How To Sight In A Thermal Scope

You have just purchased a thermal scope for yourself. This is an excellent investment that you wouldn’t regrets. The next step is to know the basics and understand how best to sight in a thermal scope.

Thermal optics are impressive beasts. I have been in love with thermal optics for a long time. I used these optics in the United States military and have been endeared to these devices since then. Thermal scopes light up the world before you, and no living thing can be concealed from them. It gives you a clear vision through the dense fog and thick bushes.

Many people use it for hunting animals, such as feral hogs, wild boars, coyotes, and other nocturnal animals. Thermal optics make it easy to see wild beasts at night, detect thieves, and help protect livestock from pests and predators. But before you can enjoy the benefits of a thermal scope, you must first know how to sight in a thermal scope for supernatural clarity.

Sighting in a thermal scope involves aligning the weapon’s barrel with the device. You can easily hit your target if you can sight properly. This article will provide you with some simple steps to sight your scope. But before that, it is imperative to know how a thermal scope works.

How Does a Thermal Scope Work?

Thermal scopes work through thermal or infrared rays, which are different from visible light. In other words, it doesn’t need visible light to produce a visual image. They employ infrared illuminators to generate light and help you get clear night vision without emitting a beam of light.

Unlike your regular traditional scopes, thermal scopes are digital. Since these are digital scopes, using turrets is not necessary to make adjustments. Thermal scopes are typically designed with a camera to record and take photos.

At the front of the device is a focusing lens with a detector panel at the back. When the lens is focused at a distance, a clear image of the target is revealed. The detector converts it into electrical signals, and the processor converts the signals into a noticeable image. After then, the final image is displayed before you on the screen.

Thermal scopes can be used during the day or at night. You can quickly learn how to use the thermal scope properly by reading the manual that comes with the optic. However, the functions differ depending on the model and the brand.

Having the time and knowledge to experiment and explore how a new accessory or device works will quickly make you familiar with using it to its full potential. You can make the necessary preparations by creating time to learn how to use the device. This will be better than wasting your time, money, and resources on a venture that doesn’t interest you.

How To Sight a Thermal Scope

Zeroing your thermal scope is very important for proper use. If you are wondering to know how to go about it, this post will help you find an answer to your question.

1. Stabilize Your Rifle

Best way to sight in a thermal scope

To sight your thermal scope perfectly, you must ensure that your weapon is stable. An unstable gun is bound to miss its target at every shot. If your gun isn’t stable, you are not guaranteed to hit your target. You may decide to spend the whole day sighting, but it will be useless because you will not get the results you are searching for. Your initial position must be rocky and steady to maximize your zero.

Investing in the right hunting equipment will surely pay off in the long run. The right equipment will definitely keep your gun stable and easy to sight. An efficient way to zero the position of your scope when hunting is using a gun rest. Purchasing a bipod or tripod is a great option. But if you don’t have enough funds to get these accessories, you can secure your rifle using heavy bags on one end.

2. Choose The Right Target

You can as well zero your scope by using the right targets. There are two easy ways of finding the right target; first, you can choose to make your targets yourself or get them from a local store.

Irrespective of your chosen method, the main aim is to ensure that your target object is cooler or warmer than your surroundings (environment). Do you intend to make use of a standard paper target? That would be useless because your optic will not be able to see them at 25 yards or 50 yards, so let us face reality.

Since thermal scopes use heat when sighting a target, the best way to practice is to use materials that contain heat. Doing this provides you with better results while hunting.

Best Way To Sight A Thermal Scope

Setting your target with distinct heat allows you to zero your scope without hassles. The secret behind this method is that by the time the temperature of the heating pad contrasts, the object at the other end will give a clear view of the target. So, it will be very simple for you to hit the target by making little adjustments to the scope.

You can use household items such as a heated water bottle or reflective tapes to create a cross target that will give you a center point. Nonetheless, if you have no time to make your center point, you can buy the necessary heated target for your weapon. But ensure that you are buying from a trusted brand or company. You can also check out the best night vision scopes for coyote hunters.

