How to Sight In a Rifle Scope

Sighting in a rifle scope can be challenging, even for experienced shooters who can control their breathing and heart rate. It requires holding the body steady and controlling the breath, but other factors like air temperature, barometric pressure, and wind can affect accuracy. There are two ways to sight-in a rifle scope: using a laser bore-sighting device or shooting at large paper targets. Combining both methods can ensure maximum accuracy and save ammunition.

Use a Laser Bore Sight

To use a laser bore sight, hang a reflective target at a specific distance and at a height even with the muzzle of your rifle when it’s sitting on your bench rest. Choose the appropriately sized collet bushing that most closely matches your bore diameter and slide it onto the slim end of the laser bore sight. Slide the collet into the muzzle until the crown of the muzzle meets the flair in the body of the bore sight. Turn on the laser and aim it at the center of the reflective target while looking through your rifle scope. Adjust your reticules to align with the laser in the center of the target, and your rifle scope is now sighted in!

sighting in a rifle scope

Although sighting in a rifle scope using this method can be effective, there is a considerable margin of error. To ensure accuracy, I like to combine this method of sighting in a rifle scope with the other method by taking my rifle out and shooting it at paper targets from a bench rest after using the laser bore sight to “get it on the paper.” Start with different brands of ammunition with different bullet weights. If you reload your own ammunition, you can ensure quality control and test small batches of specific loads to see if they work well with your rifle. I choose to reload my own ammunition because it allows me to ensure quality control and test small batches of specific loads to see if they work well with my rifle. It may seem unconventional, but it’s true. When I go to the range, I bring various loads with different brands of bullets and weights because each rifle prefers a specific combination of brass, primer, powder, and bullet.

Shooting at Paper Targets

First, to properly sight in a rifle scope, ensure you are comfortable and wearing hearing protection. Assume your shooting position and acquire the target in the scope. Place the reticules on the center of the target, take a few deep breaths, let the last one out halfway, and hold it. Steady the crosshairs on the target and squeeze the trigger. Check the shot placement through your spotting scope. If the shot is off-center, fire another shot before adjusting the reticules, as you may have flinched.

If the second shot lands near the first, adjust your reticules accordingly. One click on the scope turret equals 1/4″ of adjustment on the target at 100 yards. For example, if your target is 100 yards away and you are three inches high and two inches right, adjust your horizontal reticule up to twelve clicks and your vertical reticule right by eight clicks. Always adjust the reticules towards the point of impact. Remember that hot weather can increase the power of your gunpowder and cause shots to land high, while high humidity can decrease the ballistic coefficient of your bullet and cause shots to land low. Shooting uphill or downhill will also cause shots to land high. This is because gravity only affects the bullet as if it were traveling a horizontal flight path.

If you want to practice your shooting skills without spending much on ammunition, consider purchasing a high-quality .22 caliber air rifle or a .22 LR with a good-quality scope as a training rifle. When selecting an optic, it’s important to know what to look when buying a rifle scope for to ensure you get a good one. This will allow you to fire hundreds of rounds for a fraction of the cost of using a centerfire rifle, and the skills you gain will be helpful in your pursuit of larger game. Accuracy is crucial when hunting, so take the time to properly sight in your rifle scope for the best results.

About the Author

Logan Scott

I love the outdoors, hunting and spending my time exploring the pacific north west.

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