How To Do A Rifle Scope Box Test? Everything You Need To Know

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“Shooting the box” is a simple tracking test for your new riflescope. Do you know how to do a rifle scope box test? The detailed guide will show you! Let’s see!

How To Do A Rifle Scope Box Test_

You can test the tracking performance of your gunsight by the box test

When you buy a new scope for your rifle, it’s crucial to do a box test. Below are steps for how to do a rifle scope box test.

  • Step 1. Set a target and get your gunsight properly mounted and zeroed
  • Step 2. Shoot and adjust the turrets while still maintaining the same aiming point
  • Step 3. Finish the test

In this article, we will learn the details of each step. Let’s dive in!

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What Is A Box Test For A Scope?

The box test or “shooting the box” is a simple method to assess the performance of your gunsight’s tracking system.

The tracking performance is how a scope adjusts the reticle precisely as you desire, thereby changing the bullet impact on the target. If you want to check your riflescope tracking performance, the following steps will help.

Step 1. Set a target and get your gunsight properly mounted and zeroed

Get your riflescope properly mounted and zeroed

Get your riflescope properly mounted and zeroed

Firstly, you need to prepare before testing, including a target and your rifle.

Set up a target that is 100 yards far from the boldface of your weapon. The target should be clean and large with an aiming point in the center. It’s better to use plain cardboard to avoid distraction.

Then, place your rifle on a solid rest for high stability and mount the scope properly. Don’t forget to zero it and level the crosshairs. To learn how to zero your gunsight correctly, you can refer to this video:

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Step 2. Shoot and adjust the turrets while still maintaining the same aiming point

First, carefully make a shot or a three-shot group to the aiming point of the target. The fired bullet will strike right at the aiming point if you have precisely sighted in the scope.

Then, maintain the same aiming point and turn the elevation turret 20 clicks up and the windage turret 20 clicks to the right. If you use gunsight with MOA measurement, this shot group will be 5 MOA up and 5 MOA to the right of your first shot.

After that, repeat the shooting process three more times with different adjustments as listed below:

  • 5 MOA down and 5 MOA to the right.
  • 5 MOA down and 5 MOA to the left.
  • 5 MOA up and 5 MOA to the left.
You need to maintain the same aiming point during the test

You need to maintain the same aiming point during the test

Step 3. Finish the test

Adjust the turrets to the starting point and shoot for the last time. If you have zeroed your scope correctly, the position of this shot will be the same as the first one.

After that, observe the target to check the position of the shot groups you have fired. If they form a box shape and each shot group at the corner is an equal distance from the center group, your scope is tracking correctly.

You can do the test one more time to ensure consistent tracking performance.

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What Is A Tall Target Test?

A tall target test is also a form of scope tracking performance evaluation. It will tell you whether your gunsight gives the proper amount of adjustment or not.

According to the calibration number in the test result, you can find the accurate firing solution. Here is how to do a tall target test for your rifle

  • Prepare a target marked with some vertical lines and an aiming point.
  • Properly zero your scope and take a shot or a group of 3 shots to the aiming point from a distance of 100 yards.
  • Adjust the elevation turret for 20 MOA, fire a 3-shot group, and take note.
  • Adjust the windage turret for 20 MOA, fire, and take note.
  • Measure the gap between the first shot and later shots. If you use True MOA scopes, 1 MOA at 100 yards will equal 1.047 inches. For Shooters MOA scope, 1 MOA at 100 yards will equal 1 inch.
  • Turn the turrets back to zero and shoot for the last time. If this group of shots comes back to the original one, your gunsight is tracking well.

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What Are The 3 Numbers On A Rifle Scope?

If you use rifle scopes for the first time, you may wonder about the numbers written on them. The significance of these numbers is relatively easy to understand. They tell you the specifications of your gunsight.

Generally, three numbers marked on scopes can be explained as follows.

  • The first number indicates the minimum magnification of the weapon telescopic sight.
  • The second number shows the gunsight’s maximum magnification.
  • The third number features the diameter of the scope’s objective lens.

For example, you have a mid-range power gunsight marked with 3-9x40mm. That means your scope has a magnification range from 3x to 9x and an objective lense of 40mm in diameter.

Currently, variable power scopes are very popular with various types. You can choose low-range power ones with the magnification from 1x or long-range scopes with 25x of maximum magnification.

Besides showing the magnification range, the first two numbers also signify the zoom range of scopes. For instance, a 3-9 telescopic sight will have a zoom range of 3x, while this range in a 5-25 one is 5x.

The third number – the diameter of the objective lens is also an essential factor when you choose a gunsight. Generally, scopes with larger objective lenses will give clearer images than smaller ones as they let in more light.


The objective lens size affects the image quality

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Does A Rifle Scope Have To Be Level?

Leveling rifle scopes is a crucial step when mounting them on rifles. However, many shooters often skip or forget this step.

Making the gunsight level is not the same as leveling the weapon before shooting. You can only level the aim after getting your telescopic sight leveled and mounted on your gun.

In addition, leveling scopes doesn’t mean leveling them for your eye but for fitting the aim and receiver of your rifle.

Here are the main reasons why it’s crucial to have riflescopes leveled.

  • The scope will track more accurately when you make elevation or windage adjustments. There will be no reticle cant.
  • You will have a precise reticle when aiming for a shot. It will always be sharp and aim to where you want to aim without any dislocation.
  • Leveled scopes will help you avoid distractions when shooting.
Many shooters often forget to level scopes

Many shooters often forget to level scopes

Final Words

It’s essential to test the tracking of your gunsight before using it, and a box test is a simple method for this assessment. Hopefully, this post has provided helpful information about the topic: “how to do a rifle scope box test.”

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

Thank you for reading!

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Lisa J Thompson
Lisa J Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Safety Hub, your go-to resource for all things home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.

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