How do you sight in a scope?

Discussion in 'Optics' started by rwt101, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. rwt101

    rwt101 G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    804
    Location:
    Pigeon Forge, TN
    I know this should be a basic task. I have never really had a lot of scopes on any of my firearms. The ones I did have were already sighted in. If you are shooting , lets say high and to the right. Do you turn the adjustment down and to the left? Sorry for the dumb question.
    Bob T
  2. toolman

    toolman Resident Sasquatch Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2002
    Messages:
    9,428
    Location:
    abilene,tx
    One simple way (to me anyway), is to set your gun up on a steady rest, ie: sandbags, shooters rest, etc. and move everything around so your crosshairs are on target without any input from you. Carefully squeeze off one shot. Set the gun up exactly the same as before. Now use your adjustments to bring the crosshairs to bear on the bullet hole you just made and you should be extremely close, but you may have to make a few minor adjustments. I usually do this at 25 yds and then recheck at my intended zero range (usually 200 yds).
  3. EviL

    EviL G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    In the Boonies
    on all the scopes i have ever used, if u are shooting high and to the right you would turn the elevation knob (the top one) to the right and the windage knob (on the side) to the right as well.
  4. waterdog

    waterdog G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,814
    toolman, is right that's the way I was taught
  5. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    11,239
    Location:
    Canyon, Texas
    I do just like toolman

    This is the way I was taught as a teenager. I have never varied this routine.

    Have a great day.
  6. roadie

    roadie G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,421
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I had been bore sighting mine on a street light head that is about 100 yards from my kitchen window, I look through the bore with the rifle steadied on rests and line it up with the head on the street light, then I get the reticle of the scope on the head of the street light. This usually puts me on paper, then I can make final adjustments from there. It's not an exact way, but it works alright.
  7. rwt101

    rwt101 G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    804
    Location:
    Pigeon Forge, TN
    That you for a very good explanation.

    Bob T
  8. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    21,643
    Location:
    New York
    A tip I was put on by a member of my gun club, who had it from a former US Army sniper: start by cranking the windage all the way to one side. Then, slowly, click it all the way to the other, counting the clicks as you go. Divide by two, and crank back that number of clicks.

    Repeat with the elevation screw.

    The result is what the sniper called "a rough scope zero." At this point, you take the rifle to the range and follow toolman's directions. If you use a bore laser and realign the cross-hairs on the laser dot, you may save a few rounds of ammo. But definitely do what Toolman said, starting at the 25 yard line, the moving out to the fifty, and then to the hundred, then out to your optimum range, whatever that is for your rifle.
  9. Tack Driver

    Tack Driver G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,725
    Location:
    Caswell County, NC
    The scope's windage and elevation knobs have arrows marked "right" and "up," turn the knob in the direction marked "right" to move the point of impact right. Do the same thing with the elevation. And if you want to move the point of impact down, turn the knob in the opposite direction.
  10. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Messages:
    16,900
    Location:
    Gladstone, Missouri
    The information here is valuable to many people needing to know how to sight in a rifle. Thanks for making the post(s).

    I'm making it a "sticky" because of it's value to other gun owners with the same need.
    Ox
  11. FortyXDM

    FortyXDM Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Messages:
    9,124
    Location:
    Gladstone, Mo. (kc area)
    On most all scopes, the elevation knob will be marked up and down with an arrow showing which way to turn.
  12. GlockMeister

    GlockMeister G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    16,473
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    I'd add, sight the firearm in with whichever ammunition you plan on using in it. As using different ammunition can and usually will change the POI (point of impact).
  13. milldot

    milldot G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Hats off to Tool Man! Hes right on the money!
  14. Despoiler

    Despoiler G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Messages:
    2,354
    Location:
    The Occupied Territory of California
    When sighting in a scope, if you are on paper I do what toolman recommends. I sometimes find the most maddening thing is just getting on paper, even with a laser or doing a bore-sight as Roadie does. What my father taught me was to pick out a mark on the berm behind the 100-yd target and shoot at that. You can usually see through the rifle scope a puff of dust from the dirt, and that will tell you where the bullet is hitting. I find doing this is easier than aiming at the target and if you are off paper trying to figure out where it hiting. You then can hold the rifle in nearly the same spot adjust the windage and the elevation to the point where your bullet struck the berm. This usually gets me on paper in one or two shots. Good luck we all know how frustrating some rifles can be to get sighted in.

    Despoiler
  15. deadzero

    deadzero G&G Enthusiast Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3,748
    Location:
    deep in the swamps SC
    this finds the scopes true center. when shipped new, this is the position scopes are shipped in. when installing a used scope or one that has the initial adjustments changed this is the recommended procedure to start with. BUT, any slight deviation of the centerline drillings of the bases or slight misalignment of the rings will still have to be adjusted out, as well as bullet drop for a given range. this is an initial adjustment but not the final "zero".

    I dont know why this causes so much confusion for people at the range, but the adjustment reference is as you state. it moves bullet impact as specified.

    This is the very best procedure I know of and will save a lot of ammo. I normally set this at 25 yds at 1" to 1 1/2" low on center, then fine tune vertical and horizontal at 100 yds before moving further out since a 1/4" off at 25 yds turns into 1" at 100 yds. (4 clicks for 1/4" at 25 yds, if each click is a 1/4" at 100 yds)
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  16. CrazyIvan

    CrazyIvan G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,045
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    Quickest way with only one bullet...

    Have the rifle resting on some rifle bags or rifle mount.

    Point it down range; take note of where your cross hairs are.

    Now, with the rifle in the same position as before, point your scope at the same point you did the first time.

    Now, without moving the rifle, adjust the scope crosshairs to be where the bullet actually hit.


    This will get you very close if done right, and can be done at pretty much any distance, considering your bullet impact isn't too far off the scope crosshairs.

    You can continue this practice until satisfied.

    Of course, it is best done with no wind, and with the target as level to your firing position as you can get.





    Posted From Gun & Game Mobile!
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  17. sniper762

    sniper762 G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,101
    Location:
    NorthCarolina
    i cant agree with this method.................zeroing at 25 yds using the middle of your scope's elevation range wastes half of its adjustment capability.

    use a graduated base and zero at the bottom of the range spectrum. then u can use ALL elevation adjustments for engaging further distances. no (down) clicks needed with a 25 yd zero.
  18. 99dragon99

    99dragon99 G&G Enthusiast Forum Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    5,242
    Location:
    In a theater near you
    Pretty much what the first reply to the OP was.

    I would have to say that I don't agree with you. Cyrano posted basically how to center the crosshairs. I don't see how you lose half of the adjustment capabilities... You just start in the middle instead of the bottom. Which might require a lot of clicks to get you on center.

    Back in my days of dealing with the m16a2... you did exactly that.. center the sights and then count the clicks for your personal settings... You could pick up any m16a2 and "reset" the sights and add your personal adjustment and you are dead on without firing a shot.
  19. sniper762

    sniper762 G&G Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,101
    Location:
    NorthCarolina
    if your scope has a total elevation range of 40 minutes and you zero in the middle, then you only have 20 minutes of elevation up..........see?
  20. CrazyIvan

    CrazyIvan G&G Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,045
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Optics Identify sight/scope Dec 7, 2012
Optics Sighting a Night Vision Scope? Nov 6, 2012
Optics ATN MK410 or Armasight Orion 5x Dec 20, 2013
Optics What do you think about the Sightron SIII series Jun 21, 2013
Optics Are Sightmark's Reliable? Apr 7, 2012