Sighting in a rifle scope when you have a bore sighter with you is usually a straightforward, low fuss affair, no matter what. Look, shoot, adjust and pretty much repeat the whole process till you manage to roughly hit the paper or your designated target decently. But what happens when you forget to pack your bore sighter for your hunt or simply don’t have one on hand?
For most hunters, a laser bore sighter constitutes an important part of their basic rig along with their guns, ammo, scopes, and targets, and hunting without it seems like an uphill task right from the beginning. While that can certainly be true, here is a simple guide to help you sight in your rifle scope without a bore sighter that won’t leave you frustrated just before you hit the jungle!
What does bore sighting a rifle scope mean?
Bore sighting is the method by which the bore axis of the firearm’s barrel can be visually pre-aligned with the target. This allows the hunter to zero in the sighting system of the gun like optical or iron sights much more easily, thus saving time and ammunition while increasing the shooting accuracy.
The bore sighting process is usually reserved for different kinds of rifles, from lever action ones to semi-automatics and automatic rifles. It can be accomplished through both the naked eye known as optical bore sighting or by using specially made instruments called laser bore sighters.
What is a laser bore sighter or a bore sighting tool for a rifle?
A laser bore sighter < affiliate link, if available >, as the name suggests, is a device that allows you to bore sight your rifle. It is a relatively modern method being used in hunting and shooting. The device, which can be mounted at the muzzle end or affixed within the gun chamber, emits a laser beam that can then be used as a pointer to dial in the rifle sights. This reduces parallax and human error significantly and is an inexpensive and fast way for zeroing in your scope.
Why is zeroing in a scope before hunting important?
Zeroing in your scope before setting out on a hunt is crucial because the process allows you to align the aiming point of your gun with the actual point of impact on the target. Thus, a properly zeroed in scope ensures that you can shoot with maximum precision without losing patience and getting frustrated, and also preserving your ammunition. If you do not zero in your scope adequately, then the point of impact of your bullets will not hit the intended target. If you don’t know the basics of how to sight in your scope, read our handy, fool-proof guide here < link to article > or watch the video below.
The newer technology in modern scopes makes it much easier to zero in on your target than older ones, but nailing the procedure and achieving a perfect zero in no time still takes practice, skill, and patience. Here are some great scope options < affiliate link, if available > to choose from in case you are still undecided on which one to invest in.
How to sight in a rifle scope without a bore sighter?
The procedure for sighting in your rifle scope without a bore sighter is pretty straightforward and a little patience and, some time is all that is required to get the hang of it. If you have a bolt gun, make sure that your gun is unloaded and then remove the bolt from the rifle so that you can look down the barrel of the rifle. Align the rifle towards the target and position your head in such a way that you can see down the barrel and through the scope at the same time.
If you are even a slightly experienced marksman, then at this point you will have a pretty good feel for the rough alignment. If you can’t, then don’t fret. Determine the distance at which you will be shooting and halve that to find out the distance at which you want to ideally sight in your scope. For example, if you want your scope to be zeroed in at 100 yards, then first sight in at 50 yards, and following that, move out to your requisite distance.
Once you have ascertained your proper distance, aim at the center of your target and take a shot to see if you are on paper. You could also choose to fire a group of three, but I would suggest single shots until you get on paper to save ammo. See where you’re hitting and make the necessary adjustments on the turrets. Personally, I like to adjust the windage to the proper level first. Then, I fire a round of three bullets to see where I’m hitting and then adjust the elevation. Remember to do this according to your rifle scope’s Minute of Adjustment or MoA. Generally, the MOA for most rifles can be adjusted in increments of ¼ inches per click of the turret.
Next, move out to your final shooting distance and fire another round of three. Note where you’re hitting and recalibrate your scope with the turrets. Repeat until you’re hitting your target squarely, and voila! Your rifle scope will have been perfectly sighted in at your desired distance, all without a bore sighter!
Some handy tips for sighting in your rifle scope
If you are still having issues with sighting in your rifle scope, don’t worry because we have got you covered! Here are a few things that might help to troubleshoot your problems:
1. Check the rifle barrel
More often than not, it takes quite a few rounds of shooting to finally sight in your scope at the desired target. In the meantime, what happens is that the rifle barrel heats up pretty quickly and begins to accumulate dirt, gunpowder residue, and dust. This can affect your accuracy each time you shoot, so it is a good idea to clean the barrel of your rifle every 15 – 20 shots and allow the gun to cool down enough before shooting another round.
2. Get help with shooting
If there is one thing that all hunters agree on, is that it is absolutely essential to cut down on human error while shooting as much as possible. To do this, there are a variety of shooting aids available, like bipods and tripods, gun rests, and cradles (my absolute favorite one is the < affiliate link, if available >) or sandbags to stabilize your weapon of choice. It is also recommended that you invest in safety gear like padding, ear protection, and plastic glasses < affiliate links, if available > to prevent injuries on a day out.
3. Choice of ammo
While it is good to experiment with different types, brands, and ranges of ammunition while testing out your weapon, a good rule of thumb is to settle on a particular one and consistently use it— in practice, while sighting in and on hunts. That way you’ll be comfortable and familiar with the performance of your rig, and won’t have to worry about varying results out on the field.
4. Mounting your scope
No matter if you’re using a basic scope or an expensive one, if it isn’t installed properly, then it won’t function the way it was originally intended to. So, make sure that your scope is mounted carefully and securely on your rifle to avoid unreliable zeros and inconsistency.
Use a small wooden dowel to ensure that your scope rings are level and try to mount your scope as low as possible without making contact between the objective bell and the barrel of the rifle. Take care to maintain enough distance to allow space for optimally adjusting the eye relief. An incorrectly installed scope will completely throw off any measurements and changes that you make.
5. Scope Rings
Make sure that your scope rings are properly affixed on both ends and that they are tightened to the optimal torque. Use the proper Torx tools to do this and refer to our guide < article link > for the proper procedure and precautions while doing so.
Now that you have everything you need to sight in your rifle scope, you can easily spend a day in the jungle without fretting and getting frustrated about not having a bore sighter or compromising on precision and accuracy. Happy hunting!