How To Fix A Scope That Won’t Adjust Properly

As a shooter, there are few things better than mounting your brand new scope and heading off to the range. However, scopes are highly adjustable and need to be adjusted to suit the specific needs of the shooter. Unfortunately, there are scopes out there that seem to give shooters problems. In this post, we’ll cover how to fix a scope that won’t adjust.

How To Fix A Scope That Won t Adjust

picture of a rifle scope with green border

1) Pick The Correct Scope Mounts

There are many different types of rifle scope mounts for shooters to choose from. It is highly recommended to invest in a high-quality scope mount that is sized for your specific rifle scope.

For example, do not buy 30mm rifle scope rings if you have a larger scope! They will not fit & you will not be able to adequately torque them down. If your scope is larger, consider getting one of the top 34mm rifle scope rings so that you can mount your scope correctly.

Buying a cheap or low-quality mount is one of the easiest ways to run into issues making scope adjustments!

2) Torque Your Scope Rings Correctly

We have already covered the importance of buying a high-quality scope mount that is suited for your rifle scope. But that alone is not enough. We recommend you closely review your scope manufacturer’s specifications to find the specific torqueing requirements.


If your scope rings are loose then you will not be able to make accurate adjustments to your LPVO Budget Rifle Scope. And if you over tighten your rings, they will be very difficult to remove and may even damage the scope. Pay close attention to the torqueing guidelines!

3) Level Your Scope

picutre of a level rifle scope

In previous articles, we have covered the importance of leveling a rifle scope. It will be impossible to zero your scope and make adjustments if your scope is not level.

Some shooters have even run into situations where their rifle scope is level but the crosshairs are off. If that happens, use the plum bob method to get your scope fixed.

4) Slanted Base Mounts

Some shooters have realized they cannot make the elevation adjustment they need to get their scope dialed in. In other words, their elevation turret does not turn enough to account for the vertical adjustment they are trying to make.

If this happens to you, consider purchasing a slanted base mount. This will help make up for the lack of adjustability of your rifle scope. I used a slanted mount for my 350 legend rifle optic and it worked great!

5) Label Your Turret Adjustment Knobs

If you are trying to adjust a rifle scope you’ll need to utilize your adjustment knobs. For advanced shooters, this tip will not be groundbreaking. However, it is recommended that new shooters label their windage and elevation turrets.

Often times new shooters think their new AR-10 308 SHFT optic is broken and won’t adjust. But in reality, they are turning their turrets in the wrong direction! Creating labels can eliminate this issue.

6) Get A Better Scope

Although we all shop with different budgets, there is no denying that cheap rifle scopes tend to have more problems. With all products, you pay for what you get! Less expensive scopes tend to have issues with their adjustment turrets & cause shooters problems.

Consider shopping our list of the Best 450 Bushmaster Rifle Optics to find a premium option! Investing in a high-quality scope is a great way to avoid running into common issues that come with lower-quality options.

List Of Common Scope Problems

If you have owned a rifle scope, chances are you have run into a problem or two over the years. Here is a long list of common scope problems that shooters encounter.

  • Rifle scope won’t zero
  • Scope won’t level
  • Elevation or Windage turret won’t turn
  • Low quality scope rings
  • Maxed out elevation and windage adjustments

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would a scope run out of adjustment?

If your rifle scope runs out of adjustment, the first thing you need to do is check your elevation and windage turret. Are you turning them in the right direction? If the scope's adjustment knobs won't rotate enough to get your scope zeroed, then you will run out of adjustment. Try using an inclined scope base to give yourself extra room to make scope adjustments.

Why can't I zero my scope?

The most common reason for issues zeroing a rifle scope are poor scope rings. If scope rings are the wrong size or are not properly mounted, there will be wiggle room! A scope must be tightly secured in place in order to zero correctly.

What happens if your scope is not level?

If your rifle scope is not level your will not be able to shoot accurately. It will be very difficult to accurately adjust a rifle scope and make windage and elevation adjustments if your scope is not leveled.

Do all rifle scopes have parallax adjustment?

All modern rifle scopes have a parallax adjustment feature. However, there are still old school and low quality optics that do not come equipped with parallax adjustment knobs. Parallax adjustment ensures that your reticle is in focus relative to your intended target image. Most scopes have a parallax adjustment feature.

What's the difference between first and second focal plane scopes?

The main difference is that a first focal plane scope adjusts the size of the reticle as you adjust magnification. With first focal plane scopes, your eye is further from the objective lens.

The Bottom Line

By now you should be an expert on how to fix your rifle scope. In an ideal world, you will be able to mount your scope and make adjustments easily. But we all know things don’t always go as planned! Before you get frustrated & call your manufacturer, double-check your scope rings. If they are not mounted correctly you are bound to have trouble making scope adjustments. Let us know if these tips help get your scope adjusted correctly!

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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