How to Bore Sight a Rifle Scope – Full Guide with FAQs, Tips & More

how to bore sight a rifle scope

We understand that sighting in your scope can be a very easy or an extremely frustrating process.

However, it is important that you not only bore sight of your scope before sighting it in, but you also need to know how to do it effectively. 

This ensures you don’t mess up adjustments later on. 

Quick Summary

In this post, we will explain the steps involved in correctly bore sighting a rifle scope. 

We will go over the entire process as well as some beginner mistakes that you need to avoid. 

Let’s get started.

Why Do I Need to Bore Sight My Rifle Scope? 

bore sight

The process of bore sighting a scope allows you to align the center of your gun’s barrel to the sights on the scope. It’s a relatively simple process and if you’re a shooter, it’s definitely something you should learn how to do. 

The reason for boresighting a scope is to enable it to hit paper after you’ve mounted it on to your rifle. 

It’s something you do when you first buy and mount your scope. Additionally, it also comes in handy when you’re taking out your rifle after the off-season. 

In conclusion, if you bore sight your scope, it makes the sighting-in process extremely easy and error-free. 

How to Bore Sight a Rifle Scope (Step-by-Step Guide) 

To start off, you will need a gun vice, 25 yards of space, and either a laser or a regular bore sighting kit. 

Make sure to buy a bore sighting kit that works with the caliber of your rifle. 

Most standard bore sighting kits come equipped with multiple rods that can fit many different standard calibers. Just make sure you’re using the appropriate one for your gun. 

Laser bore sighting kits are also great since they are much easier to use. When it comes to these, you have options for rods that go inside the chamber of the rifle and others that are used at the muzzle. 

We recommend using a laser bore sighting kit that runs in the chamber of your rifle if the rifle is equipped with a muzzle brake. 

This enables you to bore sight of it without having to remove the muzzle brake.

When it comes to the standard bore sighting kit, it comes with rods that will connect to the bore sighter and run through the end of the muzzle. This places the bore sighter right in front of your scope. 

Step 1: Set Up a Target and Your Rifle

Once you have all of your relevant equipment sorted, the first thing you need to do is set up a target that is at a distance of 25 yards from your rifle. 

Ideally, your target should have a highly visible bullseye. 

Once that’s done, secure your rifle into the gun vice and take off the turret (knob) caps from the rifle scope. These would be the knobs that are used to adjust the reticle (elevation and windage).

Step 2: Center the Rifle 

Now that you have the rifle and the target set up, remove the bolt of the rifle and look down into the bore. 

Do your best to align the target in the barrel. The bullseye of the target should be centered with the center of the bore. 

Step 3: Center the Reticle 

Once you’ve aligned the bore of the rifle to the bullseye of the target, look through the scope and observe where the reticle is. 

Depending on the reticle’s position, you will use the turrets (knobs) to adjust the elevation, windage, or both. 

For example, if your reticle is to the left of the center, then you will adjust the windage to bring your reticle to the right.

Once you’ve fixed the windage, check for elevation. 

For example, if the reticle is higher than the target, then you will adjust the elevation turret to bring the reticle down. 

Step 4: Attach the Bore Sighter 

Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments above, go ahead and attach the bore sighter to your rifle and proceed to aim at the target. 

If you have a standard bore sighting kit, then you will see a grid overlaid on top of your reticle. 

All you have to do is adjust the elevation and windage until the reticle is brought to the absolute center of the grid. 

If you have a laser bore sighting kit, then you’ll see a laser dot is projected onto the target when you look through the scope. 

From here, you can adjust your elevation and windage until the laser is centered with your reticle. 

You have now successfully bore-sighted your rifle scope. 

Some Additional Steps 

rifle scope

If you perform the process described above, you can confidently hit the paper with live rounds at 100 yards. 

It should be plain to see how much wasted ammo and frustration can be avoided if you take the time to bore sight of your rifle. 

Once you’ve performed the process above, you can optionally push it a step further. 

To do this, take out the bore sighter from your rifle and load it with live ammo. Take a shot at 25 yards at the target and check where it hits. 

Ideally, you are looking for the bullet to hit the target 1 inch lower than where you aimed at 25 yards. 

Most gun experts agree that 1 inch lower at 25 yards is the sweet spot for most rifles that have a sight height of 1.5 – 2 inches above the bore. 

If this is the case with your shot, then you are now ready to sight in (or zero in) your rifle scope at 100 yards. 

Important note: Many new shooters confuse the process of bore sighting with the process of sighting in a scope. They are not the same thing. 

You still need to sight in your scope by going to the range and firing live ammo at 100 yards. This is regardless of if you bore sighted it or not. 
You can check out our guide on zeroing in a scope for a detailed look into the process.

Wrapping Things Up… 

That’s pretty much all there is to it to bore sighting a scope. 

It’s definitely a step that we highly recommend all shooters perform as it saves you a lot of ammo as well as a lot of time. 

If you have any further questions regarding bore sighting, let us know in the comments below.

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