When you bore sight a scope, you are essentially matching the aim of a mounted scope to the original gun sight that comes on the rifle when you buy it. This means that whether you have the mounted sight on the rifle or not, you’ll have the same accuracy when you shoot. Learning how to bore sight a scope can help improve the effectiveness of your rifle with or without the mounted sight.
To mount your scope on the rifle, you’ll either need to use the hardware that’s already on your rifle or obtain and install scope mounts that will allow you to put your scope on the rifle. Most rifles are equipped with pre-drilled and tapped screw holes that are designed to allow a sight to be mounted. Once your mounts are installed and you’ve tightened the hardware, install the scope rings on the scope and leave them loose for later adjustment.
You’ll want to adjust the scope so that the reticle’s horizontal line is level and the eye relief is in a comfortable shooting position. Move the scope backward and forward until there is no longer a black ring around the objective lens (the lens near the end of the barrel). You should also ensure there is enough room between the scope and your eye so that the scope does not hit your face when the gun recoils.
Even though you’re not going to be shooting just yet, you need to have a clearly visible target available so you can sight your scope. Use a high contrast colored dot located about 100 yards away to have an object you can zero in on as you adjust your sights. You need to be able to see this dot with both scopes, one of which has no magnification, so it must easily stand out from the surroundings behind the target.
Since you’re only lining up your sights, the target doesn’t have to be outside. You can bore sight a scope inside as long as you have 100 yards of space between you and the target. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sight your rifle correctly. As always, be sure you’re practicing safe gun handling procedures while you’re sighting in your scope by ensuring the gun is not loaded and that your finger is off the trigger.
If you have access to a gun vice, this is the perfect application for it. It will hold your gun steady while you adjust your sight, which means your scope will be more accurate in the long run. If you don’t have a gun vice, use a bench or table to keep your gun stabilized as you align your sights. When your rifle is stable, align the front sight, or the “bead,” on the barrel up with the target.
When lining up the gun sights that come on the rifle, you should be lining up the front sight, or “bead” in the center of the “crook,” which is a gap that appears about halfway up the barrel. This is often referred to as lining the bead in the crook. When the front sight is in the center of the crook, you’ve aligned the gun sight. The front sight should then be lined up with your target.
Once your scope is level and the eye relief has been established, you’re ready to tighten the scope rings and ensure all hardware has been tightened. Align the crosshairs in your scope with the target, making sure your eye stays at a regular distance from the eyepiece. The image you see in the scope should remain in focus as you adjust the elevation and windage on the scope to be as aligned with the target as possible.
As previously mentioned, it will be difficult to maintain a good image in the scope, keep it the correct distance from your eye, and adjust it all at the same time. For this reason, your rifle needs to be stabilized while you set the scope sight. In fact, it may not even be possible to get your sights as honed in as you would like if you don’t keep your gun still while you’re doing it.
Before you go hunting, you’ll want to test your alignment at a gun range. Even if you have mostly aligned your scope with a target, you may still need to make small adjustments to be fully zoned in. Each gun and each scope is slightly different, so even if you’ve sighted in another scope with this rifle, it’s possible this one will require slight variances in its setup. If possible, check the alignment at several distances to check for deviations.
You can purchase a bore sighting laser that can help you align your scope with your gun sights. This laser can help you align your crosshairs more quickly and with better accuracy. Despite popular belief, there is no need to look down the barrel of a rifle to sight your scope, especially if you have one of these lasers. The device is inserted in the rifle’s muzzle and the rifle is moved to align the laser with the target.
Using a bore sighting laser is extremely helpful on lever-action guns that don’t have removable bolts to allow you to see through the barrel. Even if you’re using a laser tool to help sight your scope, it’s still important that the rifle be unloaded for safety reasons. You’ll still need to practice live shooting to fully align your sight. As a reminder, never shoot live bullets with the laser device still inserted in the muzzle of your gun.
If you hope to have a successful hunt, you need to ensure you properly bore sight your scope well before you head out to your hunting area. You want to have time to line it up and to practice with the rifle to make it as accurate as possible. Once you get your scope sighted in, your accuracy will almost guarantee a successful shot.