How to Look Through a Scope

Accurate aiming doesn’t only depend on how expensive or rigid your rifle is. There are basic things that can help you perfect your shots. One of them is the way you look through your scope. A riflescope helps you locate your target easily, and sighting the scope is one important aspect of shots accuracy. There are lots of scopes available, in which some are not properly built. However, it’s important to get a quality scope as this impacts your vision when you look through it.

Enough of the long talk. Let’s get straight to business.

How to Properly Look Through Your Rifle Scope

1. Mount Your Scope on the Rifle Appropriately

This is the first step in ensuring accurate sighting. Modern rifles have drills for mount attachments. An incorrectly mounted scope can lead to poor results. Mounts come in various designs, so ensure you purchase the appropriate mount for your scope. If you’re not sure of the correct mount, ask your retailer for assistance in choosing the right mount.

2. Balance the Reticle

The reticle shows you where you’re aiming. It’s important in determining the direction of the bullet. The reticle can be in the form of a cross, lines or dots. To balance your reticle, loosen the mounting rings, and move the scope till both the vertical and horizontal lines intersect in the middle of the lens.

3. Position Your Eyes

This is known as “eye relief.” The lens of the scope and your eyes are at a safe distance, so the recoil doesn’t hit the eyes. High magnification makes it likely to move the eyes closer to the scope, thus, leading to lower eye relief. It can result in eye injury. To be sure there’s a proper eye relief, mount the scope a further 1 inch from your perceived safe distance.

4. Understand the Parts of the Scope

Although we have various scope manufacturers, each one is similar in the component. Know the use of each part of the scope. A typical rifle scope consists of a body, eyepiece, ocular lens, objective lens, windage and elevation adjustments, power ring and exit pupil. Also, determine the power lens of your scope (single or variable power lens). 

5. Know Your Scope’s Magnification

This is relatively easy as you can access your scope’s magnification by looking at the model number. The model number is usually on the scope’s body. It comprises two elements; the magnification level and objective lens diameter. A model number of “5 x 35” means the magnification is 5, and the objective lens diameter is 35. The diameter is usually in millimeters.

6. Get a Good Range Vision

Precision also relies on a good range of vision. Achieve this by centrally positioning the reticle in the field of view and placing the reticle on your target. Ensure a circle forms within your vision at the scope’s end. In case the black areas aren’t balanced, reposition the rifle centrally.

7. Adjust the Windage and Elevation

Be consistent with your shots. When you shoot at the target using the scope, note where the bullet hits on the board. If the bullet hits a few inches to the left or right of your target, you adjust the windage. If the shot lands above or below your target, then you adjust the elevation knob.

8. Make Parallax Adjustment

In some complex scopes, there is a third knob for parallax adjustment. Parallax error can cause you to miss your targets. To make parallax adjustments to your scope, firstly, look into the scope to ensure the crosshair aligns with the target. Then, you take your eyes off the scope and look directly at the target. Finally, if your view and the reticle vision differ, make the parallax adjustment accordingly.

9. Sight in Your Rifle

Sighting in your rifle means hitting consistent shots at a particular distance by aligning your scope without moving the rifle. The gun rest, sandbags, or firing table come into use here. To zero the rifle, properly adjust the sights and maintain eye relief. Control your breath, and do not make unnecessary moves. Now, you’re set. Slowly but steadily pull the trigger. Target the same point on every shot and adjust the scope till the reticle and the target align.


Looking through your scope isn’t difficult if you follow the above steps meticulously. When purchasing scopes, ensure you get quality ones, as the quality of a scope greatly impacts the precision. Do not forget to pay close attention to detail when shooting in the field and adhere to recommended guidelines. Finally, when using your scope, remain calm, take your time, and carefully go through each step again. Regular practice will help you achieve better results, and in no time, you’ll become a professional.

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