How To Zero Your Rifle Scope: Getting Setup The Right Way

For anyone who loves hunting or target practice with a rifle and scope, unless you plan on being an embarrassing shot, you had best get your optics zeroed in before anything else. The following is a sure way to get your optics set up for prime accuracy for out in the hunting field or at the shooting range.

The first thing you will need to do in accomplishing the zeroing in is to situate the eyepiece and then adjust the distance to the eye you use to shoot with so the position will be accurate when you get settled into your shooting position. The image you are looking at ought to be sharp and apparent when glancing through the eyepiece. You will identify that you’re in the spot when this is finally executed. (Also be sure to choose a day when it is not windy outside as it may affect this entire process later on).

Next you will need to be sure that your crosshair is flattened or leveled out effectively. It is required that your rifle remains in an steady and dependable position in order that it does not move and compromise your set-up. The most reliable way to brace the rifle is to set it up onto a stand in order to make the rifle stock squared up and level to the ground. Rotating the crosshair will be next so that the vertical crosshair is at the dead center of the top. You might want to picture there being a line that extends straight through the middle of the rifle you are using.

As soon as you’ve leveled out the crosshair you will want to fasten your mounting base solidly so that the crosshair stays at the top and dead center. Do a quick re-examination to make sure your crosshair is right where it should be and then tighten up the mounting rings. You will need to go slowly now and make sure that as you fasten up each screw by only half a thread, that you check and look through the lens to make certain that it remains securely in the correct position. Just as you would tighten up a car’s head gasket you should do the same with the screws utilizing the reverse corners.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing this with an AR-15 or any other standard rifle.  The process is the same.

Moving along to possibly more exciting steps now, it’s time to establish the range that you will desire to zero in on. This is normally the same distance that you intend to be shooting at when you are out hunting or target shooting elsewhere. Place or set up a target at the distance you have decided to shoot at. Now, be sure that your rifle is steady and will remain so as you are ready to set yourself up into a position to fire your first test shot. If you have not already, make sure the caps are removed from the optic’s elevation and wind deflection turrets.

Now, get ready to aim at the dead center of the target you’ve placed before you and squeeze off your first shot without jerking the rifle. Take a good look after your first shot in order to decipher which direction the adjustments will require. Modify the elevation turret down, up, left or right all depending on your shot result. You will then take the next shot and repeat the alterations until you can hit the dead center of the target shot after shot.

Finally, when you are satisfied with your results then put the caps back on and you are ready for action.  For a detailed walk through on how to zero  your favorite optics, check out the video below.

Ed Hawkins is a long time recreational firearms owner, having owned many different firearms over his lifetime. While his trusty CZ 75B is his favorite, Ed also enjoys frequent trips to the range with his AR-15. Ed is part-owner and managing editor at ArmsBearingCitizen.