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Hello Kent.  
I recently bought a Crosman Phantom Air Rifle as a present for myself, for target shooting and small game hunting.  When I was younger, I used to go out around the property (15 acres) with my Daisy multipump BB gun and get Rabbits and Squirrels (to the amazement of my father).  It was fun, but now that I am older I wanted something with a little more power.  I reviewed lots of guns and settled on a .177 Air Rifle over a .22 because I do live around neighbors and didn't want the distance that a .22 shell can travel.  
Well, the sites on my gun are crappy (as reviews stated), and cluster shots of around 20 give about a grapefruit sized spread.  I am not good at siting in the sites, so I bought a NCStar Tatical 4x20 Compact Air Scope to help with my siting.  As the reviews also say, my airgun is hard on the scope.  The rear eye piece was shaken off yesterday and I had only shot it maybe 15 times.  
So, My questions are, what is the best way to site in my rifle, and do you recommend any airgun scopes that will work better than what I have, ie Red Dot, Lazer, etc.  Also, I have a budget, but do want to get something that will make my shots accurate.
What is the best distance to stand away from the target to give the most accurate site reading?
How accurate are the manufactured sites on the Air Rifle I own?  When I turn the dial on the up and down adjustment, it doesn't look like it does anything, same for the L and R adjustment.  Its also cheap plastic rather than metal.  

Thanks for taking the time to read my question,
Kim

Answer
You have a couple of issues going on.  First, airguns have reverse "recoil" in that the recoil goes forward instead of backwards.  You need a special airgun scope designed for that.  Second, you might check to see how much force is needed to pull the trigger.  If it's very stiff it's hard to control the gun.  I would take it to a large full service gun shop.  You might ask around if there is one that specializes in air guns.  Look for an airgun scope, and have them measure the trigger pull too.  I suggest no more than three pounds, and 1 pound is too light (dangerous.)  Another thought is to try several brands of pellets (not BB.)  Some guns like different brands better than others.  I would sight the gun in for whatever range you typically take shots at, which is probably  50 feet or so.  I grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels with a Crossman 760, which didn't even have a rifled barrel.  It was deadly when it hit though.


Good luck!
Kent in SD

Hunting

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Kent Staubus

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Nearly 30 years` experience hunting upland game, big game, and waterfowl in the Upper Midwest and many college level classes in biology. I can answer questions about hunting with rifles and shotguns, and how to hunt mule/whitetail deer, antelope, pheasants, quail, ducks, squirrels, and rabbits. I can also answer questions about outdoor clothing for cold climates. As a licensed therapist, I have helped handicapped outdoorsmen.

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