Today's Muzzleloader Alaska Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Hello, hunter! Alaska's online muzzleloader hunter course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Muzzleloader Hunter in Alaska course—the official muzzleloader safety course of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Alaska Muzzleloader certification.

Learning the Basics of Firing a Muzzleloading Rifle

Sight Alignment

As explained in Chapter Two, there are three types of sights: open sights, aperture/peep sights, and telescopic sights. Sight alignment is the process of lining up the rear and front sights.

  • Open Sight: Many modern muzzleloaders are equipped with an adjustable open sight. When you aim, line up the bead or post front sight in the notch of the rear sight. The target then should sit at the top of the front sight.
  • Aperture/Peep Sight: These are more accurate than open sights. As with open sights, the front sight is a bead or post. The rear sight is a round disk with a tiny peephole. You look through this tiny hole, not at it. To aim, line up the target with the front sight within the rear peephole. Peep sights are considerably easier for many older shooters to use, as the optical sharpening effect of the aperture compensates somewhat for the limitations of aging eyes.
  • Telescopic Sight (Scope): These are probably the easiest to use. They enlarge the picture of the target and are easy to aim. The aiming point inside the telescopic sight, called the reticle, is centered on the target. There is no need to line up front and rear sights. Many states do not allow scopes during “muzzleloader only” hunting.

With each sight, you should learn the proper sight picture. Know how the sights look when the rifle is aimed correctly.

Open sight Aperture sight

Open Sight

Aperture Sight

Telescopic sight with a crosshair reticle Common Reticles

Telescopic Sight

Common Reticles

Aligning an Open Sight

Sight correctly aligned on target
Misaligned-bullet goes right of target
Misaligned-bullet goes high and left of target

Misaligned-bullet goes high of target Misaligned-bullet goes low of target

Alaska Department of
Fish & Game
White-tailed deer tracks
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Official hunting safety course for Alaskan hunters last modified: September 11, 2012
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