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How to Zero Rifle Scopes?
You've just got yourself a new rifle scope, fitted it and let me guess...for some reason your shots are landing
nowhere near the crosshairs?
Sadly there's more to rifle scope sharp shooting than just plonking the scope on the rifle and forever after
shooting like an SAS sniper! You have to "zero" it.
Think about it. It's like a bike wheel. If you tighten the bolts wrong, too much on one side
for example, it spins wrong and rubs the brake pads. It's the same with a Rifle scope. If it's not set up correctly
it will be offline and even at short air rifle, airsoft and paintball ranges this is going to throw your accuracy
right off. At longer ranges you'll miss by a mile (well figuratively anyway!)
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What Does "Zero a scope" mean?
Zeroing a sight or scope means getting the crosshair in position so that when you shoot. Ground zero if you
like. The point of impact.
There's a lot of discussion amongst shooters on the best way to zero a scope or sight. What I've written below
is what I've been sending out to my ebay scope buyers for the last year or so and received a lot of good comments back
about it so I know it's OK!
How to Zero a Rifle Scope
First of all you need to set a firm foundation by fitting the scope mounts and scope onto the rifle
- Put the scope mounts on the rifle first with the top brackets removed. Just like this:
- Tighten them into place using 1/2 turns at the time so that they sit solid and level as best as is
possible, i.e., the downward pressure is as equal as possible. At this stage don't tighten them
fully as you might want to slide them up and down a little.
Now take scope and place it on top of the open rifle mounts.
- Position the eyepiece by sliding the scope back and forwards. You may have to move one or both
rings to get this right.
- Position the rings so the scopes eyepiece will be the correct distance from your shooting eye when
the gun is held naturally.
- This is usually between 2 and 3 inches from the eyepiece lens, but it is the spot at which the
image in the scope appears as full and bright as it gets.
- To see what this looks like, move your head back and forth along the stock, as you look through the
scope with both eyes open.
- Then, position your head on the cheek piece where you want it to be and move the scope back and
forth until the image appears bright and full.
- Make sure the windage and elevation turrets are positioned correctly - Elevation (up and down
cross-hair adjustment) on top and windage (left and right movement) to the right.
- Then put the top mount brackets on and tighten - Tighten them until the scope is held secure but can still
be rotated with your hand (Not very tight)
Now align the vertical cross-hair with both eyes open and the gun held naturally to your shoulder. Rotate
the scope until the vertical reticle seems to bisect the gun perfectly.
- OK? Yes - Now tighten the base of the rings securely to the gun top
(NOT the top rings yet, that's next)
Now it's time to tighten the top cap rings. You need to take this carefully and slowly as it's a critical
step. It's not hard, just be patient.
- Tighten each screw partially, then move to the next one and go around the pattern of screws many
times, rather than tightening each screw all the way on the first try.
- You will put even tension on the caps and be less likely to dent the scope tube this way.
- If there are two screws on the side of the ring, tighten only one, then tighten the one on the
opposite corner of the other side of the cap (see graphic below).
- Leave the other two screws for the moment and tighten two screws on the other ring next.
- Then come back to mount one and tighten the two screws you left loose.
- Then back to the other ring and keep rotating until the scope is secure.
- It takes less tightening that you might think. They need be firm not as tight as possible. Err on
the side of too loose, rather than too tight.
This is the order of screw tighten in the case of a double screw mount. If you have a single screw each
side then do it as 1 - 4 - 5 - 8 (you get my drift I hope) basically you want pressure to be as even
as possible throughout the process and not risk damaging the tube of having uneven pressure on one side that will
make zeroing more difficult.
Next step -
Now that your scope is set up it's time to have some fun and shoot a bit.
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