Wandering Zero?

I recently replaced an old Simmons 3-9 scope with a brand new Athlon 3-9 on my Lithgow because of wandering zero.

With a break in the weather today I decided to make some noise and bugger me, wandering fucking zero, again.

Everything is tight as a nun’s naughty, so I did a bit of googling before starting this and there are 2 things from the confusing range of opinions, fixed parallax scope and inconsistent eye position.

However, the Simmons has AO parallax adjustment and the Athlon is fixed at 75m on 9x and I have the same issue arising with both, hence my question for those with greater knowledge than mine, WTAF?

Sounds strange, what are the odds on having the same issue with two different scopes? i’d be questioning if there may be an issue with the gun or mounts. Have you got another scope you could throw on to test? If the third one wanders too then the scope isn’t the issue.

I’m wondering if it’s me.

New scope doing the same as an old one on a new rifle would seem to suggest that, to my confused mind, but I don’t even know how much I don’t know.

Before I put the Simmons on I was using the big Hawke Sidewinder I use on the .223 and had no problems, it’s only since I put it back on the Howa and changed to the smaller that this arose.

Yes, I could put the Hawke back on it but then I’d have no scope for the Howa and would have to burn up some more ammo resetting zero on it when swapping back.

I love burning up ammo but with my primer supply now in single digits, I’m not keen to do that.

I have 2 other scopes, an even older Nikko and a Bushnell Banner that I’m fairly sure is a chinese counterfeit as it came from fleabay and has an intermittently sticking turret, so I don’t trust it.

It’s not a minor wander either, 8 clicks high and 8 left at 50m, this time.

I noticed it with some S&B hv, then their subs so I tried the Lapua Center X which is my 50m zero and it too was off.

It’s driving me nuts, and it’s not a long drive on the average day :roll_eyes:

Have you had the action out if the stock? I’d be taking everything apart making sure everythings fit and torqued down as it should be, eliminate that vairiable, then its just a process of elimination from there, have someone else shoot it, use different ammo, have a rock solid setup for zeroing ( rear bag etc )

Whats the group like? Any photos?

Both my lithgows were awesome rifles

Groups are great with all ammo I’ve tested except for the Aguila 60gn telegraph poles. Six different brands of ammo, hv, standard velocity and subs
It’s particularly good with the Lapua ammo. It’s their centre point that wanders.

I haven’t had the action out since I floated it and changed the trigger spring just after I got it got.
I originally put the Hawke on it, it had no problems.

One of the first things I did was check all connections were tight.

I’ve been hoping it’s me but if that was the case I would imagine it would have happened with the Hawke, both on the Lithgow and the Howa it usually lives on.

I’ve had a Lithgow for a few years and have now seen and handled lots on the range. They are consistently accurate rifles. First thing, assuming everything is snug and tight is have a decent shooter try it and see if they replicate your results.

From what I’m reading though it sounds like inconsistent technique.

It happens to me, it happens to everyone. Really taking the time the control breathing, position and trigger on every single shot takes discipline. It’s easy to slack off on technique and groups widen accordingly.

Not having a go at your shooting ability but try to remove variables as much as possible and definitely have someone else try the rifle. Those groups look pretty good. Being two separate scopes makes me highly sceptical it’s the rig causing the issue. Unless the weaver mounts on the Lithgow are loose.

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No offence taken, it’s my main suspicion that I’m the cause.

I’ve been doing my plinking out the back door, seated with the rifle on front and rear bags to try to steady things as much as possible.

What I find bizarre is that it’s only happened on the Lithgow and only with the smaller scopes.

I’d been whacking an average of 600 rabbits a year, out to 400m with the .223 before getting the Lithgow.

If it stops pissing down, I’ll pull it all down again tomorrow and start again.

I’ve been wanting to join the small bore club in town, they have some spooky good shooters, if the problem’s still extant after tomorrow I’ll take it to them and get someone to give it a go.

@Gaznazdiak so are those photos of the ‘wondering zero’ or just pics of groups :slight_smile: Bit of context, please.

Good point.

They’re just average groups.
When it wanders, the group size does open a little as well, maybe 15-20%.

Perfect day for testing, sunny and no bastard wind so I’ll put up a new target and see what I get today.

Just remembered something as I fired the first group, I have the scope somewhat forward to allow for the Pard007. I just noticed, being hyper aware of all variables, that I’m slightly ahead of a comfortable eye relief so I’ll reset it and start again.

Thank y’all.

It’s only the first group after repositioning the scope but I hope it’s an indication of what I’d done wrong.
This is 5 Lapua Center X at 50m

Sellier and Bellot sub

The Lithgow does love the Lapua.

If it stays like this :crossed_fingers:

These are grouping half the size of Power Points

$11/50 :hugs:


More strangeness today, the above Aguila group is 50m, the one below is 75m.
In my admittedly limited target experience the greater the range the bigger the group size.
It seems however that these Super Extra like 75m better than 50m

and a whole lot better than 100m, below
I didn’t bother trying to correct for the bastard wind

If groups are tight but ‘zero’ is changing, I suggest inconsistent position & eye relief are the issue. Small changes in parallax make a big difference. Small changes in position will make a fair difference to cheek weld & eye relief.

If anything was loose, I’d be expecting shotgun style grouping; same with shot release technique. Tipping you try focusing on position and maybe spend some time optimising scope mounting positioning to allow you best margin for error. From memory, a lot of small & budget scopes can be pretty restrictive and unforgiving of variation in eye relief…

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It seems that incorrect eye relief was the culprit, as you suggest, no doubt with a dose of me chucked in.

Hopefully the forecast is right and I have a few days of clear, going murdering today :smirk_cat:


Perfect day for pew today so I retested, without the bloody wind :muscle:

So, thanks to those who took the time to offer their advice, things once again as they should be.

:beers: :index_pointing_at_the_viewer: