If you’re new to hunting with an air rifle, chances are you’ve struggled to shoot in the bull’s eye. And that is understandable because that’s the hardest part of getting a shot right. You must know what distance to zero air rifle scope, how to sight it, and shoot with decent accuracy.
The first step of zeroing distance of a rifle scope is mounting it on the rail and making adjustments to level it. After that, you’ll have to shoot while keeping the trajectory in mind and make fine adjustments. The adjustment turret alongside the windage turret will help you get your shot right.
Let’s discuss in depth to get your shot accurate from both left to right and the trajectory right.
What is zeroing a rifle?
Zeroing a rifle scope means adjusting the scope to hit the target, relying on the scope crosshair. When you shoot from different distances, earth gravity plays a huge role in the target accuracy, simply known as trajectory.
The trajectory is the reason why you have to adjust the rifle scope and zero it. Every time you change the shooting distance, you’ll have to zero the scope to have an accurate shot. Now, there are mathematical trajectory calculations to make fine adjustments to the rifle scope.
The trajectory calculation formula is this: x = Vx * t. y = h + Vy * t – g * t² / 2.
If you’re not a hunter or shooter and a savvy mathematician at the same time, you need to practice. You can always rely on the trial and error method, and that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss today.
Why It Is Important To Zero Your Air Rifle Scope?
Zeroing an air rifle is highly important as the accuracy of penetrating the target depends on it. Whether you’re up to small game hunting, competitive sports, or even plinking, you must know how to zero an air rifle scope. Without having your sight zeroed properly, you can never achieve the results you want from your shooting.
Or even worse, you may end up shooting the muscle of your hunt instead of the kill zone. However, when you have the rifle and the scope zeroed the right way, you can confidently shoot at the target. Apart from confidence at shooting, you can avoid letting the game go injured without killing it.
What Distance To Zero Air Rifle Scope
Before you can understand how to zero a scope, you must know what distance to zero air rifle scope. This means the distance from your shooting target to yourself is the key. You will adjust your air gun scopes depending on how far or close you have your target.
Here are a few things to take into account before you determine the distance and plan your shooting:
Distance is variable
If you’re on a hunting trip, you already know that not every target will be at the same distance. Therefore, you must learn to zero your rifle scope for different distances, especially for long distance rifle scopes. Use a rangefinder to measure the shooting distance from the post to your target. It will help you navigate better to your target and take shots with confidence.
Range shooting is different
The distance for zeroing your rifle scope is variable unless you’re shooting in a range. You have a precise, known distance to shoot at when in a competitive sport or so. Now, as you know the distance in prior, zeroing the gun scope becomes a ton easier. Not just that, you can practice for an extended period to perfect your shooting hand. Scope selection also has a different role in such shooting conditions where you have no obstacles.
Choose the right size rifle scope
Regardless of which situation you’re in, you have to choose the right scope size for a perfect shot. If it’s competitive shooting or hunting whether it’s a small or big game, the scope size would be different. For a shooting range, selecting the right size isn’t a thing to bother about. However, for a hunt, it can be anywhere between a red dot to an 8-80x56mm scope with 80X magnification levels. And, a second focal plane scope can give you better eye relief for longer scouting.
Now let’s see how you decide the distance for zeroing the rifle scope:
What distance to zero the gun?
The distance can vary depending on how far you’re likely to be shooting afterward in the real game. It can be 50 yards, 150 yards, 250 yards, or more at which distance you’re practicing. So, there could be three possible distances depending on what purpose you’re zeroing it for:
- 25 to 50 yard distance: It won’t have much bullet trajectory downwards, and the pellets will travel in an upward motion. If you’re planning for shorter distances shooting, 25 to 50 yards is the best shot for you.
- 80 to 150 yards distance: You can consider this as a medium range as an approximate measurement. This much distance will have a trajectory going downwards, with a steep motion. So, you’ll target a little elevated.
- 150 to 300 yards distance: If you’re planning for a long distance shoot, this is the ideal option for you. Choose an approximate distance from your location to the target based on your future plan. It’ll have the highest downward trajectory where the bullet will travel way down the line.
Some might suggest going for 100-150 yards, but as mentioned earlier, it depends on the next game you’re shooting.
How to Zero Your Air Rifle Scope
Now that you know why you must zero your rifle scope and how distance matters, let’s zero a scope. Try to have an excellent scope that offers both horizontal and vertical adjustments alongside a bright sight picture. Also, have a scope height adjustment mechanism on the scope mount. After that, you’ll need a few tools to zero the scope:
- Target with marks
- variable scope
- A stable shooting rest
- A bubble level
- The rangefinder
- Laser bore sighter
- Perfect pellets for air gun
Set things up
Take the target paper with marks on it and stick to the target location at a set distance. Be sure to double check the distance with a rangefinder so that you don’t end up making misalignment. Load up the rifle, and put it on the shooting rest, and attach the scope.
After attaching the scope, put the bubble leveler onto it and see if it’s level to the gun. You can also use a laser bore sighter, just to be extra sure that you’re hitting the right target. While selecting the type of pellets, be sure to know the pellet weight recommendation for the game.
Adjusting the turrets
After one or two shots, you’ll come to know how far you’re shooting from the center, both X and Y axis. To adjust the target up and down, use the elevation scope knob and the windage turret from left to right. Rotate the scope wheel cap counterclockwise if they’re capped that way. Take a coin, screwdriver, or scope turrets adjustment tool and use that to adjust your target by two or three clicks.
Shooting the bullseye
Once you’ve successfully zero in scope, shoot while keeping the crosshair centered in the bulls eye. If you see more room for perfection, take your time and do that, for both elevation adjustments and windage. After that, try shooting again, and make a scope adjustment if needed before you gain the perfection you wanted.
Perform one more verification round on a different target set, just to be sure. Finally, you’ll be able to shoot at the target without making mistakes from that distance.
Zeroing a rifle scope helps you shoot at your target with more accuracy and confidence. As this part of shooting is a mandatory and necessary pre-drill, don’t forget to take the distance into account. Now that you know what distance to zero air rifle scope, you can adjust a scope for your next game perfectly. Remember, when you zero a scope, it’s perfect for that distance only. And you have to zero again if you’re shooting from a different shooting distance.