How to Sight in a Thermal Rifle Scope

The thermal scope is a technology that has won the hearts of many. Why? Let’s hear from one man who explained why he loved thermal scope. He said, “I love this technology. I utilize them well both in training and combat, and it’s incredible to see how impressive and unique they are!”

He continues: “They efficiently light up the world before you, and no single living thing can be hidden from thermal optics.” These remarks and many others have given us reasons why some civilians use them for hunting, most importantly for feral dogs.

As related above, it is very accurate that thermal optics makes locating, closing, and getting rid of these foul beasts a reality. It can be used to fight predators in a rural settlement, safeguard livestock, and to detect thieves.

But with its impressive setting, a few people do not know how to zero or sight with their thermal scope. Yet, sighting in a thermal rifle scope is highly beneficial. So how do you go about it? That’s the motive of the article. We will explain how to sight in a thermal rifle scope.

Steps to Sight in a Thermal Rifle Scope

These six steps will help sight in a thermal rifle scope the next time you use it.

1. Understanding the Functions of Thermal Rifle Scope

Knowing how thermal rifle scope works is highly beneficial. They aren’t to be mistaken for standard day scope. And it’s imperative to note that since they are digital scope, they do not have turrets for adjustments.

Besides, their reticle is designed digitally. Thus, it is digitally adjusted. Rather than dialing in turrets with little adjustments, you will need to press buttons to help move the reticle down and up. Each thermal optic isn’t completely identical, yet, they move through a menu system to ensure adjustment to the reticle.

Thus, it’s imperative to read the manual carefully. It would help if you verified the way your optic functions and how precise adjustments will be made. Spend a few times experimenting and playing with the optic so you can learn the menu system and how you can adjust the system.

It is excellent to carry this out before heading out the range and wasting your ammo or your precious time. So, understanding how to use the system will make your use much more manageable.

2. Understand Bullet Drop

When it’s time to program the optic for your rifle, you must utilize the round you’d be using either for self-defense or for hunting. Bullet drops vary, not only by caliber, but also by bullet weight, Velocity, and lots more.

Of course, you will always want to zero your optic for the ranges you’ll want to use frequently. When you hunt at night using thermal scope, the range will likely be very close. So what can you do?

Sight in your optic ranges that’s between 50-200 yards. There can also be a little variance you will notice at this range. Your 50 yards zero will hit nearly 1.5 inches over the reticle, but will surely be dead just at 200 yards. A 2-inch difference is nothing at 50 yards, however, at 200 yards, 2 inches is just an easy miss.

The majority of companies will reveal the drop data that’s meant for their rounds, nevertheless, in a situation where they do not, then the right way to find out is stepping out and shooting it at varying ranges. No matter how you figured it out, it is vital information that must be known.

3. Get the Right Target

If you are shooting a thermal optic, you might think that you can utilize a standard paper target. Well, the reality is, your optic will not be able to see a paper just at 50 yards, so we need to be real. But what do you need? You need heat! How will you heat a target? There are a few ways:

Thermbright manufactures a target that glows beneath a thermal optic. They are amazing, and they come in coyote, hog, and the standard bull’s eye targets. Even though they are pricey, the functionality is beyond compare.

Also, a large pack of hand warmers that could be purchased from Walmart is quite cheap and could be utilized as a target for thermal optics. They are usually not the best, but they are quite the most affordable!

4. Get an Excellent Shooting Position

The moment you can figure out the logistics of targets and ammo, then getting serious can be started. You will have to set up in a stable and rigid shooting position so that you can steady your weapon. It must be very steady to maximize your sighting! Well, you might want to depend solely on the human eye, though.

Using a Bipod is an excellent way to accomplish this. I’ll suggest that you stand in a prone position so you can stabilize the gun. Also, a seated bench rest is a rock-solid position to sight effectively.

If you are starting, be relatively close. It shouldn’t be more than 50 yards. However, if the rifle is way off, then close the distance to 25 yards. After getting your near range zero, then head back and zero at longer distances.

5. The First Three Rule

You are set, your rifle is loaded, you have a fantastic thermal target, and you are in an excellent position, what’s next? Start the sighting process. It started by firing three rounds into the target. After that, unload the rifle and examine your target.

Detect the area the three rounds landed and made a rough calculation of both the horizontal and vertical distance to the bull’s eye. Retain those figures in your mind, or for precision, write them down. This allows you to make adjustments.

6. Make Important Manipulations

Now, we are back to your optic. Dial in the measurements to ensure the adjustments of the reticle. Also, this is why you are required to identify how to use your optic. Thus, dial in the changes, and the moment the reticle is moved be ready to fire again.

It is highly vital to retain a consistent position, and the firing pattern is sighting. Now, what you are required to do is to fire another three-round. Be sure to stress those fundamentals and ensure that you are doing your best part behind the gun.

Also, approach your target and verify the region your rounds have struck. Record and measure where those rounds have struck. Well, if you are fully dialed in, and your rounds have hit the target, then you are almost done.

Repeat the process till they are hitting your desired bull’s eye. The moment you are hitting the bull’s eye, you can fire one more string of three rounds. You are doing this to verify sightings, ensuring that everything is perfect.


Sighting in a thermal scope is just quite easy, yet it must be done correctly. Thus, take your time; often refresh your thermal target as required, and lastly, head for precision. After getting your close range, then back off and report the process on your desired distance.