Rifle Scope Comparison and Advice

Adjusting A Rifle Scope: What You Need To Know

Adjusting A Rifle Scope: What You Need To Know

One of the main advantages with modern rifle scopes is that they can be adjusted. Anyone hoping to get the best results from using their rifle scope would benefit from learning how to adjust it.

There are advantages associated with knowing how to adjust a rifle scope that includes getting results that are accurate whether you are in real hunting or target practice. The way you will do the adjustments depends on the kind of rifle scope you have.

Adjustments in rifle scopes generally happen in three broad areas; the parallax, elevation, and windage. Many rifle scopes come with the parallax set at the factory, so most owners will never have to adjust this.

However, you will get ones that have not been properly set once in a while so you will certainly benefit from knowing how to do this.


We have already said that most scopes come with the parallax already adjusted, however, let’s take a quick look at how you can go about this so that in the event you meet one that is not, you know what to do. Adjusting the parallax is usually something that is the preserve of high-end rifle scopes.

This is something you may need to take into account if you are buying your scope. The more expensive it is, the better your ability will be to adjust the parallax.

What Is The Parallax

In simple terms, the parallax is the movement of the target in relation to the reticle as your eye moves further from the exact point that is the center of the eyepiece. In this situation you have the image not falling on precisely the same plane which the scope’s reticle is on. The problem with this is that it causes a small shift in the point of aim.

Adjusting The Parallax

To adjust the parallax, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the reticle is in a clean and crisp state, and it is also squarely on the target while sighting down the scope.
  2. As you slightly adjust the parallax turret move your head and eyes in an up and down manner.
  3. When there is no more movement in the relationship between your reticle and the target, you know the adjustment is correct.


Windage is usually understood through a concept known as minutes of angle (MOA). You make these adjustments by turning the turret of the scope. Your rifle scope will clearly show the directing you must turn the turret in order to make the required adjustments.

Watch out, some cheap models do not have this feature. This could be a good way of telling the quality of your scope when you are buying.

Each click you make represents an angle of one minute, this can be thought of roughly as an adjustment of 100 yards. There is a whole mathematical explanation of what MOA actually is but for the purposes of this article we shall leave that out.

It is safe to say that when you adjust the elevation setting of a sight by one minute of angle, you are essentially changing the impact point by a single inch at 100 yards. Only when you are on the range will you be able to determine how this converts to clicks on the scope turret of your rifle.


Generally, the elevation turret uses the same standard as the turret for the windage. The difference between the two is that in order to adjust it you have to move the adjustments up and down the impact points of rounds.

Otherwise adjusting the elevation is done in the exact same way as the windage.

The turrets you use for the elevation adjustments are usually found on the upper side of the scope’s body. You will also need to watch out, not all rifle scopes will have this.

You can use this to check the quality of your rifle scope when you are buying.

Learning how to adjust your rifle scope can be the difference between getting a great service from your unit and not. We also think that the adjustments you can do on yours should be a good indicator of the quality of the scope you are buying.

If it does not give you a lot of room to do these adjustments, this may be an indication that you need to move on.

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