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How to Bore Sight a Rifle – A Step by Step Guide

how to bore sight a rifle
Written by Dan Goldsmith
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Scopes are great when you want to shoot down targets from a long distance.

These can accurately point out the location where the bullets will land so that you can shoot the target without missing a shot.

But do you know how these scopes align perfectly with the target area of your rifle? That’s when bore sighting comes in.

If you’re to knock down targets at a long range with high accuracy, you’d need to bore sight your rifle properly. It lets you know where the bullets will hit exactly so that you can adjust your scope accordingly.

Skilled marksmen and hunters emphasize the process of bore sighting because it can affect their accuracy.

In this article, we’ll try to explore how to bore sight a rifle like a pro. Let’s get started right away.

What is Bore Sighting?

What is Bore Sighting

Bore sighting is aligning the barrel with the crosshairs of the spotting scope whether the long-range or hunting or rimfire or thermal scope.

Simply put, it is when you align the barrel of the gun with the gun’s sighting system.

Bore sighters can easily determine the path of the bullet which helps you to align the scope without wasting time and effort at the target.

Skilled shooters often rely on the best bore sight kits to get their scope and barrels aligned. These perform excellently well outdoors and can determine the path of the bullets with high precision.

Bore sighting in a rifle is not that hard, and anyone can do it with a little bit of practice.

Let’s now discuss how to properly bore sight a rifle scope and increase the accuracy of your firing.

How to Bore Sight a Rifle: Step-by-step Process

Now, let’s dive deeper into learning how to bore sight a rifle through this step-by-step guideline:

Step 1: Unloading the gun

Check if your gun is loaded. If you already loaded it, carefully unload the gun.

Step 2: Mounting the scope

Mounting a scope for rifle bore sighting

The next step is to mount the scope onto the scope mount because sighting a rifle without a scope can be challenging. Some rifles have pre-drilled screw holes in which you can place your scope mount. Place the scope mount and secure it with screws.

Afterward, install the scope rings and then the scope itself. Make sure that you don’t tighten it too much so that you can later fix it if it is not aligned correctly.

Make sure that you can move the scope back and forth and rotate it whenever necessary.

Keep a certain distance between your eye and the scope so that the recoil doesn’t hit you in the face.

Step 3: Removing the bolt

When you’ve securely placed the scope, you must remove the bolt from the gun. To remove it, you must hold the trigger back and pull the bolt toward the back of the gun.

Step 4: Placing the gun

Make sure the gun stays steady while you’re adjusting the scope

Make sure the gun stays steady while you’re adjusting the scope, you must place the gun on a solid rest.

In this case, you can use anything as long as it securely holds the gun in a fixed place.

Step 5: Looking into the barrel

When you’ve placed your gun on a stand or rest, you can look through the barrel of the gun toward a distant object. Carefully align the barrel of your rifle towards the object till you notice that the object is right at the center of the barrel.

If you’re using a bore sighter, this step will be a lot easier.

You can just turn on the bore sighter and then align it with the object until the laser points at the center of the object.

Step 6: Aligning the scope

Align the scope perfectly

Once you have your object-centered, you must look at the object through your scope. Note down how far the crosshairs are from the center of your object.

It’s often recommended that you draw the exact position on a piece of paper to get a clearer idea when you’re aligning the scope.

Next, you must align the scope using the crosshair adjustment screws.

Step 7: Repeat until you get an accurate result

After aligning the scope, you must look through the barrel once again. To make sure that the gun is not moving, you must then look through the scope onto your object.

Repeat step 6 if the object doesn’t appear to be centered in the crosshairs.

Step 8: Practical Testing

When you’ve ensured that the crosshairs are perfectly aligned with the barrel, you must test the rifle out to know if you have properly done the previous steps or not.

Choose a target that is far away and looks into your scope. Shoot when the crosshairs are on target. Afterward, take a look at the target and check if the bullet passed through the point that you aimed for.

If yes, then you can congratulate yourself for your effort. If not, you’ll have to perform the steps once again.

Safety Precautions

There are certain safety precautions that you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re bore-sighting a rifle.

  • Always check if the gun is loaded
  • Handle the gun with care and don’t point it toward anyone
  • Always be aware of the US gun laws


Congratulations. Now you know how to bore sight a rifle the proper way.

Learning how to bore sight a rifle is essential in any type of shooting. If you can properly bore sight, you’ll be able to precisely know where you are putting the target and can adjust the angle of your shots accordingly.

Learning how to bore sight a rifle with laser or any other kind of bore sighter isn’t anything difficult to do.

You’ll need a high-quality scope or a rangefinder and proper knowledge about how to align the barrel and the sighting equipment which each other.

If you fail to align them on your first try, you can repeat the process until the bullets hit the target as shown in the crosshairs of the scope or rangefinder.

Be sure that you know the safety precautions before you try the gun outdoors.

Once you’ve ensured that you followed all the above, you’ll be able to get accurate shots when you’re looking through the scope.


Q. How many shots should it take to sight a rifle?

Ans. You can sight your rifle with only six shots. Make sure your range is safe after the first adjustment and then fire three shots at the bullseye. Leave the scope when you find it dead on. Continue this exercise until you shoot groups centered around the bullseye.

Q. At what distance should I bore sight a rifle?

Ans. When you shoot deer rifles at 25 yards, you should bore-sight at 25 yards and impact one inch low. This allows you to confirm your zero on a 100-yard target within a few shots.

Q. Is bore sighting the same as zeroing?

Ans. You have to adjust the point of aim to correspond with the point of impact for a zeroing. This is easy to do but you need special tools to bore sight a scope. You need to align the optical axis of the scope to the rifle bore axis

Q. Can I boresight a red dot?

Ans. You can boresight a red dot just like any rifle sight. Your first step is to remove the bolt to look through the barrel. Sandbag the rifle and look through the pipe to aim your gun at the target. Adjust the red dot so you can point at the target.

Q. How often should I sight in my rifle?

Ans. You should sight-in your rifle before every hunt with the ammunition you intend to use. This is especially important for rifles with telescopes or peep sights.

About the author

Dan Goldsmith

Hi, this is Dan. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 30+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed.

My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

Whenever I am able to catch a moment of free time, you will find me enjoying my family or heading to the range on my motorcycle. I have enjoyed shooting sports ever since my dad introduced them to me as a child.

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman who lives his life to the fullest. I hope you will benefit from my efforts to create valuable resources on this website. Happy reading!

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