How to sight-in a LR rifle

John Baer

Sep 2, 2002
I am having a 340 WBY built to get a very accurate gun. I went with the 340 so I could have 2000+ft/lb at 600 yd. I am placing a swaravski 3X12 scope on it. I would like to use the rifle to it's maximum capability Ibut less than 1000yd. How do I best sight in the rifle. If Sight in for say 400 yd and place target turrets on it Is it easy to? adjust the turret to 500, 600, 700, 800 etc then back to 400 accurately? Do target turrets have a bottom where you sight in then adjust upwards from there? Are ther any Long distance ranges in Colorado to sight in >500yd? Basically I want to be able to pull up the gun and shoot at <400yd but if I range the elk, deer etc at 683yd Id like to be confident in the shot and not just hold over. Not precise enough for me, I don't want to wound a animal. Any and all sugestion welcom. Thanks John
Im new to the board, but not new to long range shooting. The way we do it is to zero at 100 yards, and set the turrets to (O). Then move out to 200 and dial the elevation turret to where it is hitting dead on. Make a chart with each respective setting and continue out as far as you would like to shoot. Using this method, we are always able to return to zero at any yardage we desire, so if you wanted a 400 yard zero, you could simply dial it in on your turrets. This might not be the best way, but it is simple and it works for us!
I agree with Huntaholic except I Zero at 200 yards. With ANY load I'm never higher than 2.1" inside of 200 so there I see no reason to zero at 100.

Just my personal preference.
You will probably find that staying on large sheets of cardboard for test groups works OK out to 600 but after that you would be better off shooting at large steel plates spray-painted white so that you can see your bullet impacts through your spotting scope. Not many spotters will enable picking up bullet holes past 4-500 yards, maybe six in the right light.
We use large 2' by 4' plates that are 1/2" thick, hanging from old swing-sets or wooden saw-horses. Prefer to have four feet width because of wind challenges. We can see bullet impacts out at 1000 yards when the plates are painted white.
Suggest you plan on obtaining a set of "come-ups" - a simple list of elevation settings required to hit point of aim out to the longest distance that you can shoot lethal-sized groups to. We start at 100 yards and move out in 100 yard increments to four hundred, then shoot in fifty yard increments. We get actual drop info and record both the actual scope setting and increase from the previous 100 yard setting. In other words our chart will show that I need 15.0 minutes for a 700 zero with my .300 Win. and that is 1.75 minutes up from the 650 yard zero.

Many rifles shoot flat enough out to 300 that hits are assured if we place the crosshair on the critter's upper chest. Many guys will check their dropchart, note that they need three and one half minutes (or whatever) for their 300 yard zero, put it on and add come-ups from there if the critter is farther out.
I only hunt with my .308's to 650-700 max so have dropcharts that go 100, 200, 300, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600 650 and 700. Found out that we need fifty yard increments after four hundred, so might as well shoot them when you are getting your come-ups.
Many guys rely on the ballistic tables created by computer programs, and they are working very well. I believe that most guys prefer to shoot their drops, unless they are shooting at extreme range which makes actually getting drops pretty difficult.
Unfortunately other factors such as barrometric pressure and temperature can start influencing long shots so the fellows keep meticulous notes on shooting conditions on a continous basis for reference.
Not sure which Swarovski scope you plan on, not many have actual target turrets, particularly in MOA. Tend to be metric. That is why most guys here go with Leupolds, Nightforce, Burris, Bushnell etc. with 1/4 minute adjustments and lots of latitude in the turrets.
Good luck, you will have a lot of fun with your LR rig.

I do about the same thing as Ian. He turned me on to the swing set and steel plates last year and I have been hooked ever since. It is probably the best instant feedback you can get. The hits can easily be heard past 1000 yards with your ears on too, takes about 3 or 4 seconds but you'll hear it!

We built a new stand to lean a plywood backer and hang plates up on out of 1/2" threaded pipe and T's. Cost me about 50 bucks for the fittings and precut and threaded stuff at the store.

We lean the plywood back away from the plate and tie it on with wire to the top bar to see hits that miss.

A computer drop chart will get you close if not keep you right on until you get your actual shot data recorded. If we change any component of our ammo we go back to 100 yards and get a good zero, rezero scope dials and then modify the chart if it ends up being off. Notes on what BC and velocity at what temp, BP and altitude gave us a comparable chart are noted for each load as well. Notes on aditional windage needed are made when bullets start moving to one side in no wind situations at long range.

