How To Use A Rifle Scope



A rifle scope is essential for riflemen as it allows them to see objects at further distances more precisely. There are conventional rifle scopes out in the market that have magnification powers ranging from 1.5x to 50x. And when these scopes are mounted on a rifle, they are often bore sighted (meaning, it isn’t sighted at all) from the gunsmith. If you are taking your gun for the first time to the range, you must get it zeroed; which means that at a certain distance, you will get the bullet to land where the reticle is aimed. Of course, that does not count any changes in windage or elevation. If you have a standard combat rifle or a varmint rifle, you should know that they are usually zeroed at 100 yards. So, let’s get on with the real question here: how do you use a rifle scope?

  • The most conventional way to zero a scope is to determine first how far the bullet lands from the target. Then, you can adjust your scope according to the results. A lot of scopes have knobs for elevation and windage to compensate for the inaccuracies of the rifle. The elevation knob usually sits on the top where it vertically affects the bullet’s POI or point of impact. And on the right side, you will find the windage knob that horizontally affects the bullet’s POI.
  • A mil-dot or Ballistic plex allows a shooter to line up shots at distances even further than the set zeroed point. Most scopes today have this and they also come with a chart where to line the reticle based on a bullet’s weight, caliber and velocity. It is easy to mimic the weight and caliber, but the velocity is another thing. If you want to be as accurate as possible, you might need to create your own chart.
  • If you’re just a hunter like myself or a recreational shooter, it is not practical to get precise measurements of the wind speed and the other factors to adjust the scope. So what should you do? Approximate your calculations so re-zeroing won’t be necessary by holding off the reticle. There are still factors you need to consider when adjusting the scope:
  • Distance to target – this, of course, needs to be calculated for you to zero the scope. If you shoot at a distance it was not zeroed at, take into account the bullet drop or rise.
  • Bullet velocity – it affects the bullet drop amount.
  • Cross wind – it affects how far the bullet will land to the left or right. If you’re only shooting at 100 yards, this won’t be an issue. But if you are doing so at 300 yards using a lighter bullet, it will be.
  • Bullet weight – this usually gets considered when going for longer distances as it determines the maximum effective range of the bullet.
  • Elevation – when you aim at a target which is at a different elevation as you, you need to consider the shot angle; another important variable to the equation.
  • Other factors – head/tail wind, distance from the ground, humidity and even temperature are some of the other factors that are considered (but are not necessary to do so) although they have lesser effects. For example, when it is hot out, the ground gets warmer than the air, thus resulting to a lesser bullet drop.
  • Computer or PDA calculators – if you want to calculate the exact landing position of a bullet based on the major points above, consider having these calculators. This will give you perfect accuracy as they usually assume you re-zero the reticle. If you are only target-shooting, however, you do not need these.
  • Reticle adjustment -if you adjust the reticle position, always keep track of the number of clicks in each direction so if you want to set your scope back to zero, you can do so easily.
  • If you can adjust the parallax, do it according to the distance of your target. Adjustable-power scopes usually have this feature to allow shooters to place the reticle at the same distance plane as the target. This is very important to take a much more accurate shot.
  • When at your zero distance, align the scope’s cross-hairs in the center of your target properly. To compensate for angle, distance and headwind you can either raise or lower the cross-hairs while keeping it at the target’s center.

Although these are the ways which got me through my hunting and shooting experiences well, there still might be modifications for YOU to have the perfect experience. My advice? Keep on practicing and learning how to use your rifle’s potential to the fullest with your rifle scope. If you’re looking to know more about rifle scopes, then we can highly recommend our huge rifle scope guide. The way that you use a rifle scope is also very much like the way you would use an AR-15 Scope? Are you interested to read more about AR-15 Scopes? Then read more on AR-15 Scopes here.

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