Regardless, if you purchase a new hunting rifle or simply acquire a hand-me-down, it is not prepared for the hunt yet. You need to accessorize your rifle to protect it and improve performance. Consider these five partners to join you in the hunt.
No matter if your state demands you case your firearm or not, a sturdy rifle case helps protect your investment while traveling. To get more bang for your buck, research for a case that will fit in your vehicle, strap to an ATV and meets airline requirements for future travel.
Any case should be constructed of lightweight, high-impact composites or of rugged aluminum. Invest more if you want features such as seals that keep out dust and create a waterproof environment. Some even include valves to equalize pressure when temperatures or altitude come into play. Companies like Pelican and Plano market cases with re-enforced sides, rugged latches, waterproof interiors and layers of shock-absorbing foam.
You will want your firearm at the ready while still-hunting, but for that long walk back to the trailhead a sling is a Godsend. The two main options include slings that are rigid, like leather, or cushioned for shock absorption, like neoprene. Leather may not be as comfortable, but its rigid construction allows you to wrap the sling around the arm supporting the forearm and locking it into your elbow for a steady shot. You can utilize a cushioned sling in the same manner, but with possibly less steadiness.
Nevertheless, a padded sling is simply comfortable and will not dig into your shoulder. ALPS OutdoorZ, Quake, Butler Creek and others offer varieties of leather and cushioned slings for any application.
If you want to attach a sling to your backpack, consider Kifaru International’s Standard Gunbearer sling that connects to your pack. It allows you fast access to your rifle yet carries comfortably.
Being steady is the standard aspect of an ethical shot. To launch precision shots consider attaching or toting portable rifle rests.
The go-to for service members and law enforcement officers is the adjustable bipod that accommodates prone, sitting and even standing positions. Bipods conventionally secure to the forend swivel without changing the zero of your rifle. Fold the legs down and extend them to accommodate the height you need depending on your shooting position. Harris innovated the design, but companies like Caldwell and Magpul have joined the market for additional models to peruse.
You may not appreciate the added weight to the end of your rifle with a bipod attached. In that case consider toting along a set of shooting sticks or even a tripod. Primos, Bog, Caldwell and others manufacture simple, collapsible shooting sticks and even portable field rests that mimic the stability of a bench.
A CLEAR VISION
Hunting season has its share of weather events including wind, rain, sleet and snow. To ensure you always have clear vision, cover the glass ends of your riflescope. Not only will protection guarantee you can see through the optic when the time comes to shoot, but covers also protect that expensive glass from dust, brush and other abrasive encounters that could scratch.
Two basic choices stand out when it comes to scope protection. Research flip-up scope covers, like those made by Butler Creek or Quake Industries, or a stretchable, water resistant covering. These wraps stretch and cover the entire riflescope from the eyepiece to the objective. Many riflescope manufacturers, such as Sig Sauer Electro-Optics, now include a stretchable covering for your new purchase.
FEED IT NOW
If you have your rifle zeroed and utilize a steady rest, you may not need a second shot. It is always best to be prepared. Have those cartridges ready and within easy reach. For most situations, a magazine refill of five or six spare cartridges is sufficient.
You have three good options. First, consider a buttstock cartridge carrier with easy, cheekside access to ammunition. Quake manufactures two versions of the Stocker for this application. Second, look at wallet-style holder that secures to your belt and folds out quickly via a Velcro unsnap. Lastly, many rifle companies are transitioning to magazine-fed bolt action rifles, such as Bergara’s B-14 Wilderness series. Magpul manufactures magazines to fit this design and firearm manufacturers offer the purchase of additional magazines. Procure an extra magazine and stow it in a chest pocket for quick, backup feed to your rifle.
Accessorizing your rifle for your specific hunting environment makes certain you protect your investment and are ready when seconds count.