August 18th, 2018

Zero Your New Hunting Rifle in Just Four Shots

hunting zero zeroing sight-in easy NSSF boresighting
Photo courtesy Vortex Optics.

Hunting season is around the corner. We know many readers will be zeroing their hunting rigs in the next few weeks. Here is a very simple but effective way to zero any scoped rifle in a few minutes, with just four shots.

Follow this simple procedure to get a solid zero for a hunting rifle in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

QUICK-TIP: The Key to this procedure is Dialing to Shot One Point of Impact (POI). Re-aim at center of target after SHOT ONE. Then with the rifle motionless, use the turrets to put the middle of the cross-hair on the first shot location.

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire SHOT ONE. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. In other words, use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. IMPORTANT: Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

Watch NSSF Zeroing Video showing method of moving reticle to Shot 1 Point of Impact.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the SECOND SHOT. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a THIRD SHOT with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Finally, shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm, with SHOT FOUR, that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
March 20th, 2015

Horus Video Explains Sources of Zero Shift in Rifle Scopes

YouTube Preview Image

In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.

Other factors that can cause a change in zero:

Temperature
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).

Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.

Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.

shooterXbag.com sandbag

Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Optics 2 Comments »
November 2nd, 2014

How to Zero Your Hunting Rifle the Easy Way

We are in the thick of hunting season. If you need to re-zero your favorite deer rifle, here is a dead-simple way to zero your rifle in two or three shots. The method is based on the principle of moving your cross-hairs to the point-of-impact (POI) of your first shot. You’ll need a good set of rests that will hold the gun steady while you (or a buddy) clicks the scope.

After bore-sighting, fire one round at the center of the target. Then place the rifle so the center of the cross-hairs is exactly on your original point of aim. Next, without disturbing the gun in any way, dial your turrets so that the center of the cross-hairs moves over the center of your group. That’s it. You’re now zeroed. Having a helper steady the gun as you click the turrets will make this “no-math” method work more effectively.

Click-to-Initial POI Zeroing Method Demonstrated

Simple Sight-In Procedure
scope zeroing procedurePut the center of your cross-hairs on the target and take one shot. Then reposition the rifle in your bags so the center of the reticle is back on the center of the target. Make sure the rifle is secure in this position (have a friend hold the rifle if necessary). Now, using your elevation and windage knobs (while looking through the scope), simply click the center of the cross-hairs to the middle of the bullet hole — without moving the rifle. You are moving the center of the reticle on to the bullet hole. Take a second shot. The second bullet hole should now be in the center of the target. Repeat the process if needed with a third shot. This procedure works at any distance.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
February 1st, 2011

Handy Tool for Quick, Easy Rifle Sight-In

Here’s a simple device that can help you zero your rifle in two or three shots. The new Click Stick Pro Tool is an L-Shaped ruler marked with scales corresponding to 1/8 MOA, 1/4 MOA, and 1/2 MOA clicks at 100 yards. To zero your rifle at 100 yards, take one shot, then position the tool so the bullet hole is at the elbow of the unit (for 1/8 MOA clicks) or at the slotted elbow (for 1/4 MOA clicks). Then square the tool so it aligns with the vertical and horizontal lines on the target. Finally, read the needed click movement off the tool’s scales. Get the horizontal correction from the horizontal scale and the vertical correction off the vertical scale. This device works great, and is inexpensive. The patent-pending Click Stick Pro Tool is sold in a kit for $19.95, bundled with 10 sight-in targets (red center with heavy black lines — see below).

Click Stick Pro Sight-in Tool

Sighting-In at 25 Yards or 50 Yards
With a brand-new rifle and scope combination, you may want to sight-in at 50 or even 25 yards. You can still do this with the Click Stick Pro Tool. For a 50-yard sight-in follow the same procedure, but multiply the scales’ click value by two (2X). At 25 yards, multiply the scales’ click value by four (4X).

Tool-less, Simple Sight-In Procedure
While we like the Click Stick Pro Tool, you don’t really need the tool at all if you can hold your gun steady while you click the windage and elevation knobs. First, put the center of your crosshair on the target and take one shot. Then, before you touch the scope knobs reposition the rifle in your bags (or on your rest) so the center of the reticle is on the center of the target. Make sure the rifle is secure in this position (have a friend hold the rifle if necessary).

Now, using your elevation and windage controls (while looking through the scope), simply dial the center of the crosshair to the center of the bullet hole — without moving the rifle. You are moving the reticle on to the bullet hole. Take a second shot. The second bullet hole should now be in the center of the target. Repeat the process if needed with a third shot to confirm your zero. This procedure works at any distance. See our explanation of the Simple Zeroing Procedure.

Rifle Sight-in

Permalink New Product, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
September 10th, 2010

Dead Simple 4-Shot Sight-In for Hunting Rifles

Here’s a simple procedure that lets you get a solid zero for a hunting rifle in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire one shot. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. In other words, you use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the second shot. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a third shot with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Now shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Shooting Skills 7 Comments »
January 2nd, 2010

Simple Zeroing Procedure Gets You Centered in 4 shots

Here’s a simple procedure that lets you get a solid zero for a hunting rifle in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire one shot. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. In other words, you use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the second shot. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a third shot with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Now shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »