I went out - when was it? Dear God, my memory! - perhaps the day before yesterday and managed, while clambering around, to give my scope a boink against the side of a tree. The scope survived but when I fired off a few shots at a fence post to see if I was still zeroed the answer came back clearly: no, no, you're not still zeroed, actually, since you ask - you're now missing by miles.
So I whanged about thirty or forty pellets into paper targets, yesterday, trying to bring the zero back and all the time I was doing this I was reflecting, grumpily, that I'd only just re-zeroed the damn thing the day before I'd given the scope a whack. I'm no lithe acrobat; getting over, through and under fences means I often bang the gun or the scope against posts, the ground or trees.
By the time I'd finally got it sorted - and the knock had throw the zero out by an astonishing four or five inches, so there was much clicking of little scope adjuster wheels and firing of groups before the pellets started to fall within a respectable half-inch of the 30-yard bulls-eye again - I was feeling thoroughly fed up with the whole idea of scoped rifles. I tend not to shoot at anything over thirty yards away - so why do I have this damn great thing bolted to the top of my gun? Why don't I use the iron sights instead?
There have been times - when a pigeon has landed in a tree a few feet above my head or I've peeped round a hedgerow and seen a rabbit about five yards away - when I've had to shrug and walk away because I've no idea where the aim point in the reticule would be for a target so close and - even if I did know - my grabbing the scope and trying to heave the parallax ring round to its minimum distance would probably have spooked the animal away before I'd had a chance to shoot. Which is to say there are times when I've simply wanted to point the rifle, look down the barrel and fire - and I haven't been able to because the device on top that allows me to observe the fauna three counties away is in the way.
So I've dug the iron sights out of the cupboard and I'm contemplating them as I write. Looking at them, I feel much the way as I did when looking at my bicycle a couple of months back while I was deciding if I should sell my car: stuck between a fear of relying on what seems like a primitive technology and a yearning for things to be more simple. The car question resolved itself; the next service would've cost me everything I had in the bank - so that's easy: flog it, you have to. So I did. Now I get around fine on the bike and I wonder what I was so worried about.
The scope question is an even easier one, of course; I can just try using the rifle with iron sights for a bit - learn how to use them - and see how I get on. So I will.
Well, I probably will.
Are there any iron sight afficionadoes out there? What does the world look like without a scope in the way?