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What You Need to Know About Zeroing a Red Dot

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Red dot optics have come a long way since their introduction in the 1970s. Initially slow to gain popularity, they are now a staple among hunters and sport shooters for everything from turkey hunting to self-defense. Even inexpensive models have proven to be useful and reliable. While red dots are fantastic once sighted in, the process of zeroing them can be a bit challenging, especially for new shooters. The lack of magnification can make precise aiming difficult, and the turret adjustments aren’t always exactly accurate. However, with some understanding and practice, zeroing a red dot becomes a straightforward process.

How Red Dot Optics Work

Red dot optics work by reflecting a red LED onto a specially coated piece of glass, creating the illusion that the dot is being projected downrange. The size and shape of the dot can vary depending on the model. The size is usually measured in MOA (minutes of angle), with one MOA equating to about one inch at 100 yards. Smaller dots (1-3 MOA) are better for long-range shooting as they don’t cover the target, while larger dots (3-6 MOA) are ideal for quick, close-range shooting.

Some red dot optics also offer various reticle designs beyond the single dot, such as a Chevron, a circle around the dot, or a cross. These designs can often be toggled to suit different shooting applications.

Red dot housings come in two main styles: tube and open. Tube sights resemble traditional scopes and are generally more durable and capable of projecting a brighter dot. Open sights, often seen on pistols, offer a wider field of view and easier target acquisition but have more exposed internal mechanisms. Tube sights are typically mounted on rifles and are better for distances beyond 100 yards, while open sights are used on pistols or shotguns for quick, short-range shooting.

How to Zero a Red Dot

Zeroing a red dot can be applied to any type of firearm, from shotguns to rifles and pistols. The basic process involves securing the firearm, getting on paper, and dialing in the reticle.

Step 1: Secure the Firearm

After mounting the red dot per the manufacturer’s instructions, support both the front and rear of the firearm. A bipod alone can get you close, but for precise hunting accuracy, it’s better to use a rear support bag or a device like a Lead Sled, which helps remove human error from the equation.

Step 2: Get on Paper

The goal here is to get a single shot on a paper target so you know how to adjust your red dot. Use your cheapest ammunition for this step. There are three main ways to achieve this:

  • Laser Bore Sighter: This device can help get you on paper at 25 or 50 yards, and higher-quality models might be necessary for 100 yards.
  • Traditional Bore Sighting: Remove the bolt and look through the barrel until the target is centered. Then, adjust the red dot to align with the target.
  • Close Range Adjustment: Start with a target at 10-15 yards, take a shot, and adjust the optic. Move the target out to 25-30 yards and repeat until you can move to 50 or 100 yards and still be on paper.

This last method is simple and effective for sighting in at shorter distances, making it easier to get those initial shots on paper.

Step 3: Get Dialed In

Once you have shots on paper, adjust your reticle based on where your shots are landing. Some red dot turrets don’t specify how much each click moves the dot, so this part involves some guesswork. Start by adjusting the reticle based on your first few shots.

For example, if your shots are low and to the right, adjust the red dot up and to the left. Once you have a shot near the bull’s eye, shoot a group of four or five shots to confirm your zero. If the center of the group is in the bull’s eye, you’re set. If not, make further adjustments and shoot another group.

A common frustration for new shooters is knowing exactly where you’re aiming with a red dot. Instead of trying to hold the dot perfectly in the bull’s eye, center the dot within the entire target square. This helps compensate for the lack of precision compared to magnified optics.

Red dots, originally invented by hunters for quick shots of fast-moving games, have found their place in modern hunting and shooting sports. They offer benefits for everyone, from hunters with aging eyes who need a clear, single dot, to big woods hunters needing quick shots, and even to kids learning to shoot. Their simplicity—keep both eyes open, put the dot on the target, and pull the trigger—makes them an excellent choice for a variety of applications.

By understanding how red dots work and following a clear process for zeroing them, hunters and shooters can enhance their accuracy and enjoyment in the field.

Do you have any tips for zeroing a red dot? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Don’t Want “Snowflake” Kids? Get Them Outside

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Americans should prioritize encouraging their kids to get off social media and head outdoors, where they can learn valuable life lessons, according to John Radzwilla, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Hook & Barrel Magazine.

Radzwilla, who runs the popular outdoor publication he describes as “a redneck GQ,” believes parents need to focus on spending time with their children away from screens that are dominating the lives of many youngsters. As an avid hunter and fisherman, Radzwilla firmly believes that kids “need” to be outdoors to develop essential life skills.

Spending time outdoors builds the skill sets that children will carry into their adult lives. Radzwilla emphasizes the importance of children learning to deal with various situations, such as changing a light bulb, which they won’t learn by spending time on TikTok.

Radzwilla highlights that there are many “feel-good reasons” to get kids outdoors, such as capturing photos of their first experiences that make parents feel “warm and fuzzy.” However, he also stresses more significant reasons, including teaching children to adapt and overcome uncomfortable situations, which are valuable skills in adult life.

