Zeroing a rifle is a vital step on the road to accurate shooting but so is knowing where to aim at a host of different distances. Mike Morton shows you how to set up to practise in three easy steps…
1. Choose your target
You need to pick something that offers a clear target to aim at and shows a clear point of impact. Your choice of target doesn’t need to be too elaborate, but it does need to be something that can be set up at different distances.
Something as simple as a cardboard box is great for zeroing, as long as it can be held in place at a set distance and won’t blow away if you’re shooting outdoors. Lay the box on its side and pop a brick or gym weight inside to make it stay put. Black dots applied with a marker pen or commercial stick-on targets are ideal.
A traditional funnel-type pellet catcher used in conjunction with commercial target cards is great for zeroing and pellet testing. These orange markers are 1in Target Spots.
A commercial target like this Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C stuck to a cardboard or polystyrene box makes it easy to see pellet strikes.
If you’re shooting outdoors, a target-holder that can be driven into the ground is perfect for securing target cards, and can easily be repositioned at different distances.
2. Get Stable
Stability while zeroing is critical. If you’re shooting a PCP with sling swivel studs or a Picatinny rail, you can use a bipod to give yourself a stable shooting platform.
If your PCP doesn’t have studs, you can use shooting bags to keep your rig rock solid. These bags are from US firm Dog-Gone-Good.
If you’re zeroing a springer or a gas ram, you won’t be able to use a bipod because of the recoil. Bags are the answer, but remember to rest the forend on your leading hand.
3. Determine range
A laser rangefinder is a simple and quick way to work out the range to target. Just be aware that some devices, typically those designed for deerstalking, won’t range down to closer airgun distances.
A tape measure is a long-winded, but accurate way of setting out your targets – especially if you have someone to hold the other end for you.
If you know the length of your stride, then you can easily pace out the distance – just be wary of any uneven ground that may affect your measurements.
Another option is to shoot at an indoor target club, where the precise distances will already be set out for you – although sometimes the pre-determined shooting points available won’t match your chosen zero distance.
Make sure to analyse your results at different distances to see where to aim either side of your point-blank range.