Black Powder Rifle Accuracy System

Thoughts on Sighting in Your New (to you) Black Powder Rifle

Many rifles seem to come adjusted for placing the top of the front sight at the base of the black circle on the target. If you sight by placing the top of the front sight where you believe the 10X ring to be, the rifle will hit surprisingly high.

The problem with a rifle with the sights adjusted in that manner is that the circles, the solid black circles, come in all sorts of sizes. The bigger the circle the further down your group is going to be. It's still higher than where you aimed but it will be lower than it will be on a target that has a 3 inch solid black circle.

Why would they adjust a rifle shoot this way?

They do it so that you won’t lose the front sight against all the black of the target. Well it does help prevent that problem, but how do you get it to hit dead center when you aim dead center? What you do is lower the rearsight (or by installing a taller front sight), adjusting a little bit at a time, firing a few rounds to see how you are affecting the point of impact. Be very careful of filing the rear sight too much because it is very difficult to unfile anything.

Before you do the above, shoot for group only.

The key to shooting for a good group is paying attention to the details. Here are some things that you will want to consider before trying to shoot for groups with your rifle.

On the subject of targets, I suggest that you shoot at targets with the smallest solid black circle you can still see. This practice tends to sharpen up your vision. It may be a strain but it will pay off in the long run. I have seen people who were used to shooting large targets with a solid black circle 10" or even 12" wide. They tend to have very loose groups because, Guess what? they lose the front sight against all that black. (See paragraph #3) When given a much smaller target these same people, with the same load tend to shoot much tighter groups.

This is because there is much less black to lose the front sight against. Putting a wee white dot on the back of the front sight will also help tighten the group because you won't be losing the white dot in the black on the target.

If your rifle, shooting it bench rest, is inaccurate because of some flaw or inconsistency in your loading procedure, will also be far more inaccurate shooting off hand. Get your rifle to shoot the way you want it, bench rest, THEN graduate yourself to off hand and you'll know where the problem lies. Its you and not the rifle. This will allow you to work much more intelligently on your stance. Are you holding the rifle exactly the same each time?

Does the stock touch your cheek at the very same place each time (sometimes called the spot weld)? Are you taking the same deep breath to put oxygen in your blood stream so you don't waver from oxygen deficiency, letting out half of the air so your are more relaxed. And all the other good things required for good off hand shooting.

Have a friend (one that you trust) watch from the side when you shoot to see if the muzzle tends to go up when you fire or does the rifle push straight back. The second is the better of the two by far. You can frequently compensate for this barrel movement by leaning into the rifle rather than just standing straight up and down. A lot of things to consider. Plus any others you can think of that make you a more solid gun emplacement.

Whatever works well for you remember it, write it down, and practice, practice, practice.