A Ballistic Surgeon Talks Zeroing

We’re honored to present a guest post from Jim Gilliland of Shadow 6 Consulting today. Remember this newspaper story from a few years back? Anyway, Jim remains on active duty but does run Shadow 6 on the side. He’s an excellent instructor, an excellent shot and most of all an incredibly humble and loyal friend. It’s a big deal for us to have him on here (and for the great chow we’ve been sharing at Jim and Melissa’s house!).


Jim Gilliland

Lets talk zeroing. Once you have a baseline on your rifle and your pre-fire checks are complete, You can get out to the range and get that rifle zeroed. If you will notice the shot group in this picture, the holes are all over the square. Now this may not be all that bad of a shot group for your hunting rifle however, you can also bet that this was completed with a center square hold.

What that means is that the shooter placed the cross hairs on the center of the black square and tried to shoot the center of the square. Doing this gives the shooter some issues. The shooter using this technique will have to try to center their cross hair every time without having a definable aiming point. This will cause the shot group to open up due to slight variances in the “hold”. (Aim big hit big).

If this shooter would have used the tip of one of the corners of the box as the aiming point,it would have given them a very specific and tiny point to aim. Using this technique also allows the shooter the “line up” their vertical and horizontal cross hairs with the side and top of the box. Now you have a VERY small aiming point that you can easily repeat thus giving you a tighter group. (Aim small, miss small).

Jim Gilliland giving us our own private lesson…

Once you are satisfied with your grouping, you should to what is called a “box drill”. This is where you keep one aiming point and dial your scope up 2 MOA, fire one round, left 2 MOA fire a round, down 2 MOA fire a round, and then Right 2 MOA and fire a round. If you have performed this correctly your last round should make your point of aim be your point of impact and you should have a perfect “square” of holes in your target. If you do not, something is wrong with your equipment. Either you scope is not tracking, you have loose rings or mounts, or you are having some other shooter or equipment malfunction. After you are Zeroed and you have shot your “box drill” you should be confident that you are ready to hit what you aim at.


1. you are going to have to shoot your rifle for a few “fouling” rounds to get it to settle in.

2. You have to shoot at a slow cadence to ensure you dont heat your bbl up. doing this will change your cold bbl impact giving you a false zero and you may miss your first round with a cold bbl.

3. DONT CLEAN IT… You have your rifle just as it needs to be to be repeatable, so do not change anything with it and it will not change.

4. After all this, Start your training. Your first shot down range should always be a challenging one. It is your first round that will always count so make sure you are able to use it properly. After you have taken that first shot, record where it hit and make a mental note of it. Then shoot in different positions using different distances to mimic the hunting situations you may encounter.

Now…. Go get some range time in and make it count!

James Gilliland

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Swingin' Dick

Richard "Swingin' Dick" Kilgore is half of the most storied celebrity action figure team in the world (and the half that doesn't prefer BBWs). He believes in American Exceptionalism, America, holding the door for any woman (lady or whore) and the idea that you should be held accountable for what comes out of your fucking mouth. Swingin' Dick has been a warrior gyrovague for many years now and is, apparently, impossible to kill -- he once had a complete body transplant after an IED hit the gun truck in which he was riding. True story, one of the Cav guys mailed his head and arm home. Swingin' Dick comes from a long line of soldiers and LEOs (his Great Uncle commanded an Air Cav battalion in Vietnam and his many times removed great grandfather was one of the few original Burt Mossman era Arizona Rangers). Swingin' Dick detests Joy Behar and Chris Matthews almost as much as he enjoys traveling the world to crush crime vice and evil. He believes the opportunity to lead eeeelight team of Breach Bang Clear minions is the most improbably awesome thing an action figure has ever done and he's immensely proud of his perfect hair. Loyalty and respect should start from the top down.

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