How Do I Zero My Weapon and How Do I Maintain It?
San Bruno, CA --(Ammoland.com)- How do I zero my weapon?
When you buy your riflescope, a wonderful idea would be to attach it to the gun and VOILA! You’re ready to shoot!
Unfortunately, that fantasy is not the reality, and there are some steps that need to be taken to align the crosshairs of the scope with the muzzle of the gun.
What you need to zero in your weapon
- A Range or Appropriate Shooting Location with all the Proper Precautions
- Sand Bags or Mechanical Rest
- Two Boxes of Ammunition (at least)
- Ear and Eye Protection
Step 1: You need to be familiar with your gun and scope. Know where the windage and elevation knobs are on your scope. The elevation knob is usually on the top, and the windage should be on the right.
If you have never mounted a scope to your gun and you’re unsure, PLEASE take it to a competent gunsmith and have them mount it.
Step 2: At the range, a common distance to zero at is 100 yards, but you may wish to select a different distance depending on purpose or preference.
Step 3: You need to position your rifle in a secure set-up, whether it is on a table, with sandbags or a mechanical rest, or in the prone position. This will enhance your ability to make a consistent shot. You should avoid kneeling or standing without a table or some means of steadying the rifle securely. The elimination of vibrations or wavering is absolutely essential in obtaining a good zero. You want your set-up to be consistent each time. A good, steady rest is the key for a consistent, repeatable zero.
Step 4: Now, in order to make sure your first shot is on the paper, and to save ammo, I suggest you boresight your rifle. TIME OUT!
To boresight, remove the bolt from the rifle and make sure your rifle is secure on sandbags or on a mechanical rest. Look through the rifle bore from the rear of the rifle. Locate the target and place in the middle of the bore. You will want to move the rifle until you can see the target centered in the field of view through the barrel. Once you have done that, do not move the rifle, but adjust the scope, using the elevation and windage knobs accordingly to align the crosshairs on the target.
Step 5: Once you’ve sighted in, reinsert the bolt and get the rifle in a steady shooting position.
Recommendation: Dry fire now! Carefully sight in the target and very gently squeeze the trigger. Practice 5-10 times to get acquainted with the trigger for a smooth, rather than jerky pull.
Step 6: Now you’re ready to affirm the boresighted zero. Load the rifle with one shell and check your shooting position. Make sure the rifle is solidly mounted on a rest, and adjust your shoulder and cheek on the gun with adequate pressure. Line the crosshairs of the scope on the center of the target. Now, gently press the trigger for the shot.
Here you will want to fire three shots, to make sure the grouping is consistent, eliminating any flyers.
Step 7: Identify where your bullets struck the target by looking through a spotting- or riflescope, or physically examining the target. In most cases than not (hopefully) they will land where you intended.
Step 8: If necessary, you can make corrections to further refine your zero. To correct to the dead center of the target, adjust the elevation and windage knobs accordingly.
If the bullet struck low and right, for example, you’ll want to adjust the elevation knob on top, upping the appropriate distance, so the elevation is correct. Sometimes this is a guessing game. The same holds true for windage. Look on the knob for the indicator of which direction controls movement to the left/right on the side. Since the bullet struck too far to the right, in this case, you’ll be adjusting the knob (left) to the appropriate distance.
Repeat Step 6
Step 9: More often than not, you will need to make several refinements in order to find the perfect zero.
We recommend shooting three shots each time, again, to eliminate flyers.
Note: Based on a hundred yard zero for…
- Hunting rifles, a 1 ½ – 2 inch zero is a respectable group for hunting ammo
- Long range hunting rifles, a 1 inch zero is a respectable group
- Target Rifles, a sub-half minute is a respectable group
SUGGESTION: Before leaving the range, check that screws on your scope mount and your pillar bolts are tight. Repeat Step 6 to assure you have the perfect zero.
BAM! You should have hit the bull’s-eye! You are zeroed in and ready to rock!
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