How to Use a Scope for Long Range Shooting?

People who own rifles generally require a scope as well. The scope helps you have a better aim at your target, especially from a long distance.
When you mount a scope onto your rifle gun, you can peep through the optics and have a magnified visual of your target.This makes it easier for you to aim.

But if you’ve never used a scope before, then we can teach you how to use a scope for long range shooting so that you can use your scope to the fullest and have a better experience shooting.

Importance of Using a Scope for Long-range Shooting

When you’re hunting or practicing your target shooting with your rifle, the main issue is mostly about aiming accuracy.
Having optics on your rifle makes your experience with your shooting more efficient. The scope was made for this purpose exactly. It’s meant to help you see your target clearly and aim accurately.

The scope is helpful for shooting problems in different situations. If you’re in a wide and open space like an open field meant for target practice, then the confusion of distance may occur from seeing all that open space. Aiming directly at your target will be easier with your scope.

It’s also helpful when you’re hunting in the wild. Among all the trees and hills, it’ll be hard to pinpoint your target since they’ll try to mesh with nature. Seeing through your scope and using it a bit like binoculars help you find your target and shoot accurately.

Steps for Using a Scope for Long Range Shooting

Steps for Using a Scope for Long Range Shooting

Now, we’ll show you how to use your rifle scope for long-range shooting. Below we’ve given a few steps that may help you;

Step 1: Choosing a Rifle

Before you do anything related to a scope, you should first check what kind of rifle you have. Since you’re about to do the long-range shooting, you need to have a suitable rifle that you will feel comfortable with for shooting targets that are far away.

But in case you’re confused about which type of rifle to use or buy for this type of shooting, then we’d like to recommend any kind of rifle with the caliber that’s meant for hunting in western style. You need to check if the long-range rifle has good stability, good accuracy, and is lightweight.

You also need to make sure the rifle’s caliber is aerodynamic. They should have the chamberings that can handle high velocity, downrange energy and have a longer maximum range.

After managing to get a suitable rifle with the right calibers, if you add a scope along with it, the performance level of your shooting goes much higher.

Step 2: Choosing a Scope

To go with your western style rifle setup, you need a good scope that will magnify a long-distance target for you. No matter how awesome your rifle gun is, not adding a scope makes all that effort to find the right rifle become pointless.

The scope completes your long-range rifle. That’s why you need to shop for a scope. It doesn’t matter where you shop. A store or an online site that sells optics will have enough scopes to choose from for your long-range rifle gun.

Adjustable Turrets

Most manufacturers of scopes or optics devices build their scopes with turrets that can be adjusted. You should definitely get the type of scope that has adjustable turrets instead of the simple ones that have fixed lenses.

Type of Scope

Among the types of scopes, there are numerous features you need to watch out for. The sellers may want to sell you whatever is expensive or not being bought while it is in stock. But you need to make sure you know what you want so that you can avoid getting sidetracked.

You may find scopes with really high-quality glass, but they may not handle wide range sighting.
There will be scopes that have large turrets to make adjusting easy, but they stick out and make it hard for you to fix your posture when shooting.

You need to analyze every detail of the features of each scope. Check both the pros and cons of the scope instead of focusing only on


Also, make sure all of this is under your budget so that you can afford it. Or you could try saving up for a good scope since the good quality devices or accessories are always expensive.


Make sure your rifle gun has an MOA (Minute of Angle) steel base. Once you buy your scope, you need to mount it with its rings and clamps on top of that MOA base. This way, the scope can be utilized properly when it comes to adjusting the turrets for your long-range shooting.

Step 3: Choose Your Ammunition

You’ve got your rifle. You’ve got your rifle scope. Now you need to choose the right ammunition for your project of long-range shooting. The reason you need to pick your ammunition wisely is that not all types of bullets travel fast at long distances. Your ammo needs to fit the velocity at which you will be working.

You also need to consider that the most suitable long-range ammunition might not be compatible with your rifle’s caliber. You need to take your rifle caliber type into consideration as well. Once you have managed to find ammo that is compatible with your rifle’s caliber and also ideal for long-range shooting, purchase them in bulk.

After you’ve bought a set of each kind of ammunition, try doing a trial on each of them. You can use a chronograph and test the speed of each bullet after it is shot. To make accurate measurements, you need to at least shoot three of each type of ammunition you bought.

This test must be done in sets of 3-shot at 100 yards. You need to measure each set, and it has to average under 1 Minute of Angle or a Sub-MOA, which is one inch at 100 yards. The shots also need to have a low standard deviation number and low ES (Extreme Speed).

After your little experiment with measuring the velocity of each ammunition kind, you’ll know which ammunition is perfect for your long-range shooting experience with a scope. You can continue to just buy that one type of ammo from now on if you’ll do shooting at distances.

