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How to Use a Rifle Scope for Moving Targets: Precision at Its Finest

Shooting at moving targets is an essential skill for hunters, competitive marksmen, and tactical shooters alike. Mastering this art requires practice, precision, and knowledge of how to use a rifle scope effectively.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the various factors that come into play when engaging moving targets with a rifle scope – such as reticle types, magnification settings, and shooter positioning.

We will also share techniques and step-by-step guidance on how to maximize your accuracy when aiming at fast-moving subjects.Fadj

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the various parts of a rifle scope, including reticle types and magnification settings, is essential for shooting at moving targets with accuracy.
  • Factors to consider when shooting at moving targets include distance, wind speed and direction, target speed and direction, as well as shooter position and stability.
  • Techniques such as adjusting the scope for moving targets, anticipating and leading the target, and following/tracking techniques can significantly improve accuracy when engaging elusive prey or targets.
  • Essential steps involved in using a rifle scope for shooting at moving targets include mounting/adjusting the scope correctly, centering the crosshairs precisely on your target while keeping both eyes open wide; setting appropriate magnification levels based on conditions.

Understanding Rifle Scopes And Factors To Consider When Shooting At Moving Targets


Rifle scopes consist of different parts, including the ocular lens, objective lens, reticle, and adjustment turrets.

Parts Of A Rifle Scope

A fundamental understanding of the various parts of a rifle scope is essential for any aspiring marksman. Especially when it comes to shooting at moving targets.

At its core, a rifle scope consists of an ocular lens (the part closest to your eye) through which you view the target and reticle, and an objective lens on the opposite end that focuses light onto the reticle.

The elevation turret located atop the scope helps adjust vertical crosshair placement based on factors like distance or windage changes while shooting. On either side, there’s usually a windage turret responsible for aligning horizontal crosshairs relative to drifting winds or other environmental factors affecting accuracy.

As you progress in your marksmanship journey, knowing how each part works together will enhance your ability not just with stationary targets but also when taking aim at those constantly on-the-move!

Types Of Reticles

When it comes to rifle scopes, one of the most crucial components is the reticle. This refers to the crosshairs or aiming point visible through the scope that helps you line up your shot.

There are several types of reticles available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

One common type is the duplex reticle, which features thicker lines on the outer edges and thinner lines in the center. This makes it easier to acquire targets quickly and accurately but may result in more difficulty aiming at smaller targets at longer distances.

Mil-dot reticles feature dots along vertical and horizontal lines that can be used for range estimation and holdovers, while BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticles provide markings for various ranges depending on your ammunition’s ballistics data.

Magnification And Field Of View

The magnification and field of view are important factors to consider when shooting at moving targets using a rifle scope. Magnification is the level of zoom that the scope provides, while the field of view is how much area you can see through the scope at any given time.

Generally, higher magnifications allow for better target acquisition and accuracy, but they narrow down your field of view, making it harder to track fast-moving targets.

For instance, if you’re hunting a fast-moving animal like a deer or elk on an open plain where there’s plenty of visibility, you might want to use low-to-medium magnification settings with a wide field of view to help keep track as it moves across the landscape.

Distance, Wind Speed And Direction, Target Speed And Direction, And Shooter Position And Stability

To shoot at moving targets using a rifle scope, there are various factors to consider. Firstly, the distance between the shooter and target is crucial as it affects how much lead time is needed to make an accurate shot.

Secondly, wind speed and direction can impact the accuracy of your aim so it’s essential to read these conditions correctly before taking a shot. Target speed and direction also require attention since they influence how much you need to compensate for movement when aiming.

For example, if shooting at a deer running across open terrain from 200 yards away with gusty side winds blowing at 20 mph then the shooter must take into account all four of these variables to predict its trajectory accurately in order hit their mark.

Techniques For Shooting At Moving Targets With A Rifle Scope


Mastering the techniques for shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope can be challenging, but it’s crucial for any enthusiast or hunter. In this section, we’ll cover some valuable tips and methods to help you improve your accuracy and become more confident while engaging elusive prey or targets.

Adjusting The Scope For Moving Targets

When it comes to shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope, one of the most important things to consider is adjusting the scope for the speed and direction of the target.

