September 19, 2020

The Ultimate Rifle Tip: Real Time Zeroing with Ryan Cleckner | Long-Range Rifle Shooting

All right so I just got my hands on aTikka TAC A1 and a gorgeous Vortex Razor HD scope, but they haven't been set upyet.

So, before I can try this gun out and see how it performswe need to zero the scope.

I thought, you know what? Why don't I just walk youthrough the whole process as I would do it.

You can come along with me and you'llsee some of the the corrections I make and some of the considerations I'mhaving as I go along.

So got a fresh target.

We normally wantto zero these rifles at 100 yards, or I like to anyway, because then, at no matterwhich distance I'm shooting, I always adjust up, right? So a lot of people don'trealize that when you zero a rifle for 100 yards, and you shoot closer than 100yards, you actually have to adjust up to hit what you're aiming, not down.

That'sbecause your barrel is below the scope and the bullet is still rising to meet theline of sight at 100 yards, so it's gonna actually impact low.

So I wantto do something that's not only going to demonstrate that for you, but it's also atime-saving tip that I think you should try while you're zeroing a rifle to saverounds and make sure that you're on paper.

And that is, start at 25 yards.

Justget a quarter of the distance away so at least you can figure out where you mightbe on the paper.

So, we're about 25 yards away here.

It doesn't need to be exact.

Again, we're just making sure we're gonna be on paper.

I also like to do somethingcalled bore-sighting.

We're gonna do both of those right here, just to see howclose we can get first, and then we'll confirm, make any adjustments ifnecessary, and head back 200 yards.

So, if you guys know me you know I like shooting off of a pack.

Here's a cool little accessory that I've been using for awhile now that a Ranger buddy of mine made.

It's a little shooting mat thatgoes on your bag that I think it's just handy as can be when you're doing stufflike this.

He's a good dude, it's a good mat.

If you guys wanna check them out, it'sfull spectrum solutions.

Handy for things like this.

So I want to go ahead and geton the mat, get a little rear bag for myself, and I'm not shooting yet.

I'm justgonna do what I call bore-sighting.

So, bore-sighting is, I actually look downthe barrel and point it generally at the target and try and get the scope in thecrosshairs close.

So on this gun — get down behind it — I'm just gonna foldthe buttstock so I can see through the barrel easy.

Use the bag to get the riflenice and stable, because that's gonna be a key here.

And I will get down and lookthrough the barrel, and aim it at something that I can see or recognize.

Now the trick when you're bore-sighting — to point it at the object — is to treatthe barrel like it's two circles, okay? So what I mean is, the back of the barrel –the chamber — is the beginning, and the end of the barrel is gonna be a smallercircle as you see down the barrel.

Treat those like two circles and make surethey're centered with each other, and then put them on the object you'relooking at because the problem is, if you're looking through the barrel at theobject, it's easy to get the barrel misaligned even though you can see the object.

So we'll pick something here.

I can actually see the target just fine, sowe'll line up and get as steady as we can on that, and without moving the rifle, pick your head up and see where the crosshairs are.

You might have to go back and forth a couple timesto make sure.

Yeah, we're kind of off.

All right, so I need to bring the reticle upto match where the barrels pointed, okay? Now theadjustments on your scope.

When you see directions on which way to turn, that'sfor the bullets impact — that's not the direction the reticle moves.

Believe it or not the reticle moves in the oppositedirection of the adjustments.

So thinkabout that for a second.

If I want to turn this scope the direction of up, that's to move the bullet impact up.

And how do you move the bullets impact up?Well you actually move the reticle down.

So next time, you have to raise theentire rifle to get back on the target, which raises it up.

So for me, since Ineed to move the reticle up, I'm going to turn this in the “down position” for theimpact.

I always take a big chunk, and see how close I am.

That's pretty darn good for the elevation.

For the windage, remember opposite the same thing.

Alright that's pretty done close.

I think we're gonna be on paper.

