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How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

how to adjust a rifle scope

Adding a rifle scope to your firearm can make shooting more fun, but to get the full benefit of using a rifle scope, you must know how to adjust it properly. The most important adjustment is to make sure your scope is zeroed. Zeroing refers to adjusting the scope for elevation and ensuring that the scope’s point-of-aim on the target is the same as the point-of-impact where the bullet hits the target.

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

Before you start zeroing your rifle scope, it’s important to make sure that the scope is installed properly. Take the time to make sure that your scope is mounted correctly on top of your rifle because if it isn’t, you will be repeating the zeroing process.

The first step is to bore sight your scope, which is a quick way to get your scope and rifle approximately calibrated so that when you shoot, the bullet hole will be somewhere on the target, allowing you to see what further tuning is necessary.

You must secure the rifle so that it points to the target naturally and rests on its own. Make sure you remove the bolt for bolt action rifles or remove the lower receiver from the upper receiver for AR-style rifles.

Next, place a large target 25 yards away, and look through the barrel of your firearm. Center the bullseye on the bore and lock the gun’s position so it won’t move at all. Once your gun is secured, look through the scope. Rotate the elevation turret until the crosshair is the same level vertically as the bullseye, and repeat the process for the windage dial until the crosshair is directly on the bullseye.

When you’re done, reassemble your rifle and shoot one shot at 25 yards toward your bullseye. If the bullet lands on the target, it’s time to begin the full zeroing process. If you don’t land on paper at all, repeat the bore sighting process.

At this point, move the target back to 100 yards and take one shot. If you hit the paper, shoot two more times. If all of them land on the target, you will have a three-shot group. Estimate the center of the triangle and measure its distance and direction from the bullseye. With this information, you can further adjust your scope. For example, if the center of the triangle is two inches low and five inches to the right of the bullseye, you will need to adjust your scope two inches up and five inches to the left.

With this process done, it’s time to test again. Take another three shots, and if everything is correct, the center of your group should coincide with the bullseye on the target. If it doesn’t, it may be necessary to make a few small adjustments. Once you are satisfied with where the rifle is printing bullets, the rifle is zeroed.