If you are having trouble getting your optic dialed in, we will cover a few steps to start you on the right track, and keep you out of some pitfalls.
First step is mounting. This is both a science and an art.
First choice is do you want a one piece mount, or separate rings? There and benefits and detriments to each. One piece mounts offer a single component solution, easy height choices, and can give great rigidity. Separate rings offer more flexibility when it comes to perfecting your eye relief and will usually offer more height choices.
A risk with a 2-piece base is that it can potentially cause the rings to tighten unevenly around the scope tube and cause impingement of the tube. When using 2-piece bases, we recommend checking alignment with alignment bars and then lapping the rings into proper alignment if necessary.
Rings can also suffer from alignment issues, and should be checked with an alignment bar, and lapped if needed.
Adjustable base or rings are used to align the riflescope with the barrel/action. If bases or rings are not properly installed, this will affect adjustment to windage or elevation and cause issues achieving the perfect zero. If you don’t have adjustable rings or bases and find yourself using all or a lot of elevation or windage, you may have a rifle with a barrel/action or receiver that is out of alignment. If the rifle barrel is misaligned, a way to correct this is with an adjustable ring or base set or a canted base (20 MOA Picatinny rail, etc.)
While mounting everything up, make sure not to over tighten your screws. Over-tightening the rings can can cause the scope to not be able to adjust properly. We recommend (15-18 inch) pounds on most ring sets.
As you tighten everything down, make sure you keep your optic leveled, and your eye relief where you need it. These facets will be important when it comes to getting a good zero. If your optic is not level, your Up/Down and Left/Right adjustments will not correctly apply to the impact adjustments of the rounds.
Now that you have everything mounted up, it's time to zero. If you use a laser insert, or a boresighter, or simply start by shooting at a closer than normal target, the point it to ensure that your rounds are hitting the target as you increase the distance. Once you know your rounds are on target, start by shooting a slow and deliberate 5 shot group. If all your rounds are impacting in a tight group(based on rifle and ammunition) you can start to adjust your zero. First we want to move your target to 100 yards, or meters depending on how your scope adjusts.
Keep in mind, that the U/D and L/R directions on your scope dictate the placement of the holes on the target. So if your rounds are hitting Down and to the Left, you want to dial Up and to the Right. You can slave yourself some ammunition during zero, by measuring the distance of your group from the bullseye. Say your group is 9 inches low, and 4 inches to the left. Look at your turrets, and take note of the adjustment values. If your clicks are equal to 1/2 or 1/4 inch, you can now tell approximately how many clicks of each turret you need to bring your group over to the bullseye. In this case, with a 1/4" turret it would be 36 clicks Up and 16 Right. If you are using 1/2" turrets, you would need half the clicks.
Now if you are having a hard time getting everything to zero. Check for these obstacles:
1. Lose screws or nuts, are the enemy of consistency. If things move with every shot, how will your adjustments make a consistent and lasting change to the impact of the rounds? Make sure to check both the rings/mount and the base attached to the rifle, as well as the rifle stock screws. If anything is loose, consistency can't be achieved.
2. Things are too tight. If you over tighten things, you can literally crush the optic and impart pressure on the internal components of the optic, and prevent them from moving the way they are designed. 15-18 inch pounds is all you should need on the screw holding the scope into the rings or mount.
3. Is everything still level? Remember the turrets are meant to adjust the round impacts straight up and down, and straight left and right. If things are not level, you may be making adjustments on a diagonal plane, and now things are going to be much tougher to steer on target.
4. Are you in the same spot for every shot? Remember, we have to be consistent with each shot also. If it feels like your head is floating above the stock, press your cheek/chin firmly against it in the correct spot to achieve the right eye relief. Keep the recoil pad of the stock in the same place on your shoulder/chest for each shot.
5. Is there any damage to your optic or hardware? Have your turrets take a hard impact or drop? Riflescope’s main tube is bent? This can occur through a hard impact or other uneven force applied to the scope tube. It is easy to tell if a scope tube is bent. By rolling the scope in the bottom ring halves, the scope will appear to lift out of the rings if bent, rather than staying flat and rotating in place. If you discover this happened, please give us a call.
If everything checks out OK, and you are still having a difficult time achieving a consistent zero, please reach out to us so we can get you back shooting as well as we want you to.