Why Does My Scope Lose Zero – Full Overview, FAQs & More

Tired of your scope losing zero again and again? 

We are here to help.

What Does Zero Mean?

Before we discuss the reasons why zeros go out of focus, let’s understand what the zero means! Zeros mean that you’re aiming at a specific location.

You can’t control the bullets to go exactly where you aim. However, you can aim at a specific location and adjust your scope to point at the exact place where your bullets are going.

Note: If you want to know a complete guide about scopes click HERE.

Rifle’s Range and Bullet Drop

When you set up your gun sights, you should aim at the target you want to kill. You should also choose a distance for the zero (the point where the bullet hits). This distance is usually about 50 yards. Shooting at longer distances requires more skill than at shorter ones.

Note: If you want to gain information about What AOEG Scope Means click HERE.

What Causes a Rifle Scope to Lose Zero?

A rifle scope can lose its balance if the rings are worn out. Some cheap or low-quality riflescopes lose focus more quickly than others. Gunners have found them to lose focus by up to 2 -3 inches over a few hours of shooting.

The loss of zero for rifle scope can be divided into four main categories.

Mechanical Issues

Riflescopes need to be adjusted regularly to maintain proper focus. Increasing or decreasing the magnification power of a scope causes the bullet to miss the target by a certain amount.

The scope is used for long-distance shooting. Barrel droops when shot. The aim doesn’t change much at different magnifications.

The scope’s erector tube moves up and down with each shot, causing the scope to lose focus. To fix this problem, tighten the spring.

A variable power scope is better than a fixed power scope because it allows you to adjust your scope to see what you’re shooting at. You can also use this type of scope when you need to shoot at something far away.

Note: If you want to know Where is Swift Scopes Made? Click HERE.

Mounting Issues

Scopes lose their zero because they aren’t mounted properly. A scope mount consists of rings, screws, the base, and the scope. If any part of the mount is loose, it can be thrown off balance by every shot.

A gunner should tighten the screws in the mount as tight as possible without damaging them. If the screws are tightened too much, then the mount may be slightly off-center. Gunners should try to find a base for their guns before mounting them. They should also adjust the scope to match the gun’s exact center.

When using this strategy, make certain that you attach your scope to the rings correctly, because it will always need to shift slightly to one side from the middle.

why does my scope lose zero

Why Does My Scope Lose Zero?

Cleaning and Different Ammunition

Cleaning your rifle is very important because it affects the accuracy of your scope. Rust inside the barrel can affect the scope’s accuracy. Blocked barrels can cause the machine to malfunction. Bullets must be clean and measured. You shouldn’t fire your rifle if it hasn’t been checked, cleaned, and fixed.

Rifle fouling is bad for guns because it makes them inaccurate.

Traveling and Transporting Scope

Riflescopes should be placed on the ground when not being used. Placing them on the side or leaning them up against something could cause problems. Pressing down too hard on the scope could make it permanently damaged.

The scope should be carried in a bag or case when traveling. You should check it every time you use it since it could easily fall off if it isn’t properly secured.

Note: If you want to know What a Cantilever Scope Mount click HERE.

Scope Parallax

Parallax is a problem with scopes because it causes the bullet to miss the target by a few inches. To fix this problem, you need to adjust the parallax setting on your scope.

Scope parallax is caused by the fact that the image appears to move when the observer moves. This effect is most noticeable when using a high-power scope. To correct this, you must use a reticle or crosshair.

Do You Have to Zero Your Scope for a Hunt Every Time?

You should zero your scope before each hunt. Otherwise, if you shoot a lot of bullets during the hunt, you may end up losing sight of your target because you didn’t zero your scope.

Hunting is a sport that requires patience. You should always be prepared for an unexpected break in your hunt. Your scope and gunplay a huge role in how many times you need to adjust the zero. Good quality scops can last for years without needing any adjustment. Cheap scopes can last for several hunts before you will need to adjust them.

We reviewed some of the reasons why rifle scopes lose zero. Do you have any other questions or something to add about this topic? Leave a comment below!


Shooting a rifle requires patience and practice. A shooter should always aim for the center of mass. To do this, you must place your hand between the stock and the ground.

If you want to know more information about scopes click HERE.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

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