How to set up a scope back to 0

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Today we’re going to talk about one of the most common occurrences in a hunter’s life: how to reset a scope back to 0.

There are a number of reasons why this might be something that you’d want to do.

The most common one has to do with changing a scope from a different rifle to another. It’s recommended that you always do that when putting a scope on a new rifle. The difference in size, mounting, and barrel length will make all the difference in the world when it comes to shooting, so there’s really no reason why you would skip doing this.

Just as an extra way of being on the safe side, we recommend that you reset your scope even when buying a new mount for it. You’ll probably get the same one as you did before, but for such a simple adjustment, it doesn’t make sense not to do it. 

Also, there is the case when you buy a brand new scope, in which case this is a must do.

Different calibers also make a difference, so this would be another reason to reset the scope.

Now we are going to talk about the 2 methods which you can use to reset a scope. Just take a bit of notice and you’ll be able to do that in no time.

Counting method

The counting method is something that you can do in about 5-10 minutes. It’s very easy to tackle and you don’t need a lot of experience to take it on.

First, you have to turn your elevation (top) turret in one direction, as far as it will go. It doesn’t matter which way you go. But be careful, once you’ve hit the end of the turning radius don’t try to force it more, you will most likely end up damaging it.

After you are done with that, you need to turn the turret in the opposite direction and you have to count how many clicks it takes to turn it fully in the opposite direction.  Having done that, you need to divide the number of clicks by 2, and that gives you the correct position that you need to put the turret in. Just turn the turret to the divided number and you are done with the elevation part.

For the windage (side) turret you need to apply the exact same system.

Let’s take a practical example. After you finish counting the number of clicks, let’s say you end up with 116. 116 divided by 2 equals 58. The correct position for the turret is thus 58 clicks in the opposite direction that you counted the clicks in the first time.

Most scopes don’t need any tools for you to make this adjustment. Worst case scenario, you’ll need to use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench. Again, please pay attention to the amount of force that you are using.

Mirror method

There is a second method that you can use to set your scope back to 0. It’s called the mirror method and for it, you’ll need a mirror and a reasonably lighted environment.

Firstly, you have to aim the scope at the mirror. If you see just the reticle, then your scope is centered and you don’t have to do anything.

If you see a shadow beside the reticle, then you need to reset to factory zero. For that, you need to line up the shadow of the reticle with the reticle itself. You can do this by adjusting the elevation (top) and windage (side) turrets. There is no particular way to complete this step, keep adjusting the turrets until the shadow and reticle are lined up.

When a scope is optically centered, it allows you to maximize the number of adjustments you can make on your elevation and windage turrets, thus maximizing how far and how precise you can shoot|

Lastly, you have to take care of one more thing, irrespective of the method that you are using. It’s called slipping the scales. You will need either a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to adjust the turret caps (and thus, the adjustment scale) to match the mechanical zero on the scope.

You do that by unscrewing the top of the turret and turning it until the mark on the turret (usually a line of some sort) lines with the 0 indicator on the turret itself. Then simply screw the top of the turret back on again. Do that for both turrets and you will have finished slipping the scales.

As you’ve seen in this step-by-step guide, resetting a scope to factory zero doesn’t need to be confusing. It doesn’t require a lot of tools—at most, all you’ll need is a screwdriver or an Allen wrench—and it’s easy to do once you get the hang of it—the only math you have to do is divide by 2!

So, the next time you want to change your scope to a different rifle, you don’t need to worry because you know how to reset a scope to factory zero.