Point of impact not matching point of aim

Hey all,

When I initially zero’d my rifle I had it hitting right on the point of aim. However, the next time I was at the range it was hitting a little to the right but still grouping the same. This is all at 100m.

I’ve also noticed when watching accuracy videos the impact points are often a little away from the red square/circle.

Is this just a result of slight variance in wind and temperature? Or is something else causing the point of impact to be slightly inconsistent?

The reason I ask is because I haven’t yet set the zero stop on my scope and I was wondering if this is something to obsess over or not really worry about, ha.


It’s often caused by slight variation in conditions. You may have zeroed in a slight breeze, the next time the breeze is slightly different. Can sometimes take a few visits to fine tune a click here or there.
It’s not impossible that the scope is shifting , I’ve had scope failures. But generally modern scopes are pretty solid.
Slight variance box to box in ammo can happen. Assuming you are using the same ammo.
Could be the difference in a cold and warm barrel. Assuming it’s still grouping , fine tune your zero. You will eventually find the right average.

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Yeah using the same ammo, forgot to mention that.

Thanks heaps for the info man, that makes sense. Ill take your advice and keep fine tuning until a find an average.

Start here. Are you using the same ammo?

Also look at your personal set up. Ie: how you approach your shooting session.

  • shooting from bench?
  • shooting prone?
  • shooting off hand?
  • shooting from various field positions?

Small differences in your position, cheek weld, eye relief, posture with the fire arm & even position on the trigger can all have the effect you’re referring to.
You may be consistent in these shot to shot within a session but slightly off in each session.
As @Supaduke suggests, finding an average that is acceptable across sessions & conditions is probably the best solution.
If you are chasing tiny groups or chasing Xs, then it’s a matter of addressing each of these one by one to be consistent session to session & shot to shot. Then you go down the rabbit hole of learning wind or tuning ammo or upgrading equipment… I’m convinced most of the time the problem lies in personal technique but it’s always easier for us to blame the gear…
Good luck :nerd_face::+1:

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Shooting from a bench at eagle park.

Thanks for the info, those factors make sense too. I was playing with a few different positions my second and third time out trying to get a comortable shooting position. Speaking of which, if anyone has any advice for setting a comfortable and stable Bench position I’d love to hear it.

Groups were still fine, just sligjt variance in point of impact.

Yeah, I’ll find a happy medium and go from there.


Shooting at the bench, first thing a lot of people miss, make sure you are sitting properly, feet in front of you not splayed out. Make sure you are nice and close to the bench. Make sure you are positioned properly. Make sure you and the gun have a natural point of aim at the target. Adjust bipod/bag height and position. Make sure yourself and the gun are in a relaxed position. No twisting or weird angles.
If you want tiny groups, being in proper shooting position is half the battle won.

If shooting off the bench, tuck your offhand under the stock. Don’t hold the forend, bipod , scope or mag. Tuck it up under the buttstock. If using a rear bag, hold that and squeeze to adjust elevation. If using no bag , move your offhand forward and back on the buttstock to adjust elevation. Pull the stock back into your shoulder. Gently load the bipod by leaning forward.

At this point your rifle should be naturally pointing at the intended target and require minimal adjustment.

For trigger pull, there are various methods. I use two , depending on the gun.

One is to have the tip of your thumb inline with the trigger on the back of the stock. Then gently squeeze your thumb and trigger finger together like a crab.

The other is to imagine a line down the centre of your rifle , you want to pull the trigger directly back along that line.

Aim small , miss small. Don’t aim at the dot, aim at the centre of the dot.

Focus on the crosshairs not the target.

Breathing, couple different methods.

I use the Breathe in, breathe out…., at the bottom of the breath, relax body, shoot.

This is not definitive but it’s the method I use for bench plinking with good success. Some of it may be useful , most of it you guys will know already.


Thanks for the tips - used them to shoot one of my best groups ever from the 515.

Do you have any tips on how to look down the the scope the same way every time? The next group really opened up, and I think it was because I wasn’t quite looking down the scope the same way after lifting between shots.

