Windage and elevation are two very common terms we hear on the range everyday.
This is especially true in terms of sighting in a rifle, or describing where the bullet impacts in relation to the desired target.
Windage refers to the horizontal adjustments made to the firearm’s sights, while elevation refers to the vertical adjustments.
Windage adjustments are used to compensate for wind drift.
When firing a bullet, the wind can cause it to drift off course, leading to inaccurate shots.
Windage adjustments move the point of aim left or right to counteract the effects of wind.
Elevation adjustments, on the other hand, are used to compensate for bullet drop over distance.
As the bullet travels farther from the shooter, it drops due to gravity, requiring the shooter to adjust their aim upwards to maintain accuracy.
How Windage and Elevation Affect Sight Adjustment
Adjusting windage and elevation is done by adjusting the sight on the firearm.
To properly zero their sights, the shooter must first choose the appropriate target distance and position the firearm on a stable platform, such as a shooting bench or sandbags.
They should then fire a group of 3-5 shots at the target, making note of where each shot lands in relation to the desired point of impact.
This is known as point of aim vs. point of impact.
For windage adjustments, the shooter should move the optical device left or right utilizing the dial on the sight. For elevation adjustments, they should move the sight up or down utilizing the device’s adjustment turrets/or dial.
When making adjustments it’s important to make small adjustments and fire another group of shots to confirm that the point of impact has moved as desired.
Large adjustments can lead to overcompensation.
In addition to making adjustments for windage and elevation, it’s also important for the shooter to consider environmental factors that can affect accuracy, such as temperature, humidity, and altitude.
These factors can all impact the flight of a bullet and may require further adjustments to maintain accuracy.
Overall, windage and elevation adjustments are essential for achieving accurate shots when using a firearm, especially at longer distances.
Properly sighting in a sight and making small adjustments can help ensure that the shooter’s aim is on target, compensating for factors such as bullet drop for their desired range.
With practice and attention to detail, any shooter can master these adjustments and improve their accuracy.
For an even less stressful time sighting in or zeroing your optic you may want to consider Tacticon Armament’s universal boresight or our caliber specific bore sight to save some ammo before you get out to the range.