How To Sight In A Rifle Scope At 25 Yards

Sighting in a rifle scope is the process of aligning the scope’s reticle with the point of impact of the bullet. By doing so, you ensure that your shots are consistently hitting the target where you aim. Sighting in your scope at a distance of 25 yards is an ideal starting point before moving to longer distances.

1Ensure the rifle is unloaded and the chamber is empty.
2Set up a stable shooting rest or sandbags to support the rifle.
3Place a target at a distance of 25 yards.
4Look through the bore of the rifle to ensure it is aligned with the target.
5Adjust the scope’s magnification to the desired level.
6Adjust the elevation knob of the scope to move the crosshairs upward or downward.
7Fire a shot at the target and note where the bullet impacts.
8Use the windage adjustment knob to move the crosshairs left or right based on the bullet impact.
9Fire another shot and assess the impact.
10Repeat steps 8 and 9 until the bullets consistently hit the desired point of impact.
11Once satisfied with the adjustment, ensure the scope and rifle are securely tightened.

Understanding Rifle Scopes

Before you begin the process, it’s crucial to understand the basic components of a rifle scope. The main parts include the eyepiece, ocular lens, magnification ring, elevation turret, windage turret, and reticle. Familiarize yourself with these components to make adjustments effectively.

Selecting the Right Ammunition

To achieve accurate results while sighting in your scope, it’s essential to use the same ammunition you intend to use during shooting or hunting. Different types of ammunition can behave differently, impacting the trajectory of the bullet. Consistency is key when it comes to ammunition selection.

Preparing for Sight-In

Before heading to the shooting range, ensure that you have the necessary equipment. You will need a stable shooting rest, sandbags, targets, a spotting scope, and a cleaning kit. Make sure your rifle is in good condition, and always prioritize safety while handling firearms.

Mounting the Scope

Properly mounting the scope is crucial for accurate sight-in. Start by attaching the rings to the scope and then securely mounting them on the rifle’s receiver. Ensure the scope is level and aligned with the barrel. Use a torque wrench to tighten the screws, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Adjusting Windage and Elevation

Once the scope is mounted, you can start adjusting windage (horizontal) and elevation (vertical) settings. Using the turrets on the scope, make precise adjustments based on the bullet’s impact on the target. Each click on the turret corresponds to a specific adjustment value. Refer to the scope’s manual for details.

Initial Shots and Adjustments

With the initial adjustments made, take a few shots at the target. Observe the bullet’s impact on the target and make further adjustments as necessary. Make small, incremental adjustments and avoid overcompensating. Patience and consistency are key during this process.

Fine-Tuning and Zeroing In

As you continue shooting and making adjustments, you will gradually bring the bullet’s impact closer to your desired point of aim. Fine-tune the windage and elevation settings until the reticle aligns precisely with the bullet holes on the target. This process may require several iterations.

Verifying Accuracy

Once you have zeroed in on your scope, it’s essential to verify its accuracy. Take multiple shots at the target to ensure consistent results. If the bullet impacts consistently where you aim, you can be confident that your scope is properly sighted in at 25 yards.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While sighting in a rifle scope, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. One is rushing the process and making large adjustments too quickly. Another is not properly securing the rifle on a stable rest, leading to inconsistencies. Additionally, failing to follow the manufacturer’s instructions can result in improper sight-in.

Maintenance and Care

To ensure the longevity and performance of your rifle scope, it’s important to maintain and care for it properly. Regularly clean the lenses, protect the scope from moisture and extreme temperatures, and store it in a safe place when not in use. Following these practices will help preserve the scope’s accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

How Often Should I Sight In My Rifle Scope?

It is recommended to sight in your rifle scope whenever you change ammunition, makes significant adjustments to the scope, or if you haven’t used the rifle for an extended period. Regularly verifying the zero of your scope ensures consistent accuracy.

Can I Sight In My Scope At A Different Distance Than 25 Yards?

While 25 yards is a common distance to start, you can sight in your scope at other distances as well. Keep in mind that sighting in at shorter distances allows for quicker adjustments, but it may require additional fine-tuning at longer ranges.

What Should I Do If My Scope Adjustments Run Out?

If you find that your scope’s adjustments are insufficient to zero in, you may need to consider adding shims or using adjustable bases or rings to compensate for the discrepancy. Consulting a professional gunsmith can also provide valuable assistance.

Is It Necessary To Re-Zero My Scope If I Change Shooting Positions?

If you change shooting positions, it is advisable to verify your zero. Different shooting positions can affect the way your rifle recoils, potentially altering the point of impact. Taking a few shots to confirm your zero ensures accuracy.

Can I Sight In My Rifle Scope By Myself, Or Should I Seek Professional Help?

Sighting in a rifle scope can be done by yourself, but it requires patience, attention to detail, and following proper procedures. If you’re unsure or lack experience, seeking professional help from a gunsmith or shooting instructor is recommended for optimal results.


Sighting in a rifle scope at 25 yards is a fundamental step for any shooter or hunter. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can improve the accuracy of your shots and increase your overall shooting skills. Remember to prioritize safety and consistency throughout the sight-in process.

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