3. Get a Good Shooting Position

When sighting, you must maintain a reasonable distance. For instance, if you intend to hit a target within a range of 100 yards, ensure that you use the same distance when sighting. Doing this ensures you don’t always have to adjust your scope when it is time for real hunting. An ideal distance to set up your weapon’s optics is 50 to 200 yards. Experimenting with different ranges during practice is never considered a bad practice.

You can start at a near distance, and by the time you get used to the position, you can gradually increase the yards as your shooting accuracy improves. Sighting at a closer range allows you to hit the reticle an inch lower or higher.

Furthermore, it’s essential for you also to have the same rounds of ammunition for both hunting and target shooting. Also, remember that bullet drops can be affected by the bullet weight, velocity, and caliber of the weapon you are using. Using one ammunition for target shooting and another for hunting may not be the best, as your results will automatically vary.

Therefore, use the same ammunition to learn the hunting and target shooting process. This can make you master the art of sighting with ease. If you intend to take shots from different distances, zeroing your thermal goggles or optics is necessary.

4. The Practice Round

You must pass the practice round to certify that your rifle is ready and the sighting is perfect. At this point, you will need to set your target as if on a real hunting adventure. Load your rifle with sufficient ammunition and get a stable position to maximize your zero. Don’t expect to hit the target with only the first few shots during practice. But this can help you know how close or far you are to hitting the bullseye.

The practice round begins by firing three rounds into the target. After you must have fired at least three rounds at your target, check on your target to see the results. From the target’s posts, check where the bullets struck.

Measure the results and take down the measurements of both the horizontal and vertical distances to the point of aim to approximate your shot to the target. If you are shooting off-target, be sure to adjust the scope settings. But you don’t need to zero your scope if your shot hits the target.

Today, many companies are inventing new devices with better technology to make their product user-friendly and easy to use. Most new scopes come with functionalities that allow you for a 1-shot bullseye. You can take a shot at your target from your preferred distance.

As long as the shot is in your view-image, you are sure of hitting your target. The scope allows you to freeze the reticle while letting you move the scope’s objective. So, you can move the crosshairs to the point where you hit and lock them.

5. Making Adjustments

Every thermal scope, irrespective of the product (ATNPulsarTrijicon, etc.) has adjustment settings. These adjustment settings are there to help you adjust or change the settings of the thermal optic. You can always refer to the manufacturer’s manual if you are unsure or unable to adjust the thermal optic scope.

Hunters need to maintain an accurate and consistent shooting & firing pattern. This can help them to maintain the rifle’s zero. Whenever you take shots from your weapon, you can make the necessary adjustments to your findings after taking a shot. The horizontal and vertical adjustments you noted earlier can help you make precise adjustments.

After adjusting the thermal optic settings, you can take another three shots to see if the reticle adjustments are good enough. After then, recheck the target to see if you hit the bullseye. If you could hit the center, you could take another three more shots to confirm your sighting. If you repeat this and hit the bullseye, it shows that you are ready for actual hunting.


Do you have to sight in a thermal scope?

If you are a beginner or a first-time hunter, the sighting process may be complicated for you to learn. Even though it looks tedious and challenging, you can invest some of your quality time in learning how it works.

You can look for an expert hunter with good sighting skills to help you get started with sighting. Though it may look hard at first, you will find that your effort was worth it as time passes. Regardless of the difficulty of the sighting process, those who love hunting will be ready to master the art.

The thermal scope is not a regular device for plain daylight hunting. This statement is because there are varieties of options and alternatives that are far better than them. A thermal scope performs well in hostile situations like nighttime, foggy surroundings, snowy day(or night), and periods where the naked human eyes and other scopes are helpless.

When going out for a hunting adventure, a wise thing to do is to take a thermal scope with you. Using a thermal scope increases your chances of hitting your target with a shot or a few shots. For better results, you have to ensure that your scope and weapon are a perfect fit and compatible.

Perfectly sighting your scope can boost your motivation and make you enjoy your hunting trips. On the flip side, sighting your scope the wrong way can make you stranded and helpless during these periods. Hence, it is necessary to sight your scope correctly. And to do this, you must first understand your scope.

Sighting a scope is not cumbersome, and the process should not exceed 30 minutes at most; that’s if you know what you are doing. It may look like a waste of ammo, but it will be beneficial for your hunting adventure. Conclusively, ensure you get the right hunting gadgets and store such equipment safely and securely.

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