Hunting with a bow and arrow can be rather tricky to figure out. Crossbows, on the other hand, are simpler, much simpler.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that crossbows don’t take a lot of time to perfect, too. Some things can be tricky to figure out, like sighting in.

Sighting in the target with a crossbow can be close to impossible if you’re holding the crossbow for the first time. Luckily, we prepared the simple steps for a novice crossbow hunter!

Continue reading to find out how to sight in crossbow scope the easiest way!

How to sight in a crossbow scope


Preparation for shooting with a crossbow is all about checking out if you have the exact equipment you need. To start, you will need:

Check if you are getting the bull’s eye with them instead of moving the scroll back and forth.

Do note that you will need to shoot out about 50 to 100 arrows first, to be able to group them all.

Together means grouping them all within 2-3 inches of each other before making any changes to your sight.

Understanding Different Scope Types:

There are two basic types of scopes you need to know about:

  • Single reticle scope
  • Multi-reticle scope

The single reticle has one dot in the center. Looking through the scope, you can see the dot and try to sight in the target as close to that dot as possible.

single reticle scope

The multi-reticle scope has multiple horizontal dots or reticles.

That enables the shooter to shoot at different distances without the need to adjust the windage or elevation.

Multi-reticle scope

How To Sight In A Crossbow Scope (Simple Step By Steps):

1. Adjust The Crossbow Speed

The first part of adjusting the crossbow speed is checking the speed of the arrow when it shoots out.

First, take out your instruction manual and see what is the top speed of the shot.

The other thing you can do is go to a professional crossbow shop and shoot your arrow through a chronograph.

The chronograph can assist you in checking the speed of the shot, as well.

To adjust the speed of the shot, you should set the speed ring of the scope to match the speed of the arrow.

Adjust The Crossbow Speed


Do the best that you can to set the speed ring as close to the shot speed as possible.

For example, if the shot speed is at 430 FPS, you should set the speed ring as close to 430 FPS as you can.

Adjusting the scope to the shot speed will help you achieve more success during hunting.

2. Adjust the Focus Ring

focus ring

Adjusting the focus ring will help you sight in the crossbow scope. The best way to do that is by adjusting the outer edge of the rear bell!

3. Set Your Target to 20 Yards

Set Your Target to 20 Yards

Although you can hunt at over 40 yards accurately with most crossbows, it’s best to set the target at 20 yards.

You should try to make the distance no more than 20 yards when you’re still a beginner in the crossbow world.

Use a rangefinder to help you figure out the distance.

You may be asking yourself - why 20 yards?

Well, each crossbow was bore-sighted at the factory at 20 yards.

Also, at 20 yards, you are more likely to fire an ethical shot than shooting from greater distances.

4. Shoot 3 Shots & Readjust

Shoot a few shots, and then readjust the crossbow accordingly to make your crossbow more accurate. There are two knobs you can use for this purpose:

  • Windage knob
  • Elevation knob
windage, Elevation knob

Elevation Knob

The elevation knob is moved up and down and it’s used to adjust the distance to the target. 

When it is far away, at 40 yards, the arrow will be affected by gravity, and you may miss the target entirely. That’s why you should move the elevation knob lower if the target is far away.

Windage Knob

It moves left or right and is used to center the scope. Wind also affects the arrow as it travels through the air.

Remember, if you shoot to the left, adjust the windage to right, and if you shoot right, adjust the windage to left.

Also, bear in mind the “10-1-20” rule.

  • That is 10 clicks for 1 inch of a 20-yard long movement
  • 1 click is also called MOA, or Minutes Of Angle.

For example: if you would like to adjust the shot for 2 inches, take 20 clicks for 2 inches in 20 yards.

5. Shoot Again To Check It Out

Shooting an arrow one more time will help you check out if you zeroed in the center of the crosshair. If it didn’t, readjust.

6. Set The Target At 30 Yards

Now, set the target at 30 yards. You can use a rangefinder to help you.

7. Shoot The Crossbow At 30 Yards

After shooting, see if you did a good job. As for any new adjustments, use the speed ring only.

  • If your arrow hit too high, adjust the speed ring to a higher speed.
  • If the arrow hits too low, adjust the speed dial to a lower speed. Don’t make any elevation adjustments.

8. Set The Target Back To 20 Yards

Set the target back to 20 yards and make sure that you’re hitting at a good elevation. If not, readjust.

9. Do The Same With The Settings To 40 & 50 Yards

At least, we recommend that you do the same for maximum success.

Pro Tips

  • Use Shooting Aids: It will help you get faster and better sightings and takes 10-30 minutes.
  • Practice until you’re confident: Nobody is successful on their first try - everyone has to work to become a great shooter.
  • Using the same arrow weight consistently: while you’re only practicing make sure that you’re using the same arrows because it will help you become more accurate.
  • Make a small marking on the speed ring and scope tube to mark the ideal spot. If someone moves this adjustment, the marking will help you find the ideal setting quickly.

Bottom Line:

Finding out how to sight in a crossbow scope can take a while.

This is perhaps the most complicated part of starting crossbow hunting, but once you do it, there is no need to adjust it again.

For hunting, practice makes perfect, and nothing can replace lots of practice.

Stay consistent with practicing, and you will see improvement in no time.

We hope that our step-by-step guide and tips have helped you find the ideal settings for your scopes.

What are your tips for sighting in the crossbow scope? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Robert Gate, a hunter from Texas and Founder of ArcheryTopic. I first learned archery from my dad when I was 12 years old. He gave me a Mathew bow as a gift and instantly fell in love with the pursuit.