how to zero a rifle scope at 100 yards

How To Zero A Rifle Scope At 100 Yards

If you are needing to zero your rifle, there’s no better place to start, in my opinion, than at 100 yards. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that a lot of the settings for your scope are based on 100-yard increments, like MOA (Minutes Of Angle). Your adjustment may be in MOA and your reticle may be at MOA.

The second is that it is sort of the perfect base distance for minimal environmental condition changes at various locations. In other words, if you zero at 100 yards at home, even with changed conditions, 100 yards in the woods will be pretty darn close to bull-eye.

The third is that most deer hunting is usually done at between 100 and 300 yards, so 100-yard increments is a sensible place to zero. Follow this step-by-step guide and we will show you how to zero a rifle scope at 100 yards. 

how to zero a rifle scope at 100 yards

Some Things You Will Need

Hearing and Eye Protection – Ear plugs or muffs and shooting or safety glasses are a must! Keep your senses protected, you probably won’t get this luxury out in the field. 

A Safe, Wind-Free Target Range – A shooting range would be perfect, but you can set one up yourself. Make sure your range is several hundred yards long with a good bullet back-stop. Zeroing is setting a control, so you want controlled conditions. Be sure your range is as free from wind and other elemental conditions and obstacles as possible. 

Target With Appropriate Backstop – Since this is a controlled setting and a base for all of your shoots, you need a good target with some sort of bulls-eye set up so you have a definitive point to aim at, can see shot placements and how far you need to adjust. Your backstop needs to be a hill, bullet trap or other means to eliminate ricochet and stop your bullet. 

A good paper target should be easy and cheap to acquire. You can find them at any sporting goods store or Walmart. There are many you can print off-line for free, or you can make your own with a sharpie marker and paper.  

Adjustment Tool (If Needed) – You may have a finger-adjustable scope, but if not, you will need a penny, screwdriver, multi-tool or some other type of tool to insert into the slots in the adjustment knobs and make your adjustments. Some people can even use their thumbnail for this. 

Rifle Rest or Support – For the most accurate zeroing, you will want to have a gun rest or some other type of support to hold your rifle steady in one place. This ensures consistency and accurate adjustments. 

Rangefinder – Use a rangefinder to accurately set up your target at your desired shooting distance. For the sake of this guide, you will mark your range at 100 yards. 

How To Zero A Rifle Scope At 100 Yards

Step 1 – Setup

Once you have a good, safe shooting range and backstop arranged, use your rangefinder and set your target up at 100 yards. Make sure that your rifle is set in your gun rest or other secure support that you have chosen for minimal movement. Don’t forget your safety glasses and hearing protection. You are ready to shoot.

Step 2 – Test Fire

Time for the first shots! Aim your rifle and put your reticle in the center of the bulls-eye. Make sure your rifle is secure in that position. Fire three or four shots and make sure they are consistent. 

Step 3 – Make Adjustments

You probably didn’t hit the bulls-eye these first few shots. Now, the easiest way to do this is to this is to start making your adjustments by turning the turrets and moving the reticle up or down, and left or right in order to place the reticle over top of the actual first shots. This way, you are re-aligning the reticle to match the true dead center, where the bullet is hitting.

Another way to do this is to measure how far off you are in inches, break those down into quarters, and adjust by counting clicks accordingly. 

Step 4 – Re-Position The Rifle

Now you can re-position your rifle and aim your reticle back to the target’s bulls-eye. Secure the rifle and double check that your reticle is dead center of the target’s bulls-eye. This should have you pretty close to where you need to be. 

Step 5 – Fire Again

Shoot again. This should be close to center, but may need some slight adjustments. This is where I would do the measuring and clicks accordingly, but either way works well. That’s all there is to it!

Common Questions

What does it mean to zero a scope?Zeroing, or sighting in, means to align your scope with your rifle so that you can accurately aim and know where the bullet will hit when you shoot. 

Why 100 yards? – This is a generalized, easy number, but still a good number to hunt at that’s not too long distance, but not so close as to spook deer too easily. MOA settings are set per 100-yard range, so zeroing here would be easier to get easy, accurate adjustments. Also, it is a good longer distance that is still short enough to not be overly affected by environmental differences. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has been helpful in showing you how to zero a rifle scope at 100 yards, and why many like to start at 100 yards. Zeroing does not have to be a tedious or intimidating thing. It is really easy and fun to do! By following the steps in this guide, you are on your way to tuning in your scope so you can hit your target every time. Now all you need to do is keep practicing and shooting to really improve your aim!

If you liked this article check out our guide to bore sighting.