Lifetime warranty on that scope...i say take it back, get another and try again. if you are doing everything right, then i would say it is a internal problem with the scope. nikon's are a really good scope, but rule everything out.
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you need to decide what distance you want bullseye to be. the arrow in flight is either rising or falling. if you get bullseyes at say 50 yards you will be low at 25 yards (arrow rising) and low at 75 yards (arrow falling). this is due to the scope is mounted higher than the arrow.
16 clicks is about 4" at 100 yards not 25. did you try shooting it at 100 yards? remember the scope is mounted at least an inch and probably higher than that above the barrel. at close range you will always hit low with a scope because the bullet has to climb at least an inch or more before it will be right on at 25 yards. if it is dead on at 25 it should hit way high at 100. (or the scope/ mounts are bad).
No, this is not a scope issue. The scope is raised above the centerline of the barrel, thus at 10 yards, the barrell is actually slightly raised in relation to the centerline of the scope in order to hit your point of aim. Since the front of the barrel is slightly inclined, at 25 yards the bullet is still rising in relation to the scope alignment. Backing up to 50 yards you will begin to see the bullet start to drop back down, at 100 yards it may drop as much as 8-10 inches, and at 200 yards, it may drop as much as 52 inches. This is assuming that you are shooting a standard velocity .22 long rifle cartridge (1050 feet per second or so).
You may try to bore sight it first. Pull the bolt and setting the gun on a good rest sight thru the barrel at a dot on the wall within ten feet. Then adjust the scope to that dot. As you adjust the scope tap the bore of the scope with a screw driver handle, tap it after each adjustment not hard, but enough to give it a sharp jolt. Once you are close here, move out to the range and shoot at 15 yards. Using a rest, again tap the scope after each adjustment. Then move out to 50 yards and you will want to be shooting high 1.5 to 2 inches here. Shoot slow keep the barrel cool and try for 2 shot groups till you have got the scope dialed in. Then move out to 100 yards for your preference of zero. Remember use the same ammo you will hunt with or at least the same bullet weight. If you can't get her to get on paper you can try to loosen the scope in the rings, one at the time once the gun is a little warm. Loosen the barrel ring first then snug it back down and then the receiver ring. If your group moved now, she was in a bind due to a cold gun at set up / installation.
Bushnell sells nylon inserts for scope rings that fit inside of the scope rings and will affect the height of the ring to correct the problem. If you install them on the front scope ring, it will correct it and realign the rings correctly. It appears that the front ring towards the muzzle is not as high as the rear ring near the breach. This is why that even though the scope's adjustment is elevated as high as it will go, it is still hitting low because it is actually pointing down because apparently the rear ring is higher off the barrel than the front ring. The Bushnell inserts can correct this.
Sounds like you want to "re-sight" in your rifle. Make sure mounts are okay and tight. Look down barrel and then thru scope and eyeball windage and elevation adjustments so the scope seems to be fairly in line.
Clean barrel if it needs it.
For basic sight in, start at 25 yards with a large(3 to 4 feet) cardboard or wood backdrop around target (bullseye). Fire at target. Once done, look through scope and position rifle such that the shot mark you created is dead zero. Hold rifle very steady and you or buddy move windage and elevation adjustments until scope moves dead zero back toward original target (bullseye). Fine tune from there. Air cool rifle between rounds. Once dead eye, fire another round or two to check grouping. Check your ballistics (sometimes on ammo box) to see how height at 25 yards affects your desired dead on target (100 yards, 150 yards, 250 yards etc.). Adjust accordingly. Example: you may need to sight in at an inch high at 25 yards, depending on your dead on target distance..
Always remove sling from barrel when sighting in.
Try to sight in at similar temperature as you intended shooting temperatures, if possible.
If not black powder, avoid cleaning barrel between sight in and hunt/competition unless you note bad buildup inside.
If you change ammo, understand that that may affect performance. Once a preferred ammo is found, some even try to buy a decent quantity with the same lot number on the boxes if storage allows for such.
Keep in mind Diane this is for a set distance. if you are taking a shot at a target further than your are set for (ie a target you wont get 3 shots @) remember how the bullet is travelling as it goes down range
one idea would be to set your rifle up down range and zero it in on a target (preferably paper) now adjust 1 MOA (try and have target @ 100 yards and 200 yards)
see how far the bullet moves for each moa adjustment. then check it against the next range.
this should remain constant @ a set number of inches per 100 yards.
so if you zero in @ 100 yards and then move 1 moa any direction and it adjusts (lets say and hope it is 1.047 inches") then you do the same for 200 yards. it should be twice as much movement. ie 2.094"
once you know what 1 moa represents on your scope you can adjust alot more accurately.
REMEBER the total inches of movement / adjustment per MOA is directly related to range (a precise range helps in shooting) so if your squirrel is 150 yards and your first shot is off 9" to adjust you divide 9" by the inches per moa so 1.5 (150 yards /100) X (Inches per 100 yards per moa you measured hopefully 1.047") its 9" divided by 2x1.047 = 9" / 2.094 = 4.29799
this number needs to be rounded to the nearest click on your scope (most are 1/4 MOA scopes and you can tell by looking at how many clicks/lines are inbewteen each large number on your windage and elevation dials
so to turn this into an adjustment we round 4.29799 to 4.25 which is 4.25 MOA or 17 clicks on a 1/4 min scope.
GL and any questions just post and ill help
not please rate this as fixya :)
Note i can provide EXACT information that would allow you to determine range, and windage and elevation adjustments by looking through scope and estimating range then factoring in weather variables. NOTE you hafta enjoy math or just want to know how to shoot really well. :)