This involves making sure that your reticle is aligned properly and that you have accounted for any wind or other environmental factors that might affect your shot. You may also need to adjust the magnification settings on your scope in order to get a better view of the moving target.

Anticipating And Leading The Target

Anticipating and leading the target is a crucial technique when shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope. It involves predicting where your target will be by assessing factors such as distance, wind speed and direction, and the speed and direction of the target itself.

To illustrate this point, imagine yourself shooting at a deer running across an open field. By anticipating where the deer will be in just a few seconds’ time, you can adjust your aim accordingly, increasing your chances of hitting it before it disappears into thick brush or out of range.

Following And Tracking Techniques

To successfully shoot at moving targets using a rifle scope, you need to master the art of following and tracking. This technique involves keeping your crosshairs on the target as it moves across your field of view.

One useful tip for mastering this skill is to focus on leading the target by aiming slightly ahead of its movement direction.

Another important aspect when it comes to following and tracking techniques is knowing how to adjust the magnification on your rifle scope. Generally speaking, higher magnifications will allow you to see more clearly and follow targets with greater precision, but they may also narrow down your field of view.

Therefore, practice adjusting the magnification settings based on different types of targets and environmental conditions such as wind speed and distance from your position.

Step-by-Step Guide For Using A Rifle Scope To Shoot At Moving Targets


To hit a moving target with accuracy, follow these simple steps to use your rifle scope effectively – from mounting and adjusting the scope to setting the magnification and dialing or holding for moving targets.

Mounting And Adjusting The Scope

Before you can start shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope, it’s essential to mount and adjust the scope correctly. Mounting the scope is critical since it determines the accuracy of your shots.

The best way to mount a rifle scope is by using reliable and robust mounts that provide enough clearance between the bottom of your rifle scope and the barrel.

Once you’ve mounted the riflescope securely, adjust it for windage (horizontal) and elevation (vertical) settings before hitting any moving targets. Make sure that you zero in on a stationary target first before making any adjustments for moving targets.

Dial or hold depending on how fast or slow-moving objects are when aiming at them through your sights using both eyes open if possible for optimum precision and better depth perception.

Centering The Crosshairs

Once you have mounted and adjusted your rifle scope, the next step to shooting at moving targets is centering the crosshairs. This means aligning the reticle with the exact spot on the target where you want to hit.

It’s important to take your time during this step to ensure accuracy.

To center the crosshairs, focus on a stationary object in your line of sight and adjust your scope until it lines up perfectly with that object. Then, turn your attention back to the moving target and adjust as necessary until the reticle is centered exactly where you want it.

By taking these steps and practicing regularly, you can become proficient in using a rifle scope to shoot at moving targets and improve your overall marksmanship skills.

Setting The Magnification

Setting the magnification on your rifle scope is crucial when shooting at moving targets. The ideal magnification setting depends on various factors such as distance, target speed, and shooter stability.

It’s essential to experiment with different magnifications during practice sessions to determine what works best for you under varying conditions. Additionally, you can use the power ring or zoom dial located near the eyepiece of your scope to adjust the magnification until you have a clear sight picture of your target in motion.

Dialing Or Holding For Moving Targets

When shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope, there are two main techniques to consider: dialing and holding. Dialing involves adjusting the elevation or windage turrets on your scope based on the estimated distance of the target and its speed.

Holding, on the other hand, involves using your knowledge of ballistics and estimating holdover or holdunder points without adjusting your scope settings.

This technique is useful for quick shots at moving targets when time is limited. For example, if you’re hunting a deer that’s running across an open field towards you, holding may be easier than trying to adjust your scope settings while keeping up with its movement.

Tips For Shooting At Moving Targets With A Rifle Scope

– Practice regularly with an unloaded rifle to improve your muscle memory and shooting skills.

– Use a rest or bipod to stabilize your rifle and minimize movement.

– Know the limits of both your rifle and scope for accurate aiming and firing.

– Choose the right ammunition and caliber for optimal performance when engaging moving targets.

– Stay calm, focused, and patient while tracking targets with your rifle scope.

Practice Regularly With an Unloaded Rifle

To improve your accuracy and shooting skills when it comes to moving targets, you need regular practice. However, practicing by firing live rounds can be expensive and time-consuming.

A better way to perfect your rifle handling is to practice with an unloaded rifle.

