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How to Use a Rifle Scope : A Detailed Guide from Pro Shooters!

how to use a scope
Written by Erik Himmel

Using a scope on your rifle is extremely important for accuracy. The scope is the part of a rifle used to sight objects that are far apart for magnification. It’s designed to recognize bullet points and areas that can be affected with the bullet. If the object is rightly used, it provides more precise and a safer shot within the right range if the rifle is properly directed.

Mounting & Understanding Your Scope

It’s normal to search the internet to get the best rifle as a novice. Most times –while doing this, you stand the chance of encounter different terms that can be confusing. To effectively understand the use of a rifle scope, it is very vital to know the basic component. So let’s take a brief look at…

The Body – this is also known as a tube; it makes up the entire diameter of the scope.  The body is approximately 1 inch or 30 millimeters.

Adjustment knobs – knobs are designed in different variety; this includes the flat tip screws, torrents, and finger pressure knobs, which are used for changing the windage and the elevation.

Elevation – this explains the motion carried out vertically i.e., in an upward and downward direction. This motion path is a potential trajectory for bullets.

Windage –the windage on a scope refers to the horizontal path that covers both right and left movements that influence the trajectory.

Reticle –are designed with different styles; these are the crosshair and mill dots. The reticle is used to calculate the bullet’s landing point. There are complex reticles designed to make compensation for bullet drop or other factors that can be influenced by the surroundings. Some reticles are illuminated with the use of ambient light or battery.

Eye Relief – explains the distance between the eyes of the shooter, and the leans that are located at the scope back. To calculate the eye relief; estimate the total distance to which you can gain a crisp view with the absence of a dark ring. The right eye relief distance is an important factor to consider when you intend to prevent damages on the eyes that can be caused due to high recoil calibers.

Sites – they are also known as iron sites that are two metal pointers mounted physically to the shaft located on your rifle. They are used to create to the path of travel in the direction of a bullet. These types don’t need adjustment flexibility or accuracy that are created by the scope of your rifle.

Parallax – most modern scope on rifles are designed with parallax, and this term explains the major difference that exist between the reticle and the view within the scope. Once the rate of parallax is rightly adjusted, then the reticle can lead to an optical focus on a target.

Waterproof/Fogproof – quality rifles are usually sealed with an “O-ring” and designed to provide waterproof protection. Most rifles are grouped into fog proof, this means they are filled with nitrogen gas to help with the absorption of moisture. A waterproof or fog proof when immersed in a liquid can remain dry without absorbing any moisture. This make them suitable and reliable in different weather condition.

Power – rifles are known by their magnification power, and this explains the number of times a view through a scope can be enlarged. Most times magnification of the scope is expressed in two numbers, like 4 by 32. This means that they can view or magnify objects that are 4 to 32 image size of their original length.

Optical coatings – most scopes are designed with unique coatings since they can increase brightness; and for a scope to generate light, it gives room for brighter and contrast images. The coatings are usually explained as:

  • Coated = one layer on a single lens surface.
  • Highly Coated = single layer on all the air-to-glass surface lens.
  • Multi-Coated = several layers on the surface of the lens.
  • Highly Multi-Coated = several layers directly on all forms of air-to-glass surfaces.

Aiming & Making Adjustments

The primary purpose of the lens is to give room for shooters to access precise information to the point at which a bullet lands. Once the scope is mount directly on the rifle, the next thing to do is zero in the scope entirely or create room for different adjustments to more precise information. Here most vital information like the velocity, weight, and caliber can be used for accurate estimation and regulation of the scope for more accuracy.

Also, several environmental conditions can be considered, including the shot angle, windage, humidity, elevation, and most times, the use of a tailwind or head to make up for the bullet’s trajectory. The estimated distance to the ground temperature, when if related to air temperature, can most times be used to estimate a bullet drop or lift.

Sighting In Your Scope

Most scopes are not adjusted when you have them unboxed. So, this calls for personal adjustments and this can be influenced by distance, velocity, wind, ballistic coefficient, and other environmental factors. As to this effect, you will need more persistence and precision to get a perfect shot when carrying out the first adjustment.

Fire the armor within 100 yards away before an additional step of adjustment to a range of your choice. Bore-sighting involves the regulation of your scope to the point at which you want to shoot i.e., at the crosshairs or within a distance.

The truth is bullets are not created with a flat trajectory due to the influence of gravity on them. Once you have your scope to 100 yards, the next is to get to a range that has a distance of 100 yards. There are ranges made for short distance shooting, so locating a proper location in the mountains will be a better option.

Lastly, shoot directly to a target once you have everything lined up. Pull your trigger gently rather than the usual sudden tug. Tugging on a trigger can most times throw off your shot. If your rifle was moved during a shot, you would need to repeat the process. Once you can attain a fine shot as proposed, the next thing to do is to check the bull’s eye. Most times, the bullet will fail to get to the center of your target.

Nevertheless, it should strike some point on the target. Now measure out the point at which the bullet creates holes proportional to your target and pen down the differences that exist in space. For example, if you have a miss that is three to four inches low then you’ll need two to one inch to get to the bull’s eye.

Generally, it is important to use one type of ammunition, be it a reloaded or a factory ammunition. Using one ammo allows higher chances of accuracy. When you have all the adjustments ready, you can shoot over a long distance without a bullet drop.

Scopes are designed with two major advantages. It makes viewing distance object possible and helps make up for bullet drop, which is quite possible when using iron sights. It is important to have this in mind – all adjustments are made based on the user’s personal preference. For example, you don’t need to have the impact of your bullet 100 yards away.

Adjustments in the Field

Most sniping rifles and sniper scopes used in the military are designed with an elaborate that helps detect environmental conditions like the speed of the wind and the level of humidity.These factors are important to consider to zero the scope within the field. Most outdoor shooter rifles are feature reticles that are often based on different environmental conditions. It all depends on the selected bullet; a zero range can cause the impact of your bullet point to go through reticle location within the area of the scope view.

Precautions to Take

It’s essential to adhere to both federal, state, and local rules and regulations while carrying out a shooting practice. Although, the regulation on scopes and firearms usually changes from a particular state to another, or within one country and the other –just as the law varies. It is important to get an update from a jurisdictional authority within your territory to get more information regarding restrictions and guidelines.

The Ranger Expert team reviewed different types of rifle scopes. Check out our reviews and you might find your perfect match in no time!

a) Best Long Range Scopes

b) Best Thermal Scopes

c) Best Rimfire Scopes

d) Best Hunting Scopes

e) Best Scopes for 30 30

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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