Scope mounted onto an air rifle

At the most basic level, an air rifle scope is a sighting system that ensures the pellet will hit the target. There are several scopes available for shooters which include those with lasers and open sights. In this article, we are looking at how to set up an air rifle scope to your specific requirements.


The first place to start is the mount. Two-piece mounts are the usual choice for shooters who use pre-charged pneumatic air rifles, as they offer more flexibility of movement. Mounts for scopes come in three main heights – low, medium and high – and two main widths – 25mm and 30mm. There is also the choice of a single or double strap with a single or double screw. The preferred option for many is a double screw, with either single or double strap. This offers rigidity and stability, keeping your scope secure.

First up, what ever height, style or make of mount you want to go for, make sure you get something that’s at least equal in quality to the rifle and scope you’re putting them between, I’ve seen 2k rifles with £400 scopes put together with £10 mounts. They don’t have to be super expensive, but a set of SportsMatch mounts will fit the bill…

When it comes to height, many shooters want to get their scope as close to the barrel as possible, giving a more accurate shot and shallow pellet trajectory for longer distances. Shooters who shoot at shorter distances may opt for a high mount, but this can cause rifle canting.

When attaching the mounts, make sure the bolts all point the same way and are far apart, as this creates a stable platform. As a staring point it is a good idea to get the scope as close to the rifle bore as possible, but taking into account comfort in getting a good consistent cheek weld and accessing the rifles features (magazines, pellet loading etc).

Man using a scope on rifle

Attaching Scope

When you have attached the base of the mount to the rifle’s scope rail, you need to check the rail is perfectly level. Place it into a rifle stand or workmate and use a spirit level to adjust until the rail is level and stable. Then, place the telescopic sight in the base of the mount, put the mounts on and tighten the screws. Don’t overtighten the screws, as you could risk crushing the scope tube, and double check the alignments before zeroing the sight.

Eye Relief

For adjusting the eye relief, hold the air rifle as you would to shoot and slide the scope in the mounts until you have a bright, circular image that fills the sight. It is important you move the scope rather than your head, so you are not comprising the air rifle to achieve the right eye relief and cheek weld.

Make sure the gun and vertical cross-hair are aligned, as this means the trajectory of the pellet is in correspondence with the reticule – the lines on the scope that measures scale. You can do this by using something which is dead vertical, such as the wall of your house.

When the eye relief and alignment are sorted, tighten the mounts a bit more, gently tensioning the diagonally-opposite screws so it is evenly being tightened. Doing it on one side first can cause the scope to twist, meaning you will have to realign the scope.

Diagram of the scope and pellet trajectory

If you want to get a scope for your air rifle, browse through the range we have along with mounts and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Surplus Store if you need some expert advice on your air weapon.