Scope Adjustment Which Way To Turn – Mistakes To Avoid

The biggest frustration when zeroing an optic is not knowing which way to dial the turret when the reticle appears to move in the opposite direction of what's labeled on the elevation and windage knob.

In this quick guide, let's discuss scope adjustment which way to turn exactly, so you can sight in your scope accurately in no time.

Why Does The Reticle Move In Opposite Direction

holosun 510c elevation knob

Most optics label the dial directions to reference the point of impact instead of the reticle point of aim.

vortex razor HD scope turrets

Shooters tend to get lost in the scope turret adjustment when:

How To Zero A Scope - Basics

  • Adjust the scope up and down
  • Adjust the scope left and right
zeroing red dot 100 yard

Assume your initial shot group is 7" to the left and 3" high of the point of aim at 100 yards. Now zero the reticle to the point of impact.

Remember: The directions etched on the elevation and windage knobs reference the point of impact on paper, not the reticle point of aim.

Make sure your gun is at a fixed position when zeroing the optic.

adjust MOA

Move the initial shot group 7" to the right and 3" down, so the point of impact moves to the point of aim.

point of aim is point of impact

Now the point of aim is point of impact

Additional Accessories To Help You Zero & Re-Zero

We recommend using a laser boresight to give a good ball park zero reference point of impact at home before going to the range.

Sometimes the optic can be way off and the shooter can't find even the bullet impacts on the paper target.

Based on experience, this provides a much easier effort than manual boresighting method.

midten 223 laser boresight mk18
initial zeroing eotech exps3 with laser boresight

Dial the turrets until the reticle get close to the laser pointer. (Must do) Finally refine the zero with live rounds to confirm the zero.

The laser boresight saves time and ammo when zeroing an way-off scope or re-zero after optics swap, so the shooter doesn't end up chasing the zero all over the place on a paper target.

Ying Xu

I'm a former US Air Force ICBM operator, and now I'm a veteran creating fun firearm accessories content. I also work as the search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com