How To Adjust A Scope For Long Range Shooting In 5 Minutes

Adjust scope for long range shooting

Maybe you have decided to give long range shooting a try or maybe you have recently added a long range scope to your accessory collection. Congratulations! Long range shooting is fun and gaining in popularity.

Assuming you have already purchased your new scope, now what? The next step is the biggest. Now you will need to adjust your scope. If you have not adjusted a long range scope before, do not worry. We will break down the steps for you in this article.

Why do I need to adjust my scope?

Adjust a scope -long range or otherwise- is a crucial step. Small errors at close range may not seem like a big deal. At long ranges, these errors are greatly magnified. In order to aim and shoot accurately at long range distances, your scope must be properly zeroed first.

When you zero your scope, you are aligning the sights of the scope with your rifle so that the bullet hits the target at a specific distance. Remember, a rifle cannot be adjusted to change the bullet’s path, only the sight can be adjusted.

Long range shooting can be anywhere from 300 yards on out past 1000 yards. Be sure you zero your scope, be sure to know what your maximum long range distance will be.

Mount your scope

Another necessary step to take before you can zero your scope, is to make sure it is mounted properly. There are different ways to mount scopes depending on the make and manufacturer of your rifle and scope.

Once mounted, make sure that the scope is level with your rifle. The vertical crosshair needs to be in perfect alignment with the vertical centerline of your rifle.

Adjust your eyepiece

This is an important step. Your scope should have an eyepiece. An ideal eyepiece does not interfere with you getting a clear view through the scope. At the same time, it will protect your eye and socket area from injury or trauma due to the recoil.

Add a bipod

It might be a good idea to use a bipod or stand. If you plan on maintaining a position for any length of time, it can get tiresome. In addition, a bipod will allow to sight the target in a steady position.

Check the turrets

Most scopes have turrets on them. These turrets usually turn ¼’’. This means that when you are shooting at 100 yards, each click of the turret will move the impact of the bullet ¼” in the direction indicated.

It is important to keep the formula of ¼” at 100 yards in mind. This formula is then adjusted in or out depending if you are sighting at 50 yards or 200 yards, etc.

This formula allows you quickly figure out how many clicks you need to turn the turrets based on how many inches off you are from the target.

Let’s begin

Once your scope is properly attached, grab a paper target and set it up at 25 yards. Aim and fire at the target. You can see where you hit the target and how close, or far off, you are from the bullseye. You can then adjust your clicks accordingly.

Take aim and try again at 25 yards. Adjust again if needed. Once you hit the bullseye, try to hit it again 3 times in a row. This way you know that you have the proper adjustments for zeroing at 25 yards.

Now move out to 100 yards

Follow the same procedure. Aim and shoot at your target. It is a good idea to fire 3 shots in a row. Then take a look at your paper. You will be able to see how close you are and with 3 bullet points, you can get a reasonable average.

The formula works the same. So, make any necessary adjustments by turning the turrets.

Once you have turned the necessary number of clicks, fire again. Double check your target. It may be necessary to fine tune a little bit more.

Once you can hit bullseye 3 times in a row, you know that your adjustments are spot on.

Move further out

Since you should know what your maximum shooting distance will be, you will need to keep moving your target further away. Each time you do this, take shots at your paper target and then adjust your turrets.

You should plan on 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards.

Other options

Today's markets offer other options for range finding. There are range finding apps that are very helpful when out on the range. These apps work with your smartphones. They can calculate trajectory, windage, velocity, energy and bullet flight times. They also take into account weather conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and altitude.

These range finders take data, and then give you the measurements for your rifle and scope so that you can hit your intended target.

Points to Remember

Long range shooting is gaining in popularity. It does, however, require careful thought and planning. You need to make sure you have a scope that will help you achieve your desired maximum shooting distance. You also need to be sure the scope is properly mounted and aligned.

After you are properly set up you can begin the process of zeroing your scope. This means you will fine tune the turret adjustments so that your bullet will hit a bullseye consistently.

Start at 25 yards and work your way out to your intended maximum distance.


If you are taking your target range shooting up a notch, make sure you have the proper tools. A good long distance scope will be your best friend in this situation. It is not hard to zero your scope, you need patience.Take your time and make sure that you are not rushing through the process of finding your zero.

Once you find it, it will be your sweet spot. Long range target shooting is a very satisfying experience. Making sure you have the right tools and the right adjustments before you start, will guarantee hours of enjoyment at the target range later on.