How to Sight in Your Scope for Hunting Season
Bow season has begun, and rifle season is just around the corner for most hunters.
Now is the time to sight in your scope, especially if you haven’t touched it since the end of last season or recently just purchased a new scope.
The good news is mounting and sighting in a hunting scope rarely requires a gunsmith. I’ve mounted and sighted in dozens of scopes through my years of hunting.
The rest of this article is my simple process I recently used on my new Feyachi Falcon 3-9x40 rifle scope.
Mounting Your Scope
Whether you needed to remove your old scope for cleaning or, like me, you just purchased a new Feyachi scope for your .270 rifle, mounting it is pretty straightforward if you’re even remotely handy with a screwdriver.
The two most important things to remember while mounting your scope are to keep the crosshairs level and mount it in a location that gives you the best field of view.
I ensure the crosshairs are level by balancing a small level on the top of my scope and adjusting it accordingly within the scope rings. You won't have to worry about this step if you already have the scope leveled in the rings.
Adjusting the field of view is done by moving the scope closer or farther away from your eye when you have a comfortable cheek weld. Having the largest field of view possible will help you quickly find your target to make an accurate, unrushed shot.
Sighting in Your Scope
Now, let’s discuss the fun part: sighting in your scope. Generally, I can sight in a scope in about nine shots or less, depending on how precise I need it to be.
For my hunting purposes, I’m happy if I can consistently hit a pie plate (6-inch circle) at 200 yards. However, for long-range hunters, this simply won’t do, and you’ll need to sight in your rifle for the distance you’re most likely going to shoot from.
- Sight in the scope using a laser bore sight.
- Shoot three rounds at 25 yards, adjusting the scope accordingly until you hit the bullseye with all three shots.
- Move to 50 yards and repeat the same process.
- Zero in your rifle at the distance you’re most likely to take a shot at while hunting
Step 1 - Getting Close
The fastest way to sight in your rifle is to begin by using a laser bore sight. A laser bore sight is a red laser that resembles a cartridge of the same caliber you’re shooting.
By using this inexpensive tool, you’ll save many rounds and be able to start hitting the target immediately.
If you don’t have one, don’t worry; this step isn’t necessary, just very helpful by saving time and rounds.
Step 2 - Getting on Paper
Now that your scope is semi-sighted, it’s time to head to the range.
Begin close to the target; I like to take one shot at 25 yards, and if I hit the target, I’ll move back to 50 yards.
At 50 yards, I take three shots and adjust my scope accordingly.
To adjust my 3-9x40 Feyachi scope at 50 yards, I had to double the recommended turns because each notch is ¼” at 100 yards.
So, when I needed to raise my mark by two inches at 50 yards, I had to turn the top nob 16 clicks.
However, each scope is different, so you must adjust according to what your scope says.
Once I shoot three shots within the bullseye, I step back to 100 yards and repeat the process.
Generally, my .270 rounds are hitting high at this point, sometimes as much as 3” high, so I need to bring them back down.
Step 3 - Zeroing-In
I prefer to have my rifle zeroed for 100 yards because this is the range I see deer at the most.
However, you can zero your rifle in for the distance you’ll shoot the most.
The process to adjust the scope is the same at 100 yards as at 50 yards, except you’ll turn the adjustment knobs half as many times because you’re twice as far away from the target.
Once I shoot three rounds in the bullseye, I step back to 200 yards.
At 200 yards and more, I no longer adjust my scope using the adjustment knobs because I make all the adjustments by raising my crosshairs to the distance needed to hit the bullseye.
As long as you follow the steps above, sighting in your scope doesn’t have to be complicated.
Just remember to
- Use a laser bore sight to save on ammo and get on paper initially
- Take three shots at 25 yards to ensure you’re on the paper
- Move back to 50 yards, take three more shots, and zero it in
- Move back to 100 yards, see where you’re hitting, and re-zero the scope in for that distance
- Now that it’s dialed in, it’s time to step back to 200 yards and see where you’re hitting the target
Sam Jacobs is a 2nd amendment advocate, lead writer, and chief historian, at Ammo. As a self-proclaimed outdoorsman, it’s his responsibility to use his knowledge and experience to educate others about ammunition, the outdoors, and conservation.
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