NSSF: How to Zero in 2 Shots

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While I would never zero a rifle without shooting a group, those with a supremely accurate system or low ammo budget would be keen to watch the NSSF video on zeroing your rifle in two shots.

The key is to hold the rifle at the point of aim and to then move the cross hairs to the first shot, rather than view the target and make the click adjustments. While field-expedient there are issues with this method, especially if the cross-hairs have a long way to travel on the grouping.

Personally, I would only use this method as the video implies, checking zero from one season to the next where there would be minimal movement.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Kris

    Or, you could actually understand math and make the adjustments…you know, how many inches (or mm) off POA is from POI, convert to MOA (or mil) then input the number of clicks E/W for that value of MOA (or mil). Easy peasy. If you know how to shoot and call good shots, zeroing in 2 shots is reasonable. 6 are better.

    • Ken

      If you have a mil-dot scope, it’s even easier. Just use the dots to measure how far off the shot is and then dial in the appropriate number of clicks.

      • Kris

        Yup!!

      • notalima

        ^^^ That, right there 🙂

  • USMC03Vet

    I could never see this being useful. Ammunition doesn’t cost that much and even if you do have expensive ammunition, your zeroing is practice you’ll need and most likely more than you’ll shoot using it for the activity you’re zeroing for anyway.

    This is silly. If you can’t afford a couple of nitro express rounds, you probably can’t afford your hunting trip, rifle, license, ect.

    • Don

      Just because the military taught you to make love to your rifle doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do things. Not everyone has the time nor the urge to sit there and take shot after shot until their rifle is sighted in using the conventional method. I bet you’re the same type of person who knocks aftermarket triggers and any beginner who uses them. Your excuse, “It doesn’t teach them proper trigger control”… Lighten up, there are a hundred different ways to do things. Just because you don’t use the method doesn’t make it wrong or silly as you put it.

  • Steve

    Good luck not moving the rifle when you adjust the scope…

    Guess you could bring a bench vice with you to the range.

    • Pastor Dan

      Or a bench vise.

  • Vitsaus

    If your ammo budget is so low that you can only afford to zero with two shots, you must be living out of your car. That or you really need to ask your wife to loan you your sack for a month or so while you sort some things out.

    • ThomasD

      I have to agree. Three shots gets you a decent group, center on that then fire one more round to confirm. If that final round is on target – within the dispersion limits of your three shot group- then you are golden.

      Sure, it’s “twice as much ammo” but if that is a problem then it makes me wonder just how much practice you can actually afford. And if you aren’t practicing, then even the best zero in the world will not be useful.

  • Blake

    My laser boresighter gets me within a couple MoA with the first shot…

  • This works in theory, but it rarely works in practice.

    Flyers whether ammo caused, or shooter caused can cause the shots to be misread, so you are chasing your zero around the target. But if you shoot 5 shots (more is better) in a pattern, you can start subtracting the one or two flyers and figure what adjustment to achieve the point of impact you desire.

  • Joe

    Use this method all the time at work. As long as the shooter is proficient and using a stable rest it works 80% of the time.

  • iksnilol

    I just take extra carefull aim, shoot a shot, then measure the distance between POA and POI, calculate and then adjust the clicks. Then I fire another shot and see how close I am. It works well for me. Can zero in less than 5 shots.

  • TexasPigHunter

    Old news, been using this method for years. But it works best with 2 people one to hold the rifle steady while your associate clicks as you let them know when to stop,

    Fire a group to confirm …

  • FWIW

    Unless I’m mistaken this is essentially the soviet method of sighting in. The arrows on the knobs of your typical PSO-type scope are even oriented for moving the crosshair to the POI instead of vice versa.

    As others have said, not a bad method if you have a very stable shooting platform, but you still need to sling groups to ameliorate variance caused by the ammo & shooter.

  • DIR911911 .

    zero? …they don’t call me spray and pray for nothing 🙂

  • torr10

    I’ve never understood trying to hunt something so far away I needed a scope. No matter how accurate your scope is if you don’t practice your squeez’n & breathe’n you ain’t gonna hit what you’re shooting at. If you can’t afford the ammo to practice you should get a gun that shoots cheaper ammo.

    • Seeing more clearly is better at any range. This in no way detracts from the fundamentals of acquiring a target, controlling breathing and a smooth trigger break. Seeing better allows you to better identify your target, and choose a more precise point of aim. Also many of us need optics because our eyes aren’t awesome. I can never understand folks like you who arrogantly insult everyone else who doesn’t needlessly handicap themselves with iron sights.

  • williemorris

    great review)