How To Sight-In A Rifle Scope

Let’s face it; whatever rifle scope you use, sighting is still a thing to know about. I know. I have been target shooting and hunting for years and to get accurate shots, you can never skip sighting the scope. For novices, it could be really time-consuming and difficult so I am here to share how to do it and get your target once and for all! We highly recommend the video above as it is a lot easier to show on video, but if you are interested in reading it as text format, we have written a guide for you on how to sight-in a rifle scope.

Mounting the scope: This is a very basic step, but a very important one. Make sure that you have mounts designed to take as much recoil that your rifle will produce. This way, your scope would not fly off when you shoot. Trust me; there is a high probability of getting injuries when they do. I have tried shooting a 30-06 with a .22 scope and I admit, it was a stupid choice. What was I thinking, right?! Also, check if the mounts are tightened. Use lock-tite if you find the need to.

Getting additional gears:

I value my rifle like it’s my child and like a parent, I did everything I can to protect it.

  • Have a padding of some kind so you won’t damage the finish of your rifle as well as avoid body aches and sores.
  • At least a hundred rounds for ammunition is a great start.
  • Screwdrivers are handy in case you have to adjust your scope.
  • Sandbags or a rifle rest would give you more stability and lesser error.
  • A bore sighter can help you go through the sighting process smoother.
  • Targets, of course. It’s even harder to shoot if you don’t know what you’re aiming at.
  • A pair of binoculars.
  • Tripod, if you prefer using it on your rifle.

Bore sighting the rifle to 100 yards:

  • Set your targets at 25 and 100 yards/meters at the range.
  • Use any gear you find comfortable to secure and steady the rifle as you sight it. Note: Do not rest any part of your rifle on a hard surface.
  • For bolt-action rifles: remove the bolt and align the bore with the target by looking down through it.
  • For single-shot rifles: Open the action.
  • For auto-loader rifles: My apologies that this method of bore sighting isn’t applicable.
  • Adjust your rifle stand to center your view on the 100-yard target. Look through the breech end to do so.
  • Adjust your scope to align the cross-hairs on the same object. Do not move the rifle.

Sighting the rifle to 25 yards:

  • After bore sighting, replace the bolt.
  • Find the highest magnification that would still give you a clear image and set your scope at that.
  • Fire a round at the center of the 25-yard target.

Cease firing:

  • Make sure that the rifle is unloaded before looking at your target. You can use the binoculars or a spotting scope for this. I use spotting scopes for this since they have a higher magnification, but if your binoculars can cater to this, then there is no need for you to get a spotting scope.
  • Adjust according to the shot grouping you made. Observe and see what you can do to adjust. Example, if you got your bullet to hit the bottom left corner, adjust your scope upwards and then to the right. You can also refer to the instructions on sighting provided by your scope’s manufacturer.
  • Repeat the process until you get your bullet to hit the center! Practice makes perfect and that’s where everyone gets better.

Sighting to 100 yards:

  • Let your barrel cool down then find a position where you are comfortable and relaxed. Then, slowly and carefully fire three shots.
  • Like what you did previously, check the shot grouping. Adjust the rifle’s sight to get the bullets hit about 3 inches above the center of the target when you aim for the bullseye. This lets you have the most effective maximum range.

Finally got the rhythm? That’s great! If not, do not lose hope and keep on practicing. I will share with you some tips that might help you along the way:

  • Adjusting your scope at only one direction at a time helps you get the best results.
  • When you go hunting, the bullets and grain you used when sighting in are the best choice to use. After all, you have grown accustomed to them when you were practicing.
  • Remember that it takes time to sight in a rifle, but the effort to do so is so much worth it!
  • To confirm shot placement, use at least three shot groups.
  • Cool off the barrel between calibration shots.
  • Get a firearms handling class or hunters’ safety class if you have plans on shooting or hunting around others. It increases your safety as well as the safety of the people around you.
  • Don’t rush to shoot. Follow your scope’s movement along with slow and steady breathing.

Guns are dangerous if not used right. Whether you go hunting or just shooting targets, they are still guns. I just wanted to share with you about sighting in a rifle scope, but I am taking this opportunity to give you a few warnings as well:

  • Make sure of your target and check what might be behind it. This is an easy task, but it is imperative that you ALWAYS do so.
  • Do not (and I mean, do not ever do this!) point your gun at something that isn’t your target. You might get tempted to, but please don’t. If it isn’t one of your shooting or hunting target, do not get your gun to its direction.
  • Only put your finger on the trigger when you are ready to shoot.

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