Step 4: DOPE

DOPE stands for Data on Previous Engagement. This means the information an individual can gather from practicing their shooting under different circumstances or with different materials.

You need to increase your DOPE level and develop it so that you can tell the difference between good quality firearms and poor-quality firearms. If your experience is vast enough, you can shoot better.

For this, you need to set up your gear and arena for practice and begin working on scoping for long ranges. Zero in your rifle at 200 yards at first and try zeroing it at 0.75 inches towards the left.

This way, you’re staying under one MOA or making a Sub-MOA. Therefore, you can pre-compensate for the spindrift of the bullet that you shoot.
There is an app called Ballistic Advanced Edition to calculate ballistic data on your smart devices. You can add all the ballistic information of your bullets like their weight, diameter, velocity, ballistic co-efficiency (BC), etc.

With that, you can also add data regarding the current environment you’re in along with the temperature, weather, and elevation where your rifle is zeroed at. Make sure to set the barometric pressure to the standard measurement of 29.92.

After all the data has been filled out, the app will generate a sort of graphical representation to show you the number of minutes of elevation you’ll require to adjust your turrets so that you can shoot targets at long ranges. You need to save that data because it’ll be useful to you later.

Step 5: Practicing

When you’re going to choose a day to practice long-range shooting, it should be a dry day with no wind. This way, you won’t have to take more precautions and can solely focus on trying out your scope.

The place you’ll practice should at least have a distance of 1000 yards from one point to another. But you won’t jump straight to shooting a target that’s 1000 yards away from you.

You should start off by placing your target at 500 yards and shoot your 3 shot set. Use your ballistic calculator app on your smartphone to measure the details of each shot.

You need to keep a sharp eye on the position your group or set is in from the center. For example, if one set averages about 0.5 MOA low of the center, then you need to shoot another set of rounds at a target that’s 1000 yards away from you.

Note down this set’s position as well. If this one also has 0.5 MOA, then check your app. Input the data and check the chart to see if it matches your previous data or DOPE.

This process is called verifying and validating data. You need to shoot new practice rounds and compare them to your DOPE. The differences shouldn’t be that great. Most likely, the results will be pretty close to the old results when you compare. You just need to adjust your velocity after averaging them.

Step 6: Turret Adjustments

After you buy your scope, you need to order turrets to go with it. When you make your order for your turret purchase, make sure to choose one that’s customized to be compatible with your rifle, rifle scope, ammunition, and other factors like the environment where you’ll use your rifle scope.

You can do that by contacting the manufacturer of the rifle scope turret. Discussing it over with the manufacturer or supplier is important so that they can know the kind of rifle, scope, and ammunition you have. After they know what they’re dealing with, then they can process your order much clearly.

When your order finally arrives, carry the box to your garage or workstation carefully. Lay out your firearm gear. Carefully remove the already installed turrets from your rifle scope and replace it with the new customized turret. Check to see if your rifle’s zero works with your new turret.

There are usually mainly two kinds of turrets: the elevation turret and the windage turret. The elevation deals with the bullet’s aim vertically. To avoid gravitational force, you need to aim a little higher so that when the bullet reaches the target, it will already be pulled lower and hit the target.

And the windage deals with the bullet’s aim horizontally, i.e., left and right. When you look through the scope and adjust the windage turrets, you’ll be moving the reticle in the lens to either go right or left of the target.

Usually, windage isn’t needed unless you’re shooting on a windy day and need to take wind force into consideration. If there’s no wind, then you can count on your arm positioning to change your aim right or left.

Step 7: Using the Scope

Now you can begin turning the turrets to adjust for the distance in your scope’s lens. After you have set your target at 500 yards, dial the turrets to the right yardage, see through the scope while you’re in your shooting posture, and then take the shot.

All you need to do now is increase your DOPE level through lots of practice. Change the set up of your scope turrets often with different distances to learn the techniques of adjusting a scope’s turrets.

After every shot you take from a distance, always make sure to dial your turrets back to the scope’s zero to bring your sight back to the default scope’s view. This is most advantageous when you’re hunting.

If you keep your scope’s adjustments at 500 yards and shoot one target, you need to dial back to zero, or another target will pass you by.
Factors like the aerodynamic jump, Coriolis effect, bullet’s spindrift, etc. also affect your shooting. And you need to learn how to zero your rifle’s range as well. You’ll do it by trial and error and learn along the way.

The best way to find the perfect aim during long-range shooting is by seeing through your scope and adjusting your turrets at the same time. That way, you can memorize by feeling the turns taken.

Final Words

Long range shooting skills is a must for any shooter. And without a scope to see your target, it’s hard to improve skills. So, it’s very important to learn how to use a scope for long range shooting.

I hope, our article could help you in this regard. Let us know in the comments if you need any further help.

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