Zero Rifle Scope

How to zero a rifle scope

Zeroing a rifle is a process that makes sure that bullets hit the point centered on the reticles or crosshairs. 

It is achieved by adjusting the scope in the way that we describe below. It is also known as ‘sighting in a rifle.’ 

A rifle is zeroed in when the bullets hit the target, with a margin of error being less than a few inches. Zeroing in a rifle scope helps with long-distance shooting by improving accuracy. The steps involved to zero in your rifle are: 

  1. Scope installed properly: First, you need to make sure that the scope is mounted properly so that it is not loose or poorly aligned. Otherwise, the shots won’t coincide with the reticles. Then make sure that there are 3 to 4 inches of eye relief and the windage turret (the horizontal movement knob) is on the right side. It’s also important that the reticle is aligned at a 90-degree angle with the bore. Then ensure that the target and the reticle are clear at the same time. 
  2. Bore sighting: Bore sighting is a quick way to get the rifle and scope calibrated together. After applying bore sighting and shooting at a paper target, you will probably miss by only a few inches, giving you a good indication for calibrating the reticle. To apply the bore sighting, first, you need to use a bench rest and sandbags to hold your rifle still. Make sure the gun cannot move easily. Then remove the bolt or receivers (for AR-style rifles) from your rifle. Remove both scope turret covers. Place a large cardboard target at 25 yards. Peer through the barrel and center the bullseye exactly on the bore. After centering the bullseye, look through the scope. The crosshairs should be closer to the bullseye. If it is not, then adjust the vertical and horizontal knobs to realign the direction towards the bullseye until it’s done. Then without moving the gun, shoot at the target. The bullet should hit closer to the target. If you repeat the process a few more times, the scope should be zeroed in with the rifle. 
  3. Choosing a zero range: Now, choose a zero range according to your needs & preference. Ideally, the standard range is 100 yards, but now that the crosshairs and rifle are aligned, any range can be set. If you are hunting deer at a 200-yard distance, then choose a range of 200 yards. If the distance is more than 200 yards, then the scope needs to be adjusted accordingly. In any case, the scope will be well-coordinated with the rifle. 

The above steps should be sufficient to zero in your rifle with the scope.

How to zero a rifle scope at 100 yards

Whether sports shooting or hunting, zeroing in your rifle scope is essential to improve your accuracy.

Your rifle scopes can be zeroed in at different distances, but 100 yards is the most preferred range and is also the most practical.

Zeroing a rifle scope at 100 yards is not a set rule but rather a standard for most shooters. As you improve and need to shoot at a longer distance, you can slowly increase your zero. 

Zero Rifle Scope

Here are some easy and convenient steps to zero your rifle at 100 yards:

  • The first and foremost task when you zero a rifle scope is to position your rifle scope and then set it up. Be certain that the scope is located correctly on the weapon. While setting the rest, secure the gun on top of it to avoid any shift in its position. Doing this will ensure safety while handling your weapon.
  • Look through the scope of the rifle after the target is placed. The image you get has to be clear when setting up the shot. This clarity will ensure that magnification is set at the proper range. To point the reticle at the center of the target, modify the direction of the scope according to the wind deflection and elevation adjustments. 
  • You have to fire a test shot after your crosshair, and the target’s bull’s eye is parallel to check where it hits. 
  • The hitting point is considered your starting position, so you will have to modify your scope accordingly. It is preferred by many hunters and shooters to take three test shots to check if there is any fluctuation with each impact.
  • If your shots fail to hit the target, you must consider that your scope needs substantial modification. For example, you may need to reposition and fix your scope, securing it incorrectly. 
  • If the bullets of your rifle impact within 1 – 10 inches of your target, you can make tweaks to the scope. You can determine how much modification is needed to a scope by counting, taking account of the clicks required to modify the scope in each direction. 
  • An easy example: if your scope makes modifications of ½ inches for each click. If the shot falls 3 inches above the target and 4 inches to the right, you will be required to modify the aim by 6 MOA below and 8 MOA to the left.
  • Take another test shot after you modify your scope. Again, the rifle’s accuracy will increase, and you will hit closer to the target if you have made the proper modifications after your first test shot. 
  • If you still don’t hit your target, take your modifications up a notch, and your work will be done. 

I hope we’ve helped you understand & execute the process of zeroing your rifle scope. This will help you hit your target consistently time & time again.

About the Author Steve

I'm Steve & I've been handling firearms and hunting most of my life. I'm passionate about sharing what I've learnt with anyone who is interested, from beginners to seasoned marksmen and hunters. Riflescopely helps me do just that!