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Practice until you determine your effective range for a vital shot, and then adjust your sight for this distance. This is known as sighting in the firearm, and it is critical to accuracy with a muzzleloading rifle. Staying within your maximum effective range with your sighted-in firearm helps ensure proper shot placement.

  • Determine your maximum effective hunting range, and sight in from that distance.
    • Most muzzleloading firearms should be sighted in so that at 50 yards the projectile is hitting around 2½ to 3 inches above the point of aim.
    • Small-game hunters have a smaller vital area and must sight in more precisely.
    • To sight in the firearm, move the rear sight in the direction you want to move your shots. Moving shots sideways is “adjusting for windage.” Moving shots up or down is “adjusting for elevation.”
  • Practice with your most effective load at several distances to learn where the shot will hit relative to the aiming point.
    • More specific instructions about trajectory are usually included on targets. Also, consider consulting a ballistics table or an experienced shooter.
    • Practice shooting at angles to understand the effect of shooting on a slope.