QUESTION: I am going broke buying six-volt batteries for my deer feeders. I was told that you use rechargeable batteries. Is this more economical than buying regular batteries? How long does it take to recharge a battery?
ANSWER: I have been using rechargeable six-volt batteries for about six years, and this practice has saved me a lot of money. I have made some mistakes along the way. All batteries are not equal. A couple of times I purchased batteries from sporting goods stores. Without exception, these batteries lasted less than one year, at which time they would no longer take a full charge.
I now buy my batteries from a reputable battery dealer. The one nearest me is Macon Battery Company. They give me a rebate on old batteries that I turn in with a new purchase, and their batteries last from three to five years. They are marked with a manufacture date and I still have some in use that are stamped 2009.
Cheap chargers will do the job, but they dont get in a hurry. I paid about $45 for a charger that will recharge a battery in three hours. The cheaper chargers require 12 to 24 hours.
QUESTION: Is dry-firing a hunting firearm a good practice? Does it harm the firearm?
ANSWER: Dry-firing (pulling the trigger on an empty chamber) is priceless for developing a smooth trigger squeeze -- which is necessary for accurate shooting. The first thing it does is to tell the shooter if the trigger needs some adjustment from a good gunsmith. Most of them do need some work. I have owned a few rifles that had an acceptable out-of-the-box trigger, but they were rare.
The primary issue in dry-firing is safety. There are two prerequisites. First, be SURE the gun is empty. Second, never pull the trigger when the muzzle is not pointed in a safe direction.
I have never damaged a center-fire rifle by dry-firing. The firing pin doesnt touch anything in the process, thus no damage is done. Years ago, I damaged the firing pins on a couple of rim-fire rifles (.22 and .22 magnum) because the firing pin struck the chamber edge during the dry-firing process and eventually failed to fire the gun. I am told that this practice will not damage most modern rim-fire guns, but I suggest you ask the manufacturer before taking that risk.
QUESTION: I use Hoppes No. 9 solvent to regularly clean my deer rifle bore, but I have been losing accuracy for a while. Would changing solvents help this situation?
ANSWER: Hoppes No. 9 has been the best solvent I ever used to remove powder residue from the chamber and bore of a rifle, however it is not so effective for removing copper fouling, which comes from the bullets. After using the Hoppes, I give my bores a good scrubbing with either JB solvent or Shooters Choice solvent. If your loss of accuracy is a result of copper fouling, you should see an improvement.
Emory Josey writes a weekly outdoors column. Send questions for him to The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, Ga., 31208-4167, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org