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Old October 18, 2018, 07:42 PM   #1
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Generally how far do you guys have to adjust windage/elevation when sighting in new rifle?

I've got a Savage MSR LR 6.5 and a Vortex Viper 6-24 Gen 1 scope that I'm in the process of sighting in.

Before starting I counted all click adjustments for both elevation/windage and then halved it to get the scope "centered"

A fair amount of elevation adjustment I planned for as I installed the burris XTR rings and used the inserts that would give me about 25 MOA of adjustment. So that was expected.

What I did not expect was that I had to bring the windage over 10-12 clicks to get it "centered".

Now, when I look through the scope, I can tell that it's not centered but sitting a bit off to the right.

Is this normal? I'm not super experienced with this currently. Just wanted some opinions. Thanks.
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Old October 18, 2018, 08:16 PM   #2
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Honestly, I've never even heard of using that method or any like it to find center before sighting in any scope. Always boresighted either by eyeball or laser to about 20 yards. After that, I never bothered to count clicks; if I had to guess though, maybe a half dozen at 50 yards? That'd probably be about 3 or so at 100 . . .
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Old October 18, 2018, 09:20 PM   #3
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Your windage adjustment to center of bore is done without regard to actual wind conditions. Typically 25 yards is an adequate distance but you may need to fine tune it to compensate for your particular shooting style.

Does the windage need to be centered? Not usually, factory zero is typically a good starting point. I have done it but I usually end up at factory zero or very near. Is 10 or more clicks excessive? If 1 click is 1 moa then yes but at 1/4 moa per click it's not.

Make sure your pupil is centered when adjusting. Look through the scope and move your eye from left to right and back. You should see the cross hairs shift. Put them center of the shift and adjust windage.

Last edited by LineStretcher; October 19, 2018 at 08:09 AM.
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Old October 18, 2018, 09:41 PM   #4
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If you use a used scope, you're going to have to center it to start before even mounting it on the rifle.
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Old October 18, 2018, 10:38 PM   #5
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I have never adjusted a scope prior to sighting. Just mounted it. Then did a bore sight adjustment at 50 yards. My method of bore sighting is to put it in the sled and eyeball down the barrel at a 50 yard target. That has always put me on paper. If your mounts have an MOA adjustment then that additional change would be expected.
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Old October 18, 2018, 11:57 PM   #6
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I've never touched a scopes knobs prior to mounting it.

My initial adjustment is as follows:

If it's a bolt gun, I remove the bolt and set the gun on a stable surface where I can look down the barrel at some distant object. As close to shooting distance as possible. I try for 100 yards but even 25 works. I look down the barrel then look through the scope. I then set the cross-hairs just a tad lower, like an inch or two at 100 or even a little high at 25 yards. This isn't exact, I hope that's obvious, but I have never failed to hit paper at 100 yards.

This can be done at the range in a matter of 2 minutes. It helps immensely to have a scope mount kit so that the gun and scope are leveled.

If it's not a bolt-gun (very rare for me), I will use a laser bore-sighter. Mark a spot on the laser with a marker for reference. Put the gun on a rest, cross-hairs on the bull. Doesn't matter that you're not sighted-in, you're looking for relative location of the laser. Now put the laser in the chamber with the reference at 0, 90, 180 and 270. The laser won't be perfectly straight but you're looking for the angle where it's high, not left, right or low. Mark it accordingly. Once you've got the laser positioned to be zero left/right and however high, just adjust your cross-hairs to be an inch or 2 below the laser at 100. It won't be perfect, but it should be damn close.
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Old October 19, 2018, 06:45 AM   #7
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i center the crosshairs, install the scope and zero using a laser bore sighter at about 25 feet. The first shot is always on paper at 50 yards.
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Old October 19, 2018, 09:07 AM   #8
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I bore sight a scope like some have already mentioned here; dead rested rifle, bolt pulled, eye-ball centering through the bore on an aiming point down range (I usually do this at around 20-25 yds). Take it to the range for final settings, and it's most always in the target's infield, let alone the ballpark (I'll do this live round sighting @ 50 yds., then move out to 100). GENERALLY, it's just a few shots and I'm there.

Just remember if you bore sight this way, your adjustments are made opposite than what the target tells you; bullet printing left, use the left adjustment. Bullet too high, move adjuster up. At least that's how my experience has worked... I too just mount a new scope on a rifle and just adjust through the bore as I've mentioned. No problems to date. I also use a scope level kit.

Don't know if the Savage rifle you mention can be bore sighted through the breach; just a bolt gun guy here. BTW, that's what I like about the M336, too; pull the bolt, and bore sight as above.
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Old October 19, 2018, 11:24 AM   #9
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Contacted Vortex, they want the scope back to look at it. They said that after centering the reticle and then zeroing the rifle, the windage should be awfully close to center. The fact that mine isn't, is a problem.

