Well, do you know what zeroing does in a rifle? It helps your scope to align with the barrel such that the crosshairs match with your ‘bull’s eye’.
It is imperative to learn the technique for improving your accuracy in shooting. Sometimes when I knock my rifle out in the woods or fields, I instantly know that it has caused a shift in zero.
A shift in zero basically means that the next shot I take will probably miss the target because my crosshairs are now not aligned with the goal. Hence, knowing the technique and to check zero will give you the confidence to shoot at tricky angels, and at moving targets as well, if required.
As we see that .22 rifles are most in-demand these days. This is due to its lightweight, generally lower price, and relatively less sound-emitting feature. And at the same time, it gives accuracy. You can check our other article to figure out the best scope for your .22 rifle.
Step 1: Mount the base and rings on the scope
Let’s start from the beginning itself which is a crucial step. You need to first mount the base and rings on the scope. You can check our other articles for references if you are not sure how you can achieve this.
Also, needless to say, it is important to have a base mount and good quality mounting rings, because the rings will allow the scope to have a sturdy hold. Therefore, to install the mount the hooter has to tighten the screws into the mounts as instructed in the guide.
Initially, loosely close the screws to make required adjustments. Next, comes the mounting of scope that lay in the bracket.
Step 2: Position the eyepiece in the correct direction
The eyepiece should be positioned in the precise direction. The level of the scope can be checked by using a small torpedo level kept on the top.
Positioning the eyepiece should be done by setting the scope at an optimum distance from the eye of the shooter. Keep in mind that a sharp image should be visible with clarity when you are seeing from the eyepiece.
Step 3: levelling the cross-hair
Furthermore, it is significant that you level your cross-hair. Wondering how it is achieved? Well, the rifle should be kept in a stable place, mounted on the stand. This will cause the rifle to be leveled and parallel to the ground.
The vertical cross-hair should be at 12 o’clock position. You must get the scope’s cross-hair in the right orientation before tightening the mounting rings. It is necessary to work this slowly while checking that the cross-hair is stationary. This will help in obtaining accurate results.
Step 4: Preferably head out to the shooting range with a fixed target
Next comes the crucial stage of setting your zero. For that, first, you need your gear packed and ready for heading out to the shooting range. It is important to shoot from a variety of positions for accurately sight-in a rifle scope.
In the shooting range, you are aware of the distances and backstops so this place is perfect for this impetus. Bull’s eye target is used for zeroing as these have a number of measurements that may be used for accurate adjustments.
Here, you will be able to observe the off-target shots accurately and hence sight it in properly. Next mounting is important to avoid error occurred by the shooter. Now load the rifle to take few shots.
Step 5: take a few shots and adjust your rifle accordingly
Look through the scope to see the target and place your cheek firmly with your stock to take a few shots without jerking. Observe the grouping of shots and make adjustments in the rifle accordingly using knobs.
It’s a good idea to repeat the process and take more shots to check the grouping. Set zero from different positions and distances from where you expect to fire. The shooter may start from 20 yards and move far to 75 yards. You could also move further away to 200 or 300 yards but then the wind will cause hindrance.
Adjustments to the scope can be made using knobs to zero it. The top knob is used to regulate the up and down position of the cross-hairs and the side knob is used to fine-tune the scope left to right.
You have to keep making adjustments from one position till you hit the target. Then, move to a different position. It is important that you make small micro-adjustments for accuracy purposes. A bore sight may be beneficial for more modifications.
The optimum number of times to sight your scope
Now many of you must be thinking “how many times do I sight the scope?” Well, the answer is quite easy. You should re-sight your weapon if it has been a long time since you zeroed it and also if your weapon was dropped or shoved around.
Most rifles have adjustments that are precise and consistent. But in some cases when you have to take more shots to check the accuracy, the barrel gets very hot. So, let it cool before continuing. And after about 20 shots it is important to clean the barrel.
A cleaned barrel will have a different point of impact than the un-cleaned one. All calculations for .22 ballistics show that the best zero occurs at 75 yards to minimize the variations as the bullet moves down from the line of sight.
Take air resistance and gravity into consideration
As you might be aware, gravity takes over the moment the bullet as soon as it leaves the barrel. Hence, it is essential to raise the barrel at the muzzle in comparison to the line of sight. This will cause the bullet to be fired slightly in an upward direction and cross the line of sight when the bullet will be coming downwards.
Air resistance plays a major role as it slows the bullet and gravity also pulls it hence all these have to be considered before shooting. Therefore, the distance at which the rifle is zeroed is when the bullet is moving downwards through the line of sight (visualize a parabola).
Ideal distance from the target to zero your rifle
Some may ask about the best distance from the target to zero your rifle. Zeroing at 50 yards is better than 25 yards, but it does not consider the trajectory of the bullets. However, zeroing at 100 yards means when the bullet reaches maximum height it will result in misses when the shooter is shooting nearby targets.
The amount of error is relatively lesser when you zero at 75 yards. If you square all the deviations along the path, at different distances, then you will observe that the sum of squares of the deviations will be lowest at 75 yards zero.
To sum up, zeroing plays an important role for all shooters so that their aim is ‘Bang on Target’! There are few things to consider before you actually start to zero your weapon like mounting your rifle.
Mounting is the primary step and then the focus comes on mounting the scope and finally zeroing it, which helps the shooter to hit the bull’s eye. Zeroing is not difficult once you get the hang of it. It actually removes your speculations while shooting!