How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Knowing how to properly adjust a rifle scope will pay dividends when it comes to getting consistent and accurate results during hunting or target practice. How you perform these adjustments will depend on what type of rifle scope you are using.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Rifle
  • Rifle scope

Adjust Your Rifle Scope

Step 1

Learn how to properly boresight a gun in order to mount it correctly. Boresighting involves using both the barrel (or bore) of the rifle and the rifle scope to focus on a nearby fixed object. By alternating your viewpoint between the two lines of sight, you will be able to adjust the scope until the viewpoint is the same. Ensure that the gun does not move during this process, however, or the alignment will be wrong.

Step 2

Fire a few practice rounds, if you are able, to see how closely the boresighting process aligned the rifle scope. Try to shoot in a tightly focused pattern, which will immediately tell you how accurate your sights are.

Step 3

Make more fine-tuned adjustments on your scope by adjusting the alignment wheels on your scope. On most scopes, one knob will control the horizontal alignment of the rifle scope, and the other will adjust the scope on the vertical plane. Depending upon the scope, each click of the knob will result in an adjustment that is either 1/4 or 1/2 of an inch.

Step 4

Become comfortable with operating the focus knob, so that you will be able to make quick and fluid adjustments when you are out hunting in the field. While many modern scopes feature an automatic or speed focus feature that does the work for you, you will still need to familiarize yourself with how quickly they work so you will be able to time your shots more efficiently.

Step 5

Know how to use the crosshairs of the scope to become more accurate with your shots. Many modern scopes use crosshairs that can help you estimate bullet drop and wind direction, and some even offer illuminated bullseyes or laser guides to increase your skills even further.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase a screwdriver set that will accommodate the different types of screws found on most scopes and scope mounts. Using the incorrect size of screwdriver can damage the head of the screws, or even strip the screw and render it useless.
  • Never boresight or mount a rifle scope on a loaded weapon.
  • Always point your weapon in a safe direction, even if it is unloaded.