Have you ever wanted to save yourself the extra cost of ammo when sighting in your rifle scope? Many shooters spend hundreds of dollars on ammo just to zero in on their new rifle scope, but this high cost could actually be avoided if you know how to use a rifle scope ruler. Most shooters have different techniques for saving or minimizing the amount of ammo used when zeroing their rifle scope; however, the rifle scope ruler method is the easiest and most affordable.
This measuring device comes at a low cost, so you can be sure of getting value for your money worth the first time you make use of the ruler. So what is a rifle scope ruler, and how can you sight in your scope with a rifle scope ruler? We’ll find out more in this article. Let’s start with what a rifle scope ruler is.
- What is a Rifle Scope Ruler?
- Types Of Rifle Scope Rulers?
- How To Sight Rifle Scope With Rifle Scope Ruler
- What if I don’t have a rifle scope ruler?
- Benefits of a rifle scope ruler
- How can I know what the scope is measuring?
- Does it work with red dot sight?
- What Firearm can I use this rifle scope ruler for?
- Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Riflescope Ruler
- Tips for Using a Rifle Scope Ruler Effectively
- Effect Of Using the Ruler with Different Types of Targets
- Maintenance of a Rifle Scope Ruler
- Comparing Rifle Scope Rulers to Other Zeroing Methods
- How does a Scope Ruler help in sighting a scope?
- Can a Scope Ruler be used with any type of rifle scope?
- Is the Scope Ruler compatible with both metric and imperial measurements?
- How accurate is the Scope Ruler in determining adjustments?
- Are there different models or variations of Rifle Scope Rulers available?
- Can a beginner easily learn to use a Rifle Scope Ruler?
- Are there any additional accessories or tools required to use the Scope Ruler effectively?
- Can I use the rifle scope ruler with a red dot sight or only with traditional scopes?
- Can the rifle scope ruler method be used for different shooting distances, or is it best suited for specific ranges?
What is a Rifle Scope Ruler?
A rifle scope ruler is a measuring device that is designed to help shooters sight in their scope very quickly and easily. This measuring tool is designed like your regular measuring rulers, but it is calibrated or measured in clicks.
Types Of Rifle Scope Rulers?
The adjustment turrets of most rifle scopes come in two major adjustment settings. The MRAD and MOA adjustment setting. Whether you are using a rifle scope ruler calibrated for MOA or MRAD, it usually has four yardages which are 25 yards, 50 yards, 75 yards, and 100 yards.
The MOA-calibrated ruler has different scales, including 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 MOA per click. While the MRAD ruler is calibrated only for 0.1 MIL per click
What should I do if I have a ¼ MOA ruler and my scope is ⅛ MOA?
The ¼ MOA calibrated ruler is the standard MOA measurement for most scopes. If you are using a ¼ MOA calibrated rifle scope ruler on a rifle scope that has ⅛ MOA adjustment knob, then you have to double the number of clicks that you got from the reading. For instance, if your scope has ⅛ MOA adjustment value on the turret and you are using a riflescope ruler that comes as ¼ MOA, then whatever reading you got would be doubled. So if after taking your first shot, you measured 14 click windage and 21 click elevation, then you have to double it. Meaning you would now have 28 click windage and 42 click elevation.
How To Sight Rifle Scope With Rifle Scope Ruler
Here, we are going to be looking at the step-by-step guide on how to zero a scope with a rifle scope ruler.
To zero a scope on your rifle, you have to first ensure safety measures are taken. You don’t want accidental discharge or injury sustained while trying to sight your scope. So whether you’re a newbie or a professional shooter, ensure you put on all your safety gear. After that, you should also ensure that you unload your rifle while setting up the target and other things.
Mount The Scope
Position Your target
Place your target at the distance you want to zero in your scope. Most shooters zero in their scope at 100 yards. But, depending on the distance you want to shoot, you can zero your scope at 25 yards, 50 yards, 75 yards, or 100 yards. The 25 yards zero is the easiest. When trying to set up your zero, ensure that you start with a closer range. A 25 yard zero will be a good place to start.
