How to Dope a Scope (Read This First)

How To Dope A Scope
Alfred Mendoza

You have probably spent hours and days practicing your aim but keep on failing to hit that point. You must be wondering why. Well, it could be the wrong clicks on your windage and elevation that affect the traveling time of your load.

That is why we made this guide to help you compensate for these two factors. Let’s dive into the process of how to dope a scope.

1. Prepare The Dope Card

Preparing a dope card is easy, but it requires accurate data collection regarding your firearms, such as the ammunition, caliber, and muzzle velocity. The distance you have zeroed in on your scope and the sight height are valuable details to input in the ballistic calculator later on. Most calculators will ask you to provide environmental factors such as wind speed and temperature for more accuracy.

All the information you have gathered will help determine your dope data, including mil or MOA or other angular measurements. Precision is important to have the right dope card.

2. Familiarize The Type Of Ammunition

Ammunition is the fired material that comes from any firearms or weapons. When learning precision rifle shooting, the travel distance rate and velocity of the load, along with the atmospheric conditions, are the most essential to your dope card. It is unique and limited, meaning you can only use a certain dope card for every type of load that you will use.

Be mindful of the ammunition by reading the specification of your gun carefully. It can cause unwanted events if the firearm and ammunition are mismatched.

3. Set Up Your Dope

The set-up is one of the most important steps in how to dope a scope.

As we have mentioned earlier, certain ammunition can only use a specific dope chart. But it does not end there; the area can also set apart data cards.

Get your rifle ready and arrange all the equipment needed. Use a stand to hold the rifle steady as you position the aim point at your preferred distance. We recommend doing this in broad light for better precision.

Set Up Your Dope

4. Prepare Your Range Card

A card that will show the outline of a designated area for the firearm to cover. It helps the soldiers or gunners to familiarize themselves with their field of firing. In preparing this card or reference chart, the gunner must know the sectors of fire, dead space, maximum engagement line, and data about the weapon and ammunition of choice. [1]

The reference chart has to be updated regularly. It reflects the information about the elevation, direction, and description of the terrain.

5. Gather The Tools You’ll Need


A chronograph is a kind of watch used to track or record time. You will get the true velocity of your load by putting this directly below the muzzle. The data determine the standard deviation of your average velocity, which will help you prepare your dope.

Range Time

It is the measure of time traveled by the bullet to get to the actual point of impact. This information is crucial in the course of precision shooting.

6. Conduct A Test Fire

Halfway learning on how to dope a scope is to test your firing. With the tools that we have mentioned before, now is the time to make use of them. All the information has to be backed by data that has gone through some testing.

In precision shooting, information like the muzzle velocity of the fired ammunition has to be as accurate as possible. And it can only be determined by firing at least three to five shots.

7. Get The Range Time

It pertains to the actual traveling of the fired load to different distances.

The time input may be affected by external factors such as wind speed. Gravity can also cause the load to hit low than the intended aim.

That is why we recommend doing consecutive shots to get the average velocity of the bullet. For a new shooter, the point of impact and the travel distance rate are two key factors determining precise ballistic data.

Get The Range Time

8. Work With Your Ballistic Data

The ballistic data should not be too complicated since online services like the JBM Ballistics are available. It is an online program that can calculate the bullet drop concerning a certain range. This tool is the answer for long-range shooting or precision shooting. 

The manufacturer provides most of the information needed to help you answer the necessary fields. Although for a larger area, where different variables are present, the result may be inaccurate. 

9. Use Manual Measurements To Check Data (Optional)

The information needed to work on the ballistic data is not always available. Certain types of bullets are so rare or less popular that you can not rely on online services. During this situation, the use of manual measurement is the only solution.

From your point of impact, measure the area covered towards your shooting place. Then using a stopwatch, calculate the time it takes to arrive at target distances. This method will help you come up with the mil or moa.

10. Dial-In Information

Going back to step 8, we mentioned the variables that can cause inaccuracy of your dope.

The variables that affect the round are wind and gravity. For longer distances, the influence of these two is significant.

You would need to shoot higher to oppose the effect of gravity. Here is when you dial elevation before shooting the rifle. Measure the distance of two important points, the point of impact and aim, then adjust the dial accordingly.

Dial-In Information

11. Use Your Dope Card

Put the dope card somewhere within your reach to maximize its use. You can have it printed on paper and place it in a protected transparent case. Using a gear tie, you have the option of wrapping it around your rifle for accessibility.

Another option is to secure it in place using bulldog clips. Make sure that it is always accessible for your reference. This act is to adjust some points in your reference card once you start to shoot. 

12. Practice Shooting Your Preferred Target

The last step to take on how to dope a scope is to put everything you have gathered into practice. The main goal here is to have your first round hit even for a smaller target. But in case of a miss, the impact point should at least be a little closer to the target.

Do not lose hope if you keep on missing the target despite doing all of the steps in the right way. The key is to continue practicing and updating the data according to your previous engagements.

Why Use A Dope?

Using a dope, which means “Data on Previous Engagements,” is like having a data book to guide you on your next successful rounds. You don’t want to keep returning to the firing field, do rifle shots, and still miss hitting the target. Besides, this one is not a complicated concept.

In fact, with little research, there are charts available on the internet for a list of popular ammo. You can print a copy of it for yourself on a piece of paper and use it when you practice shooting.

Benefits Of Using It

One of the benefits of using a dope is to track the history of your rounds. During school years, flashcards are the most helpful ways to learn a new thing or two. The dope uses the same concept as the flashcards.

It gives us quick access to how many clicks we have to move from zero and prevents us from repeatedly testing. It is very specific for every load and other external factors.


Yes, you can dope all types of scopes. But it is not always necessary to dope every time you shoot. For example, if you have to shoot in a limited space where the wind and gravity have little to no effect on your load, doping is a hard pass.

Yes, the scope doping is only for long-range shooting or precision shooting. The long-range shots are subject to different unpredictable factors where it will require adjusting elevation and windage. And doping the scope will help you achieve an accurate shot despite those factors.

So, How Do You Dope A Scope?

You dope a scope by having all of your previous accounts on a piece of paper. It is for a better understanding of your weapon and tools and their contribution as your rifle shoots towards the impact point.

Depending on your personal preference, you can attach the dope chart to the rifle with a gear tie or something. Make sure to have it in your line of sight as you shoot through the air. And again, our ultimate key, keep on practicing.



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