How To Properly Sight In Your Shooting Optics


For firearms designed to shoot longer distances, iron sights, which are small built-in metal blades arranged to help line up a target, aren’t ideal. What’s better are shooting optics, which will typically have a red dot or other reticles visible when looking through it towards the target.

For hunters looking to shoot at even longer ranges, scopes offer magnification to clearly zero in on targets from a distance. Some come already equipped with optics when purchasing a rifle, but many gun owners buy optics and scopes separately to attach to their firearm.

However, you can’t just attach shooting optics to a rifle and then expect it to be accurate. Firearms that come equipped with an optic still need to be sighted in. To center your shot, the optic must be sighted in.

Before Firing Rounds Look Down the Bore
Often, an optic or scope is so off-target that if you were to try to sight it in with rounds, they would completely miss the paper. There is a method called bore sighting to save rounds and get your rifle scope at least hitting the paper target.

Position your firearm, so it’s sitting stable on a bipod or sandbags, preventing it from moving around. Take the bolt from the rifle and look down the barrel through the bore. Line the rifle up with the target as best you can looking through the bore. This will help you get in the target’s general area, so you’re not wasting rounds trying to find the paper.

The Sighting in Process
After replacing the bolt in the rifle, it’s time to load some rounds and perform fine-tuning. Look through the optic or scope and fire at the bull’s eye of the target. Don’t be disappointed that it didn’t hit the bull’s eye, as it will likely still be off a bit.

There are two knobs on the optic you will be using to adjust your sight. There should be an elevation dial on the top of the optic that will change the pitch of the optic up or down. On the right side of the optic should be a windage dial, which will move the optic left or right.

Here is a simple trick to sight in quickly once you’ve hit the paper target. Without moving the rifle, carefully adjust the elevation and windage dials until your crosshairs are on your first hit. For example, if your first shot was down and left of the bull’s eye, click the elevation down until it’s on the same plain and then click the windage dial to move the optic left until you’re over your shot. Once your optic is dead center on your first shot, re-aim the rifle at the bull’s eye on the target and fire. You should be sighted in properly now.

Now You’re on Target
This is a simple sighting method without needing to measure distances on the target or your rifle. It would be best if you sighted in your rifle scope each season as it can get out of alignment over time. Once properly sighted in, you’re ready for target practice or hunting season.

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