Using a crossbow for the first time can be intimidating, especially when you’re unsure of how to sight one with a scope. When learning how to sight a crossbow scope, your goal is to be able to consistently hit your target within 2 or 3 inches of each hit.
Once you have some consistency with your aim and your bow, you’re ready to dig into learning how to sight a crossbow with a scope. Knowing how to sight with a crossbow is essential to hunting with one, so here is a guide to help you along the way.
Know the Parts of the Sight
When sighting a crossbow, you need to know the names and functions of all of the parts of the crossbow as well as the sight. Take some time to really get acquainted with the make and model of your crossbow, as well as the manual that came with it. If you bought the bow second hand, look online for a PDF of the manual, which is usually provided by the company somewhere on their website.
You want to make sure that you know the names and functions of your exact crossbow since not all crossbows are made the same. Once you’re intimately familiar with the parts of your crossbow and sight, you’re ready for the next step.
Get Familiar with Your Scope
Once you’re familiar with your crossbow, you can get familiar with looking through your scope. The first thing you do when sighting with a crossbow scope is calibrating.
Take some time to get acquainted with your reticle-- or otherwise known as the dot at the center of your sight. At about 20 years, fix your target in the center reticle and practice shooting until you feel confident that you’re hitting your target within 2 to 3 inches every time.
While you’re practicing your shooting, make a note of where the arrows are hitting versus where your reticle is through the sight. You may need to make some adjustments to get the best aim. On the side of your scope, you will find a knob that will adjust for where your arrow is pointing.
The knob on the side adjusts the reticle either more towards the left or the right. Another knob on the top of the scope will adjust the reticle either up or down, depending on where you notice your arrow going.
Making adjustments takes the longest time. You’ll want to remove the plastic cover on your scope so that you can take a look at the actual numbers underneath that will help you determine what works best for your crossbow.
The adjustment phase will mean that you’re practicing shooting arrows, seeing where they land and then making adjustments on your scope until your aim is accurate.
Understand the Reticles
For the most part, scopes tend to come with one reticle. However, there are plenty of scopes that come with three or more. The center reticle is always used for a distance of 20 yards or less. The reticles that are below that are used for longer ranges. Each dot beneath the center reticle should be used for a distance over 10 yards over 20.
So, for example, say that you’re looking to hit a target at 40 yards away. The second dot beneath the center reticle would be used for 30 yards, while the third dot would be used for 40 yards. For most scopes, there is only a maximum of 4 reticles, which means the scope is good for up to 50 yards.
Calibrating your bow and scope for reticles that are further away, depending on how far you like to shoot, works the same way as before.
Once you’ve gone through all the work of calibrating your crossbow to your scope, you’re going to want to maintain proper care. Calibrating takes a lot of time and effort, so you want to make sure you only have to do it a few times.
Always keep the plastic covers on top of your calibration knobs on your scope so that there’s no accidental turning while you’re hunting or transporting the bow.
You also want to make sure that you keep your crossbow stowed in a safe place, away from curious children. When transporting your crossbow, make sure that it is stored in a way that doesn’t generate a lot of impact on the scope or bow. This can make it so that you have to calibrate more often.
So we now have an answer to the questions of how to sight in a crossbow with a scope? It takes a little bit of time and effort, but with the proper knowledge, it’s easy for anyone to do. Even novice bowmen will have no issue calibrating and maintain a crossbow with a sight.