It is the greatest folly to risk a hunt with a rifle that doesn’t shoot where you aim. Last fall, a pal missed two fine bucks because he trusted someone else to zero his rifle, only to later find that it was hitting 13 inches high at 100 yards. He could have checked his zero in minutes with very few shots using this economical method.
To begin, bore-sight it. Using sandbags or a shooting rest to support the rifle, remove the bolt or open the dropping-block action. (A lever-action, pump, or autoloader that doesn’t permit through-the-bore view can be bore-sighted with a collimator fitted to the muzzle.) Looking through the bore, align it with a distant object. I use a rock on a hillside half a mile away. Next, adjust the scope’s windage and elevation dials until the reticle settles onto yon rock.
Next, scrounge a big box—an appliance box is ideal, but it should be at least a yard wide and as tall. Tear a sheet of printer paper into quarters. Tape one quarter in the center of your box. Pace off 35 yards from your shooting bench or rest.
Now steady the rifle and fire one round. The bullet should drill your 4×5½-inch paper target. If you didn’t bore-sight the gun the strike might be off that mark; but it should at least hit somewhere on the box.