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Easy scope zeroing

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by velocette, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. velocette

    velocette Active Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    Ft. Lauderdale Fla
    I work part time at a large municipal range. I see on a daily basis folks trying to zero their rifles. They put the target at 100 yards, then bang away, going through 50 or 100 rds trying to find paper and then the bullseye. (That is if they ever find paper.)
    Here's the EASY way:
    First, estimate the distance the center of your scope is above the bore center of your rifle, usually about 1 1/2"
    1, Set your target at 25 yards using the largest target you can find.
    2, Using a rest of some sort, fire two (2) very slow, very careful shots, using the center of the target as your aiming point.
    3, You should have two hits right close together on your target. (if not, go no further, you have other problems)
    4, Remember that at 25 yards it takes 4 times the number of clicks to move the same distance at 100 yards. That is if your scope adjusts 1/4 inch @ 100 yards per click, your need to turn 4 clicks per quarter inch @ 25 yards, that is 16 clicks per inch.
    5, Measure the distance to the right or the left and above or below your point of aim.
    6, Turn your scopes adjustment knobs the appropriate number of turns to bring your group to 1 1/2 inches below your point of aim. Or to whatever your estimate of the scope center is above your rifles bore center.
    7, Fire two more rounds & repeat steps 4 ~ 6.
    8, Fire two more rounds to verify that your group is on center and 1 1/2" below center.
    9, move target to 100 yds or whatever distance you wish to zero to.
    10, Fire two rounds & repeat steps 5 & 6 except use the bullseye to adjust your rifles point of impact.

    Remember that the adjustment move the point of impact in the direction shown on the adjustment knobs. That is, R means the group moves to the right if you turn it in the direction of the arrow for R.
  2. back40

    back40 Active Member

    Aug 31, 2012
    what about bore sighting and setting the scope to mechanical zero?

    i do all of my bore sighting the old fashioned way of pulling the bolt and centering the target while viewing down the bore with the rifle rested. i also will turn both windage and elevation turrets to full lock in one direction, then counting the number of clicks, turn to full lock in the other. bac half as many clicks gets the scope crosshairs centered and "mechanicaly zeroed".

    incorporating the above two, i can generally zero a scope at 100yds with probably half as many shots as you just described.

    a single shot should allow you enough indication to make course adjustments at 25yds, and then 100yds. once fairly close at 100yds, fire a three round group, then making the final adjustment with regard to the groups center.
  3. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    There is a quick and easy way to 1-shot zero your bolt-action rifle.

    Set the rifle on sandbags. Pull the bolt, and center the bore over the target's center at 25 yards. Fire one shot. Position the rifle squarely on the sandbags again. Place the crosshair back to the original point of aim. Using the turrets, move the crosshair to the point of impact: 1-shot, and you're zeroed. Move the target to 100 yards, and you should be centered, and typically about 2" high.

    If you are trying this with an autoloader, it is beneficial to set the optic's turrets dead-center before starting.

  4. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    With all deference and in complete agreement with both of the above posters as well, for shooters who understand it that is.

    Same as velocette. I've seen it too!;)
    I've been a volunteer RO at a non-profit public range for enough years to agree with him.

    I believe he was pointing out the best way to work with the public, not necessarily the most economical sight in procedure.
    This method also helps to give them an understanding of how the scope works without confusing them too much.

    If you have not worked with the shooting public on a daily basis, you may be doubting my conclusion.

    Not referring to offering Wally Cleaver and his Dad an occasional helping hand at the range, I mean working with the Eddie Haskell types as well.

    Just my opinion, JT
  5. browningguy

    browningguy Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Houston, TX
    What Geno said.
  6. LAGS

    LAGS Active Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    Mesa Arizona
    @ Back 40
    Setting the scope to a Mechanical Zero, or where the crosshairs are in the center of the adjustment travel is excellent, and if possible, shim or adjust your mount or rings so the scope set to Mechanical Zero is almost Bore sighted.
    Myself, on my rifles, I set the scope to True Zero to the scope Tube by using V blocks.
    That is the way the factory sends you out a scope when you buy it brand new.
    By having the mount and rings adjusted to be close to bore sighted with a scope that is Zeroed to the outside diameter of the scope tube, it makes it easier to swap out a scope .
    If the rings and mounts are set for the scope tube diameter, and you drop in any scope that has been zereoed to the tube, the bore sighting is very close right off the bat.

    Try a little test ?
    First , Set your scope to a Mechanical Zero.
    Now place your scope on a set of " V " blocks and rotate it on the V blocks while it is centered on an object in the distance.
    I will bet to say, the crosshairs will not stay on the exact spot without having to move the V blocks.
    But if the scope is set to True Zero to the scope tube , they will.

    Try setting three scopes to Mechanical Zero.
    Now one at a time, set them in the V Blocks, aimed at an object and do not move or readjust the V Blocks.
    I bet all three scopes will have the crosshairs at different spots related to the object.
    Now set them all to Zero Zero to the scope tube.
    Do the same comparrison on the V Blocks, and see what a Big differance it makes.
    The three scopes will be almost identical to one and other on the V Blocks sighted at the same object.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  7. back40

    back40 Active Member

    Aug 31, 2012
    i understand what you are saying, lags, but honestly it seems like more time/trouble than it's worth. as i said, i've never needed more than a couple clicks here and there to zero at a hundred yards using the methods posted above.

    also, some factories may or may not, send out their scopes aligned at a true zero. then there's always the very good chance that someone before yourself chcked out the scope and dialed the turrets all over the place.
  8. LAGS

    LAGS Active Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    Mesa Arizona
    @ Back40
    You are right about the time and trouble, for the average shooter that puts a scope on one rifle and it stays there forever.
    That is why I said, For My Rifles
    But I have a lot of rifles, and scopes and am constantly changing them or swapping them from rifle to rifle.
    But my method came in really handy when I went Deer Hunting , and a scope Fogged up on me for some reason.
    I was able to put on a spare scope and was able to be hunting again in and hour , with the confidence that the scope would be close enough for a 100 yd shot.
  9. back40

    back40 Active Member

    Aug 31, 2012
    makes sense. personally, without trying that method more than a few times with said rifle and spare scope, i wouldn't feel comfortable just mounting and hunting.

    i like the idea of a spare rifle, or just using the irons if available.

    i have a swfa ss10x42 that i use as somewhat of a test scope for newly acquired rifles. if they meet my accuracy standards, they then get their own dedicated glass. it gets swaped around quite a bit, but again i've never had much of a problem zeroing with just minor adjustments.

    i may have to try your method jsut to see how close it gets me though, never hurts to have another trick up your sleeve.

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