How To Zero A Scope Without Firing | Fast & Easy Steps

zero a scope

Zeroing in scope is important because it aligns the aiming point with the point of impact. This ensures maximum accuracy. Without adequately zeroing in a scope, the impact point of the bullets will not hit the intended target.

 Most of the newer scopes that are produced are much easier to zero in than their older counterparts, but it still takes a lot of time, patience and precision. For an essential guide of how to zero in a scope, read through the following to learn more.

Beginning the Zeroing in Process – Targets and Distance

Before worrying about anything else, ensure that the scope is correctly attached to the rifle. Incorrectly installed scopes will throw off any adjustments that are attempted. Find the target that will be used and set it up at the appropriate distance.

Generally, scope should be zeroed in to be accurate at 100 yards. If this is not a comfortable distance, the target can be set up closer, at 25 or 50 yards. Keep in mind that if the scope is being zeroed in at one of these closer distances, the adjustment will have to multiply by either two or four, for accuracy at 100 yards. A bullseye is an excellent target for a beginner. If a bullseye target is not available, a large piece of paper will suffice.

Boresight Optics

A boresight is a device that gets attached to the muzzle of the rifle. There are different types of boresights, but the easiest one to use is a laser bore sight. After connecting the boresight to the rifle, looking down the scope will enable zeroing in.

All that is required is to adjust the dials on the scope so that the crosshairs are lined up with the center of the laser point on the target. This makes for reasonably accurate scope zeroing at 100 yards. For learning how to zero a scope without firing, a bore-sight can be used on its own, without any further adjustments. But for best accuracy, shooting the rifle and further modifications should be completed.


Zeroing In A Scope – Basics steps

  • 1st step - Analysis 
  • 2nd Step - Shooting
  • Final step - Adjustment   

Scope Analysis

Using a rifle rest is best when zeroing in a scope. Without a rifle rest, there is a risk of the impact point being off-center. Relying solely on human accuracy can cause the rifle to draw and pull to either side. This will significantly affect the overall efficiency.

The best kind of rifle rest is one where the rifle can lock in, as it gives the gun the most stability.

Shooting Steps

When ready to shoot, it is best to shoot in groups of three. Firing three shots at a time enables the grouping to be seen. Grouping is important because it shows whether the shots are consistently hitting the same impact point. If just one shot is on target and the other two are not grouped, the scope may be sticking.

To nonstick the scope, gently tap on the scope. This can help the internal mechanisms of the scope to settle.

The grouping of the shots then needs to be analysed. By measuring in a straight line, either right or left to the center of the central vertical aiming point. Then step to the horizontal center line of the aiming point.

Adjustment Process

  The crosshairs will then need to be adjusted. When zeroing in a scope, this is usually done in MOA (minute of angle) increments. Scopes generally work with one-quarter of an inch MOA, but some do use half an inch MOA. This means that each click is equal to one-quarter of an inch movement when aiming at 100 yards. So, for the bullet impact to move either way one inch at 100 yards, it needs to be adjusted by four clicks.

    To ensure maximum accuracy, shooting and measuring should be completed multiple times. Each group of three shots should be measured appropriately, and the scope readjusted. By repeating the process of fire and adjustments, the zeroing in on the scope will become more accurate.

    During the scope zeroing in the process, the barrel can heat up to a point where it may affect the accuracy. To make sure that the barrel is not touching the skill, let the barrel cool before attempting more adjustments.

Remember !

Just like the guns that they are attached to, each scope is different. Each best spotting scope for target shooting will have different MOA's and will have a slightly different process of how to zero a scope.


No matter the scope that is being used, the most important thing is to take the time to do it correctly. It will make a huge difference in future to get a scope zeroed in properly from the beginning.

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