How To Look Through A Rifle Scope

Have you ever looked through a rifle scope and felt like you couldn’t see anything clearly? It’s a frustrating feeling when you’re trying to aim accurately. But fear not, with a few simple steps, you can learn how to look through a rifle scope like a pro.

Rifle scopes are essential tools for hunters and shooters alike. They help you aim accurately and improve your chances of hitting your target. However, if you’re not used to using them, they can be a bit tricky to get the hang of.

Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a beginner, knowing how to look through a rifle scope is crucial for success. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of rifle scope use and give you tips on how to get the most out of your scope. So, let’s get started and learn how to look through a rifle scope like a pro.

Understanding Your Rifle Scope

Before you start using a rifle scope, it is important to understand its basic parts and functions. A rifle scope is typically made up of three main components: the ocular lens, the erector system, and the objective lens. The ocular lens is the lens closest to your eye, and it magnifies the image coming into the scope. The erector system helps to adjust and focus the image, while the objective lens is the lens at the front of the scope that gathers light.

Choosing the Right Rifle Scope

When it comes to choosing a rifle scope, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, you’ll want to ensure that the scope you choose is appropriate for the type of shooting you’ll be doing. A hunting rifle scope might not be ideal for target shooting, and vice versa. Similarly, you’ll need to consider the amount of magnification you need, the size of the objective lens, and the specific features you’re after.

Setting Up Your Rifle Scope

The first step to using a rifle scope is to set it up properly on your firearm. Start by tightening the scope rings onto the rifle’s receiver or rail. Make sure the scope is level, and secure it tightly onto the rings. Next, bore-sight your rifle. This involves aligning the scope’s reticle with your firearm’s bore or barrel. You can do this by placing a bore sighting device into the rifle’s chamber and adjusting the scope’s windage and elevation dials until the reticle lines up with the bore.

Proper Eye Placement

When using a rifle scope, proper eye placement is essential. You need to position your eye behind the ocular lens in a way that allows you to see clearly through the scope. A good rule of thumb is to keep your head level and move the rifle forward or backward until you see a full field of view. This allows you to obtain the best eye relief while avoiding any eye injury due to the scope’s recoil.

Focusing Your Scope

Once you have found the proper eye placement, you need to focus your scope. Before you start, adjust the eyepiece until the reticle appears clear and sharp. Next, look through the scope at a blank and uniform background, such as the sky or a white wall. Adjust the focus knob until the reticle appears crisp and clear. Remember that different scopes have different focal lengths, and you will need to repeat this process each time you change magnification or distance.

Using Different Types of Reticles

Rifle scopes come with a variety of reticles or crosshairs, and you need to know how to use them for optimal performance. The most common reticles are the crosshair, duplex, and BDC (bullet drop compensator). The crosshair is the most basic type, while the duplex reticle has thicker lines at the edges. The BDC reticle allows you to compensate for bullet drop at longer ranges. Choose a reticle that best suits your shooting style and preferences.

Shooting at Different Ranges

A rifle scope allows you to shoot at different ranges with ease, but you need to know how to adjust for distance. Most scopes come with windage and elevation adjustments, which allow you to move the reticle up, down, left, or right. You can also adjust the magnification to zoom in or out on the target. Remember to practice shooting at different ranges and adjust your scope accordingly.

Using a Bipod or Rest

While shooting with a rifle scope, it is helpful to use a bipod or rest to stabilize your firearm. This prevents any unnecessary movement and allows you to concentrate on your shot. Bipods and rests are especially useful when shooting at longer ranges or in windy conditions.

Dealing with Recoil

Rifle scope usage often involves significant amounts of recoil, which can cause discomfort and injury. To minimize the effects of recoil, you can position your body correctly and use a proper grip and stance. Additionally, you can use recoil pads or opt for a rifle with less recoil.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Rifle Scope

After using your rifle scope, ensure that you clean it correctly before storing it. This includes wiping the ocular and objective lenses and checking the inside of the scope for dust or debris. Properly storing your rifle scope in a secured and dry location will also help maintain its quality.

Common Problems and How to Solve Them

It’s not uncommon to encounter problems when using a rifle scope. These can include issues with windage and elevation adjustments, visibility, and parallax. By understanding what these problems are and how to solve them, you can continue to improve your shooting and get the most out of your rifle scope.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to improve your rifle scope usage:

  • Use a parallax adjustment to eliminate any parallax error between the scope and the target.
  • Keep your scope lenses clean and use lens caps to protect them during storage.
  • Use a red dot sight in conjunction with your rifle scope for better target acquisition and faster shooting.
  • Practice shooting in different weather and lighting conditions to prepare for real-world scenarios.
  • Try different types of ammunition to see what works best with your firearm and scope.


Looking through a rifle scope is one of the essential skills every hunter and shooter should master. By following the techniques mentioned above, you will be able to improve your accuracy and take clean and successful shots from long to short-range distances. Always remember to take extra caution when using a firearm, and never hesitate to seek help from experienced instructors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is eye relief, and why is it important when using a rifle scope?

Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the ocular lens of the scope. It is important to maintain proper eye relief to avoid eye injury from recoil and to obtain a clear and full field of view.

What is the diopter on a scope?

The diopter is the small knob located at the end of the scope, just in front of the eyepiece.

How do I choose the right magnification for my rifle scope?

The right magnification for your rifle scope will depend on the type of shooting you do and the distance at which you plan to shoot. For close-range shooting, a lower magnification is ideal, while long-range shooting requires higher magnification.

What is the right breathing technique when shooting with a rifle scope?

One should take a deep breath and hold it while aiming at the target, then take the shot when the target is still.

How can I improve my accuracy while using a rifle scope?

To improve your accuracy, practice shooting in different situations and distances, maintain proper eye placement and focus, and avoid common mistakes such as failing to adjust for distance and windage.

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