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Scope Adjustment: Which Way to Turn It? [Top FAQs Answered]

Scope Adjustment

Well done! You had zeroed in your rifle scope to hit your shots over your target.

Everything’s good until you realize the reticle moved opposite to the direction given by the windage and elevation turrets.

Don’t panic. Here’s a quick and simple guide on how to adjust a rifle scope and which way to turn.

In Which Way You Should Turn Your Turret Adjustment?

All it takes is to dial your turrets in the correct directions.

But, how exactly can you do it the right way? To answer that question, we look at an example.

How to Dial Scope Turrets?

Imagine your initial shot group is 3″ to the left and 2″ high of the point of aim at 10 yards. When dealing with the optic, here’s a reminder.

How to Interpret Each Direction?

You see that the elevation turret and windage adjustment knobs give directions. Remember that these directions refer to the point of impact on paper, NOT to the point of aim.

Now, you can zero the reticle to the point of impact. To do this, you need to ensure that the points of aim and impact are at the SAME SPOT.

Zeroing Your Rifle Scopes

In this setup, the actual spot of the bullet impact lands on your target at your desired range. You’ll never have the same frustration of missing your targets with your shots.

When you zero in your rifle scope, establish your gun at a fixed position while adjusting the optic.

Then adjust BOTH the vertical and horizontal directions of the bullets using the elevation turret and windage knob, respectively.

In our example, you need to move the initial shot group in opposite paths, 3″ to the right and 2″ down. Once done, your point of impact and point of aim is at the same place.

How to Interpret a Turret Label?

How to Interpret a Turret Label

In dealing with all the optics, you might have some confusion when adjusting the scope. That’s the case for most shooters when it comes to the reticle and even with parallax adjustment.

When zeroing, you get to see the labeling found in your rifle scope turrets. You notice that there are Up/Down and Left/Right labels.

How Does Turret Adjustment Work?

Most shooters assume that each label corresponds to the direction of the reticle. What you might not know is that most optics have labeling that does not work in this manner.

In reality, these labels correspond to the point of impact instead of the reticle point of aim.

How It Appears in the Reticle

So, dialing your turret to the left moves the reticle to the right. At the same time, as you dial your turret up, the reticle goes down.

When this happens, a rifle shooter tends to look beyond the reticle to see if there’s any problem. If you find yourself in this scenario, you’re more likely to diagnose why no bullet impact appears in the paper.

For others, they tend to waste their ammo while zeroing over and over again. During zeroing, there’s a chance of miscalculating the exact MOA clicks needed.

Some would even go as far as fixing over-torqued rings. If all else fails, a few might even start doubting their mount and scope’s quality.

Aiming Beyond the Optic

Aiming Beyond

Sometimes, the windage turret and elevation knob cannot get their job done alone.

Luckily, some accessories can help you in dialing your windage and elevation adjustment knobs in no time. You don’t have to waste your ammo while zeroing your shot.

One excellent accessory that will help you zero and dial your windage turrets and elevation turrets is a laser boresight. It gives you a great ballpark zero reference point of impact without firing a shot.

Speaking from a shooter’s experience, this accessory is easier to use than the manual bore sighting method for scope adjustments.

As you zero through sight, you’ll see a laser pointer that gives you direction. All you have to do is dial the turrets, so it approaches closer to the laser pointer.

Once done, you can refine the zero using live rounds with some clicks. With that, you can save a lot of time and ammo as you zero or re-zero after an optics swap.

Ultimately, you don’t have to chase the zero everywhere on the paper target again.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Adjusting your rifle scopes and elevation and windage turret can be a bit challenging, but with practice and patience, you’ll master the art of how to adjust your scope.

Don’t forget to adjust your scope forward to give yourself some eye relief to avoid scope bite!

FINAL TIP: You check out our article on Rifle Scope Sighting for a guide on how to improve your overall aiming skills.



July 27, 2022 - Added 2 new article links
April 13, 2022 - Made minor revisions to content
September 21, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title

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