Read the bottom for some…unique… tips and tricks.

I’m not going to waste time telling you how to zero a rifle. I know the title says that’s what I’m going to tell you, but I’m not. Make the hole go behind the crosshair. There are 2 ways I set up my rifles. Target setup -Every shot you make will be at XX yards, so your zero is at XX yards. For shooting stationary targets at an unchanging distance. Hunting setup– takes advantage of the flattest portion of the pellets trajectory. This is helpful for hunting when come across varying distances and you don’t want to make constant adjustments to make an accurate shot. Before we get too deep into the subject, there are more details that need to be covered.

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Sample target setup. Targets are at 37, 40, and 45 yards so a 40 yard zero was used. Note the trajectory only crosses the line of sight once.

Accuracy

Most shooters will have to test various pellets through their rifle to find one that shoots the best. The Condor, however, has a match grade barrel and is higly adjustable when it comes to performance. I get a pellet tin and fill the rifle to a pressure that correlated to the pellets weight. If I have a 14 gr pellet, I use a 2300psi fill; for a 19 gr pellet, I use a 2700psi fill, and so on. The same is considered when adjusting the power wheel. The fill pressure of the rifle should be balanced by the force delivered by the striker. If the balance is off, you will see inconsistencies in the rifle. I will think of a range on the rifle’s power wheel that fells appropriate for the fill pressure (ex 0-2, 2-4 or 4-6{numbers on the gun, not the wheel itself}) and shoot a group of 3 good shots at each setting at 25 yards. One group typically will outshoot the rest. Then I fine tune by going plus 8 and minus 8 on the wheel (wheel goes 1-16, gun goes 0-13) and see if accuracy improves. That is where I start.

Next, I choose how I want my rifle zeroed. Typically, I use a hunting setup as it is more practical for me. The goal of a hunting setup is to reduce misses because of ranging errors. As stated previously, this is done by using the flattest portion of the rifle’s trajectory and using it to our advantage. 

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From 15 to 65 yards the rifle will always hit plus or minus one inch. Limited adjustments are needed to make an accurate shot.

First, we must determine the rifles trajectory. This can be done 2 ways. The first was is the most complex, but will give you exact results. Zero the rifle at any distance and shoot at 5 or 10 yard increments while notating pellet drop. When you’re done, make a chart like the one above. You may have to repeat the step a few times to find what you’re looking for. The easy way is to use Chairgun, by changing the zero until you find a nice looking trajectory. As long as the data entered into the program is accurate, the output data will be very close if not matching the actual results. Using the above as an example, there are 3 distances we can use to zero our rifle: 25 yards (near zero), 0.5″ high at 40 yards (apex), 55 yards (far zero). I feel that a far zero is more accurate than the other, but regardless, you must confirm the data in the field. On to our next topic before I say too much.

Zeroing a rifle is important, but most people often overlook a rifle’s trajectory. With air rifles making a drop chart (dope chart) is just as important as zeroing the rifle. It doesn’t matter what you intend on using the rifle for or how inexpensive it is- make a dope chart. Shoot at a target from 5 yards to XXX yards in 10 yard increments and annotate the drop in inches, Mil dots, or MOA clicks. Keep a copy of the dope chart on the rifle for a quick reference before shooting. You can also take your confirmed data and tweak Chairgun to match your results.

Now the rifle is set up and ready to shoot accurately.

Update 2-10-17

I’m a little more experienced as an airgun shooter than I was since I first wrote that article. I’ve learned a few things that I want to pass on.

Zero the rifle on a calm day. Pretty self explanatory. Reduced chance of windage errors and you will see the best representation of the rifle/pellet/tuning capability. 

I use surveyors tape all over my range to guage the wind. Cheap and effective. When this photo was taken, the wind was zero…obviously.

Make your holdover chart on a windy day. Wind is a variable that won’t effect the elevation (much). Note the pellet shift on a separate chart, noting wind speed, wind angle, range, and pellet shift.

Zero distance-I use a 40 yard zero. Before, I used a 25 yard zero and found myself missing 30-40 yard shots, as the pellet was traveling about 1 inch high at this distance. With a 40 yard zero, at 30-40 yards, I can hold dead on. At 25 and 50, the rifle shoots about a quarter of an inch low.

Zeroing for zero-fine tuning the zero

Something new I’ve come up with. Once you find your zero distance, shoot at your target at a 0 degree angle. Plus or minus 5 degrees should still be ok. I made a crosshair shaped target to finely and accurately check windage and elevation. That target was then leveled with a bubble level to negate and scope cant errors when zeroing:

When the crosshairs are aligned with the target, the gun will also be level, minimizing level errors.

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