How To Sight In A Shotgun Scope

Most of the time with shotgun shooting sports or hunts, you really don’t need to have a scope on your firearm.

However, when shooting slugs, where your projectile may need some accuracy out to 100 or 150-yards, scopes are proving to be quite a useful piece of equipment to have installed.

It’s not rocket science, but for those of us who are used to just pointing and blasting that all-too-familiar shotgun scatter, it’s advantageous to know how to sight in a shotgun scope for when you do get the opportunity to slug hunt.

Follow this guide and we will show you step-by-step how to sight in your shotgun scope.

how to sight in a shotgun scope

Some Things You Will Need

Your Shotgun With Scope – This one is obvious. You need your shotgun with the scope that you’re trying to sight in installed. Be sure that the scope you have is a proper shotgun scope and that it is properly secured, or else it may not be able to stand up to the recoil and could become damaged or damage you.

Eye And Ear Protection – You definitely want to have a good pair of shooting glasses or goggles whenever you are shooting to protect your eyes from flying debris.

You also need to have ear muff or plugs to protect your ears. Shotguns are loud, there’s no way around it. So be sure to do what’s necessary to preserve your hearing.

Lead-Sled Or Other Secure Rest – These are incredibly beneficial in both holding your gun secure while trying to sight in and taking the recoil off your poor body. The more stable you can keep your gun, the more accurately you can dial in where your shot’s going to land.

Shoulder Padding – It’s always a good idea when practice shooting with a shotgun to have shoulder padding on hand. They kick like a mule, and you’ll want to at least throw a few rounds holding the gun yourself after you sight in the scope just to see how you’re shooting with it. Plus, the more you practice, the better your aim will be.

Bulls-Eye Style Target – This style target is easiest to sight a scope in on, because of the clear bulls-eye point to aim at and you can easily see where your other shots are landing and figure out where your reticle needs to be moved to hit the bulls-eye.

Any target where you can measure this and keep a consistent bulls-eye point will work though.

Safe Range – A safe, clear range with minimal obstacles and distractions is necessary for sighting in scopes. You want to be sure that you have a good bullet back-stop so that the slug can safely embed instead of continuing down range.

A shooting range is a great place for a controlled safe range with minimal environmental interference, like wind or other natural obstacles.

Related: Best Shotgun Scope for Deer Hunting 

How To Sight In A Shotgun Scope

It’s time to sight in your scope. For the purposes of this guide, we are going to sight in at 50 yards. This is a good distance for shotgun sports, and if you needed to shoot out to 100 yards, you can elevate your aiming point about two inches above your target point. You can go back and sight in for 100 yards later, but for now, let’s tackle the 50.

There are also a few different ways you can achieve your sighting in. One is the traditional fire-adjust, fire-adjust, fire-adjust until you have it on target method. For the purposes of this guide, we will be using the one-shot method, which is super easy and pretty much applies to any and all scopes needing to be zeroed.

Step 1 – Aim

Make sure you have your shooting glasses and hearing protection on. Once you are all set with the appropriate firing range and target in place set at 50 yards, you are ready to take aim. Place your shotgun in a lead sled or other stable gun rest that will keep the gun stationary and absorb recoil. Aim at the bulls-eye on your target with your reticle aiming point dead center.

Step 2 – Fire

Fire your first shot. Even if you’re way off from the bulls-eye, no problem. All you need is that first shot on the paper.

Step 3 – Adjust

Double check and make sure your shotgun and reticle are still aimed dead center at your target bulls-eye. Adjust your reticle, but not your gun, to put the aiming point directly on your first shot. Now dead center should be your first shot. Your shotgun should now be successfully sighted in.

Step 4 – Fire Again

Fire your shotgun a few more times to be sure you’re hitting where you’re aiming.

Step 5 – Practice

Practice shooting a few times holding your shotgun instead of the gun being in the lead sled and make sure you’re satisfied with where you’re shooting at. Congratulations! Your shotgun scope is sighted in.


What is the best distance to sight in for deer hunting with a slug gun? – With a slug, you will probably be shooting a max distance of 100 yards. Sighting in at 50 yards allows you to cover the closer distances as well as longer distances. If you need to shoot out to 100 yards, you can elevate your shotgun aiming point up about two inches above your target’s dead center.

If you’re in the market for a new shotgun scope, we’ve got an article on the best Vortex shotgun scopes of the year if you’re interested!  Just click the link.  


You now know how to sight in a shotgun scope the super fast and easy way. This method is great for sighting in pretty much any scope. A scope is a great accessory to have for your slug gun, especially for deer hunting, where you need a little more accuracy and distance.

My best advice is to just always keep shooting and practicing. Sighting in your scope is a good start, but you can’t be accurate without properly aiming and holding your shotgun. So, enjoy your shotgun and new scope and get out there and get great with them!

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