How to Keep Your Rifle Scope Steady and Accurate

A rifle scope is an indispensable tool for the long-range shooter, providing precision and accuracy that cannot be matched by the naked eye. However, even the best rifle scope is useless if it isn’t properly secured and aligned. If you find that your scope is moving or shifting during use, you’re not alone – this is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as recoil, vibration, poor mounting, or improper adjustments. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and techniques to help you keep your rifle scope steady and accurate.

Reasons Why Rifle Scopes Move

Before we delve into the solutions, it is crucial to understand why rifle scopes move. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Recoil from the rifle after each shot
  • Inappropriate mounting systems
  • Loose screws or rings
  • Damage to the scope
  • Improper alignment

Choosing the Right Scope Mount

One of the most important factors in keeping your rifle scope steady is choosing the right mounting system. There are several types of scope mounts available, including one-piece, two-piece, and quick detach mounts. You should choose a mount that is sturdy and reliable, with a weight and design that is appropriate for your rifle and scope. A good mount will keep your scope firmly in place, even during heavy recoil or sustained use.

Installing the Mount

Once you’ve chosen the right mount, it’s time to install it on your rifle. This should be done with care and precision, as any misalignments or mistakes could cause the scope to move or shift. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and double-check your work to ensure that everything is secure and properly aligned. Be sure to use high-quality screws and hardware, and torque them to the recommended settings.

Adjusting the Scope

With the mount installed, it’s time to start adjusting your rifle scope. This involves positioning it correctly and making sure that it’s level and aligned with the rifle’s barrel. You should also adjust the eyepiece and focus to ensure that you’re getting a clear and sharp image. Be sure to make small adjustments, and check your work frequently to avoid over-adjusting.

Zeroing In

Once the scope is properly attached and adjusted, it’s time to zero it in. This involves sighting in the rifle at a specific distance and making small adjustments until you get a bullseye. This process can take some time and patience, but it’s critical for ensuring that your rifle is accurate and reliable. Be sure to use the same ammunition and conditions that you’ll be using in the field, and make sure that you’re shooting at a proper target.

Reducing Recoil

If you’re still experiencing issues with your scope moving or shifting, it may be due to excessive recoil. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including the caliber of your rifle, the weight of the bullet, and the design of the rifle itself. There are several ways to reduce recoil, such as adding a muzzle brake or recoil pad, using a lighter bullet, or switching to a different rifle altogether. You may also want to experiment with different shooting positions and techniques to help control recoil.

Regular Maintenance

Finally, it’s important to maintain your rifle and scope on a regular basis. This includes cleaning and lubricating the rifle, inspecting and tightening the scope mount and screws, and checking the zero regularly. You should also keep your scope protected from moisture, dust, and other contaminants, and store it in a dry and safe location when not in use.

Other Tips to Prevent Your Scope from Moving

Here are a few other tips to prevent your scope from moving:

  • Use thread locker on screws and bolts to prevent them from loosening.
  • Don’t overtighten your scope rings to prevent scope warping.
  • Avoid cleaning your gun with solvents that can seep into the scope’s internal mechanics.
  • Use a high-quality scope with durable mounts to avoid damage and wear.

By following these tips, you should be able to prevent your rifle scope from moving and maintain accuracy and consistency in your shooting.


A steady and accurate rifle scope is essential for any shooter who wants to optimize their accuracy and precision in the field. By choosing the right mount, installing it carefully, adjusting the scope correctly, zeroing in, reducing recoil, and maintaining your rifle and scope regularly, you can ensure that your scope stays put and your aim stays true. With these tips and techniques in mind, you’ll be able to shoot with confidence and accuracy, no matter what kind of rifle or conditions you’re dealing with.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What causes my rifle scope to move to the side when shooting?

A moving scope could be an indication of improperly mounted rings, a misaligned stock, or a weak recoil pad. The top of this list is usually improperly mounted rings.

How tight should my scope mounting screws be?

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for torque settings, and use a torque wrench to ensure that the screws are tight enough but not too tight.

Can I use two recoil pads to reduce scope movement better?

Stacking recoil pads is not advisable, as they can move around when you fire. This can cause more harm than good, leading to unpredictable shots and damage to the gun.

Can a muzzle brake make my rifle louder?

Yes, a muzzle brake can increase the noise level of your rifle due to the redirection of muzzle gases.

Can I fix my rifle scope from moving without a gunsmith?

Yes, you can fix your moving rifle scope without a gunsmith’s help, especially if the issue is minor. However, seek a gunsmith’s advice if your gun’s recoil or movement problems are beyond what you can handle.

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