How to sight in Leupold CDS scope

How to sight in Leupold CDS scope?

The Leupold CDS (Custom Dial System) is a great feature for any rifle scope. It allows shooters to quickly adjust for bullet drop and hit their targets without endlessly clicking turrets or crunching numbers!

However, it can only do its job well if you provide the correct data. This includes the ammunition type, chronograph measurements, and ballistic coefficient information.


Leupold CDS scopes feature a unique dial that allows users to custom-fit their scopes to the specific ballistics of their rifle and ammunition. This system allows the user to make quick and accurate adjustments without requiring a chronograph or rangefinder. It’s an important feature for long-range shooting because it can help hunters get their bullets to the right place at the right time.

Most of these scopes feature a micrometer-target style dial that allows the user to hear and feel the adjustments they are making. They also have indicators on the micrometer portion of the dial to help determine how many 360@ rotations have been made.

When zeroing your Leupold CDS scope, you should first ensure that the turrets on the dial are set to the right height for your scope. This will prevent the turrets from rubbing against each other and causing the zero to be off.

Once you have determined the height for your CDS turrets, it’s time to sight in. Ideally, you will want to set the crosshairs to the target so that you can check your zero and adjust your CDS turrets until they are sighted in.

Some people have a problem with their zeros shifting as they move downrange. This is usually caused by a slight human error that causes the scope to zero out at a lower or higher distance than what the scope actually was zeroed for. You can fix this by firing off some test shots at a target that is an exact distance from where you want the bullet to land, then sighting in the CDS turrets to that spot on the target until the crosshairs are sighted in to the center of the target.

If you are not able to sight in the scope with this method, the next best option is to take it to a range to check your zero. If the zero is skewed, you can re-zero the scope by loosening the set screws and turning the dial in the up direction 1-2 revolutions.

Then, you should re-zero the scope and shoot at a target that is an exact distance away from where you want to be able to see the crosshairs. If the crosshairs are shifted by small errors or big mistakes like a flinch, it can be difficult to correct.

Sighting in

The CDS dial turret provides precise ballistics, but it’s important to get the input data right. When you send your rifle, scope, hunting load, and typical shooting conditions to Leupold, they will create a custom drop value dial that matches the specifics of your firearm, ammunition, and environment.

The turret is programmed to compensate for the bullet’s muzzle velocity and its ability to overcome drag (air resistance) while in flight. The CDS uses these details along with other information to create the correct aiming point for your rifle and ammo.

However, the ammo type and manufacturer can also affect the accuracy of the CDS turret. The bullet’s caliber, which is based on the barrel’s internal diameter, can change its trajectory and its fps while in flight.

Another critical piece of input data is the BC, or ballistic coefficient. This measurement is important because it tells you how well the bullet will fly through the air without being affected by air resistance.

It’s not easy to calculate the BC of every round in a box, so it’s best to get this data from the ammunition manufacturer or your bullet manufacturer. This will ensure the CDS dial can compensate for the exact amount of drag that your specific round is experiencing while it’s in flight.

Once you have this information, it’s time to start sending it to Leupold. The company requires the type, manufacturer, and caliber of your cartridge, bullet model and weight, and muzzle velocity to accurately calculate the data for your custom drop value dial.

Then, they need the same data for your average elevation above sea level and temperature, as these can also affect the speed of a bullet in flight. This information will be used to create the correct aiming point for your scope, and help you land accurate shots with minimal sway.

Once the data is collected, it’s a simple matter to order the new dial. Leupold will send you one free custom dial when you purchase a scope with the CDS option. You can buy additional dials for $80-100 each.

Sighting out

Leupold CDS scopes have a custom dial turret that allows you to quickly adjust the elevation of the scope to different sight-in ranges. The system is easy to use and requires no adjustment covers. It’s also compatible with different loads and conditions, making it a great option for both long-range hunting and everyday shooting.

To get a custom dial, you must provide Leupold with the following data: cartridge, bullet type and manufacturer, bullet weight, ballistic coefficient, muzzle velocity, average altitude, average temperature and your desired sight-in distance. This information is used to create a custom CDS elevation dial that’s laser-engraved onto your scope’s elevation dial.

It’s important to send the right data to Leupold so they can make the CDS dial as accurate as possible. If you send the wrong data, such as one of the wrong ballistic coefficients, it will impact your accuracy.

Another thing that you’ll want to remember is to provide Leupold with the right ammunition for your rifle and load. It’s best to chronograph your hunting ammunition, or at least use a ten-round fps average. This will ensure that you’re getting the proper muzzle velocity for your gun and load.

Once you have the correct data, it’s time to sight in your Leupold CDS scope. Many shooters go wrong here and forget to measure the scope’s sight height from the center bore of the scope to the center bore of the rifle. This is critical as it will allow Leupold to build a precise turret that will calibrate perfectly.

You’ll need to provide your specific sight height for the CDS scope to be built correctly, which is why it’s a good idea to have a measuring tape handy. If you have a good quality measuring tape, it’s also helpful to take measurements with both the sighted in and unsighted rifle.

When you’re ready to install the new CDS scope, make sure to read the user manual that came with it. Then, you’ll know how to make the adjustments. Once you’ve done that, the rest is a breeze. You’ll be on your way to a high-quality, highly accurate rifle scope that will help you hunt and win the next competition.


Leupold CDS scopes allow you to customize the elevation dial to match your rifle and ammunition. This allows you to compensate for bullet drop without sacrificing accuracy. It is incredibly useful for range management, hunting, and even tactical use.

To customize the elevation turret, simply send your scope serial number, cartridge, and desired sight-in distance to Leupold’s technical service team. They will then take all the data and create a custom ballistic dial for your gun and load. The typical turn-around time is 4-6 weeks.

Once the new custom turret is delivered, it will need to be installed on your scope and refined until you have perfected your sight-in at your desired zero distance. This is a good practice because it ensures that the new dial matches your bullet flight and helps you get more confidence in your rifle.

If you are unfamiliar with how to adjust a scope, it is best to consult your user manual or your manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the model, this process may require loosening set screws and turning the dials back to their “0” mark. Once done, tighten the set screws and you’re ready to sight in.

All Leupold scopes come with an adjustment dial that can be repositioned to align the marked zero of the adjustment dial with the position indicator notch/pointer. Once the ring is positioned to align with the zero, you can make adjustments as needed in the field.

Typically, the dials are divided into MOA adjustment divisions that can be both heard and felt to allow you to adjust the scope with ease. The MOA divisions also have indicators to indicate the amount of 360@ rotations that have been made.

Another advantage of the CDS system is that it can be quickly and easily reset. This means that if you accidentally miss a shot at 100 yards, you can just back up to 200 or 300 and start again. This is a very quick and easy way to keep the scope accurate and ensure that you have your rifle as accurate as possible.