Who we are:
We’re Shop 33, a bunch of gun-totin’ good ol’ boys who want to talk firearms, hunting, and all things fish and wildlife. You can think of this place like your local hunting and fishing shop. We named our site after the Glock, the most popular handgun in the US today.
With Steve Murphy
Today, we’re going to be talking scopes. Now, scopes are a pretty contentious issue out there in the hunting community, as y’all are aware.
There’s two camps when it comes to scopes. In one, you’ve got the serious, technical shooters who are all about the gear. They want to know what kind of turrets you’re using, and they bring a pen and paper to work out all the different factors that go into making a shot. In the other camp, you’ve got the old school shooters, who’ll look down on anyone using more than an iron sight as a wuss and a city boy.
I want to set the record straight on scopes. Now, I’m a serious hunter, but I don’t pretend to be a tactical, military guy. I’m mostly interested in bringing down a couple of deer every season, and I’ve got a pretty basic setup. That’s true for most shooters in the US. I’ve never been much of a scope guy…
Growing up, like a lot of us, I had a little .22 with a tiny iron sight. It was pretty useless over a few yards. Y’all can remember those old Winchesters. They’re great beater guns, but they’ve got nothing on a full size rifle over 100 yards. Anyway, sight be damned, I got good at shooting on that little old Winchester. Now, that might seem stubborn. After all, I could’ve gotten it fixed, right?
But shooting with a crappy sight, or shooting with a wonky gun teaches you about shooting. It teaches you how to steady your aim. It teaches you how to adjust your shots. If your barrel warps left, you’ll know how much to compensate. Shooting simple gives you that gut intuition which makes you a better hunter.
I had friends growing up who shot with sights. They had a lot more money, and they got all sorts of deer cams, sights, and other fancy stuff for Christmas every year. And they shot more deer than me at first. I spent the first few years having my youth license and never bringing down a buck.
Here’s the kicker, though. I’d get those same friends over to my house to take pot shots at cans. We’d hang them from little ropes on the old oak tree by the creek, and take turns “firing at the gallows”. I won every time. So, that seems to prove the old-timers’ point.
Anyway, I’m a lot older, and I hope a lot wiser these days. And before you think I’m just a crotchety old fart lecturing the kids about all their new-fangled gadgetry, I’ve got a confession to make.
I use scopes.
I know, I sound like a bit of a hypocrite now. But that’s the point. I grew up without scopes, and I learned how to make a shot without help. That said, all that gut intuition, all those days in the woods with a bent barrel, they taught me how to use a scope. So, I think I actually get more out of a scope than any of my friends who have used them their whole life.
Like my Uncle Charlie used to say, “You can’t polish a turd.” It doesn’t matter how good your scope is, if you can’t shoot in the first place.
Here’s my point: you ain’t gonna be a great hunter just by buying the best gear. A scope doesn’t make the man, and neither does the gun. My point is that a good hunter will find lots to love about a scope. Using a scope doesn’t make you a wussy, and it’s not a billboard saying “I’m compensating.” A scope is a good tool just like anything else. Some people will use them badly, some people will better their game and end up making more shots.
What I’ve found is, the best rifle scope helps you make those gut instinct adjustments a bit more exactly, and a bit more consistently. It’ll give you more range, especially if your eyes ain’t what they used to be. And if you’re anything like me, they sure as hell ain’t.
So here’s the Shop 33 money shot:
Try a scope. You might think you’re old-school now, but trust me–any old school pro can beat the new kids at their own game.