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Zeroing a scope by yourself

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Duckster, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Duckster

    Duckster Well-Known Member

    Yesturday I went to the range to rezero my Tasco scope on my New England .270 (Single Shot Breach). I have not shot it in awhile and have moved twice since I last zeroed it (Still in the Army). Two weeks ago I went shooting and it was way off. So Yesturday with about 30 rounds I went to zero it. Let me tell you, it is hard to zero a scope by yourself. I bore sighted it the day before, but that only gets you in the ball park.
    I got it close at 50 yards then. Tried hitting the first steel target. I could tell I was close, but not where. I asked for some help from some others shooting on the same lanes. They had spotter scopes and just shootong .22 at 50 feet. They were nice enough to guide me in onto the steel, but could tell me exactly where. I decided to go to the next target, which I found later was 400 yards and hit it twice in a row. I packed it up after that. I know I can shoot a pig at 400 yards now (That is what the target reseambled0, but not where on the pig.
    Next time I'll take a friend to spot for me and black spray paint (respray the steel targets). I wasted too many rounds and time.
    The good news is that my totally replaced steel shoulder worked great:D . Who said all Army surgeons are all bad:neener: .
  2. Sniper X

    Sniper X Well-Known Member

    There is a regimen to zeroing a scope and I have it down. You don;t need a second person if you have a quality spotting scope that allows you to see the holes of your caliber at the yardage you zero to. It just takes a little longer but this is good for technique as well shoot three, look thru spotting scope, swab barerel, move turrets, repaet..simple description, but basically it. I allways boresight with shims with the scope set at zero and zero on the turrets before going to the range to dope it in. Then at the range I do the ritual. I zero at 100, then again at 200 with my PSS and with the M24 at 300. So, it is different for use of weapon. My scoped hunting rifle (308) is zeroed at 100. My iron sight hunting rifles are all also at 100 and so are my .22s if they have scopes.
  3. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member


    IMHO, you should always Zero at 100. Closer than that rifle bullets may not be sorted out, farther and too many other factors may affect the bullet, not giving you repeatable info. Also, since most scopes used in the US are MOA, 1 will always = 1, so 1MOA at 100 yards is always 1" (or so close that it dosent matter in most cases)

    Start by geting a target that is a 1" grid. Fire 3 shots. If you have a "group" find the center. Example: The center of your 1" group is 2" right an 3" low. Your scope has 1/4 MOA adjustments, so 8 clicks right and 12 clicks up and then test with 3 more shots. You should be on target and can fine tune from there.

    At least thats how I do it.

    Hope this helps
  4. Eyesac

    Eyesac Well-Known Member

    I just bring paper tagets and a set of binoculars, never had a problem.
  5. Sniper X

    Sniper X Well-Known Member

    Dog Bonz, zeroing is relavent to weapon, and average yardage that particular system is to be shot. Say you are going to zero a .50BMG and your average shot is going to be 700M you do not want to zero at 100m because there would be to many comeups at 500 and longer ranges needed. So, you would want to zero at 300m or more. I zero my M24 at 300 because my average shot is out to 800M. I zero my PSS at 200 because my average shot is out to a shorter 600m, I zero hunting rifles at 100 beacause my average shot is that or 100M longer, or shoter than 100m.

    Standard military snipers usually zero at 200~300M. fo 7.63mm Nato, and longer for .338Lapua Mag, and .50BMG based sniper rifle systems.
  6. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    If you have a scope seeing the bullet holes at 100 yds should be no trouble. I would sight in on paper at this distance before going out farther. I use a 3x9 B/L 4200 on my 270 and can see hole in paper with no trouble at this range with it set as low as 3X unless they are in the black. Then I need more Xs although at my normal 9X I see them easily anywhere on target.
    One tip, sight in at 35yd to hit dead on and you will be very close if not spot on at 100 with most cartridges running 27-3000fps. It works well when you don`t have a bore sighter to get you going and limited ammo.
  7. byf43

    byf43 Well-Known Member

    I agree with everything EXCEPT that you should go 8 clicks LEFT on the scope adjustment, in your example.

    Everything else is spot on.
  8. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member


    You are absolutely correct.

    You see kids, thats why you should never attempt to zero your scope BEFORE coffee. :D


  9. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    ok hold on. question. where do you get shims for mounting a scope.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  10. byf43

    byf43 Well-Known Member

    No harm.
    No foul.

    Someone said 'Coffee'???

