My 2018 New Year’s resolution was to make some improvements to my .30-40 Krag that I have used for deer hunting since I was 13 years old and to fine-tune my reloading. The rifle was sporterized in 1923 (shortened barrel, custom stock) and had a Lyman Alaskan scope that was one of the first models produced (ca. 1937). Although the scope was state-of-the-art for mid-20th century (the model was used as a sniper scope in WWII), it was lacking by today’s standards.

What didn’t I like? The objective lens was about the size of a dime so it didn’t help me in low light conditions, the reticle was a single post, and the scope was mounted so close to the receiver that I couldn’t remove the bolt without first removing the scope which meant every time I cleaned the gun I had to sight it in before I used it again.

But I decided in 2018 that was all going to change. I planned to refinish the stock and I purchased a tactical scope that could mount in front of the receiver. I was concerned how well a scope mounted 10-11” from my eye would perform.  I mean I had been using this gun as described for decades with much success.  But change can be good, right?

I started at 25 yds. It took seven shots to work my way to the bulls-eye!


The I took the target out to 100 yds and found that I had to adjust the scope a bit lower and more to the right.


Time to assess my accuracy.  New target, same gun, same shooter.  I seem to have adjusted right a bit too much.


After a few minor adjustments I was able to do this 1-inch group at 100 yds. I won’t win any marksmanship matches but this is more than sufficient for deer hunting in Pennsylvania.


Resolution completed and in plenty of time for deer season.  But I wasn’t done.  Another perhaps more important resolution was still on the list.

-Duane Diefenbach

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