From an SDI Instructor: How to Zero In Your Rifle

  • Caleb Tillery

Zeroing a rifle can seem like a complex task, but with a few considerations the process can go from a guessing game to a relatively smooth experience.

First, we must understand what a “zero” is. Put simply, a zero is the alignment of the sights and muzzle at a predetermined distance

This alignment will almost certainly work differently for each rifle and caliber. A common zero range is 100 yards.

Given the shooter has installed the sights correctly and has decided on a distance, the process of zeroing can begin. In order to properly zero a rifle the shooter must eliminate any wobble, which can be created by bumping the rifle, holding it unsteadily, or simply having poor breathing technique; shooting from a bench or a prone position is ideal for this. 

From here, the shooter should remove the bolt and look through the barrel from the chamber to the muzzle, orienting the shooter’s view from the muzzle on the center of the target downrange. Once it is determined the muzzle and target are aligned, begin adjusting the sights up and down without moving the rifle until the sights are pointed at the same spot on the target.

Now, reassemble the rifle and begin slowly firing groups of three to five rounds at the center of the target. 

Measure the distance from the center of the group to the center of the target. Determine how many inches the group must move up or down as well as left or right. Take this distance and compare it to the adjustments on the sight. 

The adjustments vary between sight type and manufacture, but for simplicity’s sake we will use a quarter of an inch adjustment at 100 yards. This means for every one unit of adjustment, the impact will shift a quarter of an inch. For instance, if the group is two inches high and two inches left, you must move the sights down eight units and right eight units. 

Repeat the process of shooting, measuring and adjusting until the shots are aligned with the intended point of impact.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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