Set up a target at a safe distance away from any obstacles and practice aiming at it while maintaining your position and focusing on keeping the crosshairs aligned with the bullseye for several seconds.

This exercise will help train your muscles in holding the rifle steady while aiming at a stationary object which is an essential foundation if you want to hit moving targets more accurately later on.

Use A Rest Or Bipod For Stability

Using a rest or bipod while shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope can greatly increase your accuracy and stability. These tools help to reduce the amount of movement in your body, allowing you to focus on tracking and hitting the target.

For example, if you’ll be shooting at long distances, a heavier rest may work best for you as it will provide more stability. Alternatively, if you need something more versatile that can be used in different positions or terrains, a lighter tripod may be preferable.

Know Your Rifle And Scope Limits

It’s important to know the limits of both your rifle and scope before attempting to shoot at moving targets. Different rifles have different effective ranges, which are influenced by factors such as caliber, bullet weight, wind conditions, and terrain.

Similarly, not all scopes are created equal: some may have better reticles or magnification levels for tracking moving targets than others.

For example, if you’re using a .22LR bolt-action rifle with a basic 3-9x40mm scope to hunt small game like rabbits or squirrels while they’re on the move, you may want to stay within roughly 50 yards where it’s still accurate enough for ethical shots.

Shooting at longer distances comes with increased difficulty due to ballistics bucking the wind profile so take that into consideration when aiming for an animal on its way across your sight picture.

Choose The Right Ammunition And Caliber

Choosing the right ammunition and caliber is crucial when shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope. Different types of ammunition have varying bullets speeds, weights, and trajectories that affect accuracy over distances.

A heavier bullet may be more effective against larger game but can slow down during flight, making hitting a fast-moving target difficult. Similarly, choosing the right caliber based on your intended purpose will ensure you take the shot with confidence.

For example, if you’re planning to go deer hunting in an area where long-range shots are common, then selecting a round with higher velocity and flat trajectory would increase your chances of success.

Stay Calm And Focused

When shooting at moving targets with a rifle scope, it is essential to stay calm and focused. Any sign of panic or hesitation can lead to inaccurate shots, which could be dangerous in hunting or other shooting scenarios.

One effective way of staying calm is by taking slow deep breaths before aiming and firing.

Another technique that will help you stay focused on the moving target is by maintaining eye contact with it throughout the shot placement process.

This means keeping your eyes locked onto the target through the scope as you adjust for distance, wind speed and direction, target speed and direction, shooter position and stability factors mentioned earlier, among others.


Using a rifle scope to shoot at moving targets requires a keen understanding of your equipment and the techniques involved. By following these steps, you can hone your skills and improve your accuracy.

Remember always to prioritize safety and practice regularly. Whether you’re hunting or engaging in target practice, shooting at moving targets is sure to test your marksmanship abilities.


1. How do I adjust my rifle scope to track moving targets?

To adjust your rifle scope, first ensure that it is zeroed in at the appropriate distance. Next, use the reticles on your scope to lead the target by aiming slightly ahead of its trajectory. Practice shooting at stationary targets before attempting to shoot at moving ones until you have developed a consistent and accurate technique.

2. What are some tips for successfully hitting a moving target with a rifle?

When shooting at a moving target, it’s important to aim where the target will be rather than where it currently is. Use your peripheral vision to anticipate movements and make adjustments accordingly while keeping both eyes open when using your scope.

3. How can wind affect my ability to hit a moving target with a rifle?

Wind conditions may alter the control of bullet flight path making targeting on milling objects even more challenging .Make sure you factor this into account when aiming through any optic including riflescopes by accounting for windage along with leading time.By knowing how much wind affects different types of ammunition or calibers – it increases accuracy over longer ranges by adjusting bullet drop compensation feature available in many scopes.

4. Should I use higher magnification settings on my rifle scope when shooting at moving targets?

Higher magnifications may allow you see further but will reduce field view which makes tracking faster-moving targets difficult therefore lower magnification settings are generally better suited as they offer wider field views.

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George Grey

Being an avid outdoorsman since I can remember, my passion for survival, hunting and the outdoors has grown every year. I love being out in the country and living off it whenever time allows. Huge Rifle Scopes aficionado!

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