How to Dope a Scope — Simple Solutions

Long-range shooting has a profound meaning to it, thanks to DOPE scopes. Here is how you can DOPE a scope for yourself.

How to DOPE A Scope

Congrats! You are finally getting used to hitting the target every time you shoot your rifle[1]! You are finally getting close enough to precision shooting and it is time you learned to DOPE a scope for top-notch performance. However, what is DOPE-ing anyway? Other than the street slang, DOPE-ing a scope is something that will help you hit the bull’s eye every time! So if you just bought the best scope for 22lr long range shooting it’s time to DOPE your scope.

What is DOPE?

Data On Previous Engagements or DOPE is a compilation of ballistic data[2] that can be beneficial information to keep in mind when shooting targets at a range of distances. It is basically like a reference chart that contains all the information you need to understand elevation and windage. Getting precise data is quite essential to improve your skill. But, this is an area not everyone is expert on. Are you slow at conducting mind maths, like yours truly? Well, thanks to this, you never have to worry again.


There are a few different kinds of DOPEs available, choose what feels most natural to you. Dialing in your DOPE on a target could be just what you need to achieve victory but you should keep in mind that there are different and some similar features as well that distinguish them from one another. You can design DOPE cards that help you shoot with precision over shorter or longer distances.

If you are under the impression that making a DOPE card requires very skilled hands, well, I am here to bust all those myths for you. All you need to do is figure out what kind of DOPE you want to be fitted in your scope. The rest is neatly outlined in the guidebook below. It doesn’t matter if you have the best low light scope under $500 or a hunting scope, the process is the same. Hold right there! Your research does not end in what kind of DOPE you want. You also need to collect information on the type of ammunition you are using. The kind of ammunition you use will have a different velocity and a travel distance rate compared to other types of ammunition available.

Thus, you might be limited to using a certain DOPE card for a certain type of ammunition. This information is usually readily available on the internet. Just look for the manufacturer’s details like muzzle velocity, caliber, course, etc. You can punch in these data onto a ballistic calculator of your choice and observe in awe how well your rifle shoots the DOPE data.

Now, on to the different types of DOPE you can design. Remember, you first need to know How to mount a scope on AR-15 with front sight before following these steps.

Step 1: DOPE Setup

Precision DOPE

For precision shooting, you must have two useful tools at your disposal – range time and a chronograph[3] A chronograph essentially measures the true velocity of the fired ammunition.

To obtain the average velocity of the fired shots, shoot directly above the chronograph to get the mean data and also the standard deviation in the average value. These numbers will vary depending on the Types of Scopes and gun you have! This way you can keep track of how much the average velocity may differ so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
To get closer to the actual time it takes for the ammo to travel out of the rifle, range time is very important to keep track of. Inconsistencies will always be there what with human error and other minute factors affecting the actual data. However, shooting two to three rounds should give you “close to accurate” data.

There are some mobile applications that help you counter these differences. I personally use these apps for the best scope for 350 Legend that I own. What you have to do is shoot a few distances, calculate the percentage correction, and then input the newly found information on to the app.

Real World DOPE

In any case, if you are unable to find the manufacturer’s information on the internet or you are using a less popular ammunition brand, you can still obtain the information using old-school manual measurements.

For this you need to have a few targets at certain distances; measure the distance from the point of shooting to the point of impact. Measure the time it takes to hit the point of impact using a stopwatch or something more accurate. This should give you all the information you need to draw up the Mil or MOA calculations.

If this is a little cumbersome for you, you can try altering the elevation as well. Dial the elevation and walk up to the point of impact. Record how much you had to dial in as soon as the impact point and the aiming point coincide. These steps will work no matter if you’re using the best scope magnification for 100 yards or a long range scope!

Step 2: Easy Access

How to DOPE A Scope

In order to put all of this information to use, it needs to be somewhere close so you can reference it quickly. One option is to get a cheap wrist coach, print out the range data, and put it in one of the clear plastic windows.

Another option would be to use a gear tie and wrap it around your scope for 500 yards. Hold out the ends like the bars of a vertical hanging poster. Print or write out all the information you will need to cross-check on a piece of paper and secure it in place with bulldog clips.
This essentially helps you cut down on time lost in movement and helps you keep your eye on the target without recalibrating yourself. You do not have to look up and look down only to readjust yourself to get the aim again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does dope a scope mean?

When dope is applied to a scope, it means that the ballistic data has been inputted into the scope so that the shooter can aim more accurately from various distances. It stands for Data on previous engagements. Doping a scope is especially important for long-range shots, since even a small inaccuracy can lead to a missed target.

What is dope in sniper terms?

In sniper terms, dope is a collection of ballistic data that helps a sniper shoot from different distances. It allows them to quickly make adjustments based on their previous shots. They use past data to improve accuracy from various distances.

What is a dope sheet in shooting?

In shooting, a dope sheet is a list of adjustments you need to account for various distances. It allows a sniper to quickly identify the necessary adjustment for a particular distance and set of conditions. Without a dope sheet, a shooter would have to memorize these adjustments.


Practicing precision shooting without any DOPE tools of help is nearly impossible. The better the understanding you have of your gears, the sharper your aim will be regardless of whether you are a pro-level shooter or just learning to shoot with precision.

At the end of the day, you need to fail a bunch of times in order to come out victorious. This is the only tried and tested method to get better. Keep practicing and do not lose hope if you are not being able to hit the targets on the first try. Who knows, you might end up giving professional shooters a run for their money!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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