After placing your target at 25 yards or any distance you want, the next thing is to aim from the scope and take your first shot. If you are zeroing your scope at 100 yards distance, then you can take a group shot (3 -4). If you are new to the shooting world, a single shot may not be enough.
Use The Ruler
After taking the single shot or group shot, it’s time to measure the impact point with your rifle scope ruler. To measure the number of clicks, place the ruler on the target and measure from the bullseye to the point where the bullet hit the target.
Note: You should not measure between the bullseye and target directly in a diagonal manner.
To get this done correctly, you have to first measure the windage with your ruler by placing it horizontally between the impact point and the point where it aligns with the bullseye. Then repeat the same on the vertical axis to measure the elevation click. While measuring the number of clicks, ensure you use the side of the ruler that matches the shooting distance, for instance, 25 yards.
After getting the click number, record it and proceed to your turret adjustment if the ruler is scaled for the same MOA measurement (¼ MOA ruler to ¼ MOA turrets). If otherwise, follow the guide above on how to convert between ½, ¼, and ⅛ MOA scale.
Photo: Bucksnort Outfitters
Adjust The Turrets
You’re almost done with your zeroing. Now, you must turn the turrets according to the windage and elevation clicks you recorded from the ruler measurement or conversion. So let’s say your bullet hits a point on the target paper that measures 25 clicks from the bullseye to the top and 10 clicks from the bullseye to the left. What you would do in this case is to turn the turrets 25 clicks down and 10 clicks to the right. This should get your shot closer to the bullseye.
Take Another Shot
This would likely be your last shot at zeroing your scope. The ruler zeroing method has been tested, and it is trusted. Now that you’re done zeroing your scope, you can go to the range for practice shooting to improve your shooting accuracy. Or try to zero the scope at 100 yards.
What if I don’t have a rifle scope ruler?
If you don’t have a rifle scope ruler yet and want to zero your scope, the zeroing method is almost the same. The difference is that, in the regular scope zeroing method, you would have to measure the impact point in inches and then convert it to clicks. Read How to set a rifle scope at 25 yards for the normal scope zeroing without a rifle scope calibrated ruler.
Benefits of a rifle scope ruler
One of the advantages of the rifle scope ruler is that it helps shooters to save ammunition that would have been wasted by taking many shots while trying to zero the scope.
This rifle scope ruler also helps a shooter to avoid calculations. Without a rifle scope ruler, you would have to measure the distance between the bullet impact and the bullseye in inches, after which you have to convert and calculate the number of clicks needed.
A rifle scope ruler is very handy, and it can be folded into two. This measuring tool can fit anywhere from your pocket, wallet, or range bag.
The rifle scope ruler is very affordable. So you don’t have to break the bank to get it.
How can I know what the scope is measuring?
The rifle scope ruler is available for MOA or MRAD, so you can purchase the one that matches your scope.
Does it work with red dot sight?
Yes, you can use the rifle scope ruler for any type of rifle sight. Just check your red dot sight; if it displays ¼ MOA at 100 yards, then you can use an MOA-calibrated ruler.
What Firearm can I use this rifle scope ruler for?
The Rifle Scope Ruler can be used for zeroing different types of firearms and ammo. Whether you are shooting a modern rifle, muzzleloader, scoped pistol, scoped crossbow, or air rifle, you are sure to get a great result from the rifle scope ruler. This scope zeroing tool can also be used for different ammo ranging from .177 pellets to .50 BMG and others.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Riflescope Ruler
Using a rifle scope ruler to zero in your scope may seem like a simple task, but to achieve accurate results, you need to be mindful of some common mistakes that shooters often make. Let’s look into these mistakes and understand why they can impact your shooting accuracy.
Not Measuring Clicks Accurately
When you’re using a scope ruler, you must measure the clicks with precision. Each click on the ruler corresponds to a small adjustment on your scope’s turrets. If you make errors while counting clicks, even a slight miscalculation can throw off your aim. To avoid this, take your time when measuring the clicks and double-check your count to ensure accuracy. It’s worth the effort to get it right, as it directly affects how your scope aligns with your target.
