How to Use Target Turrets on Rifle Scopes

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A rifle can be made extremely accurate with a properly sighted rifle scope. The target turrets on the rifle scope assist you in “sighting in,” or properly adjusting, the scope to hit targets at whatever distance you choose. For the vast majority of shots made during hunting, a scope can be sighted in at 100 yards and if the target is closer that that or at a greater distance, the trajectory of the bullet will still allow it to still hit the target very close to your point of aim. The target turrets move the cross hairs, or the two lines seen when looking in a scope. One line is vertical and the other is horizontal.

Step 1

Sighting in your rifle with the target turrets assures that it is accurate.
••• boy with rifle image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com

Go to a local rifle range. Make sure that your rifle is unloaded. Set your rifle on the bench at the range. Gather several sandbags, which the vast majority of ranges provide for free, and place them near your rifle. Check to see that it is safe to go downrange. Set a target at the 25-yard mark.

Step 2

Adjusting the scope is a trial-and-error process.
••• boy with rifle image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com

Stack several of the sandbags in front of you. You should be seated at the table the range provides. Place enough sandbags under the rifle so that it is comfortable for you to take aim at the target you set up. Load your rifle. Place the rifle on top of the sandbags so that the sandbags touch only the rifle stock. Aim the rifle at the center of the target. Fire several shots. Check to see where they made contact with the target. Unscrew the covers of the target turrets.

Step 3

When sighting in the scope, adjust one turret at a time.
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Determine where your shots hit the target. Use the turrets to adjust where the shots are hitting. The top turret controls elevation and the right turret controls right-and-left movement. Adjust only one turret at a time. Continue adjusting the turret you are working with until your shots consistently hit where you want.

Step 4

The shots fired at a 25-yard target should strike about two inches below your point of aim due to the distance between the barrel and the scope.
••• boy with rifle image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com

Adjust the other turret to bring the shots on the target to where you want them. Remember that a scope sits about 1.875 inches above the barrel, so--at 25 yards--shots aimed at the center of the target will strike low. Fine-tune the turrets so they are striking about two inches below the target center on your 25-yard target.

Step 5

After adjusting your scope with the target turrets, you should have a very accurate rifle.
••• boy with rifle image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com

Place a target at 100 yards and use the same process with the target turrets to make certain your rifle and scope are accurate at that distance. The power of the bullet at 100 yards should eliminate the bullets striking two inches low that you encountered at 25 yards. Place the covers back on your target turrets. Enjoy your accurate rifle and scope.


About the Author

Cliff Wiese is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a sports performance coach. His work has been published in "Women of Diet & Fitness," "Better Fitness & Health," "Good2Health," and "SENIORity Magazine." He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Schreiner University and attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma.

Photo Credits

  • boy with rifle image by Joyce Wilkes from Fotolia.com