How To Install and Zero a Rifle Scope, What Do I Have to Know?

Installing and zeroing a rifle scope is a crucial step in preparing your firearm for shooting accurately. It can be a daunting task, especially for those new to firearms or shooting, but it's an essential skill to master. In this article, we'll cover the steps you need to take to install and zero a rifle scope.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before starting, you'll need to make sure you have all the necessary tools. This includes the rifle scope, a set of rings or a one-piece mount, a torque wrench, a bubble level, and a set of screwdrivers.

Step 2: Mount the Scope

The first step is to mount the scope on your rifle. Start by attaching the rings or mount to the rifle's receiver. Make sure to tighten the screws firmly, but don't overtighten, as this can damage the scope.

Next, place the scope in the rings or mount, making sure that it's centered and level. Tighten the screws that hold the rings or mount in place, using a torque wrench to ensure that they are tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.

Step 3: Adjust the Eye Relief

Once the scope is mounted, adjust the eye relief. This is the distance between the ocular lens (the lens closest to your eye) and your eye. Adjust the scope until you can see the full field of view without moving your head or straining your eyes.

Step 4: Level the Scope

Use a bubble level to make sure the scope is level with the rifle. This is important for accuracy, as even a slight angle can cause the bullet to miss the target. Adjust the scope until it is perfectly level.

Step 5: Bore Sight the Rifle

Bore sighting is the process of aligning the scope with the rifle's bore. This is an important step in ensuring that the bullet will hit the target. To bore sight, remove the bolt from the rifle and look through the barrel from the breech end.

Next, align the bore sight tool with the barrel and adjust the scope until the reticle is centered on the target. This will get you on paper at 25 yards.

Step 6: Zero the Scope

Now that the scope is mounted and bore sighted, it's time to zero the scope. Zeroing means aligning the crosshairs with the point of impact on the target.

Start by shooting a group of three to five shots at a target at a known distance, such as 100 yards. Take note of where the shots hit and adjust the scope accordingly. Use the turrets on the scope to make the necessary adjustments. For example, if the shots hit high, adjust the elevation turret down.

Continue shooting groups of shots and adjusting the scope until the bullets are hitting the target where the crosshairs are aimed. Once you have achieved a good zero, make note of the adjustments you made to the turrets so that you can return to this zero if you need to make future adjustments.


Installing and zeroing a rifle scope takes time and patience, but it's essential for accuracy and success in the field. Make sure to gather all the necessary tools, mount the scope correctly, level it, bore sight the rifle, and zero the scope using the turrets. With practice and dedication, you can become an expert at installing and zeroing rifle scopes.

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