Other than make note of a position on your cheek or face. It’s just an experience thing. Make sure you have no black blur around the outside. Should have a nice full crisp view. Assuming that , should be good to go.

Try to get your distance behind the scope the same as well move your head back and forth so that there is no shadowing. Then move your head up and down slightly paying attention to the cross hairs on the target. They should not move with the slight movement of your head if they do adjust the parallax adjustment to remove the movement of the cross hairs.

I like to set my scope up with eye relief that allows for a slight black rim in the sight picture. If the black rim is even then you have no parallax. If it’s eleven, Faust your cheek weld until it’s even. Won’t take long to learn what cheek weld gives best results and for it to become second nature.

Thanks for the tips - I definitely adjust my head so that the black ring is even and as small as possible.
The scope does have an adjustable parallax, so I’ll check that out.

Tbh, I think I’m probably fussing over nothing. The group was bigger by only a few cm.

I’m also starting to think it was my own focus - that kind of feeling when you’ve been staring down the scope for too long, and your eye starts to feel dry and blurry?

Focus is easy to lose. Takes discipline to put it all together every shot. Especially when plinking, easy to slack off. You’ll see the difference when you consciously focus on all the elements, position, breathing , trigger pull.
Only thing that will improve you at this point is trigger time and working on the fundamentals until they become second nature.

One important thing that I seldom see people mention is follow through.
Do all of your shot set up, breathing, timing, focus, break the shot and then, “stay in the gun”. That is, stay in your shot position, don’t lift your head, don’t cycle the bolt, ( I’m pretty sure no-one is shooting back at you), don’t wiggle your arse, don’t do anything but maintain your final position and watch your aiming point through your sights. It don’t matter if you’re looking through a scope, peep or iron barrel sights, keep looking through them until well after your shot hits the target.
Relaxing at the moment you break the shot or looking up will cause your shot to go high. Laying into the gun against recoil will cause it to go low.
Also, don’t dwell on your sight picture, waiting and waiting for it to improve will only make it get worse. So will holding your breath. Your eyes get starved for oxygen real fast when you hold your breath.
Tensing up is also an accuracy killer, learn to shoot relaxed. This really comes into play when trying to shoot groups, the pressure you put on yourself is the biggest hurdle when it comes to keeping all of your shots together. Nice, really tight 3 shot and 4 shot groups aren’t that hard to do, the 5th shot “flyers” very seldom are, they’re just shooter error.
Consistency in shot preparation, mounting your rifle, getting good sight picture, breaking the shot and following through are only learned through repetition.
Of coarse, throw in some dodgy weather/winds and you start to learn how to shoot.


Establishing a position with natural point of aim is also critical & is evident when following through as Dan mentions above.
NPA is when the rifle aligns with the target without being pushed, pulled or forced onto target. With good NPA & follow through, your sights will return to point of aim when returning battery under recoil.


Yeah, what Gwion said.

An extreme example of maintaining NPA is a well set up benchrest rifle. With the use of very high end bench set ups, these guys barely touch the rifle when shooting, it is set up aiming where they want it, it always behaves the same on firing. no muzzle flip, no wobble just consistent controlled movement directly back under recoil. It gets returned to battery after the shot and behaves exactly the same for the next one. It comes down to the shooters ability to read the conditions, (wind, mirage) to get the results. (The ultimate accuracy of their rifle also helps)
I’ve watched Stuart Elliot at an International event shoot a tiny ragged one hole group without even looking through his scope, So confident in how his rifle was set up on point of aim he didn’t need to. He just watched his indicators and shot the “condition” he was set up for.

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Npa is great when you break the trigger when you shouldn’t have. It will naturally point to the target and instead of it being a complete miss you’ll at least get some points. This is really important in the 100m offhand in 3P.

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I’ve done similar shooting my blackpowder cartridge rifles. They both have double set triggers and once set you only have to breath on the trigger for it to go off. Scares the shit out of you if you touch it off when not meaning to, but if I’m in position on the cross-sticks, It’s usually a hit on target.

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