How to Sight in a Crossbow Scope for Top Accuracy

Those who’ve chosen a crossbow as their hunting tool know how important it is to sight in your crossbow before the season begins for optimal accuracy and the best visibility. Luckily, most crossbows are now sold with a scope, ensuring you have the best crossbow sight easier than ever.

Different Varieties of Crossbow Scopes

The first step to sight in a crossbow scope is to understand what type of crossbow scope you have. There are two primary kinds of crossbow scopes: multi-line or multi-point scope, and variable power scope.

Both are sighted in a similar fashion, but there are slight differences between the two. In fact, sighting in a rifle is actually a very similar process as well. The main difference between these two types of scopes is that you can calibrate a variable power scope to match the arrow speed using the accompanying speed dial. This allows for more precise calibration. A multi-line option, on the other hand, is essentially a red dot scope that helps guide your shooting for accuracy.

How to Sight a Multi-line Scope

To sight a multi-line scope, line up your target with the right marking for your required distance. Even though you won’t find a simple speed dial, you should find windage and elevation adjustment knobs on your scope for various distances. Even the Best Crossbow Scope will need to be sighted in!

The windage adjustment knob lets you adjust the accuracy of your bolt left and right, while the elevation adjustment knob can change the accuracy of your bolt up and down. You can even learn how to sight in a scope without shooting a single arrow!

Here’s how to sight-in a multi-line crossbow scope:

  1. Place your target at exactly 20 yards and use the top marking of your scope to fire multiple shots. Adjust your windage and elevation until you’re able to hit your target.
  2. Determine the maximum distance you think you’ll need based on your crossbow hunting habits and environment. This is typically 40 yards.
  3. Take that maximum distance and move your target to about ¾ of the distance, or 30 yards. Use the second marking to take multiple shots while adjusting your windage and elevation until you hit your target.
  4. Move your target to the maximum distance and use the third marking from the top of your scope to hit your target.
  5. Verify that your crossbow scope is sighted correctly by placing your target back at 20 yards and trying to get a near-accurate shot. Repeat this at the maximum distance.

How to Sight a Variable Power Scope

Variable scopes are simpler to sight, as they match the arrow speed and even come with a speed dial. All you have to do is determine the shooting speed of your crossbow, which will be specified on the manufacturers’ information that came with your crossbow.

Here’s how to adjust a variable power scope:

  1. Adjust your scope’s speed dial to the speed at which your crossbow shoots.
  2. Just as with the multi-line scope, set your target 20 yards away and shoot it while adjusting the windage and elevation knobs. These steps also work for 50 yard zero at 25 yards depending on your use case!
  3. Move the target to 40 yards, or your maximum distance, and shoot multiple shots. At this point, your bows should be shooting accurately. If they’re off from right to left, repeat Step 2. If your shots are too high or low, adjust your speed dial until you achieve your desired accuracy.

Also, make sure you know how to mount a scope on picatinny rail the right away!

How to Sight In a Crossbow: Additional Tips

Here are a few extra tips to ensure that you sight in your crossbow for top accuracy and have a successful hunting trip:

  • For the most accuracy in the field, test shooting beyond 40 yards and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Never forget to set the speed on your variable power scope before you begin the sighting process.
  • If your scope has a locking ring on the speed dial, be sure to unlock it before using it and lock it back when you’re done.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what distance should I sight in my crossbow scope?

Most people use 10 yards. But it ultimately depends on the specs of your crossbow and the type of ammunition you are using. Always consult your manufacturer's guidelines to be sure and consider your specific use case!

What are the lines in a crossbow scope?

The lines in a crossbow scope represent the dead-on distances for your arrow. When you're aiming, you want to align the tip of your arrow with one of these lines so that you're firing at your target exactly where you meant to. They allow you to shoot accurately from various distances without having to stop and make major adjustments! Depending on the specific bow and its specs, each line may correspond to a different distance - usually anywhere from 10 yards all the way out to 50 or 60 yards.

Do you chase the arrow when sighting in a compound bow?

Yes, you should always chase the arrows with your sight. This way you'll ensure that your bow is accurately aligned and will shoot arrows where you intend them to go.


The way you sight in your crossbow scope determines how any hunting trip ends up. That’s why it’s important to ensure you sight in your crossbow scope accurately and test it before you take it on the field.

Sighting in a crossbow scope can be a finicky process that takes some practice. But once you figure it out, you’ll impress yourself and others with your accuracy and set yourself up for a successful hunting season.

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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