There are more caliber choices today than ever. Different hunters have their special favorites. Many feel that their choice is the best, right choice. Friendships have ended over caliber arguments. Whether using a rifle, shotgun, or black powder gun, do your homework and make the choice that best suits your personal needs.

My first deer rifle was a Winchester lever action 30-30. It cost me $50 bucks. Once I put a scope on it, my success with tagging bucks went up dramatically. This rifle has been used by 17 other hunters to harvest there first whitetails. I have loaned it out but make sure to get it back.

30-30 caliber ammo has harvested more deer than any other caliber made. With the new Revelation rubber tipped ammo, accuracy, safety, and power are better than ever. Hunters use 30-30 ammo for elk and other BIG game today. There are many other great calibers available.

Everyone has a unique body, eyesight, ability, and style. Become comfortable with the needs that define your skillset. Gun clubs are full of “experts” that are willing to help. Seek information and find a mentor that suits you. Here are a few things that you will discover.

Price will define what you need and can afford. Just because a gun is expensive does not mean it is the best choice. Ammo, scopes, slings, cases, and other accessories will often drive up the expense. The rifle or gun is what you need to fill the freezer. Once you are comfortable with a choice, practice, practice, practice. Make all your misses and poor shots before hunting season.

Made in America or foreign may also be a choice. If you can find ammo for the rifle or gun, it doesn’t matter which you choose. Most cheapo ammo is for range and target practice. Once you get dialed in, fine tune your weapon with what it seems to digest best. Some foreign shotgun and rifle ammo are excellent. Inexpensive means poorer quality. USA ammo is often more consistent, safe, and available. America also manufactures quality firearms. When in doubt, buy American.

Manufactured ammo or hand loads? Reloading is another branch of the shooting tree. It will require additional investments of money, time, and practice. Creating new loads means a lot of bench and trigger time. Every weapon shoots the same rounds differently. If you have the time, reloading is great sport. If not, buy quality ammo and see what your rifle likes. Once you get dialed in, buy several boxes from the same manufactured lot. Practice and dial in before every hunting season.

Use the ammunition made by the manufacturer of your weapon. If you have a Winchester rifle, start with their brand of ammo. Some manufacturers make specific ammo for the rifle they build. This ammo is what the rifle is used to and usually will be the right choice.

Bargain brand ammo is great for target shooting but rarely has the best knockdown power. There are a variety of bullets, and slugs, that are designed to mushroom properly and give you the knockdown power you want. Quality ammo yields quality results.

Shotgun slugs and guns have come a long way. “Punkin Balls” are a thing of the past. These old 1 oz. lead slugs were fired from non-rifled shotguns. 30-40 yards was there consistent range. After that, good luck.

Many modern rifled slug guns can hit a target at 300 plus yards consistently. New shotgun ammo uses “sabotted slugs”. These slug loads are a rifle bullet protected by a plastic sleeve, called a Sabot, that fits snugly to the rifling in the shotgun slug gun barrel. Improved speed and accuracy are the outcome. Some shotguns are single shot. Pumps and semi autos also offer accuracy and are not expensive. Several bolt action shotguns are also available. These slug dedicated guns also have adjustable triggers which can be set lower than the 7-8-pound pull of regular shotguns. Trigger pull, down to 3 pounds, improves accuracy. Better designed recoil systems, and pads, are also available.

Good Shooters know the art of Good Shooting. Proper breathing, trigger pull, optics, and equipment improve their accuracy. It is important to maintain your skills. Aging, changing bodies, eyesight and flexibility challenge every shooter. Constant adjustments and adaptations are required to maintain bulls eye perfection.

Hand me down weapons have great traditions and stories. Grandpa’s old rifle has a story with every nick and scratch. Before deciding to use these vintage firearms, have them cleaned and checked by a certified gunsmith. Once they give the safety thumbs up, begin tuning the weapon up with quality ammo. Todays newer powders and bullets will improve accuracy that would make your Grandpa smile.

Always focus on safety and follow the rules. Any loser can cheat, poach, or break the law. Great sportsmen are honest, stewards of the land, and take pride in doing things right.

Shoot often, shoot more!

Montana Grant

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