How to Zero a Scope Without Firing

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As a beginner, learning how to zero a scope without firing is one of the basic skills you need to know.

To zero a scope means aligning your rifle’s sights so that you can accurately aim at a target from a specific distance.

Unless you have a supernatural ability to bend the ammo’s trajectory, a rifle cannot manipulate its direction.

Instead, the scope ensures that the point of aim and the center of impact corresponds to your set distance.

Why Do You Need to Zero a Scope?

Before we teach you how to zero a scope without firing, here are reasons why you should do it in the first place.

Less Wasted Ammo

Bullets made for rifles are more expensive, which is why you’ll want to use them efficiently.

Every time you miss your target is another wasted bullet, and this can get really frustrating pretty fast for a beginner.

If you zero your scope before firing, you can make sure that each shot counts.

Reducing the number of rounds you spend on zeroing your scope helps you save some bucks you could use on the more important stuff, like upgrading your gear.

Improved Accuracy

Regardless of your skill level, every rifle user looks forward to firing a shot with amazing accuracy. 

One of the benefits of zeroing your scope is that it will contribute positively to your attempt to make an accurate shot. 

In the long run, you can expect to improve accuracy when you zero the scope.

Rifle Assessment

When you zero your scope, you not only get to fire more accurately, but you can also determine whether your rifle has any issues.

While zeroing a scope is not the litmus test for identifying rifle or shooter issues, it’s still a good practice to do because of the first two reasons.

Preparing to Zero a Scope

Before doing anything else to your rifle, check that the scope is mounted correctly.

Any adjustments made could be a waste if the scope is poorly installed.

Once you have secured the scope, find the target you intend to use and place it at the right distance.

The scope should be zeroed in at 100 yards to get the most accuracy.

However, if you feel that the distance might be too much, you’re free to move the target closer.

Twenty-five yards is the recommended limit when it comes to the closest.

Remember that if your scope is zeroed in at 50 or 25 yards, the adjustment must be multiplied by two or four for a shot at 100 yards.

For a novice or average shooter, a bullseye type of target is a good target to use.

If you don’t have a bullseye target, a poster, newspaper, and other pieces of paper will do.

Regardless of the choice of your target, secure it in place to avoid delays and possible accidents.

how to zero a scope without firing

How to Zero a Scope Without Firing

There are several ways to zero a scope without the need to shoot.

Try any or all of these methods to find which technique suits you best.

Visual Boresight Method

Visual boresighting is one of the oldest and most conventional methods for zeroing your scope without shooting. 

Basically, it involves aligning the sights with the middle of your rifle’s barrel

This method is also arguably the most economical, as it doesn’t need fancy tools to complete.

If you want to be effective in visual boresighting, you must be disciplined and patient.

Start by placing your rifle between two sandbags or use a rifle stand. 

As long as your rifle is locked in place, sight down the bore to see where on the target the barrel is pointing at.

Then, adjust the windage and elevation knobs so that the crosshair is aiming at the same point that the barrel is looking at 

You will have a sighted rifle once you have finished zeroing your scope to your specific target.

Laser Boresighter Method

The Laser Boresighter is a tool that you can mount in the chamber. You may also install it into the muzzle of your rifle.

Using a laser bore sighter has no significant drawbacks since it is in accordance with current technology. 

SiteLite Mag Laser Boresighter
  • Guaranteed superior accuracy with a lifetime warranty
  • Fits all calibers from .22 to .50 cal. plus 20 & 12 ga. Shotguns
  • Class IIIa Laser Product, less than 5.0mW power output
  • Includes the SRL Scope Leveler to level your crosshairs before boresighting

Prices correct at the time of publishing

What’s more, it is a more convenient alternative to the traditional, manual method of zeroing.

One of the numerous benefits of using a Laser Boresighter is that it guarantees 100% accuracy without tiring your eyes.

This method is a simple process that a rifle owner may follow to minimize zeroing time and free up more time for firing.

Optical Boresighter Method

Similar to the laser, you can also mount an optical boresighter on the end of the barrel. 

If you decide to go this route, make sure that the boresighter lens is aligned with the riflescope.

Once you’ve properly installed the optical boresighter, take a peek into the scope. 

You’ll know that you mounted it correctly when you see a grid on the lens of the boresighter.

Next, adjust the crosshairs accordingly until they align with the middle of the grid. 

After confirming that the riflescope is centered on the grid, you can be sure you zeroed it without firing.

Magnetic Boresighting Method

While magnetic boresighting is not widely practiced, it remains an effective method of zeroing a scope without shooting. 

All you have to do is attach powerful magnets to the muzzle of your rifle. 

Using magnetic boresight is convenient in a variety of ways, but mainly due to its adaptability.

Magnets can accommodate any caliber and gauge. Plus, you also don’t need to buy any more parts, which saves you some dollars. 

Magnetic boresighting is an option for people uncomfortable with mounting anything inside a barrel of a rifle.

Collimator Boresighting Method

A collimator is a boresighting tool with a graph-like grid visible once you peek into the scope.

The collimator is locked in place by an arbor, also referred to by some as a spud.

Basically, you will have to insert the arbor into the barrel’s muzzle end.

After securing the arbor on the muzzle, the shooter needs to look through the scope to properly adjust the windage and elevation turrets.

Constant adjustment is required until the crosshairs of the scope are aligned on the center of the grid.

Finally, the scope is zeroed in once this step is done.

Zeroing a Scope

It is critical to learn how to zero a scope without shooting. 

Regardless of the technique you pick, the entire procedure is pretty much straightforward. It isn’t a difficult thing to perform if you don’t skip steps. 

If you find that you’re a hard time zeroing a scope for some reason, do not give up on your first attempt. 

Try the different methods of zeroing your riflescope without shooting, and you’ll be alright.

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