How to Adjust a Rifle Scope Up and Down – Easy Guide with Tips & More

how to adjust a rifle scope up and down

There are a ton of phases involved in properly adjusting a rifle scope. 

You have to ensure the scope lines up perfectly with your eye when you rest your cheek against the rifle stock. 

Quick Summary

In this post, we will discuss the adjustments you need to make to get your rifle scope to the correct level in relation to your eye. 

We will discuss adjusting the scope up and down during mounting and also expand upon how to make elevation adjustments. 

Let’s get started. 

Adjusting the Scope Up and Down During Mounting 

scope rifle

Firstly, you have to adjust the position of the entire rifle scope itself when you’re mounting it onto the rifle stock. 

The goal here is to set the scope at a level where you can rest your cheek on the rifle stock and easily look into the scope.  

For this, the ocular lens (the lens closest to your eye) needs to be positioned correctly in front of your eye. 

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If you have to adjust your stance and come out of a comfortable position in order to make a shot, this will hurt your precision. 

You need to adjust your scope so that it lines up perfectly with your eye when you rest your cheek in the exact position you normally would. 

Adjust the scope to suit your stance. Don’t adjust your stance to suit the scope. 

When we say that it will “hurt your precision”, “precision” here refers to the ability to consistently hit the same point on a target or the ability to get a good grouping. 

Precision is often confused with accuracy but these are two different things. Accuracy simply means being able to hit what you want to hit. 

To adjust the scope up or down, you have some options: 

Buy Replacement Mounting Rings

If you mount your scope onto your rifle and find that its position is either higher or lower than where you want it to be, then you can consider getting a different mounting ring. 

A mounting ring is a foundation that rests on the rifle and is used to securely mount your scope onto the rifle. 

If you mount your scope onto your rifle and find that it is higher than your resting eye level, then you’ll need to buy another mounting ring that is shorter. 

However, if you mount your scope and find that it’s lower than your resting eye level, then you can buy another mounting ring that has a taller height. 

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It’s good to have different sizes of mounting rings if you plan to invest in different types of scopes. 

However, if you only have one rifle scope, then we recommend you pick out your mounting ring carefully.

Buy a Cheek-Rest 

This method can work if you’ve mounted the rifle scope and found that it’s too high for your eye level. 

Cheek rests are often cheaper than mounting rings. 

Hence, if you don’t have a lot of money to spare then it’s a good idea to invest in a cheek rest rather than another mounting ring. 

Furthermore, cheek rests have some added utility as well in that they provide comfort to your face while you’re aiming. 

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If you don’t want to spend more money on rifle accessories or simply just don’t have the budget for it, then there are some frugal ways to fix the eye level too. 

Again, this method only works if the scope is higher than where your eye is. 

So, the idea here is to use a soft washcloth or something similar to elevate your cheek’s resting position. 

Simply use duct tape to securely attach the washcloth to your rifle stock. You can fold the cloth as many times as you want before duct-taping to adjust the level of elevation that you want. 

Once your rifle scope is at the correct height, you’ll be able to rest your cheek on the rifle and look directly into the scope. 

This would mean that your eye is in the “eye box” of the rifle scope. 

Please note there’s no real way of adjusting the rifle scope left or right. 

If you feel that you’re not able to look into the eye box comfortably due to the scope being too off to one side, then it’s more likely that your stance is the problem. 

Either that or your rifle scope has not been correctly mounted onto the mounting ring. 

Elevation Adjustments

We’ve talked at length about adjusting the verticality of the entire rifle scope itself while mounting. 

Now, let’s focus on adjusting the verticality of the reticle (crosshairs) inside of the rifle scope. This is known as the elevation of the scope. 

The elevation adjustment turret (knob) is commonly located at the top of the scope. 

Turning the knob clockwise raises the reticle up and turning it counterclockwise lowers the reticle down.

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If your shots hit too high compared to where the reticle is, then you should rotate the knob clockwise to move the reticle up. 

However, If they’re too low compared to where the reticle is, then you should rotate the knob counterclockwise to move the reticle down. 

Similar to windage adjustments, elevation adjustments are also typically measured in MOA (Minute of Angles).

One MOA is equal to 1 inch of left-right or up-down travel at 100 yards. 

For example, if you have a scope that is 0.25 MOA, then this would mean that every click of your adjustment knob would move the reticle 0.25 inches in the given direction at 100 yards. 

Depending on the manufacturer and model, some scopes may have the elevation adjustment measured in Mil. 

Most scopes that use Mil are typically 0.1 Mil which is equal to 0.36 inches at 100 yards. 

Wrapping Things Up… 

This brings us to the conclusion of our post regarding all of the adjustments you can make to move your rifle scope up and down. 

We hope that any issues that you were running into before have been solved after going through this post. 

If you have any more questions regarding rifle scope mounting, please let us know in the comments below.

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