Even experienced archers can have problems sighting in their crossbow scopes, and beginners can quickly become frustrated when they can’t get their shots to line up. To help you save some time and prevent any hassles here are a few tips on how to properly sight in the scope on your crossbow.

Steps for sighting in a crossbow

There are 5 simple steps to follow to ensure your crossbow is accurately sighted in.

  1. Position yourself 20 yards away from your intended target.
  2. Using the rope or cranking aid cock the crossbow.
  3. Nock an arrow on the arrow rest.
  4. Make sure that the reticle or the uppermost red dot on the scope is aligned with the bullseye.
  5. Quickly squeeze the trigger with your finger to fire the arrow.

Once the arrow is lodged in the target you will need to see if it hit the bullseye. If the arrow is off target simply look down the flight rail and align it with the area you want to hit. Once this is done, it is time to make adjustments for wind and elevation.

How to adjust for wind and elevation

You will know how much the scope needs to be adjusted for wind and elevation based on where your arrows struck the target.

  • Estimate how far off in inches the arrows are from the center of the target and make the necessary adjustments on the scope. This will usually entail adjusting up or down, along with moving it to the left or right. Since most scopes come with instructions it is generally pretty easy to make any adjustments once you have determined how far off center the arrows were landing.

Recheck the grouping

  • Once the adjustments are made fire off another round of arrows at the target and see where each one lands. If your shots are still slightly off center simply continuing making adjustments until you are satisfied with the placement. While this might take a little time and can become repetitious, it will be well worth the effort when your bag a large buck or bull.

Calibrating range reticles

While not all crossbow scopes come with range compensation reticles, the ones that do need to be calibrated if you want it to work. Your will need a chronograph to measure the speed of the arrow, since this information is critical for accurate calibration. Once the chronograph is ready to go, simply fire four arrows through it with your crossbow. After each shot take a minute to write the velocity down, and add the numbers together after you have fired all 4 arrows. This total will then be divided by the number of arrows that were shot. The resulting number is the average velocity, which is then dialed into the velocity setting on the scope.

To check to see if the range is accurately calibrated simply try firing arrows at the various ranges printed on the reticle. If the range is still off, simply repeat the calibration process again.


When a scope is sighted in properly it should be able to hold at “zero” throughout the hunting season, though there might be times when you will need to make a few minor adjustments. Some experienced bowhunters recommend checking the scope each year, but most are satisfied when the see that it is still holding at zero. If the scope is frequently dropped or is already damaged, you might have to make adjustments throughout the season. Sighting in a crossbow scope is actually pretty easy, once you know exactly what you are doing.