Failing to Account for Scope Parallax
Parallax is a tricky phenomenon that can cause your target to appear off-center when you change your viewing angle through the scope. This issue becomes more obvious at longer distances, where parallax can seriously affect your shot placement. When using a scope ruler, be aware of parallax and try to look through the center of the scope while making measurements. This minimizes the impact of parallax and helps ensure that your readings are as accurate as possible.
Neglecting to Recheck Zero
After you’ve made adjustments based on the measurements from the ruler, you should recheck your zero. Sometimes, the initial adjustments may not be perfect, or external factors such as temperature or humidity changes can influence your results. By rechecking your zero, you can confirm whether your scope is properly sighted in. This step adds an extra layer of assurance before you head out to shoot, preventing potential frustration and wasted ammunition at the range.
Misinterpreting MOA and MIL Measurements
Different scopes use different units of measurement, typically MOA (Minutes of Angle) or MIL (Milliradian). If you’re using a scope ruler that doesn’t match your scope’s measurement unit, you must be familiar with how to convert between MOA and MIL accurately. Misinterpreting these measurements can lead to incorrect adjustments and affect your shooting accuracy. It’s essential to know which unit your scope uses and make the necessary purchase rather than relying on conversions.
Tips for Using a Rifle Scope Ruler Effectively
When you’re using a scope ruler to zero your scope, getting the alignment right is important. The ruler is a guide that helps you measure how far your bullets hit from the bullseye. To use it effectively, you need to position the ruler correctly on the target.
Properly Align the Ruler with the Bullet Impact Point
First, place the ruler on the target where you shot your bullets. Pay close attention to the starting point of the ruler, which is usually marked as “zero” or “0.” This starting point should be perfectly lined up with the center of the bullet hole you made on the target. If the ruler is not aligned accurately with the bullet hole, it will give you wrong measurements. And as a result, your adjustments to the scope might not be right, leading to off-target shots during your shooting practice.
Keep Your Target Steady When Measuring
Next, you must keep the target steady while using the ruler. Think of it like trying to draw a straight line on a moving desk; the result won’t be precise. To get accurate readings from the ruler, you want to minimize any movement. Even the tiniest movement can affect the ruler’s accuracy, so the more stable it is during measurement, the better your results will be.
Account for Environmental Factors
Wind can blow your bullets off course, especially at longer distances. The best time to zero your scope is on a calm day with little to no wind because your bullets are less likely to be affected by any air movement. Extreme winds can make your measurements less reliable, so it’s better to wait for a calmer day to get the most accurate readings from the ruler.
Similarly, temperature changes can also influence your bullet’s flight path. In hot weather, your bullets might fly higher, while in cold weather, they might drop lower. Zeroing your scope on a day with consistent temperature helps ensure more accurate measurements. If you must zero your scope under different weather conditions, be aware that you might need to make additional adjustments later to fine-tune your zero.
Effect Of Using the Ruler with Different Types of Targets
When using paper targets, make sure you can clearly see the bullet holes you’ve made on the target. This is crucial because you need to align the ruler accurately with the impact points of your shots. To do this, carefully place the ruler on the target, making sure the starting point (usually marked as “zero” or “0”) is precisely aligned with the center of the bullet hole.
The ruler will have markings or clicks that indicate how far the bullet hit the bullseye. By aligning the ruler correctly with the bullet hole, you can measure the distance and make the necessary adjustments to your scope for better accuracy. This way, you’ll be able to zero in on your scope more effectively and improve your shooting skills.
When dealing with steel targets or other hard surfaces, safety becomes a top priority. It’s not advisable to get too close to the target when shooting. Instead, use a spotting scope or binoculars to observe the bullet hits from a safe distance. Once you’ve identified the impact points, you can then use the rifle scope ruler to measure the distance accurately. Simply place the ruler on the target as you would with paper targets, ensuring that the starting point aligns with the center of the bullet hole. Measure the clicks or markings on the ruler to determine how far off your shots are from the bullseye.
Reactive targets are designed to respond visibly when hit, providing instant feedback to the shooter. They often use materials that change color or create a visible impact area when struck. Examples include self-adhesive splatter targets that show a contrasting color where the bullet hits, or targets with swinging or spinning elements that move when hit. Reactive targets are popular for training as they provide immediate confirmation of shot placement, helping shooters to adjust and correct their aim in real-time.
