Shooting Tip: How to Shim Your Riflescope in a Pinch

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Sometimes a riflescope can get knocked off so far that it’s impossible to get back on target using internal adjustments alone. So what’s a panicked hunter to do? First, be sure to assess the structural problems that created such a troublesome situation. Are your rings dented or broken? Did a screw break in the bases? Is there something optically wrong with the scope? Once you troubleshoot those items, it may be time for some emergency triage with a shim. Here’s a method that will enable you to zero even the most out-of-alignment scope and rifle.

Fair warning: This is not a technique that you should use except in extenuating circumstances. The risk of damage to your scope is real, and rings won’t have quite as firm a grip when mounted this way. But if you find yourself in a situation similar to what my brother experienced—on a hunt in a remote area with his rifle impacting six feet off target—this technique can save the day.

Additionally, if you need to temporarily build some MOA under your scope that will allow you to dial for long distance, this will work. But I repeat: there are better ways to get back on target. Use this only in an emergency.