How to Use a Rifle Scope
Learning How to Use a Rifle Scope
Rifle owners know exactly the critical importance of how to use a rifle scope. The rifle scope, also called the “glass,” is used in viewing distant targets and the surrounding objects in a magnified manner, making them appear closer.
Many scopes are designed to approximate a bullet’s point of impact. When used correctly, rifle scopes provide accuracy and safety when shooting in the field.
The rifle scope aims to provide shooters with precise information as to where the fired bullet is expected to land. After it is mounted to the rifle, the first thing to do is “zero” the scope, which means adjusting it to different alignments to get accurate information. Essential information about the caliber of the bullet, weight, and velocity will be considered in making precise calculations in adjusting the scope to achieve maximum accuracy.
Different environmental factors must be considered, such as elevation, shot angle, humidity, windage, and wind condition (whether head or tailwind presence) in compensating for the bullet’s trajectory. The distance to the ground and the ground temperature in comparison to the air temperature will be considered in calculating bullet lift or drop.
Once parallax has been considered in making precise adjustments, the range can be compensated. Finally, the reticle of the rifle scope is placed on the intended target at your zero distance. When done correctly, the rifle scope is ready to provide accurate guidance in achieving precise targeting.
Sighting in the scope optics
Most scopes are not adjusted out of the box. Additional adjustments will be required to make it ready for use. The changes will depend on the distance, wind, velocity, ballistic coefficient, and much more. Sighting in scope requires precision and patience on the part of the shooter. The scope needs bore-sighting at 100 yards before changing the adjustments at the range.
Bore sighting is adjusting the power scope to where the bullet would hit the center of the crosshairs at a certain distance, assuming the round has a flat trajectory. There is no flat trajectory for a shot because of gravity. Once the scope has been bore sighted at 100 yards, take a trip to the shooting range that has at least 100 yards of distance. Most shooting ranges are only for a short distance, so going to the mountains could be an alternative. During the trip, bring a portable shooting bench rest. Measure the distance accurately instead of merely eyeballing it.
Set up first a paper target at a 25-yard distance, using one that has a bull’s eye. Before taking any shots, be comfortable with the rifle and the shooting bench. Avoid having muscle tensions or movements as they could affect your target shooting. Use a rifle stand or setup sandbags to rest the gun on the shooting bench. Use cat litter bags as an alternative when sandbags are not available.
While looking through the scope of the rifle, make adjustments to where the image is clear. Usually, the level just below the maximum magnification is the clearest. Chamber a round, and with the crosshairs are over the bull’s eye, close your eyes for a good 10 seconds, then open them. If the crosshairs moved from the target, it means that you have muscle tension. Find a comfortable shooting position, readjust the rifle stand or sandbags, and keep repeating the exercise until the crosshairs do not move anymore.
Fire a shot once everything is lined up. Gently pull the trigger instead of suddenly tugging it. Then measure the bullet hole in respect to the bull’s eye and write it down.
How to Use a Rifle Scope
1. Purchasing the needed mounting equipment
Most rifle scopes are tapped or pre-drilled for a scope base or have grooved sections to use mounting attachments. Purchase the mounting hardware that will match the design of your scope. If it needs mounting rings, get one with the correct inside diameter. Ask the retailer that sold you the scope to help you in choosing the mounting hardware. If you cannot do the mounting yourself, you can ask a gunsmith to do it for you for a fee.
2. Aligning the reticle and adjusting the eye relief
The scope has a reticle, which is the image you see on the lens, indicating where the rifle is pointed. These are often cross hairs or modified cross hairs, although there could be different variations. While the mounting is still loose, start rotating the scope until the cross of the reticle becomes properly aligned like a plus sign. When finished, adjust the distance of the lens of the scope from your eye to make sure it won’t harm when there is recoil.
Professional shooters use a 300 Blackout scope that provides better eye relief than most variable scopes.
3. Familiarizing yourself with the parts of the scope
4. Determining if the scope has a single or variable power lens
5. Assessing the magnification levels your scope provides
Aiming and Making Adjustments:
1. Determining the proper eye relief distance from the scope
2. Establishing a good sight picture
3. Making adjustment based on the impact of the rounds
4. Adjusting the parallax if needed
5. Using these tools to zero the rifle
How to Use a Rifle Scope
A rifle is a firearm with a long barrel that is grooved or rifled to give bullets a spinning motion for greater accuracy at a long-range. It is different from a gun, which is a weapon with a metal tube where you fire the bullets at high velocity to a flat ballistic arc.
Rifles are breech-loaded weapons that are fired from the shoulder. The barrels of guns have grooves that cut into their walls. Rifles were initially designed as single-shot firearms but have since evolved into the modern assault rifles that can fire several rounds.
The use of rifles started in the mid 15th century, designed like muskets but with elongated bullets instead of the ball-shaped bullets. They were slow-loading and challenging to use, and producing smoke from the black powder used in shells often obstructs the user’s sight. Because of this, rifles were used primarily by sharpshooters and in hunting.
