How To Zero A Scope Without Firing [In Depth Tutorial 2021]

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If you are an experienced hunter, you definitely know the importance of zeroing your scope. You don’t have to be an expert in doing that even though the process is highly technical and tricky. Most of the beginners often struggle to make their scopes zero to achieve the most accurate aiming. Don’t worry, let’s learn how to zero a scope without firing.

Why Zeroing Your Scope Is Important?

Before we get into the tutorial, we should know why zeroing a scope is important. Zeroing your scope is quite important to ensure the highest accuracy for aiming the prey. A zero scope will reward you with the perfect shots every time. Then what’s the barrier to zero any scope?

How To Zero A Scope Without Firing

Most of the time, a low-quality scope has loosely fitted parts that affect the accuracy level. Besides, most scopes tend to have a displaced scope level due to repeated shooting. Also, it’s quite impossible to achieve a neutral level if the target is out of the range of the scope. So you must be very careful about all this.

Anyways, you can still achieve a neutral scope with a few tricks and tips. That way, you can zero your scope without even firing or losing any bullets. Without further ado, let’s dig into the tutorial—

How To Zero A Scope Without Firing

The process of zeroing your rifle scope can be broken down into three steps. They are pre zeroing step, zeroing step, and adjustment step. You can easily understand and implement the process by following them step by step. So let’s start:


1. Pre-Zeroing Step

In this step, you have to follow the procedures before actually zeroing the rifle scope, which includes:

Installing The Mount:

The very first step to use your scope is definitely installing the rifle scope properly. If you have a brand new scope, you must follow this step. You should reinstall the scope even if it has already been installed. 

As the scope is now in your hands, you can easily identify the base and the rings of the scope. Try to use the best quality base mount & mounting rings so that it stays mounted on your rifle for years. A good quality mount is quite important for the final result, because that way, you won’t have to adjust the scope again and again even though you use it for a long time.

First, follow the instruction from the user manual by the manufacturer and tighten the screws into the mounts. Make sure you tighten the screws really hard to ensure a sturdy platform for mounting the scope.

Mounting The Scope On The Rifle:

Now that you’ve installed the mount, set up the scope on the rifle. Just put the scope on the mount and make sure the eye piece is on the right direction. Tighten the scope rings firmly and adjust the scope by using a small torpedo level.

Proper Positioning Of The Eyepiece:

The next step is to properly place the eyepiece so that you can get a clear and sharp image every time you keep your eye on the eyepiece. Adjust it according to your convenience and set the eyepiece whenever you find the vision clear.

Leveling The Cross Hair:

The last step of installing the rifle scope is leveling the cross hair, which is indeed crucial to maintain its accuracy. You should ensure the vertical cross hair to be positioned at 12 o’clock, so that the scope is level and square to the base level. Now that you’re done with the installation, tighten the screws once again to keep everything at its place.

2. Zeroing The Scope

After you installed your scope, you should move on to the actual zeroing process. You have to keep three simple things in your mind to make the procedure effective. They are, proper analysis, target shooting & scope adjustment. So let’s see how you can do that—


Range Analysis:

The most accurate way to zero your scope is by making the shots from different ranges & positions. For that, a rifle range will come handy to make it easy for you. Make sure you choose such a place that you can be sure about the distance and strongholds. That way, you can make the shots way more safely which is important for avoiding an accident. For more information, you can check out our article on what distance to zero your air rifle scope.

To ensure the most precise targeting, you should utilize your rifle rest. If you don’t have a rifle rest already, do check out our reviews on the best rifle rests and buy the most suitable one for you. A rifle rest is indeed important to maintain the accuracy and eliminate any error from your range analysis. If you don’t have one, just try to hold the gun as strongly as possible, so that the gun stays steady to make accurate shots.

Anyways, for range analysis, use a bull’s eye target to get the best results. It comes with a set of measurements that will provide you with the highest precision. You can check yourself how accurate or how off the shot was, and make the adjustments yourself. The better your measurements are, the finer your adjustment will be.

After you are set with all the range analysis preparation, you can go ahead to load your rifle and start the preparations for target shooting. For that, you should definitely ensure the highest safety precautions so that your shots don’t harm anyone or damage anything precious. When you are done with the preparations, move on to the target shooting step.

Target Shooting:

At this step, you will make the preparations for practice shooting. These target shootings are important to measure the error range and fix it accordingly. At first, wait to see the “hot” signal from the range, and see through the scope. Then aim your target point as suggested by the bull’s eye.

And now on to the gunshot step. For that, take off the safety and pull the trigger steadily. Try not to shake or jerk even though you’ll feel a counterforce. This is important to ensure the most accurate shot on your rifle. Make three to five shots so that you can secure the most accurate measurement on the scope adjusting.

After you’re done with the target shooting, wait for your range to show the “Cold” signal. Then unload your gun safely and examine the bull’s eye either fetching it yourself or using a range sight to get a picture & examine the accuracy. This will help you more to maintain the adjustments. So let’s move on to the last & final step of the procedure.

3. Scope Adjustment

Now you’re on the final step, making the adjustments. If you check carefully, you will easily find the adjustment knobs on the top and left or right side of the scope. Most of the scopes have two adjustment knobs, yours may have more. These adjustment knobs are the parts that will finish the zeroing process.


Since you already have the bull’s eye with your target shots, try to adjust the scope according to the gunshot location. Because the rifle will shot to that precise direction every time. So you have to adjust your scope according to that direction.

Now, these two adjustment knobs will move the scopes differently, the top knob will adjust the vertical axis and the side knob will adjust the transverse axis. That means the side knob will help you to adjust the scope in the left right direction where the top knob does that on up down direction.

Now move your scope towards your gunshot and match the center point with the gunshot location. Try to make very little adjustments at one time, so that you don’t go out of the range completely. This should essentially zero the scope, but you have to confirm it by following another process.

If you want to zero your rifle scope skipping the firing part, you will need to install laser bore sight in your gun. A laser bore sight shows you exactly where the bullet will hit, so you can easily make adjustments with it without even firing. This will save the precious bullets and also cause less damage to your gun. Take your rifle to the nearest gun store and install bore sight in it. This will help you achieve an accurate target shot every single time.

Use the laser on your bore sight and adjust your scope according to it. Match the center point of your scope image with the laser point and you’re done. So that’s how to zero a scope without firing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Zeroing?

Zeroing means adjusting the target aim of any weapon so that its bullet can hit straight the target point without any dispersion.

Is Bore Sighting Accurate?

Bore sight surely provides an accurate aiming if installed correctly and used within its range. If you try to aim anything out of the boresight range, it may go through slight diffraction and make the shot miss the hit spot.

Why Should You Level A Rifle Scope?

Leveling a rifle scope is indeed important to ensure a precise gunshot to hit the target accurately. If your rifle scope isn’t leveled properly it may focus on the wrong target and make you miss the shot eventually.

How To Adjust A Rifle Scope?

Use the adjust knobs or dials on the top and left or right side of your scope. Rotate the dial to adjust it according to your measurement.

How To Mount A Rifle Scope?

You can easily mount a rifle scope by installing a scope mount and setting up the scope with the mount. Adjust the scope according to your preference.

So that’s all for how to zero a scope without firing. If you’re frequently missing your shots then it’s time to get your scope properly adjusted. You can obviously manage to make an accurate shot every time. Happy shooting!

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