The Best and Effective Steps on How to Adjust a Scope

So you have bought yourself the world’s most high-end and expensive firearms. However, you will never know your rifle’s potential if it is not paired with a top-end scope or any optical devices which will allow you to maximize your usage and test the potential of your rifles. It is also important that you are knowledgeable as to how to adjust a scope.

This article is aimed to those who are seeking for information on how to adjust a scope. Here, we will provide the basic knowledge that you need to know to be able to learn the importance of having a proper zero when shooting and targeting.


Understanding The Big Three Rifle Scope Adjustments And What These Turrets Do

Adjusting your scope or optic is the process of carefully aiming your weapon in the most stable position possible. It attempts to place the crosshair where the gun is shooting rounds. This process includes using both turrets to carefully move the crosshair up, down, left and right.

There are three most common rifle scope adjustments that are very attractive with almost all shooters, professional or not. It is best to have these scope turrets explained as it will give you a better view and understanding of your rifle scopes and rifle scope adjustment knobs. The three common turrets are as follows:

Before proceeding, you can check on the following video for visuals and more ideas:

1. Windage

Windage is commonly understood in MOA or Minute of Angle and is expressed in inches. By turning the scope of a turret, you will be able to make adjustment increments. Here, one click represents a minute of angle which can be translated to a change of about an inch at 100 yards. Windage is your left and right adjustments taking into consideration as to how the wind blows.

As a general principle, you should be mindful that changing the elevation of the sight setting by one minute of angle also modify the bullet’s impact point by one inch at 100 yards. Also, not all scopes are calibrated for MOA or precise to the inch. Thus, the theory behind MOA and the way your scope incorporates this method compared to other scopes will greatly vary. It is best to remember that you can only gauge what a click means until you have personally tested it or have seen it in action.

2. Elevation

Elevation turrets and Windage turrets work on the same principle. The only difference is that adjustments in elevation turrets move the up and down impact points of your rounds and it can be made in the field for extremely far and long range shots.

Your bullet starts to drop when shooting past certain ranges which require for the scope to be zeroed for certain distances to be able to compensate for the bullet drop entirely.

3. Parallax

Although most of the manufacturers nowadays are already setting the parallax at the factory and may not require the shooter to make some adjustments, it is still best to include this in the discussion as it will help the shooter to gain a full understanding of his rifles.

Target Practice

So, to fully understand parallax, it is how the target moves away from the reticle as you move your head. Meaning, when you look through the scope, and you move your eye just a little bit to the left and right, your crosshairs seem to get off-target just a little bit in the opposite direction.

In your zeroing, if the parallax is out of adjustment, zeroing at a range is possible, but you will not be able to hit your point of aim. Since this can obviously affect your point of aim, adjusting the parallax especially at extreme ranges would be very helpful to have a precise and accurate shot even at long distances.(if you want to learn about  shooting tripod click here)

So, here are the easiest ways to adjust the parallax settings:

  • As you sight down the scope, ensure that the reticle is right on the target and showing you a clear and crisp image.
  • Slightly and slowly adjust the parallax turret while moving your head and eyes up and down to monitor and achieve the desired settings.
  • You can continue doing step number two (#2) until you no longer see any movement in the reticle and your target.

Steps on How to Adjust a Scope

1. The Proper Ways Of Scope Installation

a) Ensure that base and rings are mounted securely onto the scope

Superior base and rings should be use ensuring proper holding of the scope for years and to prevent you from adjusting from time to time. So, installing the mount requires you to tighten your screws putting the instructions provided in the user’s manual into consideration.

b) The scope should then be mounted on the firearm

Following the manufacturer’s directions, the scope should be laid into the brace with the eyepiece leaning in the accurate direction. A small spirit level must be used and lay it on top of the scope to scrutinize for level and use it to tighten up the rings.

c) Correct positioning of the eyepiece

Established the distance by using the eye which you are comfortable targeting with to make sure that you have the correct position when shooting. Make sure to have a definite and unblemished image provided by the eyepiece.

d) Cross-hair should always be leveled

First, ensure that the rifle is in a constant position. It should be fixed to a base where the gun stock is equally leveled to the ground. Then, rotate the cross-hair should be rotated to allow the vertical to be properly aligned and oriented. .

e) Tightened your base firmly

While ensuring that the cross-hair is still on the proper alignment, steadily constrict your rings. Then, tense each screw while making sure that cross-hair has not moved.

Weapon On Gun Range

2. Setting the Zero

a) Range-test your rifle scope

For a gun scope to accurately sight-in, test it at the gun field for you to measure the distance and the range.

b) Use a rest to mount the gun

Mount your rifle into a stand to provide yourself an accurate zero. If you cannot find a compact firearm stand, find an even spot for targeting and shooting. You can use a pile of books, boots or jackets to help you get a regular position.

c) To create a momentum, shot three times to five times

Training the sight on the bulls-eye upon looking through the scope, make sure that the shooting field is already hot. Use an appropriate stock to check weld and to maintain similar sight picture.

Then, ensure that the rifle’s safety catch is on the off position then squeeze the trigger firmly after the end of your exhale to achieve the most precise shot. Perform the same process three to five times to create a momentum.

d) Scrutinize your shot and review your hits and misses

Discharge your gun and recover your target board to review it and for you to have an exact representation of your rounds.

e) Knob adjustments, then recheck

Through your knobs located at the top and on the side of the optic, you can now make changes. Follow the steps below for clear and concise instructions.

  • Once the adjustments are made, fire a few more sequences, evaluate the groupings then readjust.
  • Do not forget to identify the bullet holes in the target or use a different target for you not to get confused.

f) Little adjustments one at a time

Since you are still making adjustments, it is recommended that you start with small number of yards then increase it slowly. Once you are already confident with your adjustments, you can increase it again. One thing that you need to remember is that you can opt to move to ambitious numbers such 250 or more yard range if your scope still allows you. However, keep in mind that in ranges like these, the wind is already a big factor to consider.

Sniper Rifle

3. After Evaluation Of The Hits And Misses, Adjust The Scope As Needed

a) Know your adjustment knobs and their uses

Scopes usually have two dials; the top dial and the side dial. These knobs allows you to make adjustments in the scope and to set the scope to zero. This allows you to align your vision to where the rifle is pointed. To change the up and down and left to right capabilities of the cross-hairs the knobs should be used.

b) Learn your misses and adjust towards it

Keep making the essential modifications until you are confident that your rifle is already safe and stable and is regularly hitting the bulls-eye. You can move elsewhere when you want to try from a different range.

c) Befriend the bore sight

If a boresight is accessible to you, it will help you save more ammo and avoid hassle. If you still do not have this feature, you can bring your rifle to a gunsmith and have them bore sight your rifle.


Above are the simplest and most guided steps for you to adjust your scope and help you achieve the shooting experience which you desire. This article aims to fulfill all your needs and guides as you experience the exciting world of shooting and hunting. So, leave your comment and let us know what you think. We would also appreciate your suggestions

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