How to Zero a Scope Without Firing?

The scope is one of the firing aids that came into use as technology advanced. Technology is constantly on the look to improve every aspect of our lives and the area of shooting is not left behind. With this targeting aid known as scope, speculations are bid goodbye and accuracy welcomed. This tool makes it easier and more fun for shooters to hit on their targets. Since scopes are not only used by hunters but also sport and leisure shooters who use rifles, it’s important for each of these people to know how to zero a scope without firing.

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Whether one is a professional shooter or a leisure shooter, accuracy is an important factor because bullets are a bit expensive and you wouldn’t like to get them wasted while trying to hit a target. To make a good shot you need to zero your scope. This will have you save your bullets for more useful shots. This article aims to show you how to zero a scope without firing, irrespective of your skill or experience.

Scopes are of different types but whatever type it is, to make it very useful, it has to be zeroed, except for those scopes that by default, cannot be zeroed.

Since zeroing a scope is all about mounting, adjusting, and positioning it correctly, it’s important to know the right scope mount to use to achieve this goal. There are different types of scope mount and the better a shooter understands this, the better their choices become.

how to zero a scope without firing

Types of Scope Mount

There are many other types of mount that can be used on a rifle while trying to mount your scope on the rifle. 

Quick detach mount:  quick detach mount is the type of scope mount that allows one to quickly detach their scope and change it for another one without losing its zero. This implies that with this type of scope mount, one can use different scopes on a rifle as long as it fits the scope mount. The quick detach mount allows the front and rear rings to open when the push button is used. It is very good for traveling, only that it doesn’t fit all kinds of scopes. It’s only some specific scopes that can be used interchangeably on this mount.

Integral mount: An integral scope mount has the rings and base all joined together to form one. The scope mount is mounted directly on a rifle because the base is attached to the rings. This type of scope mount is unlike the quick detach mount, it doesn’t allow for swapping or changing of scopes. It is only used for one scope at a time. It is easy to use, though it’s not compatible with all types of rifles. It has its rifle that perfectly fits. This type of mount is very ideal for traveling because it doesn’t require much effort to carry.

Dovetail scope mount: The dovetail scope mount has an end that looks like the tail of a dive. It’s possible that’s how the mount got its name. This type of scope mount also allows for changing of scopes since it appears flat on the rifle. It is also easy to mount.

Weaver scope mount: This is the most common type of scope mount, otherwise known as the original rifle scope mount because it’s one of the first types of scope to be in use. It is flat with a rail-like track. It has open slots on the tracks where the rings of the scope are screwed to hold it in place. The Weaver mount just like the Integral mount can allow for the detachment and reattachment of scopes without losing its zero. As long as a rifle uses weaver bases, you can use different scopes on it. 

Scope rings: Scope rings are mounts that most times come with your rifle. Most scope rings are cheaply made, small, and light. They are usually two, each holding the scope and rifle together. As cheap and simple as they might look, scope rings are difficult to mount.

One-piece mount: The one-piece mounts are a simple kind of mount to use, they are very easy to mount, and once mounted, it saves a shooter the stress of having to align their scope. The only disadvantage of this mount is its heaviness. One-piece mounts are heavy.

To zero your scope and ensure better accuracy,  there are factors to consider and things to put in place. These factors are necessary whether your scope is new or not.

Factors to Consider Before Zeroing a Scope

  • Consider the distance of your target. Considering the distance of your target will to a large extent determine how well you can zero your scope. It is always good to start with a short distance of about 25 yards then gradually increase the distance after you must have gotten the desired result. The distance to start with varies, depending on the place you are shooting from. Indoor shooting and outdoor shooting should start at different distances.

If you are doing a light shooting at an indoor target, your distance should start from 20 to 25 yards. Shooting outdoors, for instance, hunting will require you to start your distance at least from a 35 to 40 yards distance. Some other shooters start their distance at 30 yards. Whichever you choose among the short distance yards depends on the type of shooting you intend to do.

  • Use a laser pointer. Lasers help you to make a good target, it directs you to the right place where your target is. With this, accuracy is ensured to a large extent.
  • Have and set a focus. Focus in this context is equivalent to the target. Have a target in mind as it serves as the driving force towards getting other things to work. At least, a hunter or shooter getting a rifle, down to getting a scope are all born out of the desire to hit a target.
  • Use the adjustment knobs: Use the knobs on the scope to make adjustments when necessary. The knobs help you to move your scope up, down, left or right, till you get your desired setting.
  • Consider the weather. Though many scopes can be used irrespective of the weather. If you are zeroing your scope, it’s important to choose a bright day in order to get the best out of it.

How to Zero a Scope Without Firing

Having considered the factors to consider to ensure a perfect zeroing of your scope, it is important to know how exactly a scope can be zeroed. The following are ways to zero your scope.

Stable your rifle:  You have to place your rifle in a stable position where it won’t shake. Any movement of the rifle means a change in direction of the shot. To avoid this, your rifle needs to be in a static position. It is advisable to use a shooting rest. A rest is an equipment that allows you to position and make steady your rifle while shooting. With a shooting rest, a stable rifle is assured. In the case where a hunter or a shooter doesn’t have a shooting rest, they can improvise with their boots or jacket, whatever makes the rifle stable. A rest can however be hired if it’s not at the disposal of a shooter or hunter.

