So, you've bought a long rifle. It either has iron sights (the metal wedges/beads on top that you look through to see your target) or some form of scope on it. Obviously, you want to hit what you're aiming at, so you need to make sure that what you see through the sights or scope is actually what your rifle hits. In other words, you need to "zero in" your gun.
The term "zeroing in" comes from graph paper. Yes, the same graph paper you had to do all that math crap on in high school. See, the center of your target is the middle of said graph paper, and it's called 0,0. If you move horizontally to the right, its 0,1. Move upward and its 1,0 and so on. You want to bring the actual trajectory of your round through that middle of your graph paper (0,0). That is what "zeroing in" means.
How do you do this? Edit
There are a million different ways to get this done, but they are all wrong except for this one:
- Figure out how to adjust your scope or sights. If iron sights,
there will be a place to use a small tool to loosen, move and retighten the sights. If scope, your scope has an 'up/down' and 'left/right' wheel. They will go click. Click the clicks one at a time when adjusting.
- Set up a bench rest for your raifu so that it is in EXACTLY the same spot for every shot you make.
- Put a target a number of yards away, let's say 25 yards (see note [a]). You can use graph paper if you want.
- Aim at the dead center of the target and shoot it (see note [b]).
- See where the hole is? Good. WITHOUT messing up your bench rest,
adjust your sights until they point directly at that hole. Do NOT move the rifle, move the SIGHTS.
- Fire once more to confirm that your bullet hits what you point it at (that first hole).
Done! A few bullets and a little fussy business and that's all you need to do. Next time you aim at the dead center, your bullet will go there!
You'll have to zero your gun every once in a while, most hunters do it at the start of the season, competition shooters do it as a precaution, and of course if you change your glass or put on one of those tactitard ring sights or whatever you'll need to do it again
[a] 25 yards is not very far away. When you shoot at stuff farther away, you bullet will hit higher, and eventually lower. Zero in for your shooting range after you get the 25 yards thing down
[b] if your bullet does not hit SOMEWHERE on the paper at 25 yards, take you rifle back to where you bought it and complain about that fact until they fix it.