As a gun enthusiast, you understand the importance of a properly mounted and zeroed gun optic. A well-mounted and zeroed optic increases accuracy, improves target acquisition, and enhances overall performance.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at how to properly mount and zero your gun optics for optimal performance. We will cover everything from selecting the right optic and mounting system to zeroing your rifle scope, red dot sight or holographic weapon sight.
Let’s get started.
Part 1: Selecting the Right Optic and Mounting System
When selecting an optic, there are several factors to consider, including the type of shooting you will be doing, the distance at which you will be shooting, and the type of gun you will be using.
There are three main types of gun optics: rifle scopes, red dot sights, and holographic weapon sights. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Rifle scopes are ideal for long-range shooting and hunting. They come in different magnifications, ranging from 1-4x for close-range shooting to 25x and higher for long-range shooting. A rifle scope consists of an optical lens system that magnifies the image seen through it. The reticle, or crosshairs, helps you aim more accurately.
Red Dot Sights
Red dot sights are perfect for close-range shooting and are often used in competitive shooting or tactical situations. They allow for quick target acquisition and are easy to use. A red dot sight consists of a non-magnifying lens system with a small illuminated red dot as the reticle.
Holographic Weapon Sights
Holographic weapon sights, or HWS, are similar to red dot sights in that they have a non-magnifying lens system and a reticle. However, the reticle in an HWS is made up of a holographic image that is projected onto the lens. This provides a more precise aiming point and allows for rapid target acquisition.
Once you have selected the type of optic you will be using, you will need to select the right mounting system. There are two main types of mounting systems: one-piece and two-piece.
One-piece Mounting System
One-piece mounting systems are a single unit that mounts directly to your rifle’s receiver. They are very secure and provide a rock-solid platform for your optic. However, they can be more difficult to install and may require gunsmithing.
Two-piece Mounting System
Two-piece mounting systems consist of a base that mounts to your rifle’s receiver and a separate ring that holds your optic. They are easy to install and allow you to remove your optic quickly if necessary. However, they may not be as secure as a one-piece system.
Part 2: Mounting Your Optic
Mounting your optic is a critical step in the process of setting up your rifle for maximum accuracy. Properly installed and secured optics will maintain their zero over time and provide consistent performance.
Here are the steps to follow when mounting your optic:
1. Ensure Your Rifle is Unloaded
Before beginning, ensure your rifle is unloaded and in a safe condition. Remove the bolt and check the chamber to ensure it is empty.
2. Install the Mounting System
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the mounting system on your rifle. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, it is best to take your rifle to a qualified gunsmith.
3. Attach the Optic to the Mounting System
Attach the optic to the mounting system, ensuring it is level and properly aligned with the bore of the rifle. Use a torque wrench to tighten the screws to the manufacturer’s recommended torque setting to ensure a secure and consistent hold.
4. Check the Mounting
Check the mounting system and optic to ensure they are secure and properly aligned before moving on to the next step.
5. Test Fire Your Rifle
After mounting your optic, test fire your rifle to ensure it is still accurate and that the zero has not shifted. If your zero has shifted, you will need to remount your optic and repeat the process.
Part 3: Zeroing Your Optic
Now that your optic is mounted, it is time to zero it for optimal performance. Zeroing your optic is the process of adjusting the reticle so that it aligns with the point of impact of the bullet at a specific distance.
Here are the steps to follow when zeroing your optic:
1. Set Up Your Shooting Area
Set up your shooting area at a range that is appropriate for your shooting distance. Make sure your target is at the same height as your optic and that it is visible through your optic.
2. Fire a Group of Shots
Fire a group of shots at the target using the same ammunition and shooting position you plan to use for your shooting. This will help you identify any issues with your rifle, ammunition, or shooting technique.
3. Adjust the Windage
Use the windage adjustment knob on your optic to adjust the horizontal position of the reticle so that it is centered on the point of impact.
4. Adjust the Elevation
Use the elevation adjustment knob on your optic to adjust the vertical position of the reticle so that it is centered on the point of impact.
5. Fire Another Group of Shots
Fire another group of shots at the target to ensure the adjustments you have made are accurate. Repeat the adjustment process as needed until your shots are hitting the center of the target.
Part 4: Tips for Optimal Performance
Here are some tips to follow to ensure optimal performance from your optic:
1. Use Quality Ammunition
Using quality ammunition will help ensure consistent accuracy and prevent damage to your optic. Cheap or low-quality ammunition may have inconsistencies that can affect accuracy.
2. Clean Your Optic Regularly
Cleaning your optic regularly will help to maintain its clarity and ensure optimal performance. Use a lens cleaning kit designed for use with optics to clean the lenses, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials.
3. Keep Your Optic Protected
Keeping your optic protected from dirt, dust, and moisture will help maintain its performance over time. Store your rifle in a safe, dry place and keep a lens cap on your optic when not in use.
4. Practice Regularly
The more you practice using your optic, the more comfortable you will become with it, and the better your accuracy will be. Practice with different shooting positions and distances to become familiar with your optic in various scenarios.
Properly mounting and zeroing your gun optic is essential for optimal performance. By following the steps outlined in this guide and practicing regularly, you can improve your accuracy, speed, and overall shooting performance. Remember to select the right optic and mounting system for your needs, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.