Mount your scope: All other factors are irrelevant if mounting the scope has not been considered. The scope is the main instrument that brings about zeroing. If there’s no scope, there’s nothing to zero. It is important to mount the scope properly using the mounting rings accordingly.  A scope always comes with a user guide from the manufacturer, if at any point, there’s confusion mounting the scope, do well to consult the user guide.  A well-mounted scope should have a firm grip on the rifle. When your scope is not properly mounted, it is most likely to produce a negative result.

Pick a target location: Pick a specific target that you want to direct your shot at. This will help you to know if you have zeroed your scope properly or you need some adjustments to make. Shooting at unstable targets won’t afford you the opportunity to get the best result out of your settings. Practice zeroing your scope with a bullseye target that remains firm, deeply rooted, and a good target strategy.

Create a dot in your target: creating a dot at the center of your target will help you to know when you are hitting it right. Without the dot, at the center of your target, you might be getting it wrong without knowing. This dot helps to keep your activities in check. The laser also serves as a pointer to your target when the light aligns with the dot at the center of your target, it means mission accomplished because you will most likely hit your target.

Make accurate adjustments:  The right adjustment using the knobs will help you to perfectly zero your scope properly. Ensure that the height of your rifle is equivalent to that of your target. When it is well placed, it will align with the center of your target. Any mistake in this adjustment might result in missing a target entirely. Take a good time making these adjustments, being in a haste will result in wrong adjustments. Any slight move means something because it will have an impact on the accuracy of your shot.

Make a good position of the eyepiece: The eyepiece should be well-positioned to the direction of the target and in such a way that the shooter will have a clear view of images. Images viewed here need to be clear and sharp enough. When images become blurry, the shooter’s view is affected and their chances of hitting the target become very slim. When the images are sharp, it’s a brilliant step towards hitting a target. If a scope doesn’t provide a high image resolution, consider changing the scope. The picture is everything in using a rifle scope.

Shoot in groups: After you must have mounted and adjusted all necessary things, the next step is to test the accuracy of your settings. This is best done by shooting in groups. Shoot in a group of five to fully ensure the accuracy of your target. If you shoot in a group of five and it lands at the same place accurately, then you have succeeded in zeroing your scope but if it lands on a side of the bull different from the target, do well to make adjustments until you get it right.

Shooting in groups will also help you to know the best pallet that best suits your shooting. The best pallet for a particular shooting is determined by the impact it has on the bull. After zeroing your scope, pay attention to the impact of the pallets you are using.

While shooting also, it’s advisable to protect your ears against the loud sound that the shooting might generate. Do well to wear an ear protection aid.

how to zero a scope without firing

Importance of Zeroing Your Scope

  • Accuracy: It is the desire of every hunter or shooter to make the right precision as well as accurate shots. Zeroing your scope is important because it helps you to achieve this desire. Zeroing your scope makes work a lot easier for you because Precision becomes more accurate.
  • It saves bullets: bullets are expensive to be spent on countless missed targets. Bullet wastage is enough to leave a shooter or a hunter broke. Nobody what’s to spend money on something that brings no positive result. Zeroing your scope will save you the bullets you would have used unnecessarily. It allows you to use your bullets for more profitable shots.
  • It saves time. Once it is gotten right, it’s an automatic shot on target, no wasting of time. Sport shooting or hunting becomes frustrating when a shooter keeps shooting out of point. It can force them to get uninterested in the whole shooting experience. With a scope, such time will not be wasted on getting things wrong instead of right.
  • It also saves money that would have been spent on bullets since zeroing your scope saves some bullets.


A rifle scope mount is as important as the scope itself. A hunter or shooter with a rifle and a scope without a scope mount is as good as not having a scope. A rifle scope mount is a piece of equipment that holds a scope firmly to a rifle. There are some scope mounts that allow you to change from one scope to another without losing its zero. Shooters are always at advantage using this type of scope mount because they get to use different scopes on one rifle.

It is important to use a mounting rest to stable your rifle because it is the tool specially designed for this purpose. A mounting rest will keep your rifle more than any other object or tool. In a situation whereby a resting mount is not available due to one reason or the other, one can always substitute with the next available item. A shooter or hunter can improvise for a rest with their jacket, books, or their boots, as long as the rifle remains stable.

If not owning a mounting rest is what hinders you from using it, the good news is, you can rent one in a nearby shop where shooting equipment is sold. Yes, it’s that simple.

Zeroing your scope will provide you with the exact Precision and accuracy. No need to go about wasting bullets while struggling to hit a target. Zeroing your scope will save you some time, save you some bullets, as well as save you the frustration you might likely feel when you are not getting it right.

Final Words

The scope is a good tool for hunters and sport shooters. It was sure manufactured to simplify shooting on a target, irrespective of the purpose. A lot of people including hunters, sport shooters,  military men, as well as leisure shooters who use rifles, use scopes to make accurate shots. Scopes can only be used on a rifle.

When a scope is purchased, it is not useful until it has been mounted on a rifle. To mount it, you have to screw the rings on the scope to the rifle so it can stay firm. This is made possible by the use of rifle scope mounts, a piece of equipment specially designed for this purpose. It comes in different types and sizes, depending on your rifle. Not all scope mounts can fit into a particular rifle, thus, it is important to find a perfect size for your rifle before using it.

The knowledge of the scope will help you to make good use of it. That’s why it’s advisable to consult the user guide that comes with the scope so as to see the necessary information you need to fully explore it. Everything in the scope has a unique use. 

The knobs are used to make adjustments to either up, down, or sideways. The rings are for installation, the reticle makes for Precise targeting, so are other things included in the scope.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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