Learning How To Use A Scope For Long Range Shooting – Step By Step Guide

Use scope for long range shooting

If you have been shooting for a while and want a new challenge, you might be considering long range shooting. Long range shooting is fun and gaining in popularity. People seem to enjoy the challenge of hitting a target at quite a distance; the pinging of steel can be very satisfying.

Although long range shooting may seem to be just the same as any other type of shooting, it isn’t. This is a very special type of shooting. It requires specific gear and an understanding of weather, distance and ballistics to shoot long range successfully.

To help you with your long range shooting, we have put together the following guide.

Make sure you have the right equipment.

The right equipment is crucial. In fact, the single most important piece of equipment will be the optic. Most rifles can easily shoot out to 1000 yards, but the same cannot be said for optics. Long range scopes are usually designed with a BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle. This feature allows you to compensate for wind conditions; a definite factor when expecting ammo to fly long distances.

Long range scopes will also have turrets. Turrets allow the user to dial in changes in small increments. This is a crucial element needed when shooting long distance. These scopes also have a parallax knob. This knob allows the user to remove parallax from the scope since it will affect the final impact.

You might also consider purchasing a rangefinder. This is a tool that will help you to more accurately measure distance taking wind into account. This can be very helpful when shooting long range distances.

Mount your scope to your rifle

Before you can zero your scope, make sure it is mounted properly to your rifle. There are different ways to mount scopes depending on the make and manufacturer of your rifle and scope.

Once properly mounted, make sure that the scope is level with your rifle. The vertical crosshair needs to be in perfect alignment with the vertical centerline of your rifle.

Adjust your eyepiece

This is an important step. Your scope should have an eyepiece. An ideal eyepiece will not interfere with you getting a clear view through the scope. At the same time, it will protect your eye and socket area from injury or trauma, which can happen with recoil.

Check the turrets

Most long range scopes have turrets on them. These turrets usually turn ¼’’. This means that when you are shooting at 100 yards, each click of the turret will move the impact of the bullet ¼” in the direction indicated.

It is important to keep the formula of ¼” at 100 yards in mind. This formula is then adjusted in or out depending if you are sighting at 50 yards or 200 yards, etc.

This formula allows you to quickly figure out how many clicks you need to turn the turrets based on how many inches off you are from the target.

Now you need to zero your long range scope

When you zero your scope, you are aligning the sights of the scope with your rifle so that the bullet hits the target at a specific distance. Remember, a rifle cannot be adjusted to change the bullet’s path, only the sight can be adjusted.

Since long range shooting can be anywhere from 300 yards on out past 1000 yards, you need to know what your maximum shooting range will be in order to properly zero your scope.

Once your scope is properly attached to your rifle and you know your maximum distance, grab a paper target and set it up at 25 yards. Aim and fire at the target. You can see where you hit the target and how close, or far off, you are from the bullseye. You can then adjust your clicks accordingly.

Take aim and try again at 25 yards. Adjust again if needed. Once you hit the bullseye, try to hit it again 3 times in a row. This way you know that you have the proper adjustments for zeroing at 25 yards.

Now move out to 100 yards

Follow the same procedure. Aim and shoot at your target. It is a good idea to fire 3 shots in a row. Then take a look at your paper. You will be able to see how close you are and with 3 bullet points, you can get a reasonable average.

The formula works the same. So, make any necessary adjustments by turning the turrets.

Once you have turned the necessary number of clicks, fire again. Double check your target. It may be necessary to fine tune a little bit more.

Once you can hit bullseye 3 times in a row, you know that your adjustments are spot on.

Move further out

Since you should know what your maximum shooting distance will be, you will need to keep moving your target further away. Each time you do this, take shots at your paper target and then adjust your turrets.

Ammo is important

The type of ammo you plan on using for your long range shooting, should be the same ammo you use to zero your scope. This is important. In order to accurately zero, the ammo must be the same or else your results will be different when you go long range shooting.

Points to Remember

Long range shooting is gaining in popularity. It does, however, require careful thought and planning. You need to make sure you have a scope that will help you achieve your desired maximum shooting distance. You also need to be sure the scope is properly mounted and aligned.


Long range shooting requires you to use accessories correctly in order to be successful. A properly mounted long range scope that is correctly zeroed is well worth the effort it takes to get there. Putting in the time and effort before you start attempting long range targets is time well spent.