How To Zero A Scope – Guide

The most crucial factor when it comes to hitting the shot dead on is to have your scope perfectly zeroed in and that’s why we’re here today, to answer the question of how to zero a scope. Let’s get right to it.

Step By Step Walk-through: How To Zero A Scope

The Boresighter


The first thing that you need to do to zero in your scope is to roughly align the barrel with the scope. This step is especially important if you have just gotten a new scope for your rifle. The easiest way to go about this is by using a Boresighter or a collimator. You will need these tools if you have a semi-auto, pump, or lever rifle because you can’t look down the breech with those types of rifles.

If you need a suggestion for a boresighter then we highly recommend the SiteLite Mag Laser Boresighter.

Place the boresighter in the barrel and place the rifle in a very steady stand. Align the barrel with the center of the target. Remove the bolt and open up the action to look through the chamber and the barrel. With the barrel centered look through the sights and make adjustments to the scope until you see the exact same picture in the scope as you see when looking through the barrel.

Shooting The Target


Now it’s to take some tests shots to see how well aligned the scope and the barrel are. Start with the target at 50 yards away, or if you feel like you must you can also start with the target at a distance of 25 yards. This is where you take some test shots to see how the grouping is.

You can do one of 2 things. Either zero in the scope perfectly at 25 yards onto the center of the bulls eye or you can shoot 2 shoots without moving the rifle and zero in the scope to be in the center of your 3 shots; whatever works for you. Make the proper adjustments to your scope until you get it perfectly centered and aligned with the barrel.

If you are unsure that the barrel is pointed dead center or on the bulls eye you can always use the laser boresight again. If you are zeroing in your scope at 25 yards be aware that for the longer shots the scope will be aimed in too high. Therefore to compensate for this you should make the zero about an inch lower for the lower range to make it accurate for the longer range shots.

Choosing Your Load

Before you begin fine tuning or even before you start zeroing your rifle you should be aware that different propellants, types, and brands of bullets will have different points of impact. Therefore you need to choose which ammunition you want to use before zeroing in the scope.

You can try testing out different loads in order to see which ones are the most accurate for you. If you haven’t chosen the load yet it is best to shoot groups to get the accuracy down. It’s also time to choose what your perfect zero range is going to be.

For smaller game you probably want 100 yards and if you are hunting big game 200 yards is ideal. To make zeroing easier for the long distances you can zero in the scope 2.5 inches high at 100 yards and this will make it dead on at 200 yards.

Shooting Properly

In order to get your rifle perfectly zeroed in you should try to reduce human error as much as possible by reducing your contact with the gun when firing it for the test shots. Do this by using either sandbags or a professional rifle rest where pretty much all you have to do is to pull the trigger.

After you have your rifle zeroed in you should clean the barrel because a barrel should be cleaned after roughly 20 shots. (If you need some suggestions for kits then we recently added a post that covers the best gun cleaning kits that you should fine useful). Also note that the point of impact may change slightly after the barrel has been shot through a few times and has not been cleaned. Therefore if you find your zero with a dirty barrel, the next time you use it you will want to fire a few shots (out of the clean barrel) to get your zero dead on again.

We hope you have found our guide helpful and that you know have a better understanding of how to zero a scope.

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