How To Sight In A Pellet Gun Scope in 5 Steps

So you need to know how to sight in a pellet gun scope, huh? Too bad you can’t just bore sight the thing like a regular rifle. Zeroing your air scope is not such a difficult thing though. Follow through these few short steps and I’ll show you how!

First, we need to get some things together so we can create the “perfect” control environment and get that rifle shooting as accurately as we possibly can. It’s not much. This is a very simple process, and can be done cheaply as most of the things needed will already be in your home.

How To Sight in A Pellet Gun Scope 

how to sight in a pellet gun scope

Some Things You’re Going to Need:

Eye protection 

Use shooting or safety glasses while shooting. We all think that it will “never happen to me” when it comes to ricochet putting an eye out but get into the habit of wearing them. All shooting ranges, competitions, and professional settings will require you to wear eye protection and you’ll want to get comfortable shooting with them on anyhow.

Control area

You want a safe indoor area free from wind. The slightest gust can throw off your accuracy. Though it may be slight, this is your “control setting” so you want it as accurate as possible. An indoor shooting range is ideally where you can test, but safe control areas can be set up at home too if you have the range.

Target with a set distance

I would suggest a paper target for your control. Either a retail bulls-eye target, a free downloaded one off the internet, or make your own with a hand drown bulls-eye or cross. All you really need is a point to aim at. For distance, I like to use just a tape measure for the shorter distance and rangefinder for the longer distances.


Something behind your target to stop your pellet from ricocheting. You could use a pellet trap, sandbags, hay bales, or plywood. You may not have to worry about this if shooting at a range.


Use just a handy-dandy marker to mark your shots, so you know where you’ve been hitting, and where you want to.

Gun rest

This is for that control factor again. You just want the gun as steady as possible. You should use sandbags, rolled up towels, a Lead Sled, or even a shop clap to hold the rifle in place. Air rifles don’t have much of a kick, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Last but not least, don’t forget your rifle and plenty of pellets! You’re going to want to have enough pellets to make adjustments, check the accuracy, and have fun. So, now we have all the pieces, let’s get down to business and get that scope zeroed in.

Bear River TPR 1300 .177 Suppressed Hunting Air Rifle

This is one of the more popular .177 pellet guns. It includes the scope and silencer.

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Similar: How To Put A Scope On A Daisy BB Gun

Sighting In Your Pellet Gun Scope

Step 1) Setting Up

Set your rifle on a level surface and support with your chosen rest. Make sure your rifle is secure with very little movement. For this first control, we need to make sure the gun is even hitting the target, so set your target up at only 10-15 feet away, with appropriate backstop behind it.

I would put a mark with your marker about two inches below the bulls-eye. For such a short distance, you will be aiming at the bulls-eye, but want your shot to end up at the second mark, about two inches below. Don’t forget your eye protection!

Step 2) First shots

Aim your gun. Put your scope cross-hair on your bulls-eye. I recommend opening up your magnification to the highest setting to get the biggest view of your target. Fire one shot. Hopefully, you are on the paper somewhere. If not, we need to find out where you’re shooting. If it’s on the paper, it’s workable.

Step 3) Adjustment

Leave your gun pointed where it was with the cross-hair on the bulls-eye. First, you are going to adjust your windage (horizontal) knob and put your cross-hair left, or right so it’s in line with your actual first shot. Then you adjust your elevation (vertical) knob accordingly and place the cross-hair directly on your first shot. So, the gun never moved, just your cross-hair did.

Step 4) Second shots

Now that your scope is zeroed in on your first actual shot, aim the gun back to bulls-eye and put your cross-hair on bulls-eye. Fire one shot.

You should be pretty darn close. Remember, this shot should be about two inches below the actual bulls-eye. Fire a few more shots just to be sure. Success! Now, we can move the target back.

Step 5) Moving the target back

Move your target back to 10 yards (30 feet) and repeat steps 1-4. It shouldn’t take as long as the first round, as it should be pretty close, with maybe just a few slight adjustments. When it’s shooting where you want it, move it back again to 25 yards (75 feet) and repeat steps 1-4 again. This time, you should be hitting directly on the bulls-eye, not below.

Related: How To Use Open Sights On A Rifle


Why do we start the control at 10 feet?

This is to make sure you are hitting the target. Sometimes when a scope is mounted on your air gun, it can be way off, so the closer the target and shooting range, the better chance we have of hitting the target right from the start.

What is the normal range to sight in your scope at?

You want to sight in at about half the distance of your maximum shot. So, if you max target for your air rifle would be at 50 yards, you would sight in at somewhere between 20-30 yards. That is your comfort range and ideally the range you would be shooting in. This is normally where most people zero their scopes at.

Why would we need the first shot to hit 2 inches below where we’re aiming when we set the control at 10 feet? 

Ten feet is a really close target. If we zero our sight in at that range we move our range out to the normal distance (20-30 yards), then our shot is going to be off and we will need to make more drastic adjustments. If you are spot on target at 25 yards and move your target to ten feet away, you will notice it shoots about two inches below bulls-eye.


We hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to sight in a pellet gun scope. These very simple steps should take no time at all and get you shooting right where you need to be. Also, while you’re here if you’ve never shot with peep sights it can be extremely fun on an air rifle so maybe try that too.

After you’ve mastered the pellet gun, you’ll likely want to set up the scope on your rifle as well.  Here is a guide to sighting in your rifle scope at 25 yards if you’re interested! 

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