Best Distance for Sighting in an Air Rifle

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Shooting with an air rifle always seems like a thrilling experience, but if you are a newbie then you have lots to learn.

One of the most vital steps is to learn how to zero in or sight in an air rifle. 

It’s surprising to learn that moderately experienced people also have little idea about this step

And generally miss the mark because of a lack of information. 

So, this guide will help you learn how you can zero your air rifle and show you what is the best distance for sighting in an air rifle.

Let’s get started. 

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Why Do You Need To Zero Your Air Rifle Scope?

Zeroing your air rifle scope is the first step to securing your target.

You might have noticed that whenever you shoot, you always miss the target.

That’s because you are not zeroing the air rifle scope. 

Without doing this, you will never hit the target or be anywhere near it.

Zeroing helps you to hit the right spot.

This technique of zeroing is also known as sighting in.

It means that you align the sight with your air rifle and then hit the target.

If you have held an air rifle once or twice, you might have seen through the scope two concentric circles with a plus sign between them.

This is the sign of sighting in.

The middle point of the plus will help you zero in the target and hit it properly. 

But an even more important aspect before you zero in is to secure the air rifle.

If you don’t secure it on a bench rest then, chances are while shooting, the rifle will become unstable and not hit the target. 

Additionally, it can even ricochet, so be careful.

This can happen irrespective of sighting in . 

Now, let’s see how to zero in an air rifle scope and check out some related questions.

How To Sight in a Pellet Gun Scope?

A pellet is a projectile that is shot from an air gun to hit a target, just like a bullet but less, you know… damaging. 

An air gun that fires pellets is known as a pellet gun.

Although it’s pretty easy to sight in a pellet gun scope yet people struggle the most in this step. 

So, I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow to make the perfect shot by sighting in the pellet gun scope. 

  1. Install the Scope 

The first and foremost thing you should do is install the scope.

Without the scope, you will only be shooting at a distance without any focus.

You will have to make sure that the rings and scope mount are in perfect alignment with your air rifle. 

Clean the surface and apply a thin layer of oil to it.

Position the scope forward to keep your eye safe from recoil.

Check the necessary adjustments before you place your air rifle for setting up. 

  1. Adjust Eye Distance 

You should have enough difference between the scope and your eye so that the rile does not recoil and hurt your eye.

Slight recoiling is always possible so, wear your protective equipment if you are just starting out. 

But the difference should not be much that you are not able to see the image distinctly or clearly.

Tune the scope and position yourself to not strain the eyes. 

  1. Set-Up 

The next and the most important step is to set up your pellet gun scope at a balanced position.

With less movement, the chances of accuracy are high.

You all need to make sure that since you are just starting out, the distance should only be 10-15 feet. 

This is an optimal distance to hit the target.

Start with short distances and as you develop your game, increase the distance to challenge yourself.

Additionally, maximize the sight in to see the target clearly.

This will also help you to analyze and adjust to hit at the right spot. 

  1. Take the First Shot

It’s always good to try and perfect your shot.

When you take the first shot, you will automatically know the issue at hand.

Whether the problem lies in sighting in or your hand movement or if the rifle is not in a balanced position. 

The first shot is the learning step in understanding how to sight in and aim. 

  1. Adjust the Cross-Hair
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After the first shot, make the necessary adjustment.

Adjust the windage, elevation, and cross-hair without moving the gun.

The cross-hair refers to the two concentric circles through which we sight the target. 

Observe where you have hit as you’ll know through that if you have to move a little left or right. 

  1. Take the Second Shot 

After all the adjustments, take the second shot.

Now, you’ll be getting somewhere.

You’ll get the hang of the gun and the impact of the shot on you.

Try this a couple of times to understand the gun also. 

Sometimes, the gun feels comfortable in your hands but other times it doesn’t.

So with repeated shots, you will start understanding your gun a bit better too. 

  1. Increase the Distance 

Since, now you are capable of making a good shot, increase the distance.

Move the target back to 20 feet or 30 feet and again repeat the entire process. 

The long distances are not easy to nail and you may take some time to adjust to the new setting.

But with enough practice, you will definitely succeed. 

Recommended Distances to Zero Your Air Rifle Scope

The optimal distance to zero your air rifle scope is 20-30 yards.

But you should start off with 10 yards and then build your way up.

There is no fun in starting with the 30 yards if you have no experience as you will only waste the pellets. 

Starting from the ground and working your way up is the best thing in the shooting.

Additionally, the distance also depends upon the feet per second.

If the air riddle shoots around 800 f.p.s, then the optimal distance will be 20 yards.

But if it is around 900 FPS, then you can go ahead with 30 yards as well. 

In addition to this, the environment also plays a significant role.

If you are shooting within a closed range, then 20-25 yards is sufficient distance to zero your air rifle scope.

But if you are hunting then, the range increases to 40-50 yards. 

It’s best to see which distance suits you the best.

If you are comfortable with 10 yards, then you can continue within that range.

But if you want to challenge yourself or try something new, then any distance above 50 yards is a good option to try. 

The Best Distance to Zero .22 Air Rifle

The .22 air rifle is one of the most commonly used rifles in the world today.

You can use it for hunting or shooting sports and is the perfect air rifle for training.

These are not expensive and you can get them for about $150 to $300. 

Additionally, these don’t require heavy maintenance as there is no powder involved in the explosion, only compressed air.

This easy-to-handle rifle is great for beginners who are new to the hunting game. 

You can score a rabbit, squirrel, and small birds like quail.

Moreover, you can also go for some large birds such as goose, pheasants, duck, partridge, etc.

(For more on how to choose the right air gun caliber for your game, see this post.)

Naturally, a .22 air rifle will go best with short to medium distances. 

You can also work with long distances such as 400 yards, but it will not be beneficial as chances are that the shot won’t be stable.

Nevertheless, if you are experienced, then you can totally work well with long ranges.

It won’t instantly kill the animal but will harm it enough to slow down its speed. 

So the best distance to zero .22 air rifle will be around 30 to 40 yards.

I usually hunt within the medium range, so 30 to 40 yards seems the best distance for a .22 air rifle.

But if you are planning to go for indoor shooting or long-range shooting then, you can zero in at 20 yards and 50 yards respectively. 

Although these are the recommended distances to sight in your air rifle you should definitely go for what is comfortable for you.

The views vary according to the forums where some are comfortable with 30, 35, 40, and even 45 yards. 

Since you are just a beginner, try different ranges.

Moreover, practice indoors first to get an idea of how the rifle feels and how you would like to handle it. 

Additionally, there is no recoil in the .22 air rifle which makes it one of the best air rifles to work with. 

(For more on the best .22 air rifle on the market, see this post)

Final Thoughts

For decades, people have been hunting and shooting shots as an activity.

This has only increased its love among the rifle community.

Working with an air rifle is an exhilarating experience but you need to have proper knowledge about zeroing in before you handle the rifle. 

Learn from an expert regarding the air rifles, how you should take a shot, how to zero in, and how much time it will take to perfect the shot.

These lessons will help you in becoming an expert yourself!

Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas.

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