John Zent, Editorial Director for the National Rifle Association’s Publications Division, has been a friend and colleague for 30 years. We are sharing bear camp this week, where I am trying to take my 50th black bear, and John is on assignment for the NRA.

Part of that assignment was to shoot a Mossberg Model 464 lever action rifle chambered in .30-30 Win and scoped with a Swarovski optic. Part of that challenge, though, was finding the right scope mounts for this rifle, something John had a helluva time doing prior to coming to camp. He ended up having to modify an old mount for another rifle he pulled out of the NRA’s vast treasure trove of old rifle parts, but got the job done.

The problem began when we got to camp and we could not get the rifle zeroed, no matter what we did. We changed scopes, we changed rings, but no dice. In the end we had to shim the front base portion of the mount, using a slim piece of cardboard and the top of a Gatorade bottle trimmed to fit. Once that was done, the rifle finally began putting bullets where they needed to go, and he was ready to hit the bear woods.

The moral of the story is simple. First, before you go hunting, make sure all your equipment is in order — especially your rifle.

And second, if you travel it is always a good idea to bring along some basic tools, just in case you have to repair something.

Case in point was using duct tape to patch up a broken shoulder strap on my day pack that ripped on the flight (I use it as my carry-on bag). I always travel with a multi-tool and whatever Allen wrenches I need to make scope adjustments and repairs, for fortunately I had the tools we needed to get John’s rifle repaired.

Will it pay off with a big bear for John? I’ll let you know…

Be sure to keep following Bob Robb on his quest for his 50th black bear in the remote woods of Alberta, Canada.