Sighting In A Rifle In Two Shots

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 2 weeks ago

The possibilities.

First, you need to have a solid bench and vise to hold your gun in place.

Second, you, as the shooter, need to be calm and able to follow through on your shot. If you wiggle or flinch at the pull of your trigger, you will need to shoot more shells to accomplish a bullseye.

Third, it really helps if you have a buddy along who can assist you.

Fourth, your target needs to be at a distance where you will be able to see your bullet holes through your scope. Usually 50 or 100 yards is fine for most rifle scopes that go up to 9 or 12 power.

How the process works is that you shoot one shot right at the bullseye. If your scope is hitting the mark, you’re golden and very fortunate.

If you see your bullet is off the mark, there’s an easy way to rein it in.

While having the gun still pointed on the bullseye on your vise or rest, ask your buddy to move the reticle adjustments while you watch through the scope. Again, the key is for the rifle to remain in a fixed position. Only the reticles of the scope move during this process.

Advise your buddy to turn the scope adjustments in the direction to the bullet hole. Keep in mind the arrow directions on the scope may be opposite of what you are telling your assistant to go. If so, just say “the other way.”

Once the scope is now pointed at the bullet hole, you are ready to fire a second shot. Realize the gun never moved — only the scope’s adjustments advanced to go to the point of the first bullet’s impact.

If everything was held steady and you have a good follow-through, your second bullet should be on target. I like to shoot at least a third shot to make sure the second shot wasn’t a fluke.

My former Marine Corps son claims he can do with this without assistance.  The best I’ve ever been able to do is sight in a muzzle loader in about 6 shots, dead center at 50 yards.

I enjoy shooting, so it doesn’t much matter to me except for the cost of the ammunition, and that’s just a sunk cost for having fun.


Comments

  1. On December 26, 2021 at 12:48 pm, billrla said:

    Mastering the mathematics and geometry of shooting, along with the turret adjustments on my scopes, is one of my enduring pursuits. The process helps to keep the brain in shape. My fingers still work fine. My dominant eye has it’s own ideas.

  2. On December 26, 2021 at 10:17 pm, Ohio Guy said:

    The only point on that list I agree with is the second. I have property so I get on an atv to inspect each shot out to 300yds. I’m not being bragadocious but I believe I’ve done this shit in a few previous lifetimes. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a better new year. OG

  3. On December 27, 2021 at 2:18 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    It is theoretically possible to zero one’s rifle in as little as two shots, provided one has the conditions specified met, i.e., such as a stable gun vise. But there is one other factor that is essential, which is often omitted from consideration: One’s chosen sights or optic must be accurately adjustable in predictable increments. In the vernacular, if there is any slop in the tracking of your scope’s turret adjustments, you may need more than 2-3 shots no matter how precise and accurate you are behind the rifle.

    It is not widely known, save perhaps amongst industry people and maybe engineers, that the vast majority of rifle scopes – even extremely expensive ones costing upwards of $1,000-$2000 – do not track “true” across their entire range of windage and elevation adjustment. By which is meant that when you click on what you think is a 1/4th moa of elevation adjustment, you are actually getting that amount of movement of the reticle.

    Which is why the careful log-range and extreme long-range marksman, whether hunter, competitor or tactical shooter, will do a “tall target” test, to determine the precise value of his click adjustments across the range of the scope’s elevation and windage dials.

    Obviously, at shorter ranges and with sufficiently large targets, small variations in click adjustment values usually do not matter and are not significant determinative variables upon the outcome. But at longer range and/or with a smaller target, even small variations and inconsistencies matter – which is why they have to be accounted for.

    The well-known “box test” is a sort of miniature or quick version of the tall-target test… but if you really want to get the correct dope on your elevation dial, you need to do the actual tall-target test, and not just a box test.

  4. On December 27, 2021 at 8:38 am, Don Curton said:

    You also need to assume that the delta between where you aimed and where you hit is not just the result of poor ammo, a dirty barrel, or any other impediment to good accuracy. I was shocked (shocked, I say) when working with a stock S&W MP-15 and getting nothing better than 5″ grouping at 100 yds. That was using surplus ammo. Trying to dial in my scope was an exercise in futility since the rifle/ammo combo itself was putting 5 inches of error in my shot placement.

    I then switched to some blackhills ammo and all of a sudden I was shooting 1/2 inch groups at the same distance. Once I put a 3 shot group on target, I made a single elevation and windage adjustment and was hitting dead center.

    For this reason, I still stick with the old standard of shooting a 3-shoot group, then adjusting the scope based on the center point of that group (rather than any individual bullet placement).

    And yes, I put a hunting style rifle scope on my AR. Why? Cause I don’t really plan on using it for home defense, and I love that the stock rifle with the right ammo will shoot 1/2 MOA all day long.

  5. On December 27, 2021 at 6:22 pm, Hugh Rection said:

    I have been doing this for years and have become pretty good at it if I do say so myself. I dont claim to invent it (obviously) but it downed on me at some point that this is the most efficient method.

    Also a good green laser is extremely helpful when you want to replace a well zeroed optic with a different optic. You can figure that one out ;)

  6. On December 30, 2021 at 7:42 pm, DWinGA said:

    This is the exact method I use, and can do it by myself, using a gun vise to hold the rifle stationary, while I look through the scope and make the adjustments. In the last 5 years, I’ve been able to zero my rifle with one (if still on from the previous season) or two shots.
    DW

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You are currently reading "Sighting In A Rifle In Two Shots", entry #29016 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published December 25th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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