Now to the fun part. Or, at least what I find is the fun part. Unfortunately many new airgunners find this part of the job VERY frustrating. Before we start, let’s take a look at what’s going on in general.
Do you remember right triangles?
When you sight in a scope you are adjusting the sight plane of the scope to correspond to a point in space with the projectile. When a pellet is fired from a gun that’s perfectly horizontal, it immediately begins to drop. While you may think the pellet rises and falls, it’s actually a result of the angles that are created by adjusting the scope’s sight plane, which in turn causes you to raise the muzzle of the rifle to intersect with the projectile at a given distance. The closer that you sight your airgun, the greater the angle that you are creating. This is one reason that long distance shooters want their scope as close to the rifle bore as possible. There’s less of an angle and the pellet and the sight line of the scope are as close as possible to being perfectly parallel to each other, creating a very “flat” shooting gun.Scope sight line compared to rifle bore and the angle it creates.
This is another area where purists may want to hang me out on the wash line, as I’m not terribly concerned about how close my scope is to the bore of my air gun. It’s nice when it works out that way, but if not, that’s what mil-dots are good for. If I were shooting 800 to 1000 yards with a high powered rifle, this would be pretty important. But, I’m not. I’m shooting the RWS 34 .177 rifle with a maximum 1″ consistent accuracy of about 35 to 40 yards.
Getting on paper
First things first, if you are looking for a quick cheat sheet on how to sight in your new scope, I’ve created a simple, 1 page set of instructions with target bulls to help you get going. You can download it by clicking here. I’m going to reference these set of instructions, as we work through the rest of this process.How to install and sight a scope instruction and target sheet.
Once you begin to understand how the process works, specifically the information above regarding sight lines and angles, it’s not that difficult to get on target. The first thing that I need to do is to get a general point of reference to the point of impact vs where I’m sighting. Using the targets and instructions that we’ve provided, I set up about 15 feet away and aim for the large, center bullseye. I then make note of where the pellet lands in relation to where I was aiming. Now I have a place to start.
Moving the point of impact
Almost every scope I’ve ever worked with has its turrets marked to adjust the point of impact. The Hawke Sport HD IR 2-7×32 AO scope is no exception. In the case of this scope, I just need to remove the turret covers and take a look. Now the way this works is very simple. If the pellet is hitting below where I’m aiming, then I just need to rotate the adjustment counter-clockwise to raise it to where I need it to hit. To lower it, I would rotate it clockwise. If I’m hitting too far left and need to move the point of impact right, then I would rotate the side adjustment counter-clockwise. To move it to the left, I would rotate it clockwise.
Using the cheat sheet that I’ve provided, I aim at the top bullseye and adjust my point of impact to the identified lower bullseye. This allows for the distance of the scope above the receiver, and makes it easier to adjust for my final distance of 10 yards or greater. Let’s look at how to make those adjustments.Hawke Scope Adjustment Turret.
Most scopes use the standard of 1 click equaling 1/4″ movement at 100 yards. Be sure to read your included instructions to know what measure your specific scope uses. With this Hawke Scope, 4 clicks would equal 1″ at 100 yards. To move 1″ at say, 15 feet, or even 10 yards, takes a lot more than 4 clicks. When making my initial adjustments at close range I adjust in 1/4, 1/2, and full rotations of the adjustment turrets. I’ve found that if I need to move my point of impact by 1″ at 15 feet, that’s going to be about 3/4 to 1 full rotation of the adjustment turret, depending on the accuracy of the scope’s movement assembly. After I make my adjustment, I’ll fire several shots, (at least 3), and then let the adjustment settle in. Once the point of impact is consistent, I’ll make my next adjustment and so on until I’m happy with the results.
Here are some final “quick tips” on how to really dial things in.
- Whenever possible, verify accuracy of the airgun with open sights at 10 yards. More importantly, verify your ability to shoot the airgun accurately at 10 yards with open sights. A scope can’t fix an inaccurate airgun or poor shooting technique.
- Always make sure to only adjust in 1 direction at a time.
- Always take several shots before readjusting, as there are many things that can cause a pellet or shot to veer off course: i.e. wind, deformed pellet, or just a bad shot from the shooter.
- Always take your time. Trying to rush the process will just lead to more frustration.
Hopefully this has been a useful series for everyone. If you have questions or comments, please be sure to reach out via the comments section. We love to hear from our readers!