How to Calibrate A Gun Scope and How Often

door Joost Nusselder | Geupdate op:  March 17, 2021
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To shoot accurately at different conditions and distances, understanding how to calibrate your scope perfectly should be your priority. There is a need to know how to calibrate a gun scope and how often.

Although making predictions for the future can be tough, as a shooter, this should not be your limitations but rather your driving force towards making incredible deals. Above all know how to choose a  scope.

Whether you are a first-time shooter, if you are a first-time shooter, you will understand all you need is to know how to adjust, sight, and mount your scope.

With this article, you will learn the basics of how to calibrate your gun scope and how often you should do that.

This way, it will be easy for you to take care of your rifle and be sure that you will get the best performance or experiences.

Keep reading to enhance your shooting skills and your ability to hit on your target every time you shoot.

Range Card Calibration

The range card calibration is an important part of the process of shooting. It gives you precise details on how and where to shoot at a given time. 

Your range card should be well detailed to ensure that you have a clear vision of where your bullet will go once you release the trigger.

The range card enhances your possibilities of making an accurate shot at a stipulated distance.

If you expect to shoot at a higher distance, the range card gives you an overview of what to expect from a professional perspective.

The Scopes You Should Calibrate

Calibrating scope rifles is an exceptional adventure for any hunter. However, not all scopes require calibration.

Suppose your scope has a ¼ MOA with an easy adjustment per click.

If you expect to shoot at a distance that is beyond 250 yards, the next thing you want is to have a scope that works exceptionally best.

However, with a great scope, the process of zeroing might not be an issue for you.

Still, you will require to know how to manipulate the windage and elevation turrets to ease the process.

As you increase the shooting distance, it automatically affects the calibration errors from time to time.

The zeroing process and windage adjustments work in handy, and the two enhance your accuracy even at 220 yards.

On the other hand, if your scope has adjustable friction turrets, calibration should not be your priority.

These scopes are designed so that they allow you to enjoy the hunting adventure with minimal complications.

The Installation of the Base Mount

Installing the mount first is a critical step towards calibrating your scope. It is also essential that you remain while performing calibration to prevent doing a shoddy job.

When you calibrate your scope poorly, there are higher chances that your scope will be vulnerable to impact forces and recoil, which in return will affect its value.

When investing in a base mount, getting the best quality should not be optional. Every gun owner’s desire to have your gun last longer and provide you with reliable performances.

Therefore, pairing your rifle with the best scope quality and mount should not be optional. This will guarantee that the scope will be secure for years.

Once you settle for a mount that you find suitable, start by tightening the screw at the base as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, it is essential to ensure that the scope doesn’t get pulled over to one side when tightening.

Therefore, you should tighten the screws in an X pattern.

This will guarantee that your scope’s safety is not compromised, and the mount will have a stable balance.

However, for the sake of simple adjustments, it is recommended that you tighten the screws slowly in an interchangeable sequence.

Be gentle and take as much time for this process to get the mount perfect.

Attach the Scope to the Mount

After you are convinced that your base mount is properly secure, the following step is to attach the rifle scope.

While attaching the scope, you need to be extra careful with following instructions to avoid making any unnecessary mistakes.

Start with placing the scope on the mount with the correct eyepiece orientation, then tighten the rings.

When you set the eyepiece correctly, it will be easy for you to get a sharp and crystal clear image of your target in normal shooting conditions.

While mounting the scope, it is also essential that you check on the crosshair too and make any required adjustments.

Your final report on the crosshair should be with the vertical crosshair top dead center.

Additionally, while you keep tightening the scopes screws on the mount, ensure to keep your eyes on the crosshair to prevent shifting.

Ensure to tighten the screws gradually to keep the scope balanced without shifting from its spot.

Shooting and Testing

Once you have your rifle and scope ready, the next step is to ensure that it’s in a good working and stable condition.

The shooting and testing step allows making necessary adjustments where applicable.

Step 1: Visit a Shooting Range

For you to calibrate your scope effectively, shooting a couple of rounds should be a priority. Therefore, you can start by visiting the nearest shooting range to get started.

While at a shooting range, you will have the freedom to shoot alongside other shooters, and it will also be easy for you to make adjustments where applicable.

However, before heading to the shooting range, you will need to prepare enough ammunition and other safety accessories adequately.

Also, to be a certified shooter, you need to follow and observe all the range’s shooting protocols. Use the bullseye target as a way of assessing the accuracy of your scope.

Step 2: Place Your Rifle on a Rest

Most shooters find it suitable to shot while holding their rifles. However, if you are looking for an easy way to calibrate your scope, the last thing you want is a possible human error.

For a better experience, it is recommended that you place your rifle on a rest.

You can always find them at gun clubs and sporting goods stores, or you can even purchase them online.

However, if you don’t have the budget to support getting a gun rest, you can always improvise using bricks, books, or even your jacket as substitutes.

