How to Zero a Scope

It’s all about you

Remember that you are zeroing your air rifle scope for you. If possible, carry out this task over a distance that you normally shoot; use your usual pellets; and focus the lens to suit you. It’s important to zero your scope in windless conditions.

Setting up

Place your target against a secure backstop. Using a steady and comfortable rest – to eliminate as much human error as possible – fire three to five pellets, aiming for the centre of the target. Hopefully, your shots will be in a cluster; if they’re very spread out, try again.

Adjusting the scope dials

There are two adjustments to make: windage (left/right), controlled by the dial on top of the scope, and elevation (up/down), controlled by the dial on the right flank of the scope. Work on one at a time.

Printed on the dials will be instructions. There might be, for example, an arrow indicating clockwise, with the word ‘left’, or an arrow indicating counter-clockwise, with the word ‘up’. There will also be a guide to the increments of adjustment – for example, ‘1 click ¼” 100 yards’. This means that at a distance of 100 yards, each click in a counter-clockwise direction will adjust your sight ¼” upward … or that at 100 yards, each click in a counter-clockwise direction will adjust your sight ¼” to the right.

A shooting scenario …

So, let’s say you’re shooting at 25 yards, and your pellets have landed approximately two inches below the centre of your target. If one click of the elevation dial in a counter-clockwise direction will adjust your sight ¼” upwards over a distance of 100 yards, then at 25 yards, one click will make an adjustment of 1/16”. You’re two inches out, so you need to turn your dial 32 clicks in a counter-clockwise direction.

Once you’ve done this, take a few more shots. If your pellets are landing on a horizonal line with the target, you’re there on the elevation front. If you’re still shooting too low, or too high, repeat the process.

Now, imagine that your shots are landing about ½” to the right of the target. At 100 yards, one click of the windage dial in a clockwise direction will steer your aim ¼” to the left. At 25 yards, one click will make an adjustment of 1/16”. You’re ½” to the right of the target, so you must turn your dial eight clicks clockwise.

Again, repeat this process until you are consistently hitting the target. Be sure to maintain consistent conditions and not to introduce any other variables, such as an alternative rifle rest or a different type or brand of pellet. And always shoots groups of at least three pellets.

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