Using Target Knobs

Spec Ops Shooting

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Most police rifle scopes adjust elevation not with a BDC but with target knobs, and for good reason. A military-style Bullet Drop Compensator allows quick elevation dialing for a rapid engagement, but the trade-off is a decline in precision. Rccall that in the last chapter, it was noted that the Army's Leupold Mark 4 M3A scope raises elevation at 1 MOA per click, while the USMC's Unertl has 1/2 MOA increments. Thus, a police sniper's realistic engagement distances—perhaps 50 yards out to 200 yards— would allow only two to four clicks of BDC variation, which is not nearly the degree of precision expected of a law enforcement rifleman.

The lawman's target, too, is often much smaller—a single head among four hostages, a half-exposed face, a forehead peering over a window sash—and an occasional miss is not an acceptable standard. No, the police sniper must achievc precision with his aiming, his shot placement, and the degree to which he can adjust his scope. All this leads to using target knobs, with ihose found in this book offering 1/4 MOA per click, a much smaller, more precise adjustment than a BDC.

Zeroing a target knob-equipped scope is fast

Target k nobs, like these atop a Leupold Mark 4 scope, allow very precise elevation adjustments and exact aiming.

and easy. Remove the sling and bipod to crcate a clean forearm, then rest your rifle snuggly upon sandbags. Support the heel—that is, the bottom of the bun—with a sand-filled sock which your nonshooting hand can squeeze or release to slightly raise or lower the butt. Interspersed with plenty of dry-fire to remain calm and focused, fire a five-round group at 100 yards, applying the basic marksmanship techniques cited in Chapter 6. Analyze the group, then apply the required correction on the windage and elevation knobs. Continue to fire five-round groups and make corrections until you're satisfied that it's firing absolutely dead-on.

This will vary somewhat with the brand and model of scope, but you next loosen the windage and elevation knobs until they turn freely without further engaging the internal adjustments. Now turn each knob clockwise or counterclockwise to perfectly align the knob's "0" with the center of a facing scale or witness


@ 50 yds

@ 25 yds
















mark. Carefully retighten the knob, keeping that "0" in perfect alignment. Be sure to note which indicator line is immediately below the target knob because this tells you the rotation. In the case of a Leupold Vari-X III, this usually aligns the 100-yard zero elevation at the center of the target knob's second rotation. This makes the 100-yard zero true only when the "0" is aligned with the "2" line. Remember, your scope has several rotations, with 15 MOA per rotation on a Leupold Vari-X III. If I mistakenly align my knob's "0" on the wrong horizontal line, my shots could impact 15 MOA high or low.

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  • malva
    How to zero leupold target turrets?
    8 years ago

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