So, I guess we'll see.
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Old October 20, 2018, 10:02 AM   #10
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Vortex's customer service is first rate. They'll make sure you're happy with your scope at no charge to you. At least, that's how they've treated me in the fairly recent past. I can't imagine their product policy has changed whatsoever.
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Old October 20, 2018, 10:23 AM   #11
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How far you have to move elevation and windage varies from gun to gun. I had one rifle that I had to reverse the scope rings to have enough windage(rings were goofy in that case). Mounted a new(expensive) scope on a rifle for a customer , not enough elevation, it was the rifle in this case, he decided to put on a high powered varmint scope and it did adjust because it had more adjustment. It was the rifle in that case. Most recently the scopes I've mounted have been pretty close when mounted and only required minor adjustments, lucky I guess. 2 ARs and a couple .22 rimfires.
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Old October 20, 2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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Something doesn't sound right AD.

As alluded above, there's a quick, very easy and relatively inexpensive way to nail scope alignment and that's a good quality bore sighter. I bought a Sightmark for $50 (.50 BMG rifle) off Amazon, and it makes alignment a breeze.

My scope is zeroed to the rifle at 200 yards. The laser is bright, and was properly aligned at the factory so I can rotate the laser and the aim point doesn't change. (Cheaper lasers may be significantly off)
I can do this on cloudy days or at dusk, but it's a lead pipe cinch / piece of cake to get this one right, literally in a couple of minutes. And I can do this without going to the range, just using a rangefinder to determine an appropriate aim point.

From there you can determine windage.
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Old October 20, 2018, 05:26 PM   #13
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Centering the scope in that fashion is necessary if using old school windage adjustable mounts. You center the cross hairs first. Then when you mount the scope you use the adjustment on the bases to get the scope zeroed by bore sighting. You only use the scopes windage adjustments to fine tune the scope.

It is not necessary with any other mounting system.

If you can visually see that the scope is not centered on the barrel, and if you're using windage adjustable mounts you don't have them mounted correctly.

Or the holes drilled in the action are not drilled straight. This is extremely rare today, but was common 60-70 years ago and that is why windage adjustable mounts were invented.

If I had a modern rifle rifle with the holes drilled incorrectly I'd be sending it back. But I doubt this is the problem. You either have defective mounts, or they are installed incorrectly.
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Old October 20, 2018, 06:23 PM   #14
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The easy way is to shoot 3 rounds while aiming at the bull on the target. Then put the cross hairs on the bull and without moving the rifle, adjust the scope so the cross hairs are in the center of the group. Go back to the bull and you should be dead on. Works everytime and gets rid of all the guess work. One side note is that if you do this at 25 yards, your 100 yard shot will be high since you've compensated for the distance between center of bore and center of scope.

You can put a mark on your target that's the distance of center of bore to center of scope above the bull and you'll be closer at 100 yards.
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Old October 21, 2018, 12:54 AM   #15
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10-12 clicks isn't much in the grand scheme of things. I wouldn't worry about it.

As for the general subject...

The best way to center a scope is to set in on a mirror (objective bell down) in a bright room.
Count the clicks each way (up/down, left/right), while watching to make sure the crosshairs remain aligned in the mirror*. Reset to the calculated center, and you're good. Adjust for bore-sight. Adjust at the range. And you're done. (*If they don't, it's a bad scope!)

I, personally, am a fan of the "one-shot zero" for rifles that I know**. For new rifles, I'll fire a three or five shot group before adjustment (provided it's on paper!).

**(Fire a shot. Put crosshairs on point of aim. Hold rifle dead-steady. Adjust scope until crosshairs are on point of impact. Fire desired shot string, again, to verify. I'm usually alone, which makes things tricky. But it works, and has saved me a crap-ton of ammo!)
Don't even try it. It's even worse than the internet would lead you to believe.
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Old November 4, 2018, 12:12 AM   #16
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1. It is possible for the scope mounts to start out of kilter. Either the mounts on the rifle, or the rings are off and the scope is not lined up with the axis of the bore. It's possible to get the rifle fairly centered at one range, but moving either closer or further will cause radical windage changes. The only way to fix it is to fix the mount/ring alignment.

2. Primary sight in - after the bore sight rough work - should involve a large (I recommend the broad side of a barn without holes or defects) at about twenty-five yards. Then one can find and see the amount of deviation from zero. Perform all sight changes and adjustments prior to moving out further. Get zeroed prior to moving out farther. When zeroed as perfectly as possible at twenty-five yards, it will more than like be on the paper at 100 yards. Most likely, one will have to make some smaller adjustments at 100. Work out to expected maximum range.

3. Don't make wimpy sight adjustments. if the amount of deviation shows the need to come twelve clicks to the right, don't move two clicks and see if that is better. Move twelve clicks and see how that does.
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Old November 4, 2018, 09:01 AM   #17
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Starting out close to center as possible , from mount rings and scope . With a rail setup , snug the mount screws set the rings in place with scope . The vertical line in most cases are centered , Hang a plumber line 25yard distance , bore sight (bolt action) with rifle held in place plumb line centered through bore then move mount as close to center looking through scope , lock down screws by removing top rings and scope . Once tightened install scope an rings look through scope adjust scope cant by looking at the plumb line . Adjusting the mount as close to center helps in centering scope windage adjustments . Some mounts have adjustment screws start there first before using scope adjustments .
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Old November 16, 2018, 05:33 AM   #18
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Why didn't I think of this last time I went hunting, lol? I had everything I needed with me, together with a warm base layer and a bag full of gadgets but it seems my timing was off... Haha. Thank you for this thread, I am also wondering about this.
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