You’ve purchased a new crossbow and are ready to take it out hunting, but first you’ll probably need to get it sighted in. Even the best crossbow scopes will not be accurate until you go through the sighting in process. Knowing how to sight in a crossbow scope is an important skill for any hunter, as accurate bolt placement is critical for both a successful and an ethical hunt.
How to Sight In a Crossbow Scope
To sight in the crossbow, you’ll need to take several fairly accurate shots at a target. To do this, you need to feel comfortable shooting the crossbow, so don’t try to sight in one you haven’t fired at least a few times. For this process to work, you need to be capable of shooting a fairly tight group. Ideally, you should take your shot from a braced position with your arms steadied on a table. To improve accuracy, you shouldn’t try to sight in on a windy day.
To start the sighting in process, measure twenty yards from your target, and make a small marking on the ground where you need to stand. Next, cock the crossbow and load a bolt onto the rail. Look through the sight or scope and place the top sight marker on the bull’s eye of your target. Steady yourself, and take a shot – note where the bolt landed and how many inches off target it is.
To adjust the sight markers, you’ll need to look through the manual that came with your crossbow or its scope. Most sights are fairly easy to adjust with basic tools. Start by moving the windage, the adjustment knob that moves the reticle left and right. Take another shot and adjust it until the bolts are landing directly above or below the bull’s eye. Now, adjust the elevation of the sight marker until your shots are right on target. This whole process can require quite a few shots and take up the better part of an hours, but once you have it dialed in, you won’t need to make any adjustments unless you change the draw weight of your crossbow.
Adjusting the Range Compensator
Your scope most likely has a series of reticles that represent different target distances. These are called range compensating sight markers, as their position compensates for a bolt’s drop over a given distance. Thus far, you’ve only sighted in the first reticle; to adjust the other ones, you’re going to need another tool, a chronograph. Firing a few bolts through this device will tell you their speed, and then you can adjust the scope to reflect this, which will change the range compensation markers.
Set It and Forget It!
Once you have your crossbow sighted in, it should only need sporadic adjustment. If the crossbow gets dropped or you remove the sight, you’ll need to repeat the sighting in process, but otherwise it should be fine for years to come. If you do need to make adjustments, though, now you know how to sight in a crossbow scope, and it should be a fairly painless process.
Still unsure of how to sight in your crossbow? This instructional video from TenPoint Crossbows might give you a better idea of how to do it.