So now, we can go ahead and senda round and at least it'll be somewhere where we can see the impact.

It's notgonna be off in the distance somewhere and have no idea where we're shooting, and wasting ammo.

So, let's go ahead and put the bolt back in.

That helps.

Get our eye inear pro on.

And just take one shot at 25 yards andsee what it does for us.

We're so close that I gotta adjust my parallaxback or it's blurry.

Okay! Now I still reloaded because, that's the habit youshould get into when you run a bolt-gun.

Well I'll unload now — we don't need to shoot agroup, we just want to see where it's at.

Let's go ahead and walk down to the paperand see what we got.

I'm going to leave my bag here butI'll bring the rifle with us.

I'll show you why.



Now when you're making your adjustments, most of the time you use markings or measurements on the paper, and that'sfine.

So if you understand what minutes-of-angle are — that if you have a minute-of-angle, it's about one inch at 100 yards, or you can use tenths of mils, which arecentimeters, if you think that way.

We have videos to help you figure that out.

But that's one way to make adjustments.

Just keep in mind if you're at 25 yards, you need tomake four times the adjustment, okay? What I mean is, let's see, this one says half-inch grid so, if I was shooting at 100 yards, I need to move upone, two, three, four.

I need to come up two inches.

I need to come left about an inchand a quarter.

Well some people might think, “Oh, two inches, that's two minutes-of-angle.

” NO, that would be two minutes-of-angle ifwe were at 100 yards.

Since we're at 25, a minute of angle isonly about a quarter of an inch.

So it's actually four times the adjustment.

Instead of two minutes it would beeight minutes-of-angle, okay? But I have an even easier way tomake an adjustment for you, especially where we're not trying to get too precise and we just want to get somewhere near where we need to hit.

And that's using the reticleon the scope.

Now at the 25-yard distance I don't want to adjust the impact right to the dead center, remember we're going to Zero at 100.

Instead we're gonna zero alittle bit low because we shoot at 25 and the bullet is still rising.

So if you'regonna make adjustments and try and move in there for a 6.

5 Creedmoor, I'd say about three-quarters of an inch low is where I want it to be 25 yards.

For a .

308, about an inch low at 25 yards is going to hit right about dead-on at 100 yards.

So let's go back now and use the method of using our reticle.

So instead of trying to do the math because this is a mil scope, and I'll admit, I learned on minutesand that's kind of what I'm stuck on.

If I had to start over I'dprobably start with mils but instead of us sitting there doing conversions aboutcentimeters and yards and meters, this scope has a reticle in it that alreadyhas all my mil adjustments in it.

And the beauty is, minutes-of-angle and mils areangular measurements meaning they're not a certain size any distance they're an angle that gets bigger or smaller the further away you get.

So I don't have toworry about the fact that I was closer.

I just look in the reticle and if it saysit needs to come up a mil, I come up a mil because regardless of the distanceI'm at it's already perfect.

So, I like using my reticle for this, so let's layback down and take a look at the reticle and see how much we would need to adjustto get that impact about three-quarters of an inch low.

So to me that looks like Ineed to come up about a minute, err.



a mil and a half.




see that? I think about minutesall the time.

We need to go up about a mil and a half.

Let's see, it's a mil.

I'lldo a little less than mil and a half and I need to come to the left onemil.

Now I'm actually going to movein the direction it says for left because I want to move the impact of the bullet.

One mil left, okay? If you want to, you can take the time and reshoot it here but I know we're gonna be on paper, so let's go ahead and move back to 100 and shoot a group, and we can actuallyadjust off of the group.

Here's another reason you're gonna like this pad.

I don't have to roll it up each time, I can just let it drag behind me becauseI don't care.

It makes it easy.

If I have to get up and go somewhere to hurry, I don't have to worry about picking up too many things, just drag it and let's go.

