Biggest ERRORS shooters make ZEROING RIFLES pt1

Shooting is an enjoyable and exhilarating hobby, but it requires a lot of skill and precision to execute effectively. One crucial aspect of shooting is zeroing your rifle, which ensures that your shots hit exactly where you aim. Unfortunately, many shooters make common mistakes when zeroing their rifles, which can impact their accuracy in the field. In this two-part series, we will discuss the biggest errors shooters make when zeroing rifles and how to avoid them. By the end of this series, you will be well-equipped to zero your rifle like a pro and improve your accuracy on the range and in the field.

Biggest ERRORS Shooters Make ZEROING RIFLES pt. 1


Every shooter knows the importance of zeroing their rifles before hitting the firing range. Zeroing ensures that the weapon is hitting accurately where the shooter wants it to. However, zeroing is not as simple as just firing a few rounds and making adjustments. There are a lot of nuances to zeroing that can make the process quite frustrating for even experienced shooters. In this article, we’ll explore the biggest mistakes shooters make when zeroing their rifles and how to avoid them.

Common shooting mistake that causes frustration

One of the most common mistakes that shooters make when zeroing their rifles is focusing too much on the precision of their shots. Many shooters get frustrated when their shots are not hitting the exact spot they aimed at, and this can cause them to tweak their sights way too much. The problem lies in the fact that rifles are inherently imprecise machines, and there is always going to be some degree of variance in where a shot lands. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for tight groupings, but you shouldn’t obsess over them either.

The mistake is not related to the rifle or scope

Another mistake that shooters make is assuming that the problem lies with their rifle or scope. Shooting a lot of rounds through the rifle and swapping out scopes may not always be the most effective solution. Instead, the shooter needs to learn how to isolate the variable that is causing the shot to miss the center each time.

The issue lies with the shooter’s mindset

The issue with zeroing and accuracy is often rooted in the shooter’s mindset. They may worry about the wind, the weather, or the rifle too much. When it comes time to fire the shot, they are too tense, and the shot lands inches away from where they intended. The shooter’s mindset is one of the biggest factors in achieving accurate shots. If you’re distracted, anxious, or unsure about the zeroing process, then it’s going to be incredibly difficult to hit the same spot repeatedly.

The mistake is not unique to any particular equipment

No matter how good your rifle or scope is, the chances are that you will miss the target occasionally. It’s crucial to understand that a missed shot isn’t always due to poor optics or an inadequate rifle. Taking a moment to analyze the shot and the conditions it was taken can help identify the small things that could have gone wrong.

Rifle used is a Savage 110 in .223 Rem

It’s essential to give context to the equipment being used. I use a Savage 110 in .223 Rem for testing out new scopes. This is an accurate rifle that responds well to changes in optics. However, I still can’t get every shot to hit the same spot each time.

Scope used is a Shepherd 6×18 with V2 reticle

The scope used is just as critical to the zeroing process. The Shepherd 6×18 with V2 reticle is a great scope for this rifle. It has a wide magnification range and a reticle that’s easy to zero. I use this scope on this rifle to achieve the best possible results while testing out new equipment.

Hand loads used that stay under 1 MOA

Hand loads are used that stay under 1 MOA to ensure compliance with the established safety standard while testing out different equipment. While it’s not necessary for every shooter to use hand loads, it’s essential to ensure that the ammunition is consistent and reliable.

The rifle is used to test questionable scopes

The Savage 110 rifle is used to test questionable scopes. Testing the accuracy and repeatability of a scope with a known good rifle is an excellent way to assess the reliability of the optic.

Great scopes are used to test questionable rifles

I also use great scopes to test questionable rifles. This approach helps me determine if a rifle is the source of the problem or if it’s only the optics that are causing the variance.

Both to prove a point in this case

I like to use this rifle and scope combination to prove a point. As mentioned earlier, the rifle and scope are effective for zeroing and testing, respectively. However, even with these trusted pieces of equipment, there can always be mistakes that produce inaccurate shots.

The mistake can be avoided with proper training

The mistake of obsessing over precision can be avoided with proper training. Practice is key to achieving consistent shot placement. Knowing how to aim and fire the rifle correctly, taking into account environmental factors such as wind and weather, can improve your chances of hitting the bull’s eye.

The frustration caused by the mistake is unnecessary

The frustration caused by repeated inaccuracies can be frustrating, but it’s unnecessary. Staying calm and focused on the basics while shooting can make all the difference.

The shooter needs to develop a correct mindset

The shooter needs to develop the correct mindset when it comes to zeroing. They should focus on the process rather than stressing over the details. Being relaxed and shooting consistently will produce much better results.

The mistake is not age, equipment, or experience-related

The mistake of overanalyzing the shot isn’t age, equipment, or experience-related. A shooter of any level can make this mistake if they’re not careful.

The key to avoiding the mistake is to focus on the basics

The key to avoiding this mistake is to focus on the basics. Relax and breathe while firing, aim correctly, and let the shot come naturally.


Zeroing rifles can be a frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips outlined in this article and focusing on the process rather than obsessing over precision, you can achieve better results. Remember that the rifle and optics aren’t always the source of the problem, and the shooter’s mindset is crucial to consistent shot placement.


  1. What is zeroing a rifle?
    Zeroing a rifle is the process of aligning the bullet’s trajectory with the sight and the shooter’s aim point. The goal is to achieve accurate shot placement in a specific location on a target.

  2. What are some common mistakes shooters make while zeroing a rifle?
    The most common mistakes shooters make include obsessing over precision, assuming that the problem lies with their rifle or scope, and neglecting to train properly and develop the correct mindset.

  3. How can the mistake of obsessing over precision be avoided while zeroing a rifle?
    The mistake of obsessing over precision can be avoided by focusing on the basics, such as relaxing and breathing while firing, aiming correctly and letting the shot come naturally.

  4. Is the accuracy of a shot always related to the rifle or scope being used?
    No, the accuracy of a shot is not always related to the equipment being used. Small things such as the shooter’s stance, breathing, and mindset can all affect shot placement.

  5. Can anyone learn to zero a rifle effectively?
    Yes, anyone can learn to zero a rifle effectively with the proper training and mindset. Consistent practice and focusing on the process rather than the details can lead to better results.

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