How to Sight in A Scope: A Step-By-Step Guide

Vickie C. Neill015
How to Sight in A Scope: A Step-By-Step Guide

A spotting scope is a great tool when you are hunting down targets from a large distance. These scopes come handy by helping you acquire the target with accuracy in long distance shots. You may have purchased a high-quality scope that goes along with the high-end gun of yours, but you may not know how to sight rifle scope. This will not only decrease your accuracy but also will mean that your investment in such a high-quality scope is going into vain. This is why you must know how to sight a scope properly so that you can increase your accuracy of firing. We’ve gone through the seven steps you can follow to sight properly in a scope.

Step 1: Installing the scope

Make sure that the scope is installed properly. Modern rifles have a dedicated mounting system for a scope, which is why mounting a scope is a very easy task. You must make sure that the scope’s base fits the mounting system of the rifle. When doing so, check that the mount on the rifle and rings on the scope matches. Make sure that the scope makes a click sound when it is mounted.


Step 2: Adjust the eye distance

This step is very important. Adjust the eyepiece in such a way so that you see a clear, distinct image. Adjust the knob until the blurred image is seen as a sharp and clear image. Fine tune the distance between the scope and your eyes. You’ll also need to make sure that the distance is enough so that when you’ve fired a shot, the recoil doesn’t send the scope back too far to hit your eye.


Step 3: Place your gun on a stand

To properly align the sight in the scope, you must ensure that you have a stable shooting position. To do this, you can mount your gun on a shooting bench or a stand. Doing so will reduce the recoil and will securely hold your rifle onto the target. This will ensure that you don’t miss the target.


Step 4: Aligning the Target

You must align the reticle of the scope when you’re zeroing it. It is a very important step which most of the shooters don’t give much attention to. The crosshairs of the scope should perfectly align with the directions of the windage and elevation adjustments in your gun. If they’re not, you need to fix the issue as soon as possible.  If the reticle is not aligned, you might miss your shots. This occurs more when you’re targeting something that’s more than 250 yards away from you.



Step 5: Setting your MOA

Setting your MOA (minute of angle) is another important multi-step process. This angle is the exact angle that the bullet will be off to the target as it moves to a certain degree. Knowing your minute of angle is essential for hitting your target.

To make the bullet’s impact to move one inch or one minute of angle at a distance of 100 yards, you must turn the windage knob, also known as elevation, to four clicks. After each click, the click value increases by ¼ inch for every 100-yard distance. Here is a list of the movement per click of elevation on your rifle scope for a range of distances:

  • 200 yards = ½ inch
  • 300 yards = ¾ inch
  • 400 yards = 1 in.
  • 500 yards = 1¼ in.
  • 600 yards = 1½ in.
  • 700 yards = 1¾ in.
  • 800 yards = 2 in.


Step 6: Fire multiple shots

After you’ve aligned your scope and immobilized your rifle, you must fire multiple shots at the target. Experts suggest shooting three shots so that you get an idea of your accuracy. Using the knowledge of your minute of angle, you must shoot. After the shots have been fired, measure the accuracy of your shots.



Step 7: Keep Re-adjusting

Keep on trying to re-adjust the distance and angles until you have a consistently grouped shots which are close to the bullseye. When you’re consistently hitting the bull eye, you can know that you’ve adjusted your scope properly.



Installing and sighting a rifle scope properly is a very important skill that a shooter must develop. Improper sighting might cause you to miss your target. By following the seven steps mentioned earlier, you will be able to fire at your target with high accuracy consistently. When firing at long distances, you must keep the wind direction and other variables in mind. Also, never shoot at any person or animal, as this might cause fatalities. Lastly, always try to use high-quality equipment when using a shooter rifle. These tools will help you increase your shooting skills and ensure that you’re hitting the target consistently without a miss.

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