100 yard zero - how large should the target be?


November 30, 2010, 05:47 PM
I will be sighting in my new Winchester 70 in 30-06. I have a Leupold 3.5-10x40 scope on it. If I sight it in at 100 yards:

1. What size should the bullseye on the target be?

2. Should I be on 10x?

3 Are there targets designed for this I can buy or download?

P.S. This is a hunting gun.

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November 30, 2010, 05:53 PM
I use 8 1/2" x 11" printer paper with a 1" black dot printed on it.

You should have already sighted in at close range to insure you will be on paper at 100 yards.

Yes, use the 10x setting, and a bench rest.

Free target downloads.



November 30, 2010, 05:53 PM
This is my go to target for sighting in rifles.

If you're WAAY off zero, start at something closer than 100yards. I usually will just put 4 up in a square to get started if I have an optic that I think may be far off of zero.

This target makes it easy to see how many inches off of center you are to make quick adjustments to bring it dead on. I can usually be on target within 3 rounds with a target like this without ever having to go down range :)

November 30, 2010, 05:54 PM
Stick the rifle in a firm position with sandbags or whatever works. Pull the bolt and look down the bore and center a distant object. Now adjust the crosshairs in the scope to the same object.

At 100 yards you'll be within a few inches of the bullseye, so you can use even a piece of typing paper with a dot drawn on it.

You can buy targets in any gun store, but you don't really need them. You can buy a bore-sighter in any gun store, but you don't really need it either.

November 30, 2010, 07:35 PM
I agree with kodiak but will add that while with a ten power scope it doesn't matter at all what target you use to zero, it does matter a lot when you are bore sighting. Use a largish black bullseye so you can see it with your eye through the barrel.
If you use the red sight in targets with little squares or light colors you wont be able to see it through the barrel

November 30, 2010, 07:45 PM
Everyone above has given you some great advice, I'll just add or concur with a few things:

1. I like a 1" bullseye, just for a size reference. The rest of my sight in target will also have 1" squares, so that when I shoot a group, I have an easy reference of how far to adjust it.

2. I always zero on my highest magnification setting. After your sighted in I would test various zoom levels to make sure there is no shift in impact.

3. I concur with downloading. rcmodel listed the ones I use.

edit to add: and congrats on the new rifle! make sure we get pics and a range report.

S. Hill
November 30, 2010, 11:10 PM
I think it was Williams Gunsight Co. that used to (and maybe still does) print black bullseyes with a white "X" ring. I liked it because with higher power scopes you could bisect the white circle with more consistency than if the bull was all black. A diamond shaped bull like the one in this link will also allow you to line up your crosshairs with the corners.


November 30, 2010, 11:50 PM
Another old trick when shooting at a round bullseye is to place the crosshairs on the left and bottom edge of the bullseye so that you'll have a consistent hold when shooting for groups.

If you want to zero the sight I'd recommend one of the targets designed for scopes. Some of these have a large bold line bisecting the target top to bottom and side to side so you can be sure you've lined up your crosshairs exactly in the middle of the target.

Like others have said bore sighting by pulling the bolt and moving the scope is simple and gets you onto target quickly. Usually the first shot will be 3-4" low but you are on paper.

November 30, 2010, 11:53 PM
I believe there are several targets you can download and print off at home that are made for sighting in a rifle. I would just do that. Also, be sure to shoot at different scope magnifications. I doubt your Leupold would wander off, but I have seen some scopes that will change point of impact an inch or two over different magnification levels.

December 1, 2010, 10:41 AM
NRA target info:


December 1, 2010, 10:59 AM
I start at 25 yds by looking through the bore and adjusting the scope crosshair to match it as close as possible. Then fire a few rounds. I adjust the windage then move to 100 yds to finetunned the elevation.

I only use whatever target provided by the public range. As long you have an adequate reference pioint is all one needs.

December 1, 2010, 05:56 PM
As posted above, start at 25 yards and zero the rifle. Then move to 50 yards and zero the rifle. Then move to 100 yards and using a target large enough to show the bullet holes, zero the rifle. I have seen guys burn through several boxes of ammo trying to get that first bullet on paper at 100 yards. If you can't hit the paper, you have no clue where your rifle is shooting.......have fun....chris3

December 1, 2010, 07:19 PM
I have seen guys burn through several boxes of ammo trying to get that first bullet on paper at 100 yards. If you can't hit the paper, you have no clue where your rifle is shooting

It's much easier (and cheaper) to simply bore sight the rifle before expending any ammo at any range.

