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Step by Step Instructions to Sight in Your Rifle

For some, sighting in a rifle can seem like a difficult and scary task.

Maybe someone has always done it for you but now you want to learn. Or, maybe you’re a brand new shooter and have no clue. Regardless of why, the good news is you’ll be all set up in no time with a little instruction.

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  • Ensure the scope is correctly mounted to the gun. All screws must be tightened equally! Purchasing quality rings and bases is extremely important. I use Tally rings and bases on all my setups. They do a great job with excessive use and abuse in the field, travel, weather and everything else I throw at them.
    Sighting In
  • Check the caliber of your gun which is located on the barrel in the middle of the gun. Every single firearm will have this marking to tell you exactly what it is. Many guns can look alike, so always double check the caliber matches the ammunition you plan to use before heading to the range.
  • Bring hearing and eye protection to the range. Ensure you will have a sturdy table to shoot from - either sandbags or some sort of solid rest to place your gun in. No this isn’t the same as your field setup, but you want to eliminate as much human error as possible and see where the gun is shooting.

Sighting In

  • Place your target and triple check that you have a good backstop and safe location to shoot the gun.
  • Start out close. I usually start by shooting at 25-yards to ensure my gun gets on If you can’t see where your shots are, it’s pretty hard to adjust accordingly. So, start close and go from there.

Sighting In

  • Once you see where shots are, make adjustments. When you unscrew the caps on your scope located on the top and side you’ll see adjustment numbers. It will say 4 clicks to an inch at 100-yards for example with an arrow pointing that direction. Remember you are only at 25-yards so everything is magnified and needs to be moved 4x what you want. Shoot again and see if you need more adjustments.  Once you are satisfied with where it is hitting move back.
  • I personally like to have my guns sighted in at 100-yards as this is where most of my shots take place.

Regardless of where you sight it in at, if available shoot at 200-yards and beyond as well so you can learn and practice. It’s important to know not only what your gear is capable of, but what you are capable of before hitting the field.

Melissa Bachman
Melissa Bachman
With a degree in broadcast journalism, Melissa set sights on a career in the outdoors. Traveling over 300 days a year to shoot for Winchester Deadly Passion, Bachman considers this her “dream job.” With a love for children, industry trade shows and the great outdoors, she films around the world for her adrenaline-pumped series.