When using a rifle scope ruler with reactive targets, place the ruler accurately over the impact area and measure the clicks or markings to determine how much adjustment is needed. React quickly to the feedback from the reactive target and make the necessary scope adjustments to improve your aim in real-time.
Clay targets, also known as clay pigeons or skeet targets, are commonly used in shotgun shooting sports such as trap shooting and skeet shooting. They are small, round, and made of clay material. Shooters aim to break these targets by shooting them while they are launched into the air at various angles and trajectories. Clay target shooting is a dynamic and challenging sport that improves shooting accuracy, timing, and tracking skills.
Clay target shooting requires fast reflexes and tracking skills. You can’t directly use the rifle scope ruler on clay targets, it’s better to practice your aim and shot placement on other targets to prepare for clay shooting. Use the ruler on paper targets or splatter targets to fine-tune your scope’s zero and develop consistent accuracy. This will help you build the muscle memory and confidence needed to break clay targets successfully.
3D targets are lifelike three-dimensional representations of animals or objects. They are commonly used in archery, but they can also be used for firearm shooting. These targets offer a more realistic shooting experience and help simulate real-life hunting scenarios. Shooters can practice aiming at different parts of the target to develop shot placement skills for ethical and effective hunting.
When using a rifle scope ruler with 3D targets, focus on different parts of the target to improve shot placement skills for ethical hunting. While 3D targets may not have a defined impact area like paper targets, you can still simulate shot placement by aiming for specific areas on the target, such as the vital organs of an animal. Practice aligning the ruler with these virtual impact points to refine your shooting technique and prepare for real-life hunting scenarios.
Electronic targets use sensors and technology to register and display shot placement digitally. These targets are often used in competitive shooting events and military or law enforcement training. Electronic targets provide instant and precise feedback, eliminating the need to walk downrange to inspect targets after each shot. They are efficient for time-sensitive shooting exercises and can help analyze shooting patterns for performance improvement. You can use the ruler to verify the accuracy of the electronic target’s measurements and confirm the adjustments needed to zero your scope.
Maintenance of a Rifle Scope Ruler
Taking care of your scope ruler is essential to ensure it remains accurate and lasts a long time. Here are some simple tips to help you maintain your ruler:
Keep the Ruler Clean and Accurate
To keep your scope ruler in top-notch condition, keep it clean and free from dirt, dust, or debris. Before and after use, wipe the ruler with a soft, dry cloth to remove any particles that might affect its accuracy. Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents that could damage the ruler’s markings. If you encounter stubborn stains or residue on the ruler, you can lightly dampen a clean cloth with water and gently wipe it off. Remember to let the ruler dry completely before storing it to prevent any moisture-related issues.
Proper Storage for Longevity
Proper storage plays a significant role in maintaining the accuracy and longevity of your scope ruler. When you’re not using the ruler, store it in a safe and dry place. You can keep it in a protective case or a sleeve to shield it from dust and potential scratches. Avoid leaving the ruler exposed to harsh elements or tossing it into your range bag without protection.
Comparing Rifle Scope Rulers to Other Zeroing Methods
- Affordable: Using a rifle scope ruler won’t break the bank. It’s a budget-friendly way to zero your scope.
- Easy to use: Don’t worry about complex gadgets. Using the ruler is super simple and straightforward.
- Portable: You can easily carry the ruler with you to the shooting range or when you’re out in the wild.
- Manual adjustments: With the ruler, you have to make the adjustments to your scope yourself, which might not be as precise as some fancier methods.
- Rough alignment: Bore sighting helps you get started by roughly aligning your scope with your rifle’s bore. It’s like a head start for better adjustments.
- Handy for beginners: If you’re just starting out, bore sighting can help you quickly get your shots on paper and start your zeroing journey.
- Not super precise: Bore sighting won’t give you spot-on accuracy. You might need to make further adjustments to fine-tune your zero.
- Extra stuff to buy: Bore sighting tools, like collimators or laser bore sights, are additional expenses you might have to consider.
Other Zeroing Techniques
- Customized for specific guns: Some zeroing methods are made for certain firearms, which can give you a perfect fit for your setup.
