R for right, U for up. Meaning the other way for left or down. It's not really that hard, is it?

The other left

Righto, time to suck it in and own up to a dumb mistake. 

I’m about to develop some handloads for a rifle that, until now, I’d been shooting with an Aimpoint red dot sight and factory ammo. To ensure I gave the rifle its best chance to work out what load it liked most, I fitted a 2-7x telescopic sight for the range work, and in the meantime got it sighted in for the factory ammo it seemed to like most. After all, I still wanted to hunt with it while I took my time working up the handloads.

So with paper on the target at 100m, I dutifully began dialling in the scope. Oh, and while I was there, I figured I might as well see how well this rifle shot different factory ammo. It did well with the good old blue-box Federal softpoints I’d been using all along, and was equally good (with an almost identical point of impact) with Remington’s Express Core-Lokt, but the great little 130gn hollow points of Federal’s Premium Tactical were the most accurate, so I decided to switch to them. 

The 130gn bullets were hitting about 90mm, or 3MOA, higher than the 150s in the other two loads. All were dead in line left-to-right. Easy. I dialled the elevation down 3MOA, knowing the scope’s calibration was pretty good, and went hunting. 

I missed an absolute sitter. Using a dead-on hold at about 200m on a deer, off a rest offering perfect stability as well as a very relaxed shooting position, I watched the shot go (so I know I didn’t flinch) and waited for the ‘thud’ of impact to come back. It didn’t.

I agonised over that miss. The only explanation I could come up with was that I’d dialled the elevation adjuster the wrong way. Vaguely, my memory of the movement agreed with me, but was it a reliable memory? If I was right, it meant that instead of being 6cm high at 100m, the bullet would have been about 24cm high. By 200m, it’d be somewhere around 40cm high!  

When I got home, the footage (below) confirmed that’s pretty much where it went. Way high. (In the video, it looks like it’s too far right, too, but that’s because I was a long way to the left of the camera’s position.) Tail between legs, and freezer bare, I dialled the elevation 6MOA down. Properly down this time. The first shot down range went exactly where it was supposed to.

I have nothing more to say on the subject. For obvious reasons…





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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.