The idea of using a rest is to ensure you first establish a stable shooting position.

Once your ground is stable, you can comfortably use anything within your reach as a rest and be sure it will serve you right.

However, if you can, investing in legitimate gun rest is still the best choice.

Step 3: Send Some Rounds Down Range

When you get to the shooting range, your first step should be loading your rifle, training the target’s scope then shoot at least five times.

Examine your shooting grouping by either retrieving the target or by using the range sight.

Once you see your performance, make necessary adjustments and repeat the process all over again.

Ensure to make little adjustments at a time for you to get the optimum results. This technique is applicable for any scope, including the ones that look different from the common ones.

Therefore you should not feel intimidated, seeing that your scope is not the same as the one other shooters are using in the range.

Additionally, when you adjust the scope, ensure you rotate the turrets in the right direction as per the previous readings’ results.

Once you get a constant bullseye shot, then your scope is ready for a shooting adventure.

Step 4: Move to Different Distances

Sighting your scope from a primary shooting distance makes it easy for you to calibrate. However, when you test it from multiple distances, it enhances your calibration.

Start with shooting at a close range, then keep advancing.

You can start with 20 yards; then, after each shooting session, you increase the distance.

As you move, if you are looking for accuracy, it is recommended that you don’t move above 50 yards at a time.

Additionally, for you to avoid confusion, ensure to use a different target for every distance.

Advancing the distance has no limitations. You can go as far as you want if you have the time or depending on the exact shooting range.

Riflescope Setup – Part 3: Rifle and Scope Calibration

After performing the above tasks in calibrating your scope, the next part now is to calibrate both the scope and the rifle.

This process is essential as it helps you determine the best magnification and zero range to get the best experiences with your scope.

However, you first have to know the type of scope you are using to get this step right.

Identify what type of reticles it has and how it operates.

Select your caliber and the pellet that you wish to work with.

Calculate the ballistic difference.

Set the Muzzle Velocity or Power

Enter the power or combination of your rifle’s pellet and velocity in the “Muzzle Velocity” box in the “Kinetic Energy” box.

You only need to set one of the two depending on your liking, and this application will calculate one from the other.

Therefore, you will require to be as accurate as possible, which is the reason you are advised to use the pellet you will be using to shoot.

When you measure with different pellets or guess the calculations, the final results will be incorrect.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

 How to properly calibrate a riflescope

 Get the right ammunition for your rifle and be ready to through some rounds in the air.

Start with shooting at an appropriate range where you are comfortable and examine your grouping for better results.

What is an MOA?

MOA a Minute of Angle is an angular measurement. It is a 1/60th of a degree. 1 MOA can also be said to be different in size at different distances.

For instance, an 8: at 800 yards is still 1 MOA

How to calibrate a Scope: The ultimate guide

A: Here is a step-by-step guide

Nikon buckmaster 2 vs prostaff: which scope is better?

A: Prostaff is much better than the Buckmaster.

This is because it has a higher lens quality that provides you with up to 98% light transmission in low light compared to 92% of the Buckmaster.

This ensures the brightness and clarity of the images through the lenses.

Do the left buttons make it go up and down? Also, what do the knobs do?

A: The left button sets the sensitivity of the scope while the right button makes it go up and down. The knobs are used to zoom in and out and also adjust the reticle.

What should I do if the scope is shooting low, but I am out of adjustments to raise it?

A: If you are out of adjustment and your scope is still shooting low, then the best thing to do is troubleshoot to correct the zeroing problem.

Can I take my air rifle to be zeroed by a gunsmith?

A: Yes. You can a gunsmith cannot only help in zeroing your rifle but can also train you how to do it.

Giving your air rifle to a professional for zeroing also enhances your chances of accuracy.

Should I wear my glasses all the time or zero the scope without my glasses on?

A: you don’t always have to wear glasses. However, even with the different lenses, there are other shooting ranges that don’t require you to have your glasses.

Are different zero adjustments needed for different elevation shots?

A: You don’t necessarily need to adjust your zeroing for shifting your elevation.

When calibrating your scope, shooting at different ranges helps you identify the appropriate zeroing where you can make perfect shots and different ranges.

Do these steps work for iron sights?

A: Yes. These steps work in different scopes, so you don’t have to worry if the scope you used while learning differs from the one you got.

Conclusion

Rifle shooting involves a lot of practice and shooting, so you will need to be extra careful while going about rifle shooting.

It is also recommended that you follow the appropriate guidelines when setting up your rifle for shooting to ensure that your safety is not compromised.

If you still have trouble calibrating your scope, you can always seek professional gunsmith assistance within your reach for enhanced accuracy.

          Joost Nusselder, the founder of Opticsvilla and a content marketer, and dad loves trying out new gear, and together with his team, they've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2018 to help loyal readers with the best scopes and binoculars.