- Extra accurate: Advanced techniques, like using ballistic calculators, factor in lots of details for precise adjustments.
- Tricky stuff: Some zeroing methods can be complicated, and you need to understand ballistics and how guns work better.
- High cost: Fancy zeroing tools and technologies might come with a bigger price tag.
How does a Scope Ruler help in sighting a scope?
A Scope Ruler simplifies the process of zeroing a scope by providing a precise way to measure the adjustments needed to align the scope with the point of impact. After taking a shot at the target, you place the ruler over the bullet hole and measure the clicks in both windage (horizontal) and elevation (vertical) directions. These measurements guide you to make the right adjustments on your scope’s turrets, bringing your shots closer to the bullseye and improving your shooting accuracy.
Can a Scope Ruler be used with any type of rifle scope?
Yes, a Scope Ruler can be used with most types of scopes as long as the sight has an adjustable windage and elevation turret. Whether your scope uses MRAD or MOA adjustments, you can find a Scope Ruler calibrated accordingly. However, it’s essential to match the ruler’s calibration with your scope’s measurement system to ensure accurate readings.
Is the Scope Ruler compatible with both metric and imperial measurements?
Yes, Scope Rulers are available in both metric (MRAD) and imperial (MOA) measurements. Depending on your scope’s adjustment system, you can choose the appropriate ruler. If your scope uses MRAD adjustments, get an MRAD-calibrated ruler. If your scope uses MOA adjustments, opt for an MOA-calibrated ruler. This compatibility ensures you can accurately measure and adjust your scope, regardless of the measurement system.
How accurate is the Scope Ruler in determining adjustments?
The accuracy of a Scope Ruler in determining adjustments depends on its design and calibration. A well-made and properly calibrated Scope Ruler can provide precise measurements for scope adjustments.
Are there different models or variations of Rifle Scope Rulers available?
Yes, there are different models and variations of Rifle Scope Rulers available. They come in various sizes and are calibrated for different adjustment systems, such as MOA or MRAD. Some may have additional features, like multiple yardages for zeroing at different distances.
Can a beginner easily learn to use a Rifle Scope Ruler?
Yes, a beginner can easily learn to use a Rifle Scope Ruler. The process is relatively straightforward. After taking a shot and measuring the bullet impact on the target, the ruler helps you count the number of clicks needed to adjust your scope. With some practice and understanding of your scope’s adjustment system, a beginner can quickly grasp how to use the ruler effectively for zeroing.
Are there any additional accessories or tools required to use the Scope Ruler effectively?
Using a Scope Ruler typically doesn’t require any additional accessories or tools. However, having a clear and stable shooting setup is crucial to getting accurate measurements.
Can I use the rifle scope ruler with a red dot sight or only with traditional scopes?
The rifle scope ruler can be used with both red dot sights and traditional scopes that have adjustable windage and elevation turrets. As long as your red dot sight or scope allows for adjustments, you can use the scope ruler to zero it effectively.
Can the rifle scope ruler method be used for different shooting distances, or is it best suited for specific ranges?
The rifle scope ruler method can be used for zeroing your scope at various shooting distances. Whether you prefer zeroing at 25 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, or other distances, the scope ruler can help you make the necessary adjustments for accurate shots.
Mike Hardesty is a published freelance gun writer. With dozens of articles and reviews published in Pew Pew Tactical, Snipercountry.com, and TTAG (The Truth About Guns), Mike is considered a firearms expert. His special area of expertise is handguns.
Mike is a long-time shooter. He has been punching paper targets, taking deer and other game and shooting at competitions since about 1975. Other related pursuits include reloading and bullet casting. He currently reloads for over 10 calibers, both handgun and rifle. His reloads, particularly for 9mm, were in great demand during the height of the ammo shortage among family and friends. He donated hundreds of rounds to informal shooting sessions. He was quoted as saying “I do not sell my reloads but I sure will help my guys shoot ’em for free!”. He has a few cherished firearms that he has inherited or otherwise procured — those are his favorites.
He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Indiana State University in 1974-1975.
He’s a firearm experts and is the founder of mhardesty.com.