DIY Hunting Rifle Target Downloads

Here are some targets I like to use to sight in my rifles. For my deer and elk rifle loads I like to sight my rifles in at 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This is a little higher than the traditional 2 inches that you have always been told to do.

With the ballistics that are achieved with the 243 WSSM and my 270 WSM I get roughly a 350 yard max-point-blank range on a 7 inch target. What does this mean? It means that I can hold dead center on a 7 inch diameter target and be able to hit that target from 0 to 350 yards. So from 0 to 400 yards I can hold on an elk or deer with no hold over required. Now, I do hold on the lower part of the shoulders for basically a heart shot when I am in the 100-200 yard range and I hold for a high shoulder shot in the 400 yard range.

Now when I am shooting the 55g Ballistic Tips over the 4,000 fps barrier I like being sighted in for 1 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This gives me a nice 300 yard zero. Perfect for taking the smaller Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, Rock Chucks and the like out to around 350 yards without any drastic hold over or under.

Shooting with Adjustable Target Turrets
In 2013 I started getting Vortex Viper rifle scopes with target style elevation turrets. With these scopes I like to sight the rifle in to be dead on at 100 yards and then dial in the minutes of angle for the specific shot with the target style turret.

If you click on the images below you will download PDF files that you can print out. The grid pattern on the targets are a half inch apart. When printing make sure you do the following to get the proper sizing of the targets. When you select print in Adobe Acrobat select the "NONE" option in the "Page Scaling" menu. If left on the default option which is "Shrink to Printable Area" your target will be reduced in size making the half inch grid somewhat smaller.

Varmint Sight In Target
1 1/2" Sight-in Height
Traditional Hunting Sight In Target Height
2" Sight-in Height
Two and a half inch target sight in height
2 1/2" Sight-in Height
Four Up Sight-In Target
Four Up Dead On Sight-in
Muzzleloader Sight-In Target
Muzzleloader Target (10 inch outside diameter circle, 11x17 paper required)


Most Accurate Pellets in Benjamin 397 Pellet Rifle

Benjamin 397 Pellet Rifle with Bushnell 4-12x ScopeI purchased a Benjamin 397 pellet rifle a few years back and it has been a nice rifle. This past winter I decided to see what it could do accuracy wise. I had some unwanted pests raiding the bird feeders and I wanted to be able to place a pellet on a quarter sized target at 30 yards. Could it be done? I had to know.

I started by tuning up the trigger using Airgunsmith's advise. This did wonders to the trigger pull. I then wanted a variable power scope. Almost all 3-9x scopes have a fixed parallax that would cause a lot of accuracy problems due to the parallax issues at various ranges. I decide to go with a Bushnell Banner 4-12x with an adjustable objective.  With this rifle scope I can adjust the parallax from 10 yards and out.

I did have a issue with the bases and rings being loose. This took me a while to figure out. It was caused by having the rings clamped towards one end of the base creating leverage on the base that made it loose. I had to clamp the ring centered over the rear base. They're a little tricky so just keep an eye on the bases to make sure they are not loose around the barrel.

Pellet Accuracy Test Target from Benjamin 397 Best Pellets for a Benjamin 397

This left one problem, eye relief. The scope is mounted too far forward to get your head into position to view through the scope. The Benjamin 397 pellet rifle comes with a fairly lengthy trigger pull for an air rifle and the scope is mounted on the barrel not on the receiver.  I tried mounting the scope as far back as I could given the location of the bases but I found  two problems. One, I had to mount the ring in the center of the base to keep it solid. And two, if the scope was any further back it would interfere with the bolt handle unless I used some really high rings.

Gamo Rocket .177 Pellet
Gamo Rocket .177 pellet — my favorite pellet for my Benjamin 397 pellet rifle.

My solutions was to cut the stock down. I cut an inch off the end of the stock, placed the butt plate back on, sanded the stock and butt plate to fit, and then stained the area as best as I could to match the current stain. I still think I need to take another inch off the stock for optimal comfort with the eye relief and this scope but, as is, it works pretty good.

Now to find out what pellet shoots the best. I tried six different pellets available from the local Walmart and sporting goods store. The Daisy #557 pellets I used were some old pellets that I had and I can not find them any more.

