If you’re hunting with .22 rifles, whether with a .22 WMR, .22 LR, or even .17HMR, accurate shots sighting is crucial. Without a rifle scope zeroed in properly, it won’t drop on the desired target, let alone get a successful hunt.
Target shooting from 150 yards isn’t the same as 300 yards because the bullet trajectory changes with yard increments. Therefore, zeroing the scope vastly depends on the distance you’re shooting from. So, before we discuss how to zero a scope on a .22 rifle, be sure to know your distance from the target.
Preparing the scope rail, mounting the accurate rifle scope, and zeroing it will require a few sophisticated steps. Let’s discuss the step by step processes of zeroing the scope on your .22 rifle.
A note on zeroing a .22 rifle scope
The .22 is a great all-rounder weapon for small game hunting, training, competitive shooting, or need a weapon for self-defense. And when it comes to choosing the bullet for the game, there are rimfire rifle and center fire options. There are also options in shooting mode including bolt, pump, lever action, and semi-automatic with mini mags.
Rimfire is great for small games as it damages less meat because of being small and traveling less distance. Therefore, using the right size scope for the desired game is crucial as your success depends on that. Once you have the right scope, zeroing it is the next move that we’re talking about today.
How to Zero a Scope on a .22 Rifle
Knowing o zero a scope on a .22 rifle can help you land your bullets right where you want to. However, you must have the right tools and the exact process, alongside proper knowledge about the max distance from the shooting position. There are things to keep in mind when you’re zeroing a scope to achieve precise shot penetration, as such:
Things you’ll need to zero the scope
Zeroing a scope doesn’t need too many tools, as it comes after the mounting process that requires tools the most. However, since mounting a scope properly is also an undeniable part of zeroing a scope, we’ll discuss that part briefly.
Thus, you’ll need some essential mounting and zeroing tools apart from the gun and scope, such as:
- Scope mounting rail
- Gun cleaning essentials
- Scope base (low, medium, or high)
- Screwdriver (Slotted and Allen hex)
- Paper target (with marks on it)
- Stable shooting rest (Or a sand bag)
- Two bubble levels
- A rangefinder (for measuring distance)
Mount the scope on your .22 rifle
Mounting the scope on the rifle plays a big role in proper alignment and zeroing the scope. Start by cleaning the scope mounting upper portion of the rifle with a rug and gun oil. Now attach the scope ring base to the mounting rail, and level them properly using the bubble levels. Unless you already have a scope, get it depending on the maximum range sight you plan for with adequate magnification levels.
Choosing scope rail and ring
For the rail, choose a 2-piece picatinny for a bolt action rifle and a one-piece picatinny for a semi-auto. And for the ring, choose a low-height ring for smaller scopes and a medium or high for a bigger scope. Avoiding contact with the scope to the gun barrel is the perspective here.
Attaching the scope to the ring
Once you have the rail and the ring in place, put the scope on and place the upper rings. Pull the scope to your neutral eye relief position and tighten the upper rings in a counteracting motion. And don’t forget to reassure the scope is completely level to the barrel before tightening all the way in.
What Distance to Zero the Rifle Scope
The first thing you want to do in the zeroing process is determining the distance between you and your target. If you’re planning for small games with an average distance of 90-100 yards, zero the scope for 100 yards.
You should have the fixed distance on the scope depending on the real game as close as possible. As the bullet travels with a trajectory to fall lower at greater distances, you’ll see vast differences without proper measurement.
How to Zero a Scope at 100 Yards
Since a .22 is usually a small game rifle, let’s presume you’re shooting at a decent distance of 100 yards. This distance is for reference measure only and can vary depending on the distance from your shooting spot. However, regardless of the distance, the process will be the same as a universal fit:
Set the distance
To set the distance without guesswork, set your rifle on the shooting base, or the bipod (or tripod, if you use one) firmly. Then take the rangefinder, the target paper, and a stand to attach the target to. Go to your target location, measure with the rangefinder, and post your target at 100 yards.
Make sure it’s 100% safe from the background of your paper target and the shooting area is compliant with law.
Get your first shot and note
Once you have the target in sight, lose your first bullet to the bulls eye, and see where it lands. It’s time to make adjustments to the scope if the bullet doesn’t land on your desired target. For that, take a paper, and see how far the bullet has landed from the cross hair dead center. Note every step to avoid human error next time you zero for effective range changes in your rimfire scopes.
Get familiar with the gun scope
There are at least two adjustment turrets on the scope, and some also have 3 to 4, even more. However, to zero the scope, we need only two: the elevation turret, and the windage adjustment knobs, sometimes the parallax, too. The elevation reset turrets sits on top, the windage adjustments go to the right, leaving the parallax to the left. Use a slotted screwdriver or a coin to adjust them.
Fine tune the turrets
If the shot travels lower, you want to turn the elevation wheel left a little to help it travel upwards. You’ll tweak the windage turret to adjust the wrong direction from the right to left. You must mark the distance from the center dot to the actual hole it created. Once you get the shot perfect at the bulls eye, you’ll shoot perfectly at the same distance in the real game.
Getting the best out of your .22 rifle requires you to use a decent scope with it and use it well. Now that you know how to zero a scope on a .22 rifle, you can land your shots at the target with confidence. Some important things to recap in the last words would be:
- Setting the distance specifically for the game because one adjustment works only for one distance.
- Making sure the scope is level to the barrel at every point you attach it to the gun for preciseness.
Adjusting the elevation and windage turret with s