How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope | 3 Steps Simple Guide

What makes shooters hit their targets accurately? Riflescope can transform a less accurate gun into an accurate shooting tool. The scope could have been mounted by someone for you or pre-mounted when you bought the rifle.

Regardless of how it was added to your rifle, what matters is that it can increase the distance you can shoot accurately. However, it requires some adjustments to make it a powerful tool. The purpose of this how to adjust a rifle scope up and down guide is to help you make your rifle as accurate as possible.

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope

Adjustments to Make in Your Scope


You don’t just mount the rifle scope and start firing. You need to make some adjustments to acquire your target.

Tips on Adjusting the Scope Up and Down

Positioning the scope to the right height for your eyes is not simple. The main objective in adjusting the rifle scope up and down is to set it to a level where you can rest your cheek you are comfortable when shooting. And to have the ocular lens positioned appropriately in front of your eye.

If you adjust the scope because of comfort or repeated position, you won’t be very accurate in your shooting. In shooting, precision means hitting the same point consistently or getting a good group. This is opposite to accuracy, which means hitting what you are aiming for.

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Up and Down

You have several options when adjusting the scope up and down. You can purchase replacement mounting rings. Check whether you need taller or shorter. If you find your scope too high, you choose whether to get a cheek rest or duct-tape a piece of cloth to your rifle stock to bring your cheek higher. You make these adjustments to ensure that your eye is where you need it to be every time you aim and acquire the target.

Positioning your scope at the right height makes it easier for you to see it correctly. It means that your eye is in the scope’s eye box. The more forgiving the scope’s eye box is, the easier and faster it is to get your eye in it as you shoot comfortably.

You cannot tweak the scope right and left without the off-axis scope mount. If you are comfortable in your scope using one of your eyes, then your problem is your stance.

Tips on Adjusting the Scope Back and Forward

If adjusting your scope up and down brings your eye into the scope’s eye box, forward and back adjustments put your eyes into the scope’s eye relief. Each rifle scope with magnification has some sort of eye relief, and only at a certain distance from the scope can you see the image clearly.

The most frustrating aspect of shooting with a rifle scope is the eye relief. Aside from difficulty holding it, it is also hard to keep your eye in the same spot, and the image is useless if you get too close or not close enough.

How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Back and Forward
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You will not have a problem if you have enough room on the main tube to adjust the scope back and forth. Make sure not to tighten the rings down on the scope’s end as it might bulge outward and could break easily.

If you have done everything to scoot the scope and it is not far enough to the needed direction, you can loosen the rings attached to the rail and move in the required direction. You can buy a cantilever mount if you still need to move the scope further back, but it is the end of the line.

Consult your rifle’s manual for eye relief. Most of the time, it is between 3 and 4.5 inches. If you haven’t decided which scope to buy, make sure you don’t purchase a scout scope for a standard rifle or a traditional scope for a scout rifle. Usually, the scout rifles have scopes mounted more forward and with 9 inches eye relief making them worthless on a standard rifle.

Tips on Leveling the Scope

Another issue a shooter needs to deal with is when the scope is not level. Initially, if you adjust the elevation or windage, the adjustments you need to make are not only left and right or up and down. They will be at an angle. Also, if the scope is pretty close to level, you have difficulty determining if it is off by simply looking at it.

Your optics will not be accurate if you cannot level it. If your reticle has disturbing marks, a rangefinder, or a BDC ladder, you will not be able to adjust for bullet drop, and wind holds utilizing the reticle. The good thing about a scope not level is that it becomes pretty apparent once you start shooting at longer range.

Tips on Leveling the Scope

To help you level the scope right, you can use a bubble level or a leveler kit positioned between the flat spot below the turret adjustments and the rail. In leveling the scope properly, you need to confirm the rifle if it is upright appropriately and level. Once it is leveled, you can insert the leveling kit and aligned the scope perfectly.

Leveling the scope is easy and less complicated, but it is a crucial step to take, and you should not estimate it by just looking at it. 

Final Thoughts


Hopefully, this how to adjust a rifle scope up and down guide has answered your questions. You might not get the right adjustments right away, but it is quite easy once you get familiar with it. If you need to make many adjustments, you have to some computations as it involved some math. But don’t let this intimidate you. Just solve the math and add it up. The easiest way to know if you have done the proper adjustments it test fire and make some adjustments again if needed.

You need a lot of patience when adjusting and do several tests fire until you are ready to acquire your target. Familiarizing yourself with your rifle can also help you adjust up and down, left and right, forward and back. You will not just learn to adjust your rifle scope. You will also gain confidence and increase your knowledge on aiming.

Remember, buy only the right and compatible scope for your rifle. Adjusting the rifle scope up and down will not help you hit your target if you purchase the wrong scope. If you want to share what you know about the topic, feel free to comment below. We appreciate any thoughts or ideas you want to add.

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