A riflescope is one of the most important tools a sniper has to hit the targets accurately from hundreds of yards away.
But if you don’t know how to stop rifle scope creep, you are putting yourself at risk every time you take your aim.
Scope creep refers to the effect that gravity has on a rifle scope. Over time, this natural force causes the crosshairs or reticles in a riflescope to move from their original position.
This can significantly affect a shot’s accuracy and should be taken into account while making calculations for sniper fire. However, there are ways you can fight scope creep.
This article talks about the process in detail with clarity.
What is Rifle Scope Creep?
Riflescope creep is what you see when your rifle scope’s reticle moves as a result of recoil.
In other words, scope creep is the phenomenon in which your scope or crosshairs move off of their zero or original position when you fire your rifle.
What Causes Rifle Scope Creep?
The primary cause is the distance and height between the shooter and the firearm. Because of how we hold rifles, which causes us to lean into them just a little bit more, your body will reposition itself farther downrange with each shot.
This means that your optic’s reticle will move further downrange after each shot. You can try to fix this by altering or changing your shooting position (sitting straighter, for example).
But some shooters find that they like their position and don’t want to change it, and that’s fine-this article isn’t about having you change how you shoot; it will show you how to compensate for this phenomenon.
Some shooters experience more “scope creep” than others for a variety of reasons. When the shooter fires their firearm it creates combustion gases that force against the exterior of your optics tube and therefore pushes it off zero.
The same thing happens with a scuba tank too but they use “tank rings” there to keep everything in place which works very well except they don’t allow you to look through your tank and scope at the same time.
Another reason for the phenomenon is vibration. When a rifle is fired, there will be some amount of vibration on both the horizontal and vertical axis that also affects your rifle’s zero position.
The more powerful the rifle or caliber is, the more it’s going to vibrate which will affect where your crosshairs sit when you fire it.
What is the Benefit of Rifle Scope Creep?
One important benefit of riflescope creep is it makes you a better shooter. You will learn and adapt your shooting style and position to compensate for it through sheer repetition and muscle memory.
Will everyone do this? No, but if you’re paying attention and fine-tuning your shooting style to compensate for this, you will be a better shooter with time.
5 Quick Fix to Stop Rifle Scope Creep
This is a question that many shooters have asked themselves. This can be quite frustrating and one must look closely at how they are using their shooting sticks, bipod, monopod, tripod, or shooting bench to see if this is occurring.
Without getting too technical here, let’s jump into how we can stop this annoying problem once and for all!
Here are 5 different ways to stop rifle scope creeping.
#1. Use Scope Rings With Tank Bands
What I mean by tank bands is any type of ring that goes under your scope rings which helps to hold things in place.
Some people were used to tank rings for many years before they were replaced by scope rings with built-in stops which are much more convenient and easier to use.
#2. Use Scope Rings With Built-In Stops
This is the most popular way to stop rifle scope creep today because of all the convenience it offers. Using a ring that has some type of “stop” on it, will keep your scope firm from sliding forward after you fire your firearm.
#3. Use Scope Rings With Anchor Points
There are certain scope rings on the market today that feature anchor points on them which help to hold your optics in position after firing your weapon.
The reason why this works so well is that if you have an anchor point like a Picatinny rail on the side of your scope ring, it will stop your reticle from sliding forward, giving you precise accuracy.
#4. Use Scope Rings With Rubber O-Rings
If you don’t like using “anchor points” or “tank bands” then this is another option for you to consider because it works well and holds tight!
All you have to do is place 2 to 3 O-rings on the knob of your scope rings which will create resistance when tightened down tightly against your rifle’s Picatinny rail. This way, you won’t have any issues with rifle scope creeping anymore!
#5. Secure Your Shooting Sticks
Without a doubt, the most popular way to stop rifle scope creep is by using shooting sticks.
Shooting sticks and bipods will allow you to reduce the effects of your firearm’s recoil because their height allows your rifle to be held more steadily than if it were on a bench or a monopod.
So instead of whatever you’re shooting at, being pushed back from recoil, it will only push up into the air which also reduces recoil by 50-75%. So try using some shooting sticks today if you haven’t already!
The best way to stop rifle scope creep is by using all of these methods together for optimum results which some use year-round while hunting in the tree stand or blinds.
Sometimes people use a shooting stick with an O-ring on the knob, other times they use anchor points on the side of my scope rings, and sometimes they will even use little tank bands under them as well.
So for rifle shooters out there, who are tired of their scope creeping off-center after firing your weapon, just remember you have options!
Just pick one or two methods to help stop this annoying problem once and for all so that you can shoot more accurately next time you go out into the field.
3 Exclusive Tips for Preventing Scope Creep
Scope creep has affected many an otherwise competent rifleman. As you hold your crosshairs on the target, you feel that something just isn’t quite right.
You can’t say exactly what it is until the realization hits that it’s your scope moving! While modern scopes are sturdier than their ancestors, they’re not immune to movement during recoil.
Sometimes even the best riflemen experience scope creep, but there are ways to prevent it from spoiling your shots.
#1. Scope Adjustment
The first tip for stopping rifle scope creep is to examine the scope’s adjustments. If you’re shooting a modern riflescope with reliable ¼ MOA click adjustments, then your problem could be the windage and elevation knobs.
Ensure that they’re turned all the way in one direction or another before starting. You can tighten up any wiggle room by tightening each knob until it stops, then backing them off just enough so you can rotate them freely.
This will remove any room for play in their movement when you start adjusting for elevation and windage again during your next shot cycle.
It may seem like an insignificant change, but this simple trick has helped many shooters keep their crosshairs steady on target between shots, which leads to tighter groups.
#2. Scope Rings & Bases
Ensure that your scope’s rings are tight on the scope tube. A loose ring can allow your scope to shift, compromising both elevation and windage adjustments.
This will also affect tracking, allowing vertical stringing of shots that look like they’re about 1 MOA too low! If you’ve tightened all the screws in your bases and sighted in your rifle but still end up with shots landing an inch or two off at 100 yards (for example), then this may be why.
Ensure that any screws not under spring pressure are completely seated against their hole-shoulders before ensuring yours are tight.
While this doesn’t necessarily guarantee zero movements of your scope, it should make finding zero after making any scope changes easier, and tighten up free-play in your adjustments to prevent creeping.
#3. Scope Replacement
If you’ve gone through all the steps above without any improvement, it may be time for a new scope. Scope creep can happen with nearly any rifle, no matter how well it’s sighted in.
It will happen with scopes in the ultra-high magnification range but also affects even modest 3-9x scopes when they’re pushed far beyond their design parameters. So, it’s better to go for a scope replacement if nothing works mentioned above.
We hope this helped you understand how to stop rifle scope creep in the best way possible. Think like a sniper, be patient and take your time.
Ensure that everything is tight before each shot, and resist the urge to fidget with your knobs between shots.
If you’re still experiencing rifle scope creep after following these simple steps, consult your local gunsmith for further assistance.