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What Distance to Zero Air Rifle Scope?

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If you bought an air rifle scope, it is mainly because you want to hit your target with 100% accuracy.

Well, but do you know how to zero your air rifle scope? Or at what distance to zero it at? If not, you are in the right place.

I have been working with scopes for over 5+ years, from riflescopes and crossbow scopes to even air rifle scopes.

I recently added the VX-Freedom 3-9×33 EFR Fine Duplex air rifle scope to my collection. Using this scope, I will tell you everything you need to know about the proper distance to zero air rifle scope from like a pro.

But before we dig into that, here are a few basics everyone must know.

What Does Zeroing an Air Rifle Scope Mean?

If you are new to the world of scopes and are confused about what zeroing a scope means, note that zeroing is the process of aligning the sights on any scope so that it is perfectly in line with the bulls’ eye. 

You want the hash marks on the reticle to be straight in line with your target in simpler words. And if you skip this step, you will waste a ton of ammo shooting thin air. 

And that’s true whether you are using open sights, telescopic sights, or magnifying optics. However, with open sights, zeroing is easier and takes less time as compared to other sights. 

Now that you know what zeroing is all about, let’s jump into the distance and other details so you can do it right.

Zeroing Distance Factors

1. Mount the scope correctly

The first and one of the most important steps in zeroing a scope is ensuring you mount it correctly. I guess you have already taken care of that, but if not, here’s a detailed guide on mounting a scope the right way.

You also want to adjust the eye relief and height (a few things that the guide above also covers). 

In case you hit a roadblock while mounting, each scope also has a manual. It doesn’t just contain the steps for mounting it correctly but also tells you the right height and settings for eye relief and so on. 

But don’t rely on them entirely. In the end, what matters is your comfort and since all scopes allow you to play with the settings, make the most of it.

2. Decide on the pellets you’ll use

The next step would be choosing the pellet type, as not every pellet works with a particular barrel. If you have used scopes and rifles before, I am sure you already know all about it but if not, read below. This will be a bit of a trial and error method. 

Take 10-15 pellets of various types and fire them at a target but make sure you take at least 4-5 seconds or more between each pellet. The group that lands closest to your target is the pellet type for your rifle.

3. Distance to Zero Air Rifle Scope

Next up, you need to decide what distance you want to zero the scope at, but how do you decide that? Which is the right distance?

Most airguns scopes are supposed to be zeroed between 10 yards to 30 yards which mainly comes down to the type of pellet you are using.

For example, if you have a pellet that can be used at a distance of 20-25 yards, then that’s the distance you should use to zero the scope for 100% accuracy. These pellets are the ones that you usually use for hunting rabbits or pests.

If the pellet is more suited for backyard plinking, target practice, or competitions, these usually are zeroed at 10 yards.

If the pellet has a variable range, then zero it at the longest range i.e., around 25 yards to 30 yards, for the best accuracy across the whole range.

4. Zeroing the Scope at 10 yards

If you are just starting, you want the process to be easy peasy. The shorter the distance, the better it is, and 10 yards is as short as it can get. Keep the bull’s eye about 10 yards from you.

Shoot 15-20 pellets. Check, where the pellets landed and measure their distance from the target. 

Once you know this, all you have to do is adjust the windage and the elevation. Like the Leupold, I have used most rifle scopes, the elevation turret is located on the top while the windage turret is on the side. 

Plus, since this is a well-known brand that manufacturers top-notch scopes, the turrets are smooth and audible, making precise adjustments a breeze even during tense situations. The more expensive scopes even have numbers around the turrets that further improve accuracy.

Note that every click on a turret means your aim is adjusted by one-quarter of an inch at 100 yards. But since you are doing it at 10 yards, it can take several clicks to get right. Make sure you continue to test it after every small adjustment to get it to spot on.

5. Zeroing the Scope at 30 Yards

If you are an expert and would love to test your shooting skills, 30-yards is just the distance for you, and the process is pretty much the same.

Place any target 30 yards from you and shoot around 10-15 pellets. Once you know the distance between the bull’s eye and the pellets, all you have to do is fidget with the windage and elevation.

Once again, it will take several trials and adjustments to get it right. 

Note: Whether it is 10 yards or 30 yards, the entire group of 5-10 pellets should be in and around the bull’s eye for the scope to be perfectly zeroed. 

Don’t bank on just one shot, as it could have been impacted by changing wind speed and other surrounding factors. 

Do I need to zero every time I change pellets?

Simply put, yes. As I mentioned above, each pellet has its range, and the previous zero settings may not be as accurate. For example, while.177 pellets can be zeroed at 30 yards, .25 pellets need to be zeroed at 10 yards for accuracy.

The material of the pellet also has an impact on the zero and the cleanliness of the barrel. For example, suppose the pellet leaves lead residue behind. In that case, the next pellet’s trajectory will be impacted so make sure you take the time out and can the barrel properly. 

To clean the barrel, running a cleaning rod down the barrel a few times should be enough. It is also the cheaper option. You can also opt for cleaning pellets. Load them and fire to get rid of any residue in the barrel.

In case you do not know how to clean the barrel, check out this video below.  

Note: Don’t overdo the cleaning as it can impact accuracy. The only time it needs cleaning is when you switch pellets after a long time.

Should I use the Chaingun App?

The Chairgun app is a blessing in disguise because it makes the process so much easier. The app is available on the Store for both Android and Apple smartphones. And takes less than a minute to download.

Once installed, you will find fields to enter the pellet’s name, speed, weight, etc. Just enter the details based on your test shots, and voila, it will give you range estimations in seconds.

Yup, say goodbye to complicated calculations and wasting time adjusting the elevation and windage a hundred times. The detailed mil-dot chart further makes it a breeze to use it and get accurate aim quickly.

To top it all, the app is free without ads making it a risk-free app (you can delete your profile and uninstall it anytime you want).

The only drawback with the app is that the app doesn’t provide support anymore, but it is still very much usable.

Tools you will need for zeroing the scope

A screwdriver and measuring tape is pretty much all that you will need. A measuring tape will help you get the distance between the pellets and the target for accurate windage and elevation adjustments.

On the other hand, a screwdriver allows you to loosen or tighten the screws based on your preference. 

Oh, and also keep a coin with you (just in case a screwdriver isn’t enough to adjust the turrets).

Firing Position

To zero it right, you have to look down the sight while in the position you will be using during the competition or while hunting. Also, make sure the rifle is placed on a stable surface. I prefer sandbags as they are both solid and cheaper. You can also opt for special rifle stands that offer better flexibility and stability but cost more.

A final say

Well, that’s all you need to know when it comes to the right distance to zero your air gun rifle scope. What distance you opt for comes down to the kind of pellet you are using and your experience level.

If you have questions or are facing difficulty while zeroing the air rifle scope, do let me know in the comments below. You can also write to me via the contact page if there are more details you’d like to share.

And lastly, if you think I have missed out on any details about the right distance or the process, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Till then, happy hunting. 

About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.


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