Crossbow scope adjustment is a simple process, but if you’re a beginner and have never tried it before, then it can be a little confusing. The exact steps to sighting a scope can vary from model to model because different scopes feature different styles of adjustment knobs. However, the basic procedure is the same for any type of scope you get.
It’s also important to make sure you take a look at our crossbow reviews to determine what type of scope your new bow will come with and whether or not it’s upgradable.
Models such as the Excalibur Crossbow Matrix Bulldog 400 and the Barnett Ghost 350 CRT crossbow feature top of the line scopes that offer excellent optics and are also easy to adjust, which is a huge selling point for beginners.
Our crossbow tips on scope adjustment will walk you through this somewhat tedious process, so you can enjoy accurate shooting each and every time.
Reticles and Dots
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to shoot about forty to fifty arrows before you attempt to adjust the scope. This is because you probably won’t be able to correctly sight the scope if you’re not able to shoot tight groups of arrows from a fifteen-yard distance. The term tight group refers to how close the arrows land to each other.
If you’re ready to adjust the scope, the goal will be to zero the top-most dot or reticle for a specific distance. In most cases, the distance will be about twenty yards. To hit zero, make sure the top reticle or dot has been aligned properly for hitting targets from the twenty-yard distance. Once this is done, the remaining reticles and dots should automatically line up to their respective distances.
Adjustment Knobs: Windage and Elevation
On every scope, there are a couple of knobs that you’ll use to sight the scope- The windage knob and the elevation knob.
The windage knob is commonly located on the side of the scope. This knob will allow you to adjust the arrow point of impact left or right.
The elevation knob can usually be found on the top of the scope. This knob will allow the user to adjust the arrow point of impact up or down.
Both of the knobs should be covered with a protective cap which should be removed in order to make the proper adjustments. Once the caps have been removed you’ll see scope adjusters. The markings on each of the knobs will signify the direction the knob should be turned, in order to adjust it in a particular plane. With most elevation knobs, you’ll need to turn it clockwise in order to lower it. With windage adjustments, the knob should be turned counterclockwise for left and clockwise for right.
To turn the knobs, you’ll need to use a coin or screwdriver, so make sure you take one of these with you so you can make minor adjustments during a hunt.
Once you have finished adjusting the knobs make sure you replace the protective caps.
When you turn the windage or elevation knobs, you’ll hear a click. Each of these clicks will represent a unit of adjustment. On most scopes, one click usually equals a quarter adjustment at a hundred-yard distance.
If the bow you have uses a different value per click, it should be mentioned in the user’s manual.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Adjusting Your Scope
Most pros recommend using some form of shooting aid when attempting to sight a bow. Shooting aids can be anything that will fix the bow so that it doesn’t move as the trigger is pulled. This technique will allow you to properly sight your bow and you should be able to find one easily at your local shooting range. If you don’t have access to a shooting aid, you can still correctly sight your scope, but it won’t be quite as accurate.
The first step is standing approximately twenty yards from a target. The bow should be cocked using the crank or rope cocking aid to seat an arrow. Now, align the top-most reticle or dot in the scope with the bullseye. Next, use only the top of your index finger to quickly squeeze the trigger. You should repeat this process a total of three times, shooting off three arrows. When you’re done, approach the target.
Looking at the target, estimate how many inches the arrow group will need to move to the right and up in order for all of the arrows to have landed in the bullseye.
Take the protective caps off of the adjustment knobs and make the necessary changes.
Now it’s time to try out the new adjustments, so line up for another series of shots. Make sure you align the top-most reticle or dot with the bullseye and fire off three more arrows.
You’ll notice that the arrows landed much closer to the bullseye this time around. If they’re still too high, then you’ll need to make additional adjustments.
Repeat firing off three arrows again and make the appropriate adjustments. Once you’re able to hit the bullseye you can finally pat yourself on the back. Your scope is now correctly sighted.