Using your crossbow is a fun and enjoyable activity that can also be useful if you’re a hunter. However, at some point, you might need to adjust your scope. This can be a tricky thing to do, even for the most experienced crossbow users. If you find yourself having difficulty, simply follow the advice given here, and you’ll be back to happily using your crossbow in no time.
The most common scopes that are used with crossbows are usually multi-reticle scope. For that reason, the focus of this guide will be on how to adjust these scopes. So let us take a look at how you can adjust the scope on your crossbow.
Before adjusting your scope
First, you want to be sure that you have followed the manufacturer’s directions on adding the scope. You should also have shot 500 to 1,000 arrows or bolts before you try to adjust your scope.
To adjust your scope, you need to make sure the dots are calibrated. The dot at the top represents a distance of 20 yards, the middle one represents 30 yards, and the lower one represents 40 yards. However, the number and type of marks or dots depend on the type of scope and your crossbow’s intended use.
What you want to do is ‘zero’ that top dot, or mark. You want to be certain that it is set at 20 yards.
You will (or should) find two adjustment knobs as well – one for wind adjustment and one for elevation adjustment. It is these knobs that will help you change the scope to suit the wind and height conditions you’re using your crossbow in.
Every adjustment will be followed by a clicking sound and each represents a ¼” change at a 100-yard distance. The second click represents a 1/20” change at a range of 20 yards.
Tips on sighting your crossbow
When sighting, you have to be sure that it does not move at all while you’re firing. Keep at about 20 yards from your intended target and shoot using that top reticle (mark/dot) three times. To have your crossbow as still as possible, barely pull the trigger.
Depending on what results you get (how close to your target your shots were), you may need to adjust your scope.
You’ll use a screwdriver (or the adjustment tool you received with your crossbow) to do the adjusting – 20 clicks will equal one inch on the elevation, and 40 clicks counterclockwise will equal a 2-inch change in your scope’s directional pattern.
When should you adjust?
You will obviously know when to adjust your scope, but, if you want to be sure that’s what’s affecting your shooting skills, you can do a test. Shoulder your crossbow and close your eyes. Once you’ve got your crossbow on your shoulder comfortably, open your eyes. You should have a clear plane of sight through the entire scope. However, if you have a blurred or dark view, you’ll need to make adjustments.
In general, crossbow scopes will come with a 3 to 5-inch eye relief range. To adjust your scope, you’ll loosen the scope rings and adjust either backward or forwards until you have a clear view. Once that is done, you can tighten the scope rings again.
Test if your adjustments have worked
You can test if you adjusted correctly by shooting with your crossbow, of course. Get a target that is not further than 10 yards away. Align your top reticle on a point in the center of the target and shoot. If you hit your target within 3 inches of the bull’s eye, you can move further away, this time to 20 yards away.
You should be able to hit your mark within 3 inches. If not, make adjustments as needed – you'll have to turn the elevation and wind adjustment knobs in accordance with how far a distance you have missed the bull’s eye.
So, how to adjust a scope on a crossbow? It really isn’t all that hard to do – as long as you know what you’re doing. Thankfully, knowing what you’re doing is pretty easy, as well. Before you adjust your scope, though, make sure you’ve put it on the right way to begin with.
Double-check that you did what your crossbow’s manufacturer’s guide says. Then you can follow our guide and go test out your newly adjusted scope.
For some people, it takes more than one adjustment to achieve that perfect and clear sight that you need to shoot to the best of your abilities.