Gone Outdoors

How to Sight in a Leupold Scope

by Kenrick Callwood

Leupold is one of the world's leading manufacturers of scopes. They make a variety of scopes that mount to high-powered rifles, including some used by various units of the U.S. military. Sighting in the scope is essential to guarantee the accuracy out to its maximum distance. Professionals use gun vises to ensure that the point of aim never changes after they make the initial shot. This eliminates the minute changes in the shooter's position that change the shot and make scope adjustments inaccurate.

Set up the rifle in the gun vise and rotate the front of the scope to adjust the focus for a sharp picture. Place a paper target down range at 50 yards and fire the first shot with the crosshairs centered on the center of the target.

Adjust the scope so that the crosshairs line up dead center with the hole made with the test shot: Adjust the scope's elevation with the top knob to adjust the vertical Point of Impact (POI). Adjust the windage with the side knob to adjust the horizontal POI. Adjusting the scope to align with the test shot means that the scope is now zeroed. The next few steps are to make sure the accuracy persists at greater distances.

Decide what distance you need to use for sighting in the scope. Hunters who primarily make 200-yard shots can sight in at 100 yards, while long-range competition shooters may choose to sight in at a different range.

Move the target out to the desired range and use the gun vise to aim for the center of the target. Fire another shot and take note of the point of impact to determine if the scope is accurately sighted in. A shot within 1 to 2 inches of the center ring is considered accurately sighted in.

Make necessary adjustments with the windage and elevation knobs if the shot was outside the acceptable distance.

Fire a few sets of 3 to 5 shots and measure the groupings, or distances between the holes. If all of the groupings have POI between 1 and 2 inches in spread, then the scope is accurately sighted in.

Items you will need
  • Gun vise
  • Paper target


  • Sight in the scope on a windless day if possible. This will provide the most accurate testing conditions.

Photo Credits

  • sniper rifle on the tripod and optical sight image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com