Little can make as much a difference to your shooting as how well zeroed your rifle is.

However, a poorly zeroed scope can make your shooting worse. So taking the time to go through the right steps can make your time at the range that much more fun.


The first thing I do when setting a new scope, or when when zeroing an old scope at the start of the season, is boresighting the scoper with a laser.

After making sure my gun is empty and the range is clear, I secure the laser in the barrel of the sight. I then make sure my gun is safely secured on the table as I adjust it to put the laser on my attended target.

Then I adjust the sights till the reticle aligns dead on the laser.

This can be done low-tech as well, by taking the bolt off the rifle and staring down the bore to gain the same effect. This technique is a little less precise, but it gets you to the next step.

Getting on Paper

I tend to set up my first target at 50 yards, though if you started without the laser you can start at 25. The most important thing here is to be hitting the paper. At 25 Yards, if you’re shooting reliably straight, you can be reasonably sure to hit the paper at 100.

I’ll pick a spot on my gridded target, usually the bullseye, and aim for that spot for the next 3-5 shots. Regardless of where the bullet goes, I stay aimed at my spot.

After clearing the chamber and magazine, I’ll check my grouping. As long as I hit the target, I can easily measure from the middle of the grouping to the bullseye using the grid squares on the target, and adjust my scope accordingly.

Fine Tuning

Now I’ll be moving out to longer distances, around 100 yards. The process is essentially the same, although I’ll be firing more rounds and checking my groupings several times before I feel satisfied.

One thing I like to do is sight my shots an inch or two above the bullseye at 100 yards. This changes depending on the ammunition I’m using, but keeping this leeway actually improves bullet accuracy at different yardages. The exact measurements differ from different ammunition, but the information can typically be found on the box.

Using the same ammunition you’re going to hunt with every time you shoot is generally a good idea. Each brand and type of cartridge will react differently, so consistency is the best way to ensure a good shot every time.

Shoot straight, and practice, practice, practice.

Any tips I left out? Let me know in the comments below.

Ed Maciorowski