Mounting and zeroing a scope can either be a nice and easy day with plenty of time shooting and scoring bullseye, or it can be an exercise in frustration.
Typically mounting a scope is pretty easy, as long as all the components fit. However, you may find yourself in a pinch when you hit a snag.
A snag keeps you from getting on target and makes the scope useless when it comes to scopes. So, what do you do?
The first step is diagnosing the problem. To do that, you need to look over the entire weapon and scope system until you can find the issue.
Once the issue is discovered, you can start taking steps to fix the situation. If you have a scope that is out of adjustment, there are a few things you can do to fix it.
First, let’s take a look at the ammunition. Are you attempting to sight in your optic with different brands of ammunition? This may be an issue and solution.
First off, if you are just loading random different cartridges and loads into your weapon, you’ll never get an accurate zero.
This is because different bullets have different weights, and different loads have different powder charges, which greatly affects where the round hits. So, try one load at a time.
If you can’t zero the weapon with 20 rounds of one load, try another. Some rifles work better with certain loads, so experiment to find the best load for your rifle and scope.
2. Rest Surface
When sighting an optic, it works to rest the weapon on something to stabilize it. This does ensure the greatest accuracy possible when shooting a weapon.
The rest needs to have some leeway to it, though. A hard rest, like a wood table, can cause the weapon to bounce or will apply pressure on the barrel, sending your shots high. Instead, use a soft rest like a sandbag.
3. Scope Rings
First, check the screws that are attacking the rings to your scope. Are they loose? Is there any wiggle in the scope rings?
If there is wiggle, you need to tighten the screws and apply Loctite. Make sure the optic is centered.
If the scope rings are loose, you’ll notice you can rotate the scope a bit. Rotate the scope until the crosshairs are perfectly vertical and horizontal. If not, move on to step 2.
Detach your scope rings and ensure they are smooth and even on the inside. Makes sure there are no burrs or internal deformations.
Makes sure both scope rings are identical in size and shape. If there is any issue with the scope rings, toss them, and invest in a new set.
4. Mount Bases
If your mount bases are removable, check for looseness. If loose, tighten, and apply Loctite to the screws. You should also remove and check the bottoms or the mount and the rifle base.
Wipe them down and feel for any burs or deformations. Make sure both the mount and scope rings are high enough that the scope doesn’t touch the rifle. There should be plenty of clearance between the scope and rifle.
5. The Scope Itself
Sometimes it’s very possible to have a bad scope. This could be caused by misaligned lenses, broken lenses, broken turrets, dead clicks, and the list goes on and on.
Maintenance wise, there is not a lot you can do unless you are an experienced scope builder. What you can do is preventive maintenance and preventive damage.
The first step is knowing what the max round your scope is rated for. For example, a scope designed for a rimfire weapon is not a good choice for a 30-06. The recoil of the round can break the scope.
Clean scope lenses with the same cleaners used for high powered and expensive cameras. Avoid household glass cleaners.
Pay attention to the O rings that keep water and debris out of the optic. Are they inflicted with dry rot? Are they even still there?
6. Look Over The Rifle
Are you sure it’s a scope problem? Plenty of owners of the Remington 7400 rifle know that wandering zero is a problem that can affect rifles. Try moving the scope to a different rifle and ensure it’s not the weapon causing the issue.
Also, hunting rifles tend to have thin barrels to reduce weight, and these barrels tend to heat up fast. A hot barrel can also affect how the firearm shoots, especially when it comes to magnum rounds.
The Bottom Line
Scope mounting and zeroing is the process of aligning a rifle scope’s reticle with the rifle’s sights.
It is usually done at the range before hunting season, but when you are not sure if your scope is aligned properly, or if it has been bumped out of alignment, this article will help you get back on target.