For many men, safely and adequately, firing a rifle is a skill they picked up early in life. It is common for male kids to receive a .22 caliber rifle for their 12th birthdays. Many of these kids continue using a gun into their adulthood, usually for target practice or hunting.
The Four Cardinal Safety Rules of Firing a Rifle
Following the rules strictly will keep you and other people safe, letting you have a good time firing off a few rounds.
- Always consider every firearm as if it were loaded – Even if you know that the gun is not loaded, still handle it as if it were loaded.
- Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction – The safest direction to point a gun is still downrange as long as there are no people downrange. When indicated in a safe direction, a negligent discharge will not cause damage to property or cause physical injury.
- Always keep your trigger finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you have made a conscious decision to shoot.
- Always be sure of your target, backstop, and beyond – Always be aware of what is in your line of fire. Make sure that people and property stay out of the path of the guns firing downrange. This is especially important when firing high powered rifles as their bullets travel farther than shots fired from a handgun.
Most rifle enthusiasts today employ some optical sighting devices on their guns. There is an excellent reason for this. Aiming with a scope does away with one-third of the elaborate lining up using the iron sights. Using metallic sights, you must line up the rear sight with the front sight and your target. With a scope, you simply have to line up your crosshairs with your target. It is a lot easier learning to shoot with a scope than using the iron sights. Since most rifle scopes magnify, your target seems to be closer and more comfortable to see, enabling you to place a more precise shot on your target.
People with less than perfect vision can adjust the crosshair focus at the eyepiece for their particular eyes for a bright and crisp sight picture. Older eyes have a difficult time switching focus from the rear to the front sight to the target without using a scope, and it becomes very frustrating. Scopes eliminate this frustration.
There are various types of scopes that you may mount on your rifle. Many shooting enthusiasts prefer to use the 1-6 scope, an excellent all-around scope that may be used for tactical situations, gun competitions, or field hunting. It is quite easy to choose the best 1-6x scope from the various brands available on the market. You can easily find the best rifle scope under $1,000 and mount it in your favorite rifle for target practice or hunting.
How to Use a Scope for Long Range Shooting
Mounting the scope
We are not going through the process of mounting the scope, but it is essential to mention that your scope must be level with your rifle. The vertical crosshair must align with the firearm’s vertical centerline.
At close range, a crosshair that is slightly not vertical does not matter, but at a more extended range, a little misalignment will result in a lateral miss.
Zeroing your Scope
Adjusting rifle scope for long range-shooting
Many people use the trial and error method when adjusting the rifle scope for long-range shooting. It is a common sight in the shooting range for people to fire about 25 shots and still chase the perfect settings.
You don’t have to resort to trial and error anymore because scope turrets have all the information to make an accurate adjustment on the first try. Most scopes have turret markings such as “1 Click = ¼-inch” or “1/4 MOA.”
When shooting at 100 yards, each click moves the bullet impact ¼-inch in the direction indicated. Scope measurements like minutes of angle or MOA and mils or milliradians are proportional. If you are shooting at half the distance, each click moves the point of the impact has as much.
When adjusting, you can quickly determine the number of clicks required to get your rifle on target by looking at how many inches “off” you are.
Precise Shooting With Your Rifle Scope
When shooting targets at long distances, there are some techniques to ensure accuracy. Buying a quality scope will help you in low-light shooting situations. It will also have precise windage and elevation adjustments.
It is also essential to buy quality scope rings and mounts. Lapping is a process of smoothing down the high spots of the bottom of the rings to make them align closely with each other. Misaligned rings place bending forces on the tube of your scope. A lapping kit is not expensive, costing about $35 only.
The use of red dot sights offers faster target acquisition and a better overall shooting experience than iron sights. Unfortunately, red dot sights are not cheap, coming at upwards of $400, with the high-end ones available for more than $1,000, although you can still find the best budget red dot sights only if you will be patient looking around.
Using the best spotting scopes tripod, that will give you a stable base to attach your rifle scope. Spotting scope allows you to take clear and focused images of your target at maximum magnification power.
Looking Through a Scope
Scope Adjustment Knobs
A scope has several adjustment knobs. On the main body tube of the scope, shooters will see two knobs for adjustments, which are usually covered on hunting scopes, and shooters will have to unscrew the cap to adjust the knobs. Most tactical and long-range hunting scopes have adjustment knobs that are exposed to the user, called target turrets, which can be used for quick adjustments in the range or field.
With the scope mounted on the rifle, the top knob is used to change elevation, either high or low. There is always a directional indicator to tell the shooter the direction that will increase height.
The knob on the right side is an adjustment for windage, which can be adjusted far right or left where the projectile will strike. The elevation and windage knobs adjust the reticle so the shooters can match the aiming point of the firearm with the cross hairs.
Most of the elevation and windage knobs have click adjustments when turning the dial. One-click equals a one-quarter minute in angle adjustment and is written as ¼ MOA.
There are other adjustments on the scope, including the power ring located at the front of the ocular bell and serves as the external knob for the magnification lens inside the scope. There is also the parallax adjustment, which allows the shooter to get the target and the reticle on the same focal plane.