How do I Sight in a Rifle Scope?

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  • Written By: A. Rohlandt
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2019
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In order to sight in a rifle scope, first, secure your scope in the mount. Once this is done you should find a suitable location to set up your target. Take different kinds of ammunition to use. Use the bore sight can be used to align the scope. Load the rifle and fire of a test shot, check the target to see if the shot made contact. Repeat the process with different kinds of ammunition to see which gives the best results.

It is important to ensure that you do not over-tighten the scope when you want to sight in a rifle scope. The screws on the mounting rings need to be tightened so that the scope is secure, and the gap between the halves of the rings should be the same on each side. If you have tightened the screws to the extent that the halves of the mounting rings meet, you should loosen it somewhat, as there needs to be a space between the halves.

Finding a suitable location to fire off your test shots should be the next step. The target should be set up at a distance of 100 yards (about 91.4m). It is also a good idea to take a few different kinds of ammunition with you when preparing to sight in a rifle scope. Some experts recommend at least three different kinds of ammunition, so that you are able to see the different results with each kind.


Most rifles come with a bore sight, but removing it simplifies mounting of the scope. Once the scope is mounted the bore sight can be installed again to help line up the scope's recticle. The cross hairs should align perfectly, if they don’t then you should keep adjusting until they do. Once this is done, it is imperative that the bore sight be removed again. Otherwise, you'll risk serious injury and damage to the rifle when firing.

The next step is to load a cartridge into the rifle and to take aim at the center of your target. Fire off the shot and check the target to see if contact was made. It is likely that you will not have hit the target dead center at this point, but don’t worry about it just yet.

It is now time to fire off a few shots at the target with different kinds of ammunition. Try to make notes on where the shots are on the target before switching to a different type of ammunition. If you notice that one type of ammunition produces more accurate results, this should be the ammunition you use in future.

When you sight in a rifle scope, the last step should be to fine tune the scope's settings so that the shots hit just above the center of the target. Setting up the scope in this way will allow you to hit your target at close range or hundreds of yards away. Once this is done you have completed the process and your scope is sighted in.


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Post 2

@Vincenzo -- I agree and I couldn't help but think about the old days when we would practice shooting by heading down to a popular spot for such things near the river. You didn't have to pay a dime to shoot out there, but there wasn't anyone around who could help you sight a scope, suggest good ammunition or anything else.

I do miss the old days when things were more wide open when it came to choosing a spot to fire off rifles and pistols, but there is something to be said for having a place full of people who are knowledgeable about shooting and will share information with you.

Post 1

This is one of the reasons shooting ranges are great. There are usually people who work at those that know about things such as properly sighting in a rifle scope and can help you. Yes, it is possible to sight in a scope on your own but that is often a skill that has to be learned. Having someone around who can show you how to achieve the tricky task of sighting a scope is a great thing.

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