December 1, 2010, 09:06 PM
Sighting through the bore, I set the crosshairs just a little high at 25 yards. It takes high contrast and good light to see a mark clearly thru the bore, and center your target in the bore. Then at 25 yards, impact should be about 1" low for typical scope mounts. I do this on lowest power to see the target better. The turn up the power and shoot at 100. Did this 2 weeks ago with a new .308. First shot at 25 was a little over 1" low, so shot a group at 100 and was 1.5" high and 1" left. I moved it 1" right and called it good. Probably the closest I've ever been, but I've not failed to get one on paper at 100 with this method. I use 8x11 drafting paper - with 1/4" grid and 1" square stickers, so I can hold crosshairs on a corner.


December 1, 2010, 09:46 PM
Getting a new scope bore sighted BEFORE range time is the more reliable way to go. Start at 25 yards til you are dead nuts then go out to 100. At 100 some variance comes into play. I prefer to be 2 inches high at 100 with my hand loads that give me dead-on out to 250, typically. However, if your terrain is only affording 100-150 yard shots then stay dead nuts. As far as how BIG a target??? Does not matter as long as you are holding the same to establish your pattern and made adjustments to where your want your point of impact. Redfield makes a good 1 inch square target. Now, once you have your pattern where you want it go out to 150-200-250,etc and see where your hitting. I usually go to 200 & 300 after I'm satisfied with my pattern location on the 100 yard target. But, I use those oval Blue Bunny ice cream cartons that have been filed with water and frozen. They are about the size of a lung and just about as big as the white patch on the throat of a deer. Besides, it's fun to see em explode in the scope. I know a few guys that live by "dead-on at 25....dead-on at 250.

December 1, 2010, 09:57 PM
Remember if using a graph style or diamond shaped target to take a level with you to the range. No sense in lining up the crosshairs if the target is not level, otherwise you'll be canting the rifle.

Hopefully the scope is properly square to the receiver and properly torqued in place with a bit of LocTite Blue added to the screw threads. If not you'll have some truly wicked witness marks on that beautiful new Leupold.

I use Thompson targets for sighting in and ocasionally during load development. They have a red/white triangular pattern to assist in crosshair alignment and a 1" grid. Toward the bull the grid is 1/4". Here is a round style, normally I use the square 5 target but I ran out that particular day:


Best of luck.

Travis McGee
December 1, 2010, 10:36 PM
I like to keep a roll of black duct tape handy in my range bag. Then I don't care what kind of paper target I'm using. I tear off full 2X2 inch squares, or 1x1 inch squares, and put them anywhere I want them on the paper. A roll of black duct tape lasts forever, and only costs a couple bucks.

Vern Humphrey
December 2, 2010, 08:28 AM
1. What size should the bullseye on the target be?
It doesn't really matter. I like a fat bull with an orange paster about 1" or so in diameter in the center as an aiming mark.
2. Should I be on 10x?
No. You say this gun is for hunting. You will normally use the scope on its lowest setting for hunting -- 10X has too small a field of view, and magnifies the wobbles too much. So zero on the power setting you plan to use in the field.

3 Are there targets designed for this I can buy or download?
Sure -- or you can print your own. I like to make up targets using Power-point or a similar program. The bull is a black square or circle, surrounded by outer circles 1" apart. This makes it easy to translate the needed corrections into clicks on the scope.

S. Hill
December 2, 2010, 10:09 AM
www.Targetz.com has targets (pdf format) that you can download and print. They have a very broad selection.

Vern Humphrey
December 2, 2010, 10:46 AM
Of those targets, I like Target No: 10144, 2" White circle in the middle of a classic looking red and white Bull's Eye with .5" X .5" grids.

It gives a good aiming point and the grids make for easy calculation of adjustments.

Carl N. Brown
December 2, 2010, 11:02 AM
First sight in target.

New gun, new scope: 18 x 18 inch targets first adjustment at 25 yards, fine tuning at 100 yards. (sometimes mount holes are not aligned or other problems)

Used gun: cardboard box about the size of a refrigerator at 15 yards (lotsa used guns have banged up sights, way off).

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