This past weekend, at my shooting club, I helped run an event we call the Running Deer, in which a more or less life-sized deer silhouette travels 30 yards at 12 miles an hour, and the shooters, who are 100 yards away, get five shots at it. A perfect score is a 50; qualifying is 34. There are very few 50s, and there are a great many shooters who dishonor themselves with 20s and lower, but no one shoots a zero.

But by crackey, on this Saturday, there I was, looking at a zero.

“Who the hell shot that?” I asked on the radio.

“Tony M.,” said the range officer.

“Lizard s**t,” I said, “he wouldn’t shoot a score like that if you chopped off both his arms.”

But it was true, and the reason I tell the tale here is because Tony M. is a Distinguished Rifleman, and the most careful, meticulous, and hardest-working shooter I know. The reason for his zero is, he had trouble with his scope, re-mounted it, bore-sighted it, but forgot to actually zero it in.

So take away two lessons from this: First, bore-sighting does not mean lizard s**t as far as being able to hit anything is concerned. Second, if something like that can happen to a rifleman as competent as Tony M., it can happen to any of us.