Rifle Zeroing And Your Real Needs
When it comes to zeroing a rifle most people get all wrapped around the axle choosing the best zero distance. The vast majority of rifle zeros need to be selected based around general application.
How Accurately Can You Shoot Your Rifle Zero
In today’s modern rifle world the amount of information available to the average person is mountainous. Almost too much information. It becomes overly complicated when shooters try to slice hairs about their preferred rifle zero distance. Here is a news flash, it more than likely will not matter. What I mean is the ability to shoot accurately at most urban distances far outweighs the selection of your zero distance. Rifle zeroing for general application will lead to more realistic results. It is so unlikely the average person will need to use their rifle at extended ranges. If you are one of the anomalies, then don’t worry so much about what zero distance you choose. Instead focus on how accurately you can shoot your zero.
Shooting Conditions Will Constantly Change
When you zero your rifle you are aligning six elements to produce the desired impact. Your conditions are a probably one of the most important elements. It is important because it is constantly changing. You, your rifle, your ammo your equipment and the weather change are in a constant state of flux. A rifleman who can shoot a tight group to obtain a precise and accurate zero is way ahead of the game. Compared to those who spend countless hours trying to argue their why for whatever they have chosen. In the end, only hits count. If you have a tight zero, you will find it to be far more forgiving when conditions change.
Rifle Zero Group Size
We start every rifle class with a rifle zeroing for general application. I’m amazed at how few students really have dialed in their rifle zero. Many have a rudimentary zero and others through no fault of their own have no zero. The first thing we talk about is the degree of precision or tightness of the group I am expecting the student to produce. In the beginning or on day one it is an 8MOA group at 50 yards or 4″ for those who would rather not do math. Right off the bat you are thinking that is a huge group size. Truthfully it is, but another major factor we are trying to promote is repeatability. If the shooter can consistently hit to within this standard on day one they have a higher probability of improving their zero and therefor their ability with their rifle.
Demonstrating Consistent Groupings With Your Rifle
On day two, we are looking to reduce that group to 6MOA. Through their deliberate practice and training they should be able to obtain a better group. Then on the final day we want sub-4MOA or better. Keep in mind, most are not shooting match grade rifles or ammunition. The majority are using some type of red dot sight and on the final day they are shooting unsupported. In other words, this is a good goal to strive for when you consider the repeatability we expect. Being able to shoot this sub-4MOA group requires a lot of skill. It is not something the average student will achieve without a solid grasp of the fundamentals. Delivering a single shot group to this standard is one thing, doing it repetitively is a whole other ballgame.
Rifle Zeroing Standards & How To Achieve Them
The three things you can do to achieve this standard is to be consistent, know your optic and apply marksmanship fundamentals. Do everything and I mean everything the same. Even if it is “wrong” doing it the same way every time will still produce progress. The next thing is to know exactly how to make corrections. This means knowing your optic and how to shift the bullet to the desired point of impact. The process is pretty simple, shoot, measure, convert, mark, correct and repeat. By keeping this process the same it allows the shooter to develop consistency. Lastly, apply the fundamentals of marksmanship. While this alone will not create the best zero, it is the foundation towards obtaining your best zero.
A rifleman without a zeroed rifle is worthless on the battlefield. A true rifleman who has aligned all six elements is a force to be reckoned with on any battlefield.