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How Does A Bore Sighter Work? : A Guide for All Types of Firearms

how does a bore sighter work
Written by Dan Goldsmith
Last Update: August 11, 2023

If you’re a gun enthusiast, you know how important it is to have a properly sighted firearm. Bore sighters are a great way to help you do it right and quick with less effort. But how does a bore sighter work?

A bore sighter works by allowing you to align the scope of your firearm with the bore without firing a shot. This can save you a lot of time and money when sighting in your firearm. Plus, it makes the entire process easier. 

But there is more you need to understand than just this. Keep reading to find out what a bore sighter is, how it works, and how to choose the right one for yourself.

What is a Bore Sighter?

What is a Bore Sighter

So, what does a bore sighter do? A bore sighter is a tool that helps you align the scope of your rifle or handgun with the bore of the gun. It’s essentially a device that you insert into the bore of your gun and use to align the scope before you ever fire a shot. This can save you a lot of time and ammunition when sighting in your firearm.

However, since there are many variations in firearms and ammunition, you should do the final sighting in with actually firing your weapon.

How Does a Bore Sighter Work?

There are a few different types of bore sighters on the market, but they all work on the same basic principle. The most common types are laser bore sighters, arbor bore sighters, magnetic bore sighters and collimator bore sighters.

Laser Bore Sighters

Laser Bore Sighters

These small devices emit a laser beam. You insert the device into the bore of your handgun or rifle and align the laser with the scope. This will give you a rough idea of where your shots will hit.

The laser beam simulates the bullet trajectory and allows you to adjust your scope accordingly. One thing to keep in mind with laser bore sighters is that they require batteries, and some models can be quite delicate, so you need to handle them with care.

Arbor Bore Sighters

Arbor Bore Sighters

An arbor bore sighter uses an arbor that fits into the bore of your gun. It has a small reticle that can be aligned with the center of the bore. You align the arbor with the scope, which helps you roughly identify where your shots will land.

Arbor bore sighters are generally less expensive than laser bore sighters, but they are also less precise and can be more difficult to use.

Magnetic Bore Sighters

Magnetic Bore Sighters

Magnetic bore sighters are generally very easy to work with. There is a magnetic attachment to align the scope with the bore, unlike physically inserting into the bore.

This type is useful for firearms that have a hard time supporting traditional arbors or lasers. Magnetic bore sighters work by attaching a magnetic adapter to the muzzle of the gun and using a sighting device to align the scope.

They also do not require batteries. However, they may not be as precise as laser or arbor bore sighters and may not work well with certain types of firearms and scopes.

Collimator bore sighters

Collimator bore sighters

Collimator bore sighters use a small telescope with a reticle that can be aligned with the center of the bore. They will also save your day if the traditional arbors or lasers don’t support your firearm.

Collimator bore sighters are generally more precise than arbor or magnetic bore sighters and do not require batteries. However, they can be more expensive than the other types and may not be so easy to use for some users

How to Choose the Right Bore Sighter?

How to Choose the Right Bore Sighter

There are a few things to consider here.

The first is the type of the firearm you’ll be using it for. Some bore sighters are made specifically for rifles, while others are designed for handguns. Make sure that you select a bore sighter that is suitable with your piece of weapon.

Another thing is the type of the bore sighter. As discussed earlier, there are laser, arbor, magnetic and collimator bore sighters. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs and the type of firearm you own.

Finally, you’ll want to consider the quality of the bore sighter as well. You don’t want to cheap out on this essential accessory because your precision will largely depend on it.

Things to Remember About Bore Sighters

  • Bore sighters are not a replacement for live firing and sighting in your gun, they are only a tool to help with the initial alignment of the scope with the bore
  • Always double-check your alignment after sighting in with a bore sighter by firing a few rounds at a target
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a bore sighter
  • Clean and maintain your bore sighter properly to ensure its longevity and accuracy
  • Always make sure to use eye protection when using a bore sighter, especially if it’s the laser type
  • When using a bore sighter with a firearm that has a suppressor, make sure to remove it beforehand
  • Remember that bore sighters work best when used in a controlled environment such as a range or a well-lit room, and not in the field

Wrapping It Up

Now that you know how does a bore sighter works and how to bore sight your rifle or handgun properly, you’ll easily be able to get it done even if you’re a beginner.

Remember that a bore sighter may be a valuable tool but is not a replacement for live firing. So, always make sure to double-check your alignment and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using them.

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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