First rifle, first shot, first impressions


November 7, 2003, 09:14 PM
Well I got out with my new Model 70 Super Shadow .300 WSM today. Recoil was not as bad as it could have been, it's actually not bad at all.

My first shot (probably the only one with no flinching) was dead, as in split the line, center and about three inches low. Subsequent shots were all low/left.

I think the gentlemen who mounted my scope did a fine job, however what could I do to account for the low/left thing? I'm new to the long guns, so please excuse my ignorance.

Thanks guys


PS. I'm useing a Leupold 3x9 w/ leupold bases/rings which are adjustable for windage.

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November 7, 2003, 09:39 PM
shooting w/o flinching is a mental exercise.

if you put 3 shots low left, it is likely that your scope is off. not unusual at all - just spin the knobs to put it where it needs to be. what is unusual is that a bore-sighted rifle shoots that close to center of your target (bore-sighting is designed to get your scope/rifle close, not dead-on).

the reason this happens... if you were shooting a rifle that was just cleaned, many times the first shot or 3 will be off, as solvents and oils left in the barrel will make the bullet behave differently until all that stuff gets burned out of your barrel (1-3 shots usually does it).

another reason... some rifles will not put the first shot of a group w/ the rest of the shots.

another... barrel heating, especially if you were shooting rapidly, will cause the bullets to impact in different spots...

since this is your first rifle... do not get too caught up in too many minute details. next time you go to the range, take the caps off your scope, and just move the x-hairs so that the bullet impact and point-of-aim at 100 yards are where you'd like them to be. before doing this, though, send at least 1 fouler down the barrel.

for the bases... windage adjustable bases are wonderful. they really do a great job of allowing the shooter to get his scope in a straight line w/ the bore... don't want to mire you down w/ too much stuff right now. just adjust your scope, and when you are ready to stretch out the legs on your gun, then we can walk you through the steps to make sure that windage that is dead on at 100 is also dead on at 200, 300, etc.

let me commend you on your cartridge choice (love my 300 wsm), and scope choice (most of my rifles wear a leupold of one sort or another... my 300 wsm wears a 3-9 compact) - can't go wrong w/ leupold.

November 7, 2003, 10:00 PM
Thanks Dak,

I was just shooting off the roof of my car, next time I will bring some sand bags and do it right.

Just to be clear, I can use the windage knobs on my scope to center the x-hairs on the previous shot?

thank you again

November 7, 2003, 11:07 PM
yeah, the windage knobs will move the x-hairs so that the group will be centered where you want.

now...although we'd all love rifles that put every bullet into the same hole at identical distances, this is not a reality. so, do not chase each bullet by moving the x-hairs so that the next shot will (theoretically) impact the same hole as the one before...

shoot a group, and find out where the center of that group is, then adjust the scope so that the center of the group (not a single bullet) is centered where you want it to be.

since this is your first rifle, and first time shooting it, do not get caught up w/ group size, or anything like that. just get the group centered on the target where you want, then work from there. given some practice and familiararity w/ your rifle, group sizes will come down on their own. once you are shooting the rifle well, then the world of rifle-stuff opens up to you, and there are a billion things you can do to your gun to make it better.

Art Eatman
November 7, 2003, 11:50 PM
Depending on your scope: When you remove the caps, you should see marks on the adjusting knobs. Also, arrows marked "up" or "down" on the top knob, and either "left" or "right" on the side knob. These directions are the way you want the bullet to go as you "dial it in".

For most scopes, one "click" or one mark on the dial will be either 1/4" at 100 yards or 1/2" at 100 yards. (If you are shooting at, say, 25 yards, you would have to use four times as many clicks or marks for 1/4" or 1/2".)

Anyhow, let's pretend you have a 1/4-click scope. You said your subsequent shots were low left. The deal is, you figure just how far low-left is the center of that group, and then adjust up and right. Four clicks to the inch.

For your rifle with that cartridge, it's reasonable to sight in for hunting at two inches high at one hundred yards. That puts you about dead on at around 225 yards, and maybe five inches low at 300 yards. Roughly.

I usually fire three shots before moving the group-center. If they're hitting very close together, I might just fire two shots and then move. Give it a couple of minutes between each group, to not get the barrel real hot. And, after all, you're not supposed to be in a big roaring hurry. :)


November 8, 2003, 01:59 AM
Thanks, I'll give it another crack tomorrow.

Hopefully I'll have some results worth posting :D

November 9, 2003, 01:04 PM
Make sure all your screws on the gun and scope mount are tight. That's a good habit to get in before you even get started :)

November 10, 2003, 02:13 AM
If you are shooting left, and you are a Rightie (I assume) try a little bit more trigger finger on the trigger. You might be "slicing" as they say in golf. Not too much finger though, otherwise you'll start to "hook" to the right..

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