How To Zero A Rifle Scope or sight

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Zero rifle scope shooting plan

Air rifles can be zeroed in by shooting at a pellet target card or card in a trap at only 10 feet.

  • To do it this way you MUST wear safety glasses and ricochets ARE going to happen 100% definite. Also make sure that anyone else with you has them on too.
  • If you don't have safety glasses get some! If you don't and are impatient to get going (sighs) then try this method but extended distance to 30 feet or more.

Now it's time to zero the scope for shooting:

  1. Adopt your standard prone/lie down shooting position.
    • Prone is the best way as if you test shoot from standing or kneeling positions you waver more and it's harder to do a "true test".
    • Make sure your windage and elevation turrets are ready for adjusting i.e., caps removed.

  2. Draw 1 or 2 small dots on a piece of cardboard about 6.5cm apart vertically. 
    • There's no precision to this step. You just want enough room on the target so no shots are lost. At 10 feet, they can't go too far.
    • If your scope has parallax adjustment, adjust it as close as it will go. If it has variable power, adjust it as low as it will go.
    • The aim point will probably be a little fuzzy at this distance.
    • Aim at the top dot. Expect your first shot to be as much below the dot as the center of your scope is above your gun barrel. If that's 7cm then that's how low the shot should go.
    • Then take another shot using the same aim point - this is to confirm the aim point as good as you can.

      zero rifle scope step 1

  3. Keeping in mind where your first 2 shots went adjust the windage and elevation turrets .
    • At only 10 feet this will take a lot of clicks.
    • Your objective is to get your shots in line with the lower target dot. Keep shooting and adjusting until you get there.

      zero rifle scope shooting plan step 2

  4. Now it's time to get serious. Move the target out to 10 metres (33 or so feet)
    • Take more shots and see where they land.
    • In this example they went off to the right a bit too much so adjust the windage (left and right) dial and few clicks - not so many are needed at this longer distance. Experiment.

      zero rifle scope shooting plan step 3

  5. One you're aligned correctly at the horizontal level at 10 metres it's time to get the vertical zero sorted out.
    • Your shot pattern should look like this now (see point 4)
    • At longer distance your shots will rise but stay in line side to side.

      zero rifle scope shooting plan step 4

  6. Now move the target out to 20-30 metres and shoot 5 shots.
    • If you know what your standard - average shooting range is then set your target at that range.
    • They should all be pretty close on the top dot now.
    • Make any small tweaks to bring them closer to the dot and you're about done.

      zero rifle scope shooting plan step 6
  • You now know that at less than this range your shots will fall lower than the aim point so you can mentally adjust your aim to compensate.
  • Also, at about 5 metres further away the pellet will again fall lower than the aim point, so you can adjust again.

It's trial and error basically but with testing you'll get to where you need to be and be able to trust that your shots will go where it says they will! This may take some time and a lot of shots. Be patient!

And remember - WEAR SHOOTING SAFETY GLASSES at all times.

This material originally from Pyramidair of the USA who sell lots of very nice shooing goodies.


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