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The Best

Scope Adjustment

BSA 3-9X40 Sweet 22 Rifle Scope with Side Parallax...
  • Advanced optical rifle scope with quick-change turret system
  • Side parallax adjustment and multi-grain turret
  • Water-, fog-, and shock-proof
  • 40-millimeter lens with camera-quality glass and 3-9X...

Buyer's Guide: Scope Adjustment

Choosing Rifle Scope Adjustment

Scope Adjustment, like many other critical rifle features, is often misunderstood. The two words "scope" and "adjustment" are often used interchangeably, with some rifle owners not knowing the difference between these two critical rifle functions. The scope can be adjusted for height, azimuth, or other standard functions but not for elevation, windage, and the like. 

To understand how scope adjustments work, you must know how rifle scopes work. When you place a rifle round on a scope, it holds the sight base rails in an upright position. Then, the elevation and azimuth adjustments on the scope are made using the erector tube assembly. Elevation and azimuth adjustments are made with the help of the scope adjustments screws added to the erector tube assembly at various distances.

The scope adjustments are powered by the adjustments screws, which are conveniently placed in easy reach on the face of the scope eyepiece. To adjust the eyepiece, you need only look down through the eyepiece ports, and the adjustments will be apparent. Just as important, the eyepiece must be held tightly against the side of the gun to get a good view.

Why would someone want to use a scope with an irregularly adjusted iron or steel spring? The answer is obvious: because the erratic adjustments throw off your shot, making accuracy virtually impossible. The reason the iron or steel spring is not easily adjusted is that it is a heavy piece. To make the adjustment to a consistent size, a small ball (a feather) is pinned against the inside of the open top of the iron or steel spring. A rubber or foam wedge serves as a cushion between the feather and the open-top, holding it firmly in place.

Riflescopes have many adjustments that are useful for hunters and target shooters alike. Each of the rifle scopes available has individual reticles that focus on different aspects of the hunting surroundings. Some concentrate on distance while others focus on wind direction and even characteristics of the crosswind.

Rifles have even more individual adjustments than the rifle itself. The scope has unique reticles for elevation, windage, and crosswind. Some have sights with clicks, and some have a locking mechanism to keep the sight from discharging when the rifle is in motion. Some have adjustable turrets and zones, and many have knobs that can quickly lock the turret to a specific distance.

If you have a hunting rifle that needs a little bit of work in the handling department but you're pretty happy with the way it shoots, an elevation adjustment may not be worth the hassle. For this type of rifle, you can safely leave the adjustment to the side of the rifle and go through your shooting process more carefully. Many rifles' knobs and adjustment hubs are designed to be removed quickly in an emergency, so you won't have to worry about losing your concentration during a hunting session because of a loose knob or hub. If you do find yourself in need of some additional cleaning before using the scope again, cleaning the exterior of the gun will usually be enough to get rid of any dust or debris that could get trapped inside.

It's important to note that the adjustments found on these devices are only available on models made after a particular year. Since most hunting tools are manufactured for long-range shots, accuracy-testing equipment is designed to test the ability of the rifle to kill prey at longer ranges. These test equipment dials are extremely precise, which means that shooters will need to pay close attention to their finger placement to make sure that they are shooting straight and to the target. These precision instruments are often calibrated to a smaller range than the actual distances that many hunters try to attack.