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How to Dope a Scope Properly: Tips for Easy Set Up & Usage

How to Dope a Scope Properly

I had no idea what “dope-ing” was.

But after learning and trying it myself, it’s a process that I’ve learned to appreciate and apply regularly.

Regardless of what you aim for, getting accurate data while shooting would never get easier with DOPE.

As you figure out how DOPE works, I’m here to help you find your groove in DOPE-ing your scope.

Let’s start your journey of becoming a professional dead-eye shooter.

What Is DOPE?

Think of Data On Previous Engagements (DOPE) as a compilation of ballistic data that you need to shoot your target at various distances.

Basically, it is a reference chart that guides shooters when dialing elevation and windage.

To improve your skill in long-range shooting, you must keep practicing data collection. I know there’s a lot of mathematics involved in DOPE, so I was hesitant to learn it.

But don’t worry!

DOPEs save you a lot of time creating a small table of values by removing the need for complex computations.

All that you need is to scale the target distances before registering the adjustments into your favorite rifle scopes.

Now, you’re all set to squeeze the trigger and BANG.

Getting Dope on Your Scope

Getting Dope

Know Your DOPE

The first step of using DOPE for precision shooting is to prepare the DOPE card itself.

Some people might say that creating a DOPE card is a difficult task when doing the precision shooting.

But don’t lose hope in your DOPE!

In making a DOPE card, you only need to research for the one that fits your scope.

Learn the Ammunition

Once you already get the perfect kind, you also need to familiarize the type of ammunition you’ll use.

If you’re learning to shoot on point, you’ll see that one kind of ammunition has a unique velocity and travel distance rate.

In doing so, you only have limited information as only certain kinds of DOPEs work with each kind of ammunition.

Now, you’re getting close to setting up your DOPE card yourself!

You can also view other information about the ammunition. These pieces of information include

  • Muzzle velocity
  • Caliber
  • Course

Upon getting these tools and information, you can punch them straight into your ballistic calculator. 

Once in place, you can watch how the rifle shoots this data in your DOPE card.

Setting Up Your DOPE

Setting Up

You’re now on track to discover how to dope a scope by yourself.

As you learned earlier, you can use any of the several kinds of DOPEs for given ranges.

With that, you should learn how to dope a scope considering all DOPE types you can use with your rifle.

Stay on the Ball

Through a quick search on the Internet, you can eye for plenty of information to prepare your range card.

Keep an eye on the following:

  • Ballistic coefficient
  • Caliber
  • Muzzle velocity
  • Weight
  • Zero distance

Once you have all this information, you can put them in a ballistic application or website.

After a while, the app or website will create an uncomplicated card.

This card contains values such as distances and “come-up” amounts in “clicks,” Mil, or MOA.

All this information combined must get you in the “ballpark” close to your targets.

Keep in mind that you need to adjust the data for every rifle scope setup you will use.

Dope Out With Precision

If you’re into precision shooting, then it’s time to learn how to dope a scope this way.

In this setup, you need two tools to hit your targets with the DOPE in your scopes.

As you engage in precision shooting, you need a chronograph in your hand and range time in your head.

Now, you might ask why these two things are important in precision shooting.

Hit the Target Around the Clock

First, firing right above a chronograph can help you measure the average velocity of fired ammunition.

As you fire over the chronograph, you will get two essential values.

The chronograph gives you the average and standard deviation of the true velocity of your desired ammo.

The standard deviation gives you an idea of the consistency of your preferred ammunition.

Knowing this value can help you understand your hit probability and ammo performance.

Only Time Can Tell

Next, you might want to get the range time that will take you closer to the ammo’s actual travel time.

It also matters for the exact point of impact.

Even if you get an accurate range card based on velocity, you can still get inaccurate data about the actual point of impact.

Well, SEVERAL FACTORS could affect the accuracy of your calculations on the point of impact.

You might find an error or two as you track your scope while preparing the card.

In some cases, other variables can cause variations in the data and point of impact.

Work with Your Ballistic Data

Whatever the case, you can do the following method to consider the potential deviations in your data.

All it takes to solve this problem is a mobile application that will handle all the calculations.

What you only need to do is to shoot two or three more rounds. Measure and input the percent correction into the app to do the rest of the task.

As you follow these tips every shooting session, you’ll observe that you’re INCREASING your hit probability little by little over time.

Getting Real with Your DOPEs

Sometimes, your ammunition brand lacks the information you need to calculate in your DOPE card.

In my experience, I had to rely on old-school yet reliable manual measurements.

When you’re lucky enough to get a spot to shoot at longer distances, then you can try this technique.

You just need to shoot to get ACCURATE DATA when doing long-range shots. You set your targets out at increments of your choice.

Measure the distance from the firing point to the impact point.

By finding the differences between these values, you already have enough information to calculate the Mil or MOA.

Afterward, record the time it takes for the shots fired to reach the impact using any available device.

Dial-In Information

These steps might be too arduous for you (as it was for me). Well, there is a great alternative that you can try.

Dialing your elevation can save you a lot of back-and-forth trips in the field.

After you dial the elevation, you need to walk the impact point to your original aim point.

Once you get these two points to coincide, you can record how much you had to dial in to match these values.

NOTE: This is different from doing holdover or holdunder shooting, so don’t mix them up!

Access Unlocked

Access Unlocked

Finally, you’re done preparing the DOPE card containing all the vital information. 

All you need to consider is how to use this card while aiming.

You want to view the information as close as possible. With that, you can choose which way you’ll hold the paper.

Ice on Your Wrist

If you don’t mind wearing a huge pouch on your wrist, then a wrist coach is your perfect companion.

It has a clear window to let you see the vital information on the DOPE card.

You can be creative in making your wrist coach. To save some money, you can buy a cheap wrist holder that can fit your DOPE card.

Can’t Get Your Eyes off the Prey

While practicing with your rifle, you want to look NOWHERE else but on your targets only.

You can do this simple step through the gear-tie method.

You can choose to print or write all the information you need on the DOPE card. Then, protect the paper with clear tape.

Hold out the ends of the “gear tie” around your scope with bulldog clips. Once done, you can avoid unnecessary movement when aiming your shots.

Frequently Asked Questions

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were scratching your head after all these steps.

Don’t worry; DOPE-ing a scope is confusing, so here is some additional information to help you out.

Why Use a DOPE?

I like using DOPE because it serves as my guidebook on my different rounds.

With some research, you can use a DOPE to keep track of all the specifications of the ammo you use and keep it with you on the field as you practice.

What Are the Benefits of DOPE?

One of the benefits of DOPE is to quickly learn and keep track of different information while saving time.

It helps keep track of the history of your rounds and how many clicks it takes to move from zero.

What is a Dope Disk?

A DOPE disk is a tool that allows you to personalize your DOPE data. It’s where you fill in all your data, and you can keep it in a flip-up scope cap when out on the field.

Think of it like a cheat sheet!

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Finally, you reached the end of the article—props for your dedication to learning new things!

I hope that you can fire your shot with extreme precision once you’re back in the field. Whatever the temperature is, don’t let the heat of competition defeat you.

FINAL TIP: To ensure you get even more accurate shots at any distance, you can take a look at our Guide on Riflescope Turrets to help you out.

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