How to use a rifle scope for shooting

How to Correctly Mount, Sight, and Use a Rifle Scope for Hunting

Unless you’ve got the stalking skills of a jungle cat, or the eyes of an eagle, a rifle scope is the only way to get a clear shot at most wild game.  In this article we’re going to discuss mounting, sighting, and firing your scope.

There are various kinds of optics you can consider bringing on the field, which are riflescopes, spotting scopes, hunting rangefinders or binoculars. Riflescopes are great if you would like to shoot long-range. If you are going to the field alone, I would suggest using riflescopes rather than spotting scopes because they require more effort to operate. A spotting scope can help you determine whether the big game is the prize that you want even from afar. However, it is usually only effective if you have a team of hunters. If you would like to know what are the factors for choosing a suitable AR-15 scope, you can check out this blog post.

Riflescopes are really great because of how simple it operates. By aiming using a scope, you only need to line up your reticle with your target as compared to using iron sights. Riflescopes with magnification abilities can help you shoot more precisely too, allowing you to have a clear sight of the target before making the shot. Here are some steps you can follow to use your rifle scope.

If you would like to learn more and get a head start, you can watch this video about how you can adjust a riflescope.


Step 1: Mounting Your Scope

Most riflescopes come pre-drilled with a grooved section to allow for mounting attachments. You need to get hardware that fits well with the scopes design. It would be wise for you to ask the retailer concerning what hardware you need to mount your scope if you are unsure of what is needed.

After that, make sure that you tighten any screws that hold the scope intact, ensuring that the pressure exerted on all screws are as even as possible. Be sure not to tighten it too much or you may be crushing your riflescope causing damage to it.

Tactical Rifles

In recent years many hunters have outfitted their tactical rifles (think AR-15) for hunting.  This may require some adjustment depending upon the configuration of your rifle.  Generally speaking they can be modified to accept a scope with minimal cost.  For more information on tactical rifles you can check out this article.

If you want further information about how to mount a scope, check out this video.


Align your scope’s crosshairs

Step 2: Align your scope’s crosshairs

Your scope’s crosshair is also known as the reticle of your riflescope, which is a cross sign on your lens that gives you an indication of where you are pointing your gun. Take note that the crosshair can come in several forms including circles. Crosshair reticles has thin lines that meet the center which helps you to aim.

The topic on reticles is a vast one as well, where we have BDC Reticle which are duplex style reticle with some markings right below the center of the lens. Other types include the mildot reticle which allows you to determine the approximate distance of your target and we have ‘red dot sights’.

So, aligning your reticle basically means that you rotate your reticle until the crosshair is properly aligned. This helps you make sure that you are fixed on the target.


Adjust the eye relief

Step 3: Adjust the Eye Relief

Tuning your eye relief basically means that you are ensuring that the distance of the scope and your eyes are far enough so that it won’t hit your eye when you the gun recoils.

How do you adjust it? First, place the scope as far away as possible while it is still mounted on your hardware. Next, slowly move the scope towards your eye until you have a full field-of-vision (FOV), basically ensuring that there is a distance between the scope and you while still maintaining the ability to scope.

If you are satisfied, remember to tighten the ring screws with almost similar pressure. A general rule most people follow is to mount the scope an inch further away than the distance we feel safe shooting, making sure that we will not injure ourselves when the gun recoils.

Here’s a video on the basics of eye relief.


Step 4: Testing Your Scope

Ideally, you know what role the different parts of the riflescopes play. You can do so by reading the user’s manual or obtaining information from the manufacturer’s website. Your riflescope is usually made out of an eye piece, objective lens, shoulder, body and elevation.

If your riflescope has a variable power lens, you can choose between different levels of magnification and see how comfortable you are shooting with that magnification. If your scope has variable magnification, it would have model numbers like “4-16 x 36” which means it can be adjusted from four times magnification to sixteen times magnification. The number 36 usually refers to the diameter of the objective lens.

Aiming and making your shot

Step 5: Aiming and making your shot!

As you aim your target, make sure that your eye relief is still maintained. Usually, when you want to sight things using high magnification, you will tend to be closer to the scope, having less eye relief. This is something to take note of so that you remember to leave extra space between your eyes and the scope when sighting things which are further.

After every shot you make, ensure that you make adjustments. Make sure that you calibrate other factors and make sure that your shots are as consistent as possible. This is so that the difference in the accuracy of the shots are factored by how you aimed using the riflescopes.

Be sure to tune the elevation and windage after taking into account your specific circumstances. The factors include the distance between you and your target, how heavy is your bullet and what is the wind condition of your surroundings.


I hope that the guide is comprehensive enough to help you out by showing you how you can use a riflescope for shooting. Like most gear, riflescopes only perform at its best when it is maintained well by good scope care habits.

Be sure to give your scope a wipe every once in a while, and have maintenance checks when you feel that something is off. If the lenses are dirty, use a brush to properly clean the lenses. Other important habits include keeping your riflescope away from direct sunlight because extreme temperatures will adversely affect lubrications that are present in your scope.

Simple things like placing covers over your lenses can do wonders as well! It can prevent scratches which may eventually lead to irreparable damage on your optics that detrimentally affects the performance of the scope. If you have any tips or ideas, feel free to share below!