I served as Range Officer at the gun club Sunday. It being the last day of deer rifle sight-in we saved the most interesting 150 some shooters for the 11th hour tuneup. There was the usual Upper Midwest glut of Remington 74xx and 76xx rifles. There were all the many shades of Savage bolt actions. Many slug guns were in attendance, from $100 NEFs to $1000 Benellis, though not one wore a decent scope or red dot sight. A couple inline muzzleloader shooters tried to zero their smokepoles (with other shooters waited three deep, of course). None had the correct tiny screwdrivers or teeny weeny allen wrenches needed to adjust their pot metal and plastic fiberoptic sights so perhaps they had never adjusted them before. Their deer are pretty safe.
So are the cervids that will be chased by the pistoleros I watched shoot. Lets call their skill level "minute-of-beach-ball" at 25 yards (well, to be fair, one guy was keeping them on the paper at 50 - the paper being about two feet square).
About half the rifles were in 30'06. Only a few rifles had decent (Burris or better) scopes. The were more Browning A-bolts present than I recalled from years past. There were more shooters shooting at 200 yards this year than in all past years combined. There were even a few shooters on the 300 yard line. Most of these guys were shooting well enough to be pretty certain of inflicting serious injury on their deer most of the time at that distance.
We had a rare surprise - a fella had a rifle with a scope that the gunsmith had "boresighted already" that actually shot to the center of the target at 25 yards! Of course there were dozens that didn't, including one that was not remotely on the paper at 25. "Okay, three turns down and two turns right." "Three clicks?" "No, three full turns of the dial." "Really?" "Yeah, really."
There were a couple Rossi single-shots, in 30'06 no less. Ouch! They are severely ugly little gats, but for $200 with a spare 12 bore tube we have another hunter in the woods.
I finally got to shoot my dream gun. A fella and his son showed up with a Kimber 84M in 7mm08 (yeah, my dream gun will be a 260, but this was pretty close). Seems a friend of his - who is some sort of gun distributor's rep - told him "You can try a bunch of other guns or you can skip to where you’re going to end up". This one had a 3x9 Burris with their goofy three crosswire hunter's reticle. It was a little large on this rifle (the owner didn't care for it either) but it handled like a dream. I was impressed with the trigger and how light the recoil was, even shooting from the bench. The owner was impressed with my pinwheel. The owner says he'll be buying another. After watching his highly figured walnut stock collect raindrops for an entire day last season he wants a matching stainless synthetic Montana for the next time the weather gets snotty.
In the end no one got hurt, everyone got their guns shooting "close enough," and nobody went away mad. All in all a good day.