Have fun.




Ever try white shoe polish or anything else at cold temps to cover bullet marks? I usually have to use 3-4 coats to get it competely white again with the cold weather. The 3-5 minute wait between coats so it doesn't just run off is the real issue. I wondered if shoe polish or something might get the job done real quick in one coat.
Have only used cans of white spray paint, one thing I have learned is that the buck-a can stuff is pretty near useless. Found a deal at walmart a while back (99 cents a can), stuff is like water. Shows you that you get what you pay for.
We have considered buying a pail of cheap white paint from HomeDepot or somewhere similar and using a roler but the spraycans are just easier to use. Would have to store a paint bucket and roler, easier to throw the cans into a bag.
One day I took some fairly expensive white spray paint that my wife bought for some project and it is way better than the cheap stuff, but what the hell we are just shooting steel plates.
Haven't come up with a cheap alternative to white or orange spray paint so far.
That is a very nice looking target stand, we have an entirely different method that I will try to get some pictures of and send to you. Would work well for you so you could put up more than one target. We use pieces of two by fours as legs in cheap metal saw-horse clamps, put a five foot piece of 2x4 as the cross-piece (it is clamped in the jaws of the saw-horse) and hang our steel on the cross-piece using "S" hooks. Just drill some 1/4 inch holes in the corner of the target plate, stick in an S hook and hang it by pieces of cheap chain or even rope. Gets shot to hell but doesn't cost anything, Have to watch handling the 2x4's as they get a lot of shrapnell, like razor blades some of it, but this holder only costs a few bucks and is easy to setup.
Also use the swing-sets as they breakdown nicely for travel. You are very fortunate to have a location where you can leave your target out.
Sounds like you are getting your dad hooked on this long stuff.
Thanks for the info. With a swarovski 3X12 30mm in a 340 wby what is the range of the scope? Can such a scope be ordered with greater adjustment range? I'm using talley bases. A earlier thread talkede obout tappered bases? dose tally make these? Thanks John
Ian, now that you mention it the can Russell bought this last time was kind of generic looking, he probably paid a buck for it too. The stuff I had been using this summer was 3.50 a can at Napa and dryed quick enough using laquer or enamel either one. You are right, it was like water.
I'll go try the good stuff again and see how it does in the cold. I'll give the orange a try too, the white works great on a darker bank but with the snow yesterday in another location had us straining hard with the white snow background.

I used the 1/2" pipe so I could unscrew it in 30" lengths to put in the box of my Polaris 6x6 if I went up river to shoot somewhere. With everything just hand tightened it sets up and breaks down in a minute or so. If you notice, I put hinges on my plywood backer so it folds up for the 6x6 too. I put hinges on front and back and just use removable pins on the oposite side at the nonremovable ones to keep it standing up solid. You have to alternate on the hinges to gt it to fold though. The nice thing about this is I can add two foot sections if needed to make it as high as I need, 10-16 feet maybe, and it all folds up and back down. Easier to get it around in the truck too. I can make the center bar twice or three times as wide with extra pieces and couplers to hang more plates too, I am about ready to, two people shooting at once and your running back and forth with paint quite a bit.

[ 01-29-2003: Message edited by: Brent ]
I looked at the Swarovski website and appears that their only scope with turrets is a 6-24 varminter. Could not determine what the elevation available is for the 3-12, I use the TDS reticle in mine and once it is zeroed at 100 it is good to 5 or 600 depending on the caliber. Talley's aren't sloped as far as I know, they are great mounts but do not compete with the real heavyweights like Badgers or MK4's.
I expect that you will not have any problem getting out to 600+ with that scope, just depends on how much elevation is left in it after you have zeroed at 100.
Brent, I will get a digital image of our wood target hanging set-up, you really should consider it also as it is very cheap and simpler than your pipe set-up. The pipes look great but the 2x4's are lighter and I would suggest much easier to work with. Only takes four 4' 2x4's for the legs, a 5 or 6 footer for the crosspiece and one pair of saw-horse hinges that cost about $4.00. I have about a dozen of them now, they are very handy for both steel and stapling cardboard targets on.
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