How to Adjust a Rifle Scope?

Reviewed by Rob Monster
Rob Monster

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How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

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A riflescope can enhance your aiming accuracy to a whole new level. But, it is important to know how to adjust the scope to get the full benefit of it. Well, now that you are here, you are going to get complete information about how to adjust your rifle scope.

A scope has several parts and each of them is used to adjust certain aspects. You can make complete use of your riflescope only after learning about all those adjustments.

  • Elevation Adjustments: Changing the impact of the bullet up or down is crucial when it comes to aiming a target. Elevation Adjustments are used to change this impact when you are shooting at variable distances or “zeroing” the scope.

Theoretically, “zeroing” a scope means merging the aiming point of the scope to the impact point. Once these are merged, the bullet can strike the target at the distance of the baseline. 

You need to turn the turret in the counterclockwise direction to raise the screw “up”. Similarly, clockwise rotation is used to lower the screen “down”. This is easy if you have exposed turrets. But, if you have capped turrets, make sure to place the caps back after adjusting.

  • Windage Adjustments: Similar to Elevation adjustment, Windage turrets adjust the impact from left to right or vice versa. This adjustment is done to shift the bullet impact when zeroing a scope in different shooting conditions. 

Turning the Windage knob away from you can move the bullet impact to “Left”, whereas riling the knob towards you can move it “right”.

  • Parallax Adjustments: Also known as Target Focus Adjustments, this is used to cover the errors arising due to misalignment of your head. “Parallax” is basically an error caused due to the shifting of your head towards either direction. This error happens with your reticle and target, thus resulting in a “miss”.

The best way to adjust your focus is to keep your eye focused on the reticle and then adjust the target focus. This will move the focal point of the image in the scope and align with your reticle. So, both the image and reticle are aligned on the same focal plane resulting in a perfect shot.

  • Eyepiece focusing: An incorrectly focused eyepiece is one of the biggest mistakes which even professional commits. But, there is a proper feature to adjust the eyepiece. However, in such cases, high chances are settings of your scope are wrong.

You are probably facing the improperly adjusted eyepiece if you are unable to adjust the target focus. Here are the steps to adjust your scope’s eyepiece error.

  • Make sure that you have mounted your scope properly on the rifle without sliding forwards or backward.
  • Try and get to a comfortable position while seeing through the scope. Adjust the scope unless you aren’t in a comfort zone.
  • Adjust the ocular focus adjustments and lock them properly 
  • See whether the image is looking better and repeat this process unless you find a perfect spot.
  • Magnification (Zoom in & Zoom out) Adjustments: As the name suggests, this adjustment is done to bring the target closer or move farther from your reticle.Most modern rifle scopes have adjustable magnification dial. But, there are few scopes in which you have to rotate the entire ocular housing.

First focal plane rifle scopes are made to adjust your reticle with the image. On the other hand, second focal plane rifle scopes are to adjust the target image irrespective of the reticle.

However, adjusting the magnification is pretty easy as you have to move the dial as per your visibility.

  • Brightness Adjustments: Sometimes, you may need to shoot in adverse weather conditions like a night light or stormy conditions. In such cases, scopes with illuminated reticles can be of great use. The adjustments of brightness differ from one scope to another.

Although you can keep your scope at maximum brightness all the time, the best way is to keep on changing based on the conditions. The reason for this is over-brightening the target at a distance can make the image blur and you may miss the target. For instance, it is better to keep your brightness to minimum visibility if you are aiming at a distance target.

  • Scope movement on the Rifle: Mounting a scope on the rifle is crucial to take a perfect shot. You need to take care of three aspects when it comes to mounting the scope on your rifle.
  • Height Adjustments: You can make the height adjustments by trying to shoot at a target. If you are feeling uncomfortable see through the scope and feeling the need to lower your head, raise the scope. The same follows for lowering the scope as well.
  • Position Adjustments: You should look clearly through the scope when you are holding or placing the rifle. Concerning the results, you can move the scope forward or backward.
  • Level Adjustments: Once you are done with the height and distance, you need to go for leveling. You can do this by rotating the riflescope. Modern rifles come with a flat base, but you should see whether the base of the scope is flat or not. You can use the scope leveling tool for this adjustment. 

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