Sighting in a rifle, or zeroing a scope, is the first step to shooting your rifle effectively.

Of course, having the proper fundamentals of shooting like proper trigger control and a stable platform are very important. However, if you haven’t properly sighted in your rifle, then you’re never going to hit where you want to – regardless of how great of a shot you are.

The same principle applies whether you are trying to sight in your rifle by zeroing a scope or whether you are using iron sights – the scope or sights must be properly setup so that they correspond with the bullet’s impact at a certain distance.

In this article, we’re going to discuss how to sight in a scope. But, some of the principles will apply to sighting in a rifle regardless of the aiming system (scope or iron sights).

If this is the type of information you’re looking for, you really should pick up a copy of the Long Range Shooting Handbook. The book is a beginners guide to precision rifle shooting and it dedicates an entire chapter to explaining how to sight in a scope. Other chapters explore related topics like selecting the right scope, units of measurement, and more.

 

1. Mounting the Scope

Your scope must be properly mounted to your rifle before you try to sight in your rifle.

This is a very brief overview of mounting a rifle scope – to explore this in greater detail, please check out our article on Mounting a Rifle Scope

The first step is to properly mount the base to the receiver and then hand tighten the rings onto the base. Then, skip to step number 2 below to ensure that your scope and rifle are properly set up for you. Once you’ve confirmed your scope is set up on the rifle properly for you, come back here to finish mounting the scope to your rifle.

Here’s a video that I did with the NSSF explaining this process:

 

The old adage of having the right tool for the job REALLY applies here.

Please don’t strip your scope rings screws, glue them in place with the wrong type of loctite, over/under tighten the scope base or rings, etc. This will all cause

2. Set Up the Rifle and Scope to Fit You

bore sight

25 yard zero

 

groups at 100 yards

confirm/adjust.

slip scales

chart for adjustments

moa/mil ->link out

 

Distance (yds) 1/4 MOA 1/10 Mil
25 1/16 inch
50 1/8 inch
75 3/16 inch
100 1/4 inch
125
150
175
200 1/2 inch