In case you haven’t found out already, sighting a rifle scope correctly is the most important part after you’ve bought a new scope. Yet one of the most basic preconceptions about it is that the best way to sight your newly bought rifle scope is…well..shooting it, right?
Not quite! What if I were to tell you that using a couple of easy to learn methods you can save yourself the trouble of wasting ammo for nothing.
The most important advantage when trying to sight a gun without shooting first, is saving ammunition for when it really matters. These methods will save you from any unnecessary shoulder recoil. Moreover they’ll give you an excellent reference to start sighting. A perfect sighted rifle ensures you that nothing dangerous is going to happen. Not to you, or anyone.
There are 4 ways to sighting your scope without shooting, namely visual, laser, optical and magnetic. We will take a look at each of them and the necessary steps needed.
One of the more traditional methods of sighting your rifle without shooting is a pretty straight-forward one. Boresighting is no more that aligning the center of the rifle’s barrel with it’s sights. It’s a quick and simple procedure (a couple of minutes), that will help you enjoy an accurate shooting day
Visual boresighting relies on your patience and discipline. For this, you will need to point your rifle on a steady platform (or a couple of sandbags) to give it stability. It is very important that your rifle remains still during the sighting process. After you remove the bolt, try looking with one eye through the bore centering your target (set at 100 m). Without moving the rifle fine-tune the knobs. The scope crosshairs align themselves with the target point. After zeroing the scope with the specific target point, you’ve got yourself a sighted rifle.
Another method, the so-called “mirror method”, involves (as you might have figured out), a mirror. You just need to place the mirror so far enough, that you can see your own reflection while looking through the scope. You need to point your rifle with the barrel straight in it’s own reflection. After that you can adjust the windage adjustment so that it’s lined up with the barrel.
Of course, nowadays easier methods have been developed to aid rifle owners spend less time on sighting and more time on shooting. This can be achieved by using a device called a boresighter. It’s an instrument that mounts on the arbor and fits in the muzzle of the riffle. The laser boresight has the advantage of being in line with new technology. It’s a more professional alternative to manual doing the heavy work.
One of the main advantages of a laser bore is that it’s far more precise that using your eyes. And while visual boresighting counts for getting you on paper from 100 yards (25 m), the laser bore sighting method will put you much closer to center. Doing that will save you time and money. They come in two shapes: end mounted or bullet shaped. The first is installed at the end of the barrel, activating the laser, while the later goes into the chamber of the gun.
In both cases you can notice the laser point, while looking through the scope of the rifle. By carefully rotating the adjustment dials on the scope’s body all you need to do is to centre the crosshairs on the laser point. After that you’l have a perfectly zeroed firearm. Don’t forget to remove the boresighter before firing!
An optical boresighter follows the same pattern. You just need to attach it at the end of the barrel, making sure that the lens is lines up with the scope. While looking through the grid of the lens, you should again adjust the crosshairs as to match the centre of the grid. Remove the optical boresighter and enjoy yourself!
A lesser known, but effective method is using magnetic boresighters; You just need to attach them to the muzzle of your gun using strong magnets. The strong advantage in favor of magnetic boresighters is its versatility, fitting all gauges and calibers, without having to buy or use any additional parts. Moreover it’s an alternative for people who fear inserting anything in the barrel. It’s proven to be very effective when trying to zero a gun after transportation, hard drops, or high usage.
In order to choose the best boresighter for your particular rifle, you can easily ask somebody from your gun retailer’s office. Prices vary from $48 for a Sightmark .22LR Boresight to $150 for the SiteLite Ultra Mag Laser Professional Boresighter (laser bore sighter with a 40 hours autonomy).
Whatever method you may choose from the list, always be aware of a couple of rules that will keep you and others safe: