Sighting in your rifle scope really should be quick and easy. Aside from a windy day, or a loose or defective scope, the only thing that would cause a poor shot grouping this the shooter. Let’s eliminate some of those factors and get sighted in.
After your rifle scope has been properly mounted and bore sighted, you have to fire some rounds down range and zero the scope on a target. Don’t rely on a bore-sight.
The other day a friend came over to sight in his new rifle and scope. I happened to have been busy with work, and since sighting in really takes no time at all, I figured I’d not pack up work but let him get things dialed in.
After a few hours and numerous boxes of ammunition, the shots still were not in a tight group on the target.
Let me share a quick way to get your crosshairs on target that requires minimal shots fired.
As I mentioned, you need to have a rifle with the scope properly mounted. If you don’t know how to do this, take it to the shop and leave it to the pros. After that, you’re ready to head to the range.
I mentioned wind and faulty equipment. If it’s a gusty, windy day, skip the sighting in until the winds are calm. You’ve already had a pro mount the scope, and we’ll take it from the factory that the scope is in good working order. Next, we need to eliminate another factor and that’s the shooter. Mount the gun into a shooting rest that is sitting solidly on a stable shooting bench. This will eliminate most the the errors caused by the shooter.
Bring the ammunition that you intend to hunt or compete with. One box of ammunition should suffice.
Mount paper sight in targets down range. I suggest zeroing your hunting rifle at 200 yards. This distance can be adjusted according to your preference. The Shoot and See type of targets with the grid and bullseye work well. Bring your binoculars and/or spotting scope so that you can see from the shooting bench where the shots are hitting on the target. A friend isn’t required for this project but does come in handy.
*Always follow safety rules when handling firearms.
Place your rifle securely in the shooting rest and load one cartridge into the chamber. Place the crosshairs directly on the center of the bullseye and fire one shot. Use the binocular or spotting scope to check the location of impact on the target. If the impact is 3 inches high and 5 inches right, make note of it. Then repeat the shot, for accuracy purposes, to find a shot grouping. Again, place the rifle securely in the rest, put your crosshairs on the bullseye and fire one round.
If the second shot is in the same area of the target as the first, you’re ready for scope adjustment. If not, continue the process of securing the rifle in the rest, aiming at the bullseye, and shooting. Make sure you have a good shot group before you begin adjusting the scope.
Do not compensate by moving your crosshairs on the target. This is called chasing your shot and will not help you to get a good shot group. If you cannot determine a shot group, clear your gun and head back to the shop to double-check your scope.
Once you have a shot grouping, remove the adjustment covers on the scope. With the rifle still secured in the shooting rest, look through the scope and place the crosshairs on the holes you’ve shot in the target.
This is where a friend comes in handy. As you peer through the scope, at the holes in the target, have your friend move the windage and elevations of adjustments, down and left, until your crosshairs come back to the bullseye. Do not move the rifle during this process.
Now your scope’s crosshairs are on the bullseye. Make sure your range is still safe and fire two more shots, to double-check the accuracy. You should be dialed in and good to go for the hunt. If all goes well, you’re looking at four shots fired. You may need to fire additional rounds for fine-tuning, and you’ll definitely want to practice shooting positions after the scope has been zeroed from the steady shooting rest.
Remember, you always need to double-check the accuracy of your rifle after you’ve traveled with it, even if you’ve had it securely stowed in a hard case.
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