    O.K. I'd love a cup. (Or two.) :)
  11. CDignition

    CDignition Well-Known Member

    Shims?? what are you using shims for???.. There should be no shims on your scope mount system
  12. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    You're making it way too complicated....

    take a good sized sheet of paper, and tack it up at 25 yards. Get a VERY solid rest (I use a Black & Decker Workmate with sandbags and a plywood top)

    use some type of definite aim point (some like a small orange aiming dot)

    make sure you're very steady and take a shot, then take off the scope caps

    mount the rifle in the sandbags so that the cross hairs are on the aimpoint

    without touching the rifle, CAREFULLY move the crosshair from the aim point to the bullet hole using the adjustment knobs

    depending on the height of the scope above the bore, you'll be sighted in at about 125 yards

    I've sighted in dozens of shotguns and rifles using "one shot" sight-in
  13. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    You still have to dial from 200 to 300, 400, 600 anyway.

    Besides the other good reasons for a 100-yard zero already mentioned, a 100-yard zero will not change due to atmospheric density changes due to altitude changes, while a 300-yard or further one will. I can travel from Denver to TX with the same zero, and just grab the dope sheet for the new altitude.

    Also, a good reason for a 100-yard zero is that dialing under your primary zero for closer-range shots is confusing and problematic. And you can't do it on high-end scopes like the S&B PMII (new USMC scope) or the USO's, which have zero stops.

    Dialing the 300-yard dope as your normal setting is a much better idea than actually setting 300-yards as your zero.
  14. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    shims are necessary.

    here you go.
    rifle winchester model 94 angle eject

    mounted winchester front and rear scope mounts. there is no adjustment on them.

    Got a bushnell sportsman and winchester rings. put it all together

    got a bushnell laser bore sighter. put it in looked through the scope. the scope at about 25 feet is almost 6 inches to the right. read through all instructions and manual. if you do not have any adjustments on your mounting you need to use shims. on my scope the front mounting needs a shim. Currently i just took a piece of foil and folded it up. took a while but after about 20 minutes i had it to where the scope and the laser were pointing true on center line. Now both the bushnell mounting paperwork and other sources have said to use shims. But what shims.

    Only other thing i thought to do was to file the left rear mounting to offset the front. or have a front mount machined for me that was approx .15 thousands to the right.

    i have a copy of this from bushnell that is in adobe. im not too sure how or if you can copy it. if you would like a copy pm me with your email address and i will send you a copy of it.
  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Well-Known Member

    Er... what about the adjustments on the scope?
  16. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    those are only for final adjustments which need to be done at a range. most of them are done 1/4 of an inch at 100 yards. a boresighter needs to be used for initial set up. and it is recomended to use shims or adjustable mountings. however in my case i cant find any adjustable mounts for 30-30 win. if i could. it would be awesome. send me your email and i will forward you the adobe file
  17. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    Zak... Thank you

    you so elegantly put what I was trying to say about why you should 100yd (or m) zero.
  18. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

  19. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    :what: :what: :what: :what: :what: :what:

    Holly bjesus. i was looking for that thing for over 3 months.

    its mine im ordering now. looks like i need new rings that set up is totally different than what i have.

    well worth it though.
  20. rockstar.esq

    rockstar.esq Well-Known Member

    I know it sounds unimpressive but putting a couple of sporting clays on a dirt bank allows easy shot identification. Try dialing the scope power back and shooting with two eyes. I find that I can call my shots out to 100yds FAR better this way. After my first shot, I adjust strickly for elevation (I don't bore sight). I typically guess the amount of vertical adjustment and give the turret more adjustment than it stickly calls for. My second shot is usually then within 1/2 a foot. I give it another tweak and adjust my windage based on the two previous shots. After shot three I've usually broken the clay. At this point I aim at the other clay which should break no problem. So far 4 shots fired. My fifth shot is usually on some kind of paper target. Since most bolt actions hold 5 shots I go down and place another paper target along with some more clays. I'm way more concerned with practical shooting accuracy so I tend to focus on sitting, kneeling, prone and offhand shooting on the clays.

    The "Benchresting" nonsense has proven exactly no advantage for sighting in for me. The imaginary "mechanical limit" of your rifle is really only a factor when the gun is literally bolted to the deck! Therefore just laying the rifle over the hood of a truck, or shooting from the prone will render plenty enough stability to properly sight in the rifle. Consider that if you find the center of a five shot group (of whatever size) the scope turrets are only adjusting where that center intersects the crosshair. So as far as zero is concerned, shooting small groups actually has very, very, little to do with it. Plus I find the ergonomics of the bench are so different from field positions that a stock that's well fitted for field rarely feels so good at the bench. Please don't take my perspective as an attack on the sport of benchrest rifle competition. Those folks have taken things to an entirely different level and I respect their commitment. It's just that hunting is not at all a benchrest equivalent.

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