Sighting in a rifle scope is a pretty simple process.
There are a few things that should already be done before sighting in your scope:
• Your scope has been mounted and locked in.
• Your scope has been adjusted to the proper eye relief.
• The reticle is properly aligned so that it is perfectly vertical and horizontal, not skewed.
Bore sighting: Two methods.
The first step to zeroing a best rifle scope is to get it roughly sighted in using a technique called bore sighting. There are two basic methods.
Method 1: Use a Laser Boresight
One of the easiest ways to making bore sighting your rifle scope a fairly painless process is to get the right equipment for the job. A laser boresight is, bar none, the fastest way to sight in your rifle scope.
It sends a pin point laser light that represents the exact center of the bore which you then can use to center your scope on. Of course, you will want to zero in for precision using some actual ammo and the steps outlined below, but this gets you in the ballpark fast and will save you ammo to boot.
If you are headed to the range, you might call ahead to see if they have a boresight you can borrow for the job.
If you happen to be in the market for one, I recommend the SiteLite Mag Laser Boresighter because it is super easy to use and works with .22 to .50 cal. AND 20 and 12 gauge shotguns.
One of the advantages to having a good laser boresight at home is that you can get your scope bore sighted before you go the range to finish zeroing in.
Method 2: Low tech bore sighting
Okay, obviously people sighted scopes long before there were lasers cheap enough to make laser boresights readily available to gun hobbyist or hunter. You want to learn the low-tech way too.
Actually, it’s not that hard. The problem is that it is not as accurate and it will require more adjustment with some target practice to get it just right.
Also, this method only works with bolt-actions and single-shot rifles. Otherwise, you are going to have to go the high-tech route.
1. Get your rifle mounted on a steady rest lined up with a target 25 or 50 yards downrange.
2. Line your bore up so the bullseye of the target is dead center.
3. Moving as little as possible, adjust the scope until the center of the reticle is also on the target.
4. Once your reticle and bore are centered on the bullseye, your done bore sighting.
Zeroing in your rifle scope
You need to make a few decisions before you are ready to zero in your rifle scope to pin point accuracy.
Load: Different ammo behaves slightly differently in your rifle. Even a difference in what brand of ammo you are using can make a difference on the target. Use whatever ammo that you want to be hunting or competing with.
Range: Most hunters find that zeroing at 100 yards is a good strategy. If you are regularly competing at longer distances, it may make sense to zero at that range. Do what is most likely to optimize your needs.
Shooting rest: You need to provide as much stability as possible when zeroing your rifle scope to minimize variations caused by breathing, muscle movement, jerking the trigger and so forth. You can craft a makeshift rest with sandbags but precision zeroing is best with a mechanical shooting rest.
Wind: Don’t try zeroing your rifle scope on a windy day.
You’re ready for some target shooting!
Make sure to shoot in groups of at least three to make sure you have a tight and reliable grouping to make elevation and windage adjustments on your scope, otherwise you could be making changes to your scope that are overcompensating for human errors.
Keep shooting small clusters and adjusting until you are happy with your accuracy.
Don’t forget to make note of your numbers for windage and elevation at zero. In fact, write them down!