Now the reason we're gonna go shoot agroup, and why I think it's worthwhile just to go to the hundred, is you're notreally ever supposed to adjust off of just one shot because you don't know ifyou made an error, if it's just the accuracy deviation of the rifle, whoknows? You always want to adjust off of a group so you can have a trend.

But we'retrying to make this as painless as possible and use the least amount of roundsas possible, so we'll wait to shoot our group up here.

Now when you're shooting — especially when you're trying to get groups — I believe more in a theory of a cold shooter than I believein a cold gun or a clean bore shot.

Take some time to warm up.

I'm gonna do that.

I'm gonna lay down, I'm gonna dry-practice a fewtimes.

And make sure that the reticle is not moving when I'm pulling the triggerbefore I go ahead and put rounds in.

So we're a hundred yards away now.

Let's layour pack back down and shoot some more to see what we can do.

So before I put my ammo in, I'm gonna dothe dry practice.

Make sure my chamber is empty.

Get on the gun.

Try and get stable.

If you need to, with these pistol-grip chassis, get your thumb on the other side of the gun.

Don't grab it like this.

Grab it like this and sometimes that helps.

It does for me anyway.

So get on the gun and.



[Takes a breath] Ahh, I moved it a little bit there.

Let's try that again.

When you're shooting, focus only on the reticle.

Ignore the target if you can andput steady pressure on the trigger.



That one felt better! Alright, let's shoot a group and see we can do.



Alright, let's go down and see our group.

I'm gonna leave the rifle here.

Bolt is open, chamber is empty, magazine is away.

Let's go see how we did.

Now, I can tell you right now fromalready seeing the group, I screwed something up.

Maybe that's the thebenefit for you guys to see this LIVE is we can make a mistake and see what happens.

But, whatever adjustments I did at 100 yards, I made them too much.

So either I read the reticle wrong and sawthe numbers wrong or I didn't confirm that was actually a mill reticle.

Whatever I did, I moved it too far.

So, let's go figure it out;what we need to make adjustments to hit.

And here's the deal, I mean I'llgo back and watch this video and kick myself for whatever I did wrong but itdoesn't matter.

The groups on the paper! Instead of be sitting here and dwellingabout what happened, we're just gonna look at where the group actually is, andthen make adjustments from there to get on the target.

So, you might have heardwhen I was on the rifle there, I said to focus on the reticle and steady pressureon the trigger.

That's the key.

If you can do that and try to especially ignoreyour rounds, you'll be better off.

So I saw the first bullet go intothe target way high.

I tried to ignore that and if you have problems shootinggroups, get a target that has like all sorts of massive speckles all over it — I have some I've made that I give away for folks, we'll try and put a link for one inhere — and what it does is it hides and camouflages where your impacts are soyou don't subconsciously do it.

That's not a great group.

It's enough toadjust off of but here we go.

So whatever it is, I was expecting to be here.

I made double the adjustment.

Here we are, so we can measure on thison the minutes-of-angle that we need to come down because that's how I think.

I'd say the center group is about there, so we come down one, two, about three minutes.

Come left one minute.

We can convert that to mils or again, we can measure in the reticle andsee what's going on.

So let's go make our adjustment and shoot another group, andsee if I can tighten that up a little bit and get it on target.

So what I'm talking about withthat camouflage target, about not seeing the rounds, the reason is if you're honest with yourself you'll have the subconscious effectssometimes of you see you're missing a little to the leftso you'll start favoring a little to the right when you're trying to shoot therest of your group.

And that's horrible, right? I mean, that's good ifyour goal is to hit the target, but when you're zeroing you're shooting a group, yourgoal is not necessarily to hit the target.

Your goal is to get accurate informationabout how your equipment is set up and if you're fudging a little bit one wayor the other, not only is your group not going to be as good as you wantbecause you're now going to ruin the group by getting closer to the center, you'realso not going to have good information for a baseline for your rifle.

So when you're zeroing, allow the group to beoff the target as long as it's on paper.

