How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Up and Down? Tips & Guide

Your rifle scope consists of a tube incorporating lenses and pieces of glasses, which provide a means to view through and for magnification. Depending on the type of scope, magnification may be fixed or changeable. Inside the tube of the scope, on one of the of the glass pieces is the reticle. The reticle is a crosshair symbol, which allows you to zero in on a target by moving the rifle, so the crosshairs are fixed on the center of the target. In this position the shot you fire hits the target where the cross hairs are located.

On the exterior of the scope are two knobs or in another word, turrets. These allow you to focus the reticle up and down or sideways, so it’s in the line of the target. The knob on the upper side is the ‘elevation’ or the up and down adjustment knob. On the side of the scope are the ‘windage’ or the left and right adjustment knob. By adjusting these knobs during aim, you can move the scope and therefore the rifle to aim more accurately at a target.

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Up and Down in Simple Steps

Before using a rifle scope, you have to zero it or sight it. You use the knobs on the upper part of the scope for the up and down adjustment. The knobs usually have plastic caps on them, which you will need to remove before proceeding. Have a screwdriver at hand if the knobs on your scope can’t be turned by use of fingers. Here is how to make the adjustments.

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1. Have the scope firmly mounted on the rifle and place it on sandbags aimed at your targets( the sandbags help to stabilize the rifle during firing reducing errors. Alternatively, you can use a rifle rest.

2. Place a target at a distance of your choice but not too far away ( the distance you think will be the average you will be shooting from is ideal).

3. Take about three shots at the target by looking through the scope to aim.

4. Check your target to see where your shots hit the target.

5. Determine how far off target the shots were upwards or downwards. This will help you to adjust the reticule of the scope to be more accurate.

6. Adjust the knob that’s on top of the in single clicks at a time, each time checking the target to see how close you’re to aiming accuracy. Use the table that came with the scopes instruction manual to guide you on what each click represents.

A clockwise turn of the elevation knob results in an upward movement for the crosshairs while an anticlockwise ts in the opposite. Depending on the model, the knob will allow you to use the fingers to turn it, or it can only be turned using an object such a coin or a small screwdriver.

7. Once aiming through the scope results in hitting the target at the correct spot, ( not any higher or lower), your scope’s elevation is correctly set. You can now put back the caps, or you can set the windage knob as well if you hadn’t.

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Tips for Adjusting a Rifle Scope Up and Down

  • Have plenty of bullets for the sighting because you may need to fire many of them before you get to the right settings
  • Don’t use different brands of bullets to fire the sighting shots as the results will not be consistent
  • Avoid adjusting your rifle scope for both elevation and windage at the same time; it will lead to confusion
  • Be patient; sighting a rifle is a trial and error activity, and you may be tempted to give up before getting the adjustments right
  • Allow the rifle to cool in-between shots for better results
  • Fire at least three shots for each adjustment click on the scope

Knowing how to adjust a rife scope up and down helps to make it aim better. If you’re going to use your rifle to hunt, you don’t want to miss many times and waste ammunition. A well-sighted rifle not only aims better, but also makes your hunting enjoyable and less frustrating. When adjusting the rifle by firing shots, make sure you abide by the local laws concerning the use of firearms.