How to Sight in a Rifle Scope

Sighting in a good ar15 scope is not a big deal if you pay attention to a couple of things in terms of method.

First Method:

After a scope has been mounted and tighten up the next step is to produce a dead-on zero at 100 yards down range.  Several methods of proper sighting will be discussed here. With the first being a bore sighting system or look through depending on the action type your rifle is making use of. 

Bore sighting with a special tool allows the scope to be roughly centered from the bore for more precise adjusting when correcting the scopes elevation and windage settings in the target. 

If a bolt action design is being sighting in allows the bolt to be removed and the shooter sights directly down the bore. Now, without moving the rifle, and still sighting on the center of the target directly down the barrel by eye, the windage and elevation knobs can be corrected to center on the target.  I call this method low ammunition volume sight adjusting. 

Windage and elevation knobs

Second Method:

Another method is the first shoot a round into a close-range target at about 25 yards. If you make a hit that can be seen through the scope keep the rifle in place in terms of exactly where it was when fired ( target center ) and without moving the rifle turn elevation and windage adjustments one at a time to bring the cross hairs directly in line with the bullet impact point created when taking that first test shot. 

3rd Method:

The final method is to simply mount a piece of paper at about 25 yards that is large enough to catch that first round, then adjust your windage and elevation to the center of the target.  

This will take more bullets, but it is also very effective and shows just how accurate your scope is by the amount of movement produced when adjusting to hit the target dead center. 

In the event you can't zero your scope even at 25 yards check your mounts for tightness first, This is a common problem, and should be addressed first and foremost.

When groups are this consistent your rifle is zeroed. 

When you have established a 25-yard zero and hitting with your rifle consistently you can now move to 100 yards. 

The exact bullet impact point will not be dead center, but very close regarding most types of ammunition. Make some fine adjustments to elevation and even windage will set you sights exactly where they belong. 

Rife came to range not zeroed and leaving by cutting .338 groups at 100 yards. ( Zeroed and ready to roll.) 

Today there are other far more advanced methods of zeroing, and even special optics that also allow two zero points to be used. 

This is used in long range and military application, and for the most part not by hunters taking game at normal ranges. By establishing a correct 100 yard zero you are in the driver's seat regarding most requirements of the modern centerfire rifle. Sighting in a good ar15 scope is not a big deal if you pay attention to a couple of things in terms of method.


First Method:


After a scope has been mounted and tighten up the next step is to produce a dead-on zero at 100 yards down range.  Several methods of proper sighting will be discussed here. With the first being a bore sighting system or look through depending on the action type your rifle is making use of. 


Bore sighting with a special tool allows the scope to be roughly centered from the bore for more precise adjusting when correcting the scopes elevation and windage settings in the target. 


If a bolt action design is being sighting in allows the bolt to be removed and the shooter sights directly down the bore. Now, without moving the rifle, and still sighting on the center of the target directly down the barrel by eye, the windage and elevation knobs can be corrected to center on the target.  I call this method low ammunition volume sight adjusting. 

Windage and elevation knobs


Second Method:


Another method is the first shoot a round into a close-range target at about 25 yards. If you make a hit that can be seen through the scope keep the rifle in place in terms of exactly where it was when fired ( target center ) and without moving the rifle turn elevation and windage adjustments one at a time to bring the cross hairs directly in line with the bullet impact point created when taking that first test shot. 


3rd Method:


The final method is to simply mount a piece of paper at about 25 yards that is large enough to catch that first round, then adjust your windage and elevation to the center of the target.  


This will take more bullets, but it is also very effective and shows just how accurate your scope is by the amount of movement produced when adjusting to hit the target dead center. 


In the event you can't zero your scope even at 25 yards check your mounts for tightness first, This is a common problem, and should be addressed first and foremost.

When groups are this consistent your rifle is zeroed. 



When you have established a 25-yard zero and hitting with your rifle consistently you can now move to 100 yards. 


The exact bullet impact point will not be dead center, but very close regarding most types of ammunition. Make some fine adjustments to elevation and even windage will set you sights exactly where they belong. 

Rife came to range not zeroed and leaving by cutting .338 groups at 100 yards. ( Zeroed and ready to roll.) 


Today there are other far more advanced methods of zeroing, and even special optics that also allow two zero points to be used. 


This is used in long range and military application, and for the most part not by hunters taking game at normal ranges. By establishing a correct 100 yard zero you are in the driver's seat regarding most requirements of the modern centerfire rifle. 


Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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