Gamo Rocket and TS-10 pellet accuracy

Two five shot groups. One with Gamo Rocket pellets and the other with Gamo TS-10 pellets.

If the Gamo Rockets shot well I figured that the Gamo TS-10 Long Range pellets would be even better. Well, as you can see from the target they don't shoot very good from my Benjamin 397.

Here are the pellets I tried.

  • Daisy, #557
  • Savage Arms, Model 8512
  • Gamo, Rocket
  • Daisy, Precision Max
  • Daisy, Pointed Field
  • Gamo, Red Fire

My shooting range for my tests came from standing in the bathroom, shooting out the window into a piece of plywood against the backyard fence. I did use a large sand bag in the window to steady the rifle. I'm pretty confident I could get the groups a little tighter if I shot from a bench. However this was exactly where I was going to be working on the pest control so, out the bathroom window I conducted the test.

As you can see from the targets the Gamo Rocket .177 caliber pellet was the clear leader in accuracy from my Benjamin 397 pellet rifle. Again, the pellets I shot were only the pellets available at local sporting goods stores in my area. I'm thinking of ordering some Gamo Hunter pellets from and give them a try. I'm thinking these pellets might also shoot well.

Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope

Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope

My CVA Firebolt with my new Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope and Warne Bases and Rings.

Once again Utah is set on having more restrictions for the public hunters for the 2010 season. The rifle deer hunt is now being limited to 3-5 days in the northern region for the public hunters, however all the private CWMUs have 60 or so days as usual to hunt. With the season being so short, I have a feeling that opening day hunters are going to shoot anything that has antlers, instead of passing up on a buck in hopes that they will find something better, as they would in the past. I hate being restricted to such short season lengths. I want to be on the mountain as many days as I possibly can enjoying the experience and challenge of outwitting a buck.  I best just stop now or I'll rant about this for pages...

Anyhow, going into the Utah big game hunt drawing I decided to switch up a couple of things on what I was wanting to draw. First the archery season for elk was going to last all the way until September 17th. The latest I have seen it in the past 10 years. The best chance I may see in Utah to archery hunt elk during the rut. So I decided to put in for a Limited Entry Archery Elk permit, thinking I had a good chance to draw with the number of points I had. With the shortened rifle deer season I figured my best bet was to go with the nine day muzzleloader season. I ended up putting in for a Buck/Bull Combo tag as first choice for deer and second choice I put  muzzleloader deer. I figured when all was said and done I would draw the muzzleloader deer and most likely the Limited Entry Archery elk tag.

With my best odds for drawing the muzzleloader deer tag, I decided to finally get a scope for my muzzleloader. Utah restricts scopes on muzzleloaders to only be 1x power. After studying the various 1x power scopes and handling a couple of different ones, I narrowed it down to two. The Leupold Prismatic 1x14mm scope was at the top of my list. It is small lightweight and has a unique, fine reticle. I handled one of these scopes at a hunting expo and was really impressed. I wasn't impressed with the price tag, not that it isn't worth $500, it is just out of my budget.

I decided to get the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope. This rifle scope was right behind the Leupold on my list but at a more affordable price. Nikon makes great quality affordable rifle scopes and this scope retails for right around $170. The optics are very clear on this scope and it looks and feels very well built.

When the draw results were released I somehow drew the limited Buck/Bull combo tag. So it looks like I will be missing out on archery elk hunting this year and I won't be hunting with my new Nikon scope this year either. However I will be able to have a 13 day rifle season for mule deer.  Deer will be my focus for the season as only a few people will have these tags and of these people many will be after elk first. I am hopeful that I can find a whopper buck this year and maybe my first rifle bull elk. Hmm....this might require a new rifle... I've had an X-Bolt Stainless Stalker on my list for a couple years...

I need to get my muzzleloader out on the range and try out the this scope. Thanks to my luck of the draw it looks like I will have to wait until next year to try it on a mule deer hunt. Maybe I could get to Oklahoma to try in on a whitetail. Hmm...

I'll follow-up on this entry once I've had a chance to try out the scope.

You can read more about my thoughts on the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader scope in my follow-up journal entry found titled: Review of My Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope.


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