How To Sight In A Crossbow Scope

The process of sighting a crossbow is very quick, though if you’re an inexperienced shooter, you might think it is much harder than it is.

As various scopes come with different adjustment knobs, the exact procedure for sighting a crossbow can vary slightly from scope to scope. In particular, if you need to know how to sight in a multi reticle crossbow scope .

The necessary procedure will be the same for most scopes. However, by the end of this guide, you will learn all you need about windage and elevation, speed of the bolt (arrow), and anything else that you need to do. (Find the Best Crossbow Arrows)

Crossbow reticle sight

Beginners Guide

If you are totally new, the recommendation is you shoot up to 100 arrows before you try to sight your scope.

It isn’t possible to accomplish the task if you can’t shoot in a tight group from a distance of 20-yards. Even if you can’t hit the bulls eye, your grouping should fall into a 3-inch range.

Know Your Dots and Reticles

The main goal is “zero” your top-most reticle or dot at a given distance. For the majority of instances, this is 20 yards.

As you “zero” in, it means you align the top dot or reticle to hit a target at the 20-yard distance. As you do this, the remaining dots and reticles should automatically align with another set distance.

If your scope comes with just one dot, you can use any distance, although the guide here sticks to the common 20-yard examples. (Find the Best Crossbow Bolts)

Elevation and Windage Knobs

Each scope will have two knobs:

Windage adjustment knob: Sits on the side of your scope and lets you change left and right for point-of-impact.

Elevation adjustments knob: Sits on top of your scop and moves the up-and-down arrow-point for the elevation adjustments.

When you take off the covers, there are indications both knobs and identify directions you need to turn to make adjustments.

To prevent accidental turning, these known need a thin screwdriver or coin to turn.

As you turn, either of the knobs, you’ll hear a “click.”

Each click represents M.O.A or Minutes Of Angle. For most scopes, it is:

One-click = 1/4″ adjustment at a 100-yard distance, or, one-click = 1/20″ at 20 yards distance.

Things You’ll Need

First, make sure you have everything you’ll need at the range.

  • Your crossbow, make sure your scope is mounted correctly
  • Instructions for your scope
  • Screwdriver for windage and elevation adjustment
  • A crossbow rest, tripod or bipod
  • A decent number of arrows
  • Targets
  • Binoculars or a spotting scope
  • A chronograph – you may need this when you set your scope to the speed of your arrow.

Sighting in Your Crossbow

Here are the step by step instructions. Just follow these steps to start the process of sighting in your crossbow.

Recurve crossbow with bolts

  1. Set up exactly 20 yards away from the target
  2. Cock your crossbow
  3. Set an arrow on the flight rail of your crossbow.
  4. Align the upper-most red dot or reticle of your scope with the bulls-eye on the target.
  5. Gently squeeze the trigger with the tip of your finger. Moving too much of your palm ruins accuracy.
  6. Approach the target, or use your binoculars or spotting scope.
  7. If the arrow isn’t on the paper, you need to “boresight” your crossbow.
  8. Look down the flight rail and visually align it with the bull’s eye.
  9. Adjust elevation and windage to get a shot close to the bull’s eye.
  10. Fire three more shots at the bull’s eye of the target.

Adjust for Wind and Elevation

You now have to adjust the windage and elevation of your scope dictated by how far off-center your shots are.

Check the target, and estimate the number of inches your arrow group needs to move for all arrows to hit the bull’s eye. For instance, if shots are 1“under and 2” to the left, adjust the scope up and right to compensate.

Follow your scopes instructions. Remove the protective caps and use your coin or screwdriver to rotate the dial the number of clicks needed.

It should be the arrow point-of-impact by 1/20″ for one click at a 20-yard distance.

Fire Again and Check

With the new settings, you can fire three more arrows.

  1. Go back to 20-yards distance
  2. Align the top dot or reticle on the bull’s eye.
  3. Follow the same steps and fire 3 arrows at the target.

Arrows should be much closer to the bull’s eye. You can even find you have over-corrected and adjusted too much.

Make additional adjustments as required for sighting in your crossbow , and repeat the process until your scope is sighted in properly with full accuracy.

Once you are repeatedly successful hitting the bull, you can try the same at 30 yards and then 40 yards. (Find the Best Night Vision Scope for the Money)

You should find you don’t need to touch the left and right, and it is just the elevation you need to deal with. If you compensate manually, you will see you hit high. Adjust and stick to using the dot to aim and not how high you think the arrow will go.

Hunting will most likely be at a longer distance, and you can quickly learn how many clicks you need when shooting at this sort of distance. It is this shooting at 40 yards where the arrow speed makes a difference.

A slower arrow will drop quicker than a faster one that will hold its trajectory. You shouldn’t need to adjust the elevation, yet just make any slight adjustments with the speed dial.

As with a shooting rifle, much of the crossbow sighting is being consistent with your shots. Hence the reason to use a tripod or something to hold your crossbow in position.

Sighting in a crossbow just takes time and a little perseverance, yet once you can zero it in and hit the target with most shots, the effort is worth it. (Find the Best Crossbow Scope)

The other thing is this should need doing too often, and only needs repeat zeroing if you bang your scope accidentally.

How To Sight In A Crossbow Scope

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