If you want to improve the longevity and accuracy of your target practice skills, it is important to learn how to sight in a scope.
Sighting a rifle scope can be difficult at first, especially for beginners, so it is essential to know the right steps to follow to ensure proper alignment.
If you are not sure what sight in scope is or why you need to do it, you have come to the right place. For all this information, plus a detailed guide on how to sight in a scope, keep scrolling down.
Properly Sighting A Scope
Before you learn how to sight in a scope, it is a good idea to review what this concept means. Sight in a scope refers to aligning the direction of the scope with the gun’s barrel.
You need to have your scope and barrel pointed in the same direction to ensure your long-range accuracy and unimpeded view during target practice.
Before You Get Started
Part of understanding how to sight in a scope is learning where your scope should be situated on the rifle.
Once you decide the range you want your scope sighted to, it is far easier to make the adjustments. We advise that you have your scope sighted in to a range of 50 or 100 yards for optimal accuracy.
If you intend to zero your firearm to a longer range such as 200 or 300 yards, start your sight-in at a closer distance and adjust from there. After you are on paper, you can alter the scope for the longer range you desire.
If you want to learn how to sight your scope quickly and precisely, it is best to use a sturdy platform that will give you a solid foundation to work with.
Many shooting ranges have benches you can use that do not move around so that is a great place to begin.
Another thing you will need to learn how to sight in a scope is a place to rest your rifle on while you make the adjustments.
A gun vice or even shooting bags will do. Just make sure that whatever item you pick to rest your firearm on is solid and will not move while you are sighting in your scope.
If you will be bore-sighting, you will peer into the barrel or bore of your gun to align the scope. If you have a bolt-gun, before you learn how to sight in a scope, disengage the bolt so you can see straight down the barrel.
If you have an AR kind of rifle, you need to push the bolt forward and take out the 2 pins holding it in place, before disengaging the bolt. You should end up with the upper, minus the bolt, allowing you to look into the barrel with an unimpeded view.
Why Do You Need to Sight in Your Scope?
It may seem like an obvious point, but one of the main reasons it is wise to learn how to sight in a scope is to maintain a clear view during target practice. If your scope is misaligned with the barrel of the gun, your range will be off and you will look everywhere but where you need to be aiming.
Along the same lines, another good reason to learn how to sight in a scope is to ensure your accuracy. When you are dealing with long-range targets, adjusting your scope to make sure it aligns properly with the barrel of your gun is essential to honing your shooting skills.
If you learn how to sight in a scope the right way, it will not take much time and you can get down to target practice in no time.
How to Sight in a Scope
Check Your Scope Installation
The first step of how to sight in a scope is to check your scope’s installation position. The majority of rifles have an easy mounting mechanism for your scope. Perhaps your rifle has pre-drilled holes for the base of the scope or a grooved design like the Picatinny and Weaver systems.
Whatever the case may be, if your scope is mounted incorrectly or your rings are not the correct fit for your rifle model, you will run into trouble. So, before proceeding with how to sight in a scope, make sure that your scope is mounted properly and that the rings are in the right place and match the base.
Fine Tune Your Eyepiece
The next step of how to sight in a scope is to fine-tune your eyepiece. The eyepiece needs to be positioned so you can see without issue. You can easily adjust the scope to ensure you have sufficient eye relief.
Eye relief is the space between your eye and the end of the scope. It is an essential aspect of learning how to sight in a scope. There is an easy way to know if your eyepiece is in the right position. You need to ensure that the space between the scope and your eye suffices to avoid you receiving a shock from recoil.
If a shot pushed the scope back, and the recoil caused the scope to hit your eye, you could be severely injured. Play it safe, fine-tune your eyepiece, and make sure you have enough wiggle room to work with.
Level It Out
This step in learning how to sight in a scope requires you to level out your firearm so you are in a stable position to shoot from. Remember when we told you to choose a sturdy platform previously to sight your scope? Look for a shooting bench featuring a mount. You could even use a bipod if the shooting bench is not stable enough to meet your needs.
Both items will work to level out your firearm and give you the stability you need. However, a mount might be preferable because it can negate recoil as much as 95% while still ensuring the accuracy of your shot.
Adjust the Reticle
Now, it is time to adjust the reticle to make sure it is properly aligned. When learning how to sight in a scope, most shooters do not even think about the reticle’s alignment. Nonetheless, it is an important aspect of how to sight in a scope.
If you do not align your scope to allow for elevation and windage, you could experience a “reticle cant”. This canted reticle could interrupt your shooting, making you miss the target and sending your ammo either right or left of your intended spot. This is particularly true if you are aiming for a target that is 250 yards or more away from your shooting position.
Set Your Zero
The next aspect of learning how to sight in a scope is to set your zero. This involves multiple steps and may take a little time for beginners, but you will quickly get the hang of it.
It may be easiest to set your zero when at an outdoor shooting range since the process requires you to have targets at varying ranges. You also need to have a mount handy to stabilize your rifle when setting your zero.
Most scopes will let you alter the crosshairs in quarter MOA, or minute of angle, sections. This translates to 1/4 inch adjustment for every click, assuming you are sighting at 100 yards. Many shooters prefer 1/8 and 1/4 inch minute of angle click increments.
If you want the impact of your bullet adjusted by 1 inch, or 1 minute of angle at 100 yards, alter the windage knob or elevation by 4 clicks. For every 100-yard distance increase, the click value adjusts by 1/4 inch.
Fire Groups of 3 Shots
This next step of how to sight in a scope requires you to fire groups of 3 shots to see where they hit the target. This will enable you to alter your scope to targets at varying distances. For instance, you might wish to sight in at 100 yards to hit the center at 200 yards.
Modify as Needed
The final step for how to sight in a scope is to modify your distance as needed. You may find that one distance works better for you over another, so keep adjusting until you can make your grouped shots near or on the bulls-eye of the target.
Once that is accomplished, you can try hitting targets that are a longer way off. If you try for targets further away, remember to account for not only the target distance and scope, but elements like the wind.
Learning how to sight in a scope is not an inherently complicated process, but it may take time and practice before you land on the distance that works best for you.
Practice the steps we discussed until you feel comfortable. You will know you have sighted your scope accurately when you can hit one set of grouped shots after another on the bulls-eye.
Larry, who is a family man and a gun enthusiast, enjoys keeping his collection in pristine condition. He also likes to take his kids shooting as often as possible.