Sight-in Your Rifle in No Time Flat

It doesn’t matter if you’re going by plane, train or automobile, if you’re traveling with a rifle, the first thing you need to do when you get to your hunting destination is check to make sure it’s still sighted-in properly.

Sight-in Your Rifle in No Time Flat

It's no fun getting to hunting camp only to find that your rifle isn't shooting where it should. Learn how to quickly get it dialed back in without burning up all of your ammo.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at hunting camp to find that my gun’s zero has shifted — usually just a little but sometimes a lot. Even if a gun’s in a hard case, if it gets banged around to any degree chances are good its scope might get knocked off zero. And if you’re far from home you likely don’t have a lot of extra ammo on hand, so you want to get it dialed in as quickly and efficiently as possible and save your ammo for hunting. The first thing you want to do is send a couple of rounds downrange, typically at 100 yards. I usually sight my rifles in a couple of inches high at 100 yards and then fine-tune to shoot dead on at 200 yards when using a scope with a standard reticle. That way I can hold on target to about 250 yards and adjust my aim for farther shots. If your initial two shots group where they did back home, you’re good to go … easy peasy. If they’re off an inch or so, no problem. A few clicks of the turrets and you’re back in business. 

But what if your shots are a foot off bull’s-eye or worse yet, not even on the paper? OK, don’t panic. I’m going to give you a couple of easy tips for getting your gun back on target quickly without burning up a bunch of ammo. 

First off, check to see if your scope has come loose. I always pack a handy multi-tool should I have to initiate first aid on my gun or optics. Check all of the screws to make sure everything is tight. You might even want to remove the scope and check the bases. 

OK, let’s say you’re on the paper but you gun is shooting high and to the left several inches. Secure your rifle on a rest, sandbags, a backpack or anything that with provide a solid shooting platform. Sight your scope so that’s it dialed in to where you want the bullet to impact, say 2 inches directly above the bull’s-eye. Pull the turret caps off and making sure the rifle does not move, turn the turrets up and to the left until the crosshairs line up with the impacts from your first two shots. Now your scope and rifle bore are inline with each other. Chamber another round and check your zero. Your impact should be 2 inches high and inline with the bull’s-eye. If you’re off a little bit you can fine tune from there.

All right. Let’s say that you send a bullet downrange and you don’t even hit the target! Serious stuff, right? Not really, if you’re shooting a bolt-action rifle we can fix that. Again, check to make sure your scope is tight and secure your rifle on a solid rest. Pull the bolt out of the gun and, looking down the bore, center the target’s bull’s-eye in the center of the bore. Take your time and get it dialed in as best you can. Now, without moving the gun, look through the scope. You should find that the crosshairs are lining up off paper, the reason you completely missed the target. Your scope and the rifle’s bore are misaligned — big-time. Making sure the rifle does not move, dial the turrets until your scope’s reticles align with the bull’s-eye. At the very least this should get you back on the paper, hopefully even relatively close to the bull’s-eye. Now all you have to do is make some minor adjustments and you’re back in business. 

The gun gremlins often strike when you least expect it. But by using these tips you can get your scope dialed in quickly and get back out hunting.

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