Being crafty with their hands is another lesson learned outdoors. Whether building a treehouse or a fort in the woods, these activities teach children how to use tools and fix things, skills that remain useful throughout life.

Radzwilla believes that being outdoors also teaches children about overcoming adversity, avoiding danger, being aware of their surroundings, camaraderie, and “playing by the rules.” He notes that getting children outside doesn’t require elaborate trips; simple activities like fishing in the neighborhood pond can be just as enjoyable as more epic adventures.

Parents should understand that children often care more about spending time with them than the specific activity. Radzwilla shares his routine of taking his son, Jack, on a half-mile walk to school each morning, during which Jack picks up trash along the way. This simple activity teaches responsibility and the value of taking care of nature, all while spending quality time together.

Radzwilla’s passion for nature, which led to co-founding Hook & Barrel, demonstrates how the simplest outdoor tasks can impart valuable lessons. Children learn by observing their parents working hard, using tools, and completing tasks. The outdoors not only offers activities and stimulation but also an environment where children can learn about hard work and gain a sense of accomplishment.

By encouraging children to embrace the outdoors, parents can help them develop crucial life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. The experience of being outside, away from screens, can teach children responsibility, adaptability, and the value of hard work.

What do you do to make sure your kids get plenty of time outside? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Louisiana Hunters Arrested for Fraud in State-Run Contests

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Louisiana wildlife officials have arrested six men accused of committing fraud in two state-run hunting contests by submitting wild hogs caught in Texas. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) law enforcement agents have taken action against these individuals for their alleged misconduct.

The individuals arrested include Trace Davis of Longville, Hunter Webb, Davy Haymon, and Don Pollard Jr., all of Pitkin, Coby Bushnell of Dry Creek, and Nathan Granger of Vinton. They face severe charges reflecting the serious nature of their alleged actions. All six men are charged with hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy. Additionally, Davis, Webb, Bushnell, Haymon, and Pollard Jr. face an additional charge of violating interstate commerce, while Davis is also charged with obstruction of justice. Webb faces a separate charge for hunting under a suspended license.

The LDWF investigation revealed that the suspects captured wild hogs in Texas and then submitted these hogs for two Louisiana hunting contests. The contests in question, the Dingler Wild Hog Roundup in Bienville Parish (Feb. 9-10) and the Swamp Time Hog Hunt in Caldwell Parish (March 14-16), both had rules stating that the hogs must be caught within Louisiana during the event dates.

Nathan Granger, who did not participate in the Caldwell hunting contest, turned himself in at the Bienville Parish Jail on June 4. The other hunters surrendered themselves at the Bienville Parish and Caldwell Parish jails on June 7.

The charges carry significant penalties. Hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy can result in up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Violating interstate commerce could lead to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail. Obstruction of justice carries a potential fine of up to $10,000 and five years in jail. Hunting under a suspended license could result in up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The investigation by LDWF officials is ongoing, with the potential for further developments. This case highlights the importance of adhering to hunting regulations and the consequences of fraudulent activities in state-run contests. As wildlife officials continue their efforts to maintain the integrity of hunting competitions, hunters and participants are reminded of the critical importance of following all rules and regulations to ensure fair and lawful practices.

What are your thoughts about the fraud down in Louisiana? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Grizzly Bear Attack in British Columbia Highlights Need for Vigilance

In a remote area approximately 80 miles southwest of Calgary, a 36-year-old man and his father faced a harrowing encounter with an adult grizzly bear. The attack took place on May 16 near Elkford, British Columbia, as the pair was tracking a different bear with the aid of dogs. The incident left the man with “significant injuries,” according to CBS News.

Response and Rescue

Elk Valley Regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police quickly responded to the scene after the father called for assistance. They found the victim suffering from several broken bones and deep lacerations. Fortunately, during the attack, the man managed to defend himself using a firearm, causing the bear to flee. He was subsequently airlifted to a hospital in Calgary and reported to be in stable condition.

Conservation officers conducted an extensive search and located the grizzly bear, which was found dead. The bear had multiple gunshot wounds, leading officers to confirm it was the same bear involved in the attack.

Although grizzly bear attacks are relatively rare, their frequency has been increasing as bear populations grow and their territories expand. This incident underscores the importance of remaining vigilant when in known grizzly habitats. For personal safety, it is advised to carry bear spray or a firearm as a precaution.

Safety Measures

When venturing into bear country, it is crucial to take preventive measures to avoid such dangerous encounters:

  • Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings and look for signs of bear activity, such as tracks or scat.
  • Carry Protection: Bring bear spray or a firearm for defense, and know how to use them effectively.
  • Make Noise: To avoid surprising a bear, make noise while hiking or moving through dense brush.
  • Travel in Groups: There is safety in numbers; bears are less likely to approach larger groups.
  • Secure Food: Store food properly and dispose of waste to avoid attracting bears to your campsite or hiking area.

This unfortunate incident near Elkford serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of wildlife encounters and the importance of preparedness. By taking the right precautions and respecting the presence of wildlife, outdoor enthusiasts can help ensure their safety while enjoying the beauty of grizzly country.

 

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