How to Set Up an Air Rifle Scope

Written by aaron kopf
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How to Set Up an Air Rifle Scope
Metal targets are more dangerous than paper targets due to ricochet potential. (target image by hans slegers from

To get the most out of your BB-gun shooting experience, your scope needs to be attached and adjusted to achieve optimal accuracy. Also known as sighting-in, these adjustments can be accomplished with minimal training and tools. You'll be hitting that bull's-eye before you know it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Air rifle
  • Scope
  • Screwdriver
  • Target sheets
  • Chair or cushion
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Locate the rail on the top surface of the rifle. This rail isn't just for show. It is where you will be attaching your scope.

  2. 2

    Attach the scope. Your scope probably came with clamps or adaptors that attach to the rail with screws. You may need to use a screwdriver, but some can be tightened with your fingers.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the scope is solidly attached. A loosely attached scope is your enemy in the pursuit of accurate shooting.

  1. 1

    Set up your target sheet approximately 3 feet off the ground, making sure that there are no houses or people behind it. If possible, shoot into an earthen embankment. Also, do not attach it to a hard surface, as the pellet may ricochet and fly toward the shooter.

  2. 2

    Put on your safety glasses and set up the chair or cushion about 15 feet from the target sheet.

  3. 3

    Sit on the ground and rest the gun on the cushion or chair. This will aid in steadying your hands as you shoot.

  4. 4

    Look down the scope and aim at the centre of the bull's-eye. Fire one shot. Count on your first shot to be pretty far from the bull's-eye.

  5. 5

    Take note of where the shot landed on the target and adjust the scope accordingly. Most scopes have two knobs: one to adjust the sight vertically and one to adjust horizontally. Some require a screwdriver to adjust, others need only fingers. The knobs should be labelled as to which direction you should turn them.

  6. 6

    Take several more shots, adjusting the scope between each until you are consistently hitting the bull's-eye every time. You may need to put up a new target sheet.

  7. 7

    Move your chair or cushion back 10 feet and start again at Step 3. Continue the process until the gun is sighted at the desired distance from the target.

Tips and warnings

  • If using pellets, purchase those specifically made for target practice. They usually have flat heads so as to make a clear hole in the target sheet.
  • Do not expect your rifle to be accurate at more than 100 yards. For target practice at distances greater than 100 yards, firearms are far more accurate and effective.
  • Use common sense when sighting-in your air rifle. The danger associated with these guns can be vastly diminished with the proper precautions.

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