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Sighting-in a Rifle
If you want to sight-in a rifle, follow some of these steps. Now, the sighting-in process for most rifles begins at 25 yards and then should be repeated at 100 yards. The basic steps involve firing at least three shots carefully and consistently at the target. If the bullets form a relatively small group of holes on the target but not where you’re aiming, the sights have to be adjusted—and here’s how it might work.
First, set the target at 25 yards. This is the preliminary sight-in. Fire three rounds. [sound of three shots firing] Now, the center of this group is one inch left and two and a quarter inches high. On this rifle, one click of the sight screw changes the sight by one-half minute of angle. Now you must move the rear sight in the same direction that you want the group of shots to move. So, we must move the rear sight 18 clicks down by using a screwdriver to turn the elevation screw. And we’re doing that because one click is one-half minute of angle, and one-half minute of angle is equal to one-eighth of an inch at 25 yards, so we need six clicks. [sound of six clicks]
Next, we need to move the rear sight eight clicks right by turning the windage screw. In this case, four click increments. [sound of four clicks followed by four more clicks] Now let’s fire another set of three shots. [sound of three shots firing] Then we can see that this group is well enough centered that we are sure we’re going to hit the target at 100 yards for the final sighting-in.
Now put the target at 100 yards. We’ll fire three more shots. [sound of three shots firing] The center of this group is two inches low and a half an inch to the right. Remember, one click is equal to a half minute of angle, which is equal to a half an inch at 100 yards. That means we need to move the rear sight four clicks up by turning the elevation screw. We also need to move the rear sight one click left by turning the windage screw. [sound of four clicks followed by one click]
OK, three last shots [sound of three shots firing] and those shots show that the rifle is properly sighted-in. Now we’ll put up one more target at 100 yards for another test: an eight-inch paper plate or a target with an eight-inch circle works really well. Now get into a shooting position you might use when hunting to simulate an actual hunting scenario. Fire five shots. [sound of five shots firing] If you can put all five rounds inside the eight-inch circle, then you’re ready to hunt deer at 100 yards. If not, sight-in the rifle at 75 or 50 yards, and take standing field shots only at that range or closer until your skill improves. And that’s how to sight-in a rifle.