A reader dropped his rifle out stalking and wants to check whether the scope has moved ...
Q: I was out stalking when I dropped my rifle and the scope was knocked heavily. I did not continue, in fear that it had lost zero, but is there an easy way to check if a scope has moved?
A: First, you are to be commended on having the willpower to abort the stalk as the uncertainty of a scope or rifle that has received a bad knock will spoil your day and the game pursued.
Knowledge that the rifle and scope are integrally zeroed is what makes for an accurate shot and any suspicions that they have become defective should be immediately examined.
Out on the hill and woods is no place to conduct an examination unless you can set up a target at the original zero range — say, 100 yards — and shoot a group of shots to test the rifle/scope.
However, there is a device that you could keep in the car that would give a good indication if the zero has changed. This is a bullet collimator, which is basically a device that fits into the muzzle of the rifle, allowing the scope’s reticle to line up on a grid system within the viewing screen.
Obviously, you need to remove the bolt of the rifle for safety, then choose the correct calibre stud that fits snuggly into the bore and the collimator is attached. If you know where the reticle cross-hairs were zeroed on the collimator, it is easy to see if this has shifted after a knock or fall.
You can then re-zero to the original spot on the collimator. However, even after a minor fall, I would still want to fire some shots to make sure the scope is not damaged beyond repair.
One of the most common causes of damage to a scope is that of poorly made or misaligned scope mounts.
Parallax problems may not be due to a scope.
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Checking your bullets
Any variation in weight, length or shape can have an adverse effect.