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Scope Adjustment: Which Way to Turn It? – FAQs Answered

Scope Adjustment

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

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

Don’t panic. Here’s a quick and simple guide on how to adjust your 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 elevation turret and windage 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 Scope

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 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 adjustment and windage adjustment, 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 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 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 and elevation knob cannot get its job done alone.

Luckily, some accessories can help you in dialing your turret adjustment 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 turrets is 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.

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

Check out our article on Rifle Scope Adjustment for a guide more specific to rifle scopes.

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.