The 4:20am wake-up comes pretty fast when you’re up late the night before making last minute preparations to your rifle scope. I’ll explain why I was doing that in a minute, but one of the takeaways of doing any serious handgun or rifle training is that it gets you off of the sidelines and into the game. Actually getting prepared, going through the check-lists, and shooting cannot be replaced. As my friend Bill likes to say, “shooting is a perishable skill”.
I’ve taken a number of shooting courses with Bill. He’s a regular at reaching and hitting Coke can sized targets at 1,000 yards and had already taken the precision scoped rifle course I was about to take. He called me the night before around 7:00pm just to check-in and offer up some last minute advice: “Make sure you know your scope.” Hence, the later than anticipated bedtime.
I had my scope dialed in and was more than comfortable making adjustments on the fly. But I have a Night Force scope that has a zero stop. A zero stop is a clutch system that locks your elevation turret on a specific zero, say 100 yards. I had already zeroed my scope at 100 yards and planed on setting the zero stop when I got to the range. But after talking to Bill I figured I should get that done before hand and it was a great decision. There were simply too many things to think about on the range.
Thinking is such a huge part of shooting and proper gun management period. Just getting my rifle from Rhode Island, through Massachusetts and into New Hampshire is stressful. Driving in RI and MA and the arrival in live free or die NH feels like flying Apollo 13 past the dark side of moon. Once you’re in NH, it’s just less stressful traveling with a firearm. And stress is not your friend.
As an example of the level of paranoia you must endure driving through states with such strict gun laws, a number of years ago I had just picked-up Bill on a foggy, rainy, dark Rhode Island morning. As soon as we started driving we began rattling off a checklist about our guns and gear. One of Bill’s questions, “Did you empty and eject your magazine?” Once we were back on the road I was thinking how difficult it is to travel with this stuff in RI and MA. And it’s always helpful having a friend to travel and train with.
But this was a solo trip and I made the voyage to NH without incident and got to Sig Sauer Academy with time to spare. It was nice to have a few minutes to relax because class would begin in 20 minutes and I needed all the brain power I could muster. After all, this is rocket science. Stay tuned.