How To Troubleshoot Your Air Rifle; Zeroing – Ultimate Guide

Last updated on August 11th, 2021 at 11:12 am

If you think getting a scope means you are ready to aim and shoot, hold on a second – you need to zero your scope. 

Scattering shots? That’s a pity! Zero your scope in the simplest of the steps for perfect aim and target.

What is zeroing a rifle scope?

Zeroing a scope or sighting in is a process of aligning the sight of the weapon to the rifle, which enhances the accuracy to 100%  from any distance. To understand zeroing a rifle you need to know two things that are the core of the process; point of impact and point of aim.

How to know if your scope needs zeroing?

There is no rocket science when it comes to understanding if your rifle scope needs to be zeroed. 

If you aim at the target and still the rifle puts subsequent shots lower or higher to an inch or two. You may still hit the target but not at the point of aim, which can result in a missed shot, especially if the target is small or you are at a larger distance. For different weapons, zeroing differ as per the configuration of the rifle and the type of sight you are using.

 Have a look at the best rifle scopes under $1000 that offers the best performance as quality and durability matters when it comes to accuracy. 

Point Of Aim Vs. Point Of Impact

The point of aim, as the name specifies, is the exact point where you are targeting. Or you can say the red dot exact on your target. On the other hand, the point of impact is where the bullet hits when it is fired. 

The key is to align the point of aim to the point of target, which means, zeroing the rifle. Not all the rifles come zeroed, even if the vendor tells you that your rifle does not need zeroing. 

How To Troubleshoot Your Air Rifle

Try it for yourself!

Zero Your Rifle; Steps

It is frustrating to waste your ammo on nothing but creating some noise. Do not lose heart, patience and practice. 

Let’s have a look at these steps to zero your rifle in the least possible shots. 

Set up your target paper or board, whatever you are comfortable with. 

Step 1; Rock Solid Rifle Rest

First and foremost, rock-solid rifle rest. It does not matter if you shot from the rest or not, your rifle must be as steady as it can be while you are zeroing. 

Shooting in as possible accuracy as your rifle and you are capable of is required while you are making an adjustment to your optic. 

Step 2; Bore Sight

After mounting the scope on the rest, establish a rough zero for yourself. The need for this step is to land your first round on the paper anywhere.  

Rifles differ in terms of configuration; bolt action rifle, AR platform rifle. 

Bolt action is a manual firearm action that needs to be operated directly manipulating the bolt with a help of a bolt handle. The bolt handle is most commonly placed at the right-hand side of the weapon. It is because most of the users are right-handed. 

An AR platform rifle is light in weight and semi-automatic based on the ArmaLite AR-15 design. A semi-automatic rifle fires a single bullet with every pull of the trigger. Whereas, a bolt action rifle requires the user to bolt manually every time before firing. 

So, if you are shooting a bolt action rifle, remove the bolt and if you are using an AR platform rifle, you must remove the upper receiver, and then the bolt. Place the rifle on the rest or else hold it firmly, as steady as it can be, looking through the barrel. 

Peeking into the barrel you will see two circles, a larger and the smaller. The larger circle and the smaller. The larger circle is the chamber end and the smaller circle is the muzzle end. To ensure you are looking straight into the centerline of the bore, the two circles must be aligned. 

How To Troubleshoot Your Air Rifle

Keep adjusting your rifle rest set-up or position until you have your target visible through the barrel at the centre of the bore. 

To have the most accurate and precise bore sighting, a long barrel with a small bore is ideal. It is easier to see the target while using a barrel as your zero-magnification telescope. 

Step 3; Get Your Rifle On The Target

Once you have the barrel adjusted on the target, it is time to get your rifle scope on the target without moving the rifle at all. Turn the turrets until the reticle is centred on the bullseye. Keep turning your turret until your reticle is to the centre of the target. 

Looking through the barrel, your target must be at the centre, once you have adjusted the rifle. Voila! You are now bore-sighted.

Step 4; Align The Reticle

You must not overlook the alignment of the reticle while zeroing your scope. The crosshair of your scope must be aligned to the elevation and windage adjustment.

How To Troubleshoot Your Air Rifle

If the crosshair is not aligned to the elevation adjustments, it is known as “Reticle Cant”. A canted reticle causes your shots to miss to the right or the left instead of hitting the target.

Step 5; Firing & Adjusting 

Now is the time to get yourself and the rifle stable. Fire your shot and if you are confident enough and it hit the target, one round is enough. Seeing a spread, fire multiple shots at a time to create a group, which will be used for the next step.

Step 6; Re-adjust The Rest

Readjust your rifle rest set-up or place it on the rest if you were not shooting from the rest. Once again, it must be perfectly centred to the bullseye.

Now, dial the turret to bring your crosshair (reticle) on the bullet hole or the centre of the group of shots you fired previously. 

Well, theoretically you have zeroed your rifle scope, by matching your point of aim to the point of impact. 

The Last Step; Go For Another Round Of Shots

To make a confirmation, shot another round, and fine-tune if necessary, following the steps mentioned above, until you get your point of impact at the point of aim.

How To Troubleshoot Your Air Rifle

There you have your rifle scope zeroed, with easy steps and least shots. 

If you still face a problem adjusting your rifle scope, CLICK HERE to read more.


Once you have an adequate understanding of how to zero your rifle, you can save yourself time and money. This straightforward sighting method from 100 yards with the least shots will help you quickly zeroing your scope. For other distances, you can follow the same steps using a single round of ammo. Whereas, different weapons need different settings to zero.

If you are looking for a new rifle, here are some of the best budget-friendly rifle scopes for you to have a look at along with an ultimate buying guide.    





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