If you want to be able to hit what you are aiming at, the first thing you need to do is properly zero your rifle. This is especially important to remember when buying a new custom rifle or changing scopes. The first thing you want to do is get your barrel and sights in rough alignment by ensuring you get on paper. A laser boresighter is a tool you can use to get this done quickly. With bolt-actions, you can remove the bolt, open the action, and set the rifle in a steady rest. A short range of 25-50 yards is a reliable distance to properly zero your rifle. Line up your barrel on the target and look through your scope. You can adjust your scope until you see the same picture through your barrel.
Zeroing A Rifle For Long Distance
For long distance, zeroing your rifle at 100 yards will remove as much human error as possible and minimize possible wind effects. You will then need to choose your load and point of impact. Changing brands, bullets, or anything else in regard to your load can have an impact on your accuracy. Until you decide on your load, it is best to just practice shooting perfect groups in order to correct any human error. To minimize as much human error as possible, it is recommended to use a rest that requires very little personal contact with the rifle. If you do have your load selected, next choose your point of impact. For close range hunting situations, a 100-yard zero will work. But for shooting at longer ranges, you may want to choose a higher point of impact. A zero at 2 to 2.5 inches high at 100-yards should put you dead on at or around 200 yards.
Properly zeroing a rifle is about the rifle itself, so get the rifle steady and let the rest do all the work! Ensure the butt of the rifle is in the proper position in the pocket of your shoulder with your trigger finger applying a slow, steady squeeze.
Going back and for the between adjustments on your scope is common until you get it right. Take your time and just ensure your barrel does not get too hot, as this can affect optimum accuracy. Let your barrel cool completely and double check it again.
You may want to double check your zero for any adjustment you may make to your rifle. For example, changing your load, or adding a bipod to your rifle rather than using a rest. It is also a good idea to check your zero if your rifle has been packed in a bag while traveling.
Zeroing your rifle properly will give you the confidence to take your shots and make the proper adjustments at different distances in order to place an accurate shot on the target effectively. To Learn more about the best rifle parts or builds for long range, contact one of our expert gunsmiths!