color Open Red-Dot. Lastly, for the ultimate short- to mid-range optic option for a tactical
rifle, opt for TRUGLO®’s new TRU•TEC™ 30mm Red-Dot Sight w/ Integrated Laser, an adjustable red dot sight that offers shooters the option of either a red or green laser for dual utility and super quick and accurate target acquisition.
Whatever type of terrain you hunt, be sure your firearm is set up right for the job. Then it is simply up to you to call those predators into the gun.
Optimizing your Muzzleloader Sights
As a youngster anxious to get involved in hunting and shooting, my mentors encouraged me to use open sights. Their rationale was simple; learn the basics of lining up a target and it will become a natural and easy way to acquire a target, no matter what you use as a sight or scope. They also warned that someday I may only have open sights as an option, whether regulated in a specific hunting season, or borrowing a firearm. That early advice has never steered me wrong and I believe I shoot well today, using any type of sights, because of my early training.
When it comes to optics for your firearm, you get what you pay for. Having lived through some lean years – going to school and trying to take advantage of hunting seasons – on a limited budget, I soon found out that open sights are an economical option – and the best option, when budgets are tight. And, there are hunting seasons allowing open sights only, meaning you can extend your opportunities and chances to take a trophy. If you can’t afford great optics you’re better off with great open sights.
There are jurisdictions where muzzleloader hunters must use open sights. The TRUGLO® MUZZLE•BRITE™ XTREME UNIVERSAL SERIES sights are a great example of open sights, providing all the advantages needed to harvest game successfully and with repeatable results. The first thing I noticed about the sight was how they shine in low-light conditions. There is no problem acquiring a target and knowing exactly where your bullet’s point of impact will be.
A number of considerations are often overlooked for open sights, which include reduced weight, and the fact that they never fog up. They are ultra-durable and allow you to acquire targets at close and long range without any adjustments. With no batteries required, they are the most compact option when looking at sights. Most of all, they are reliable.
If economics are a factor, the MUZZLE•BRITE™ XTREME UNIVERSAL SERIES sights have a universal mounting system to work with all muzzleloaders, and are priced at $51 to $64, depending on model. The sights are CNC-machined and fully adjustable for elevation and windage, allowing you to zero at 100 yards. The front sight has a diameter of .040 inches, and the rear sight diameter is .029 inches.
The basics of open sights require us to see three spaced objects clearly. They work by aligning the front sight in the notch of the rear sight and then placing this combination on a distant target. If you were hunting a deer and are sighted at 100 yards, you can hold directly from zero to about 125 yards. A little practice at the range will soon teach you to naturally hold a bit high to compensate for bullet drop. Shooters have the choice of placing the rear and front sight combo higher or by simply moving the front sight upward as natural adjustments for the bullet drop. Changing the position of the front sight in the rear notch is often all that is required to make slight elevation adjustments, which is where the term “holding finer” comes from.
Historically, open sights were painted and often difficult to see clearly, but TRUGLO’s modern technology and fiber-optics in bright red and green, offer the easiest open sight for a clear view. They outshine traditional options like peep sights, enabling any shooter to quickly align the front and rear sights. Placing the bright red dot from the front sight between the two green dots on each side of the rear sight notch comes quick and natural, and they make a significant difference when sighting on a moving target, allowing the shooter to clearly see that the sights are aligned as you follow your game or try to maintain a lead. I’ve experienced issues in the past using a scope and losing the black crosshair against a moose or black bear in low light. Fiber-optic sights ensure you see everything clearly.
If you’ve never tried open sights it’s time to give them a try. Going back to the basics, combined with modern technologies and brightness, could prove to make you a better shooter.