I could have stopped after the firstround and made an adjustment but I don't care about being in the center yet.

I just care about seeing what thatcombination does for me.

So, maybe I'll figure out why I made the adjustment wrong, maybe I won't but we'll make some adjustments and go from there.

Okay, I'll look through the reticle here.

Making a measurement again with the Mils.

It looks like I need to come down.



about point-eight Mils.

That's right there.

And I need to come left.



about point-two, point-three.

So come left.



Let's shoot another group and see we can do.

By the way that's another reason I likeshooting over here.

You see what I was able to do with the safety there? You can't dothat when you're on the gun like this.

Just easier to run the bolt, easier notto grip it too much.

All right, I want to shut up andtry to shoot a better group.

Let's shoot some more.



All right.

Let's go downrange and see if thegroup is any better and if it's where we want it to be.

Chamber is empty, bolt is back.

So I did a risky thing there by shootingmore rounds when I'm sitting here on a live shot, because when youshoot a 3-round group sometimes it's easy to get a nice pretty group.

And thetemptation is to stop there because your fourth or fifth round you might throwone way or the other — called a “flyer” and they make the group bigger, but asfar as the statistics or probability go the more rounds that you shoot thebetter idea you're gonna get of your group and not just happen to have acouple good shots.

So, if you picture where the rifles pointed you have like a”cone of inaccuracy” — that's the best thing to call it I guess — where the round cango anywhere within it.

So, if you have a gun that shoots a minute-of-angle foraccuracy, that means when the barrel is even locked in a vise that bullet canend up anywhere within a minute-of-angle.

Well sometimes you as the shooter mightaccidentally be about a 1/2-minute to the right when you pull the trigger.

Well, if that bullethappens to be to the left side of its area and then the next shot, you shootaccidentally too far to the left and the bullet happens to bethe right side of its area, you're gonna have two bullets in the same hole andthink it's the best gun ever when really you just missed the right way.

In thenext group the opposite can happen, you can have double the effect.

So morerounds is better to get a statistical probability.

All right, let's see what we did here.




Looks like I shot two groups.

[Laughs] My group is a little better.

It's a half-inch groupbecause those are the half-inch grids.

So 1/2 minute-of-angle gun? Ummm.



that's awesome!That's shooting good.

I don't know if that's the perfect ammo for it or not.

Wecould definitely shoot another group.

Here's a trick for you.

Whenever you take a picture because youwant to post this on Instagram.



you'll be like, “hey look at meand look at my group, ” .



you should always use something for scale, right?So that they can see how big the group is.

And here's another trick.

If you use likeyour thumb or a coin.



You go like that.

and you show how small the group is but youjust cover up the bad part.

I know that's what you guys are doing whenyou put your coins up there.

So that's something to do I don't know which is the real group.

Honestly, I'm okay within a half-minute of a hundred yards.

I'mgonna be a little high ora little low.

So if I assume that's the whole group andI'm gonna have to pick which side I'm gonna be, because maybe your scope onlyadjusts so minutely or finitely, I'd rather be a little low.

Because at leastif you miss a target where you're shooting low, you're likely to see the dirt impact –you're likely to see where it is.

If you end up being a little too high andyou're shooting at targets and you shoot over something, it's gonna be a lotharder to tell where the miss is.

So here, honestly, I would come up about ahalf minute-of-angle because that's the center of my group.

And then, I would slipmy scales and shoot out at distance.




I hope this helps you see my warts andmistakes and all — how you can go through this.

And what did we do that in? I think I shotfive rounds that last group, shot three rounds before, and one at 25.

So, I mean, under 10 rounds and we've zeroed the rifle and we have a pretty good feelabout — even if I messed up those groups — how accurate that system can be.

Go out.

Try it with your gun and don't freak out when something doesn't work the way it's supposed to.

Just realize, you've got what you got, and adjust from there.

I hope you enjoyed this.

Thanks for watching!.

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