Rangerexpert is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting? | 5 Simple Steps

How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting
Written by Dan Goldsmith
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Technically speaking, you can’t “sight in” your scope without doing some shooting.

There are options to work it out but for precision, there is no other option but to fire bullets and see where they land.

Bore sighting is a great way to go about the process that we will show you how.

But how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting? Is it actually possible to sight in without shooting? Let’s find out

What Exactly Is a Red Dot Scope?

What Is a Red Dot ScopeA red dot scope is nothing but an optical device that magnifies a target before firing. It is mainly used for close-range shooting.

The red dot will align the sight and target along the same optical plane, allowing you to remain focused on a unique focal point.

As a result, you can concentrate on your target with more precision and quickness.

Users commonly refer to it as an optic because its power is limited, and you probably wouldn’t be able to magnify with it.

In most cases, sighting without shooting is impractical. What you could do is to bore sight, which is also known as boresighting.

Variations of red dots

Red dot scopes make it simple to concentrate on your target.

If you are a beginner, a red dot scope is an ideal option because you just need to point at the target and shoot.

Red dots are multifunctional and may be used on a variety of weapons. There are several variants available, each with its unique function.

Standard rifle sights resemble a tube and are intended to fit the average adult’s hand. Their construction will let them shoot at a medium range.

Other characteristics include a 2 and three MOA red dot and the ability to utilize magnification to shoot from a greater distance.

The mini red dots are extremely small and are typically found on small guns.

They can also be used in conventional rifles. The majority of manufacturers are creating tiny red dots in modest sizes.

Due to their effectiveness and superior usability, the demand for these handy devices is skyrocketing.

How does a red dot operate

The red dots are simple to use, and anybody can learn to use them with practice.

Before utilizing it, you should be familiar with light physics, as the red dot is generally based on the light reflected from a mirror.

A reticle is formed when a beam contacts a spherical mirror. A red dot is typically appropriate for use at medium distances.

You may also profit from parallax in addition to speed and precision when shooting.

The mobility of the scope, while your eyes are focused on the dot, is referred to as parallax.

When trying to concentrate on a target with a red dot, you must adjust it to zero. The objective is the most essential point and the most crucial thing is to correctly aim at it.

Failure to aim might result in firing any object in the vicinity of the target.

How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting: A Complete Guide

How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting

Beginners should practice red dotting with the bore sighter. It is simply a laser marker that fits into the base of your chamber or barrel and emits a laser.

The bore sighter should be the same dimension as the rounds for which the weapon is loaded. So, the fitting should be quite tight and provide a good estimation of where the line of contact will be.

Boresighting allows you to sight your firearm without firing it, making the entire procedure easier and faster.

Here are some methods for sighting with a scope without firing using boresight.

1. Laser bore sighter

The most common choice in the marketplace is a laser bore sighter.

Because of its efficacy, most shooters favor this tool. It has the shape of a bullet, and the mounting process involves following the instructions.

If you are inexperienced at shooting, you might need expert help in mounting.

Once you’ve got everything in place and the laser is perfectly aligned in the gun, check inside and watch for the red dot.

Finally, manage the red dot by gazing straight at the red dot’s focus point.

2. Optical bore sighter

When compared to the laser bore sighter, the optical bore sighter is a little more difficult to operate.

In this method, you must attach it to the barrel’s foundation and verify that its lenses are properly aligned.

This approach is similar to the laser bore sighter in that you will just need to attach it at the point of your weapon. The next step is to align the lenses with the scope.

When looking at the red dot, you may guide your gaze through the lens’s grid. Continue moving the crosshairs until you reach the centerline of the red dot.

3. Visual bore sighter

The next technique is to employ the visual boresighting instrument, which is both traditional and basic.

These red dots provide advantages when shooting great distances and with precision.

After you’ve installed the scope, the following step is to sight it in. To begin using this method, remove the rifle’s bolt for visual boresighting.

The installation is simple for professionals, however, there are certain tips you should follow.

After that, focus the target using the rifle’s barrels and the center point of the red dot.

How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting: Step-by-step

1. Write down everything

Skilled and intermediate shooters can skip this stage. Install the bore sight into your weapon according to the type of bore sighter.

The cheaper your bore sighter is, the less compactly and accurately it will match, so if you’re counting on it to make your weapon sighted in without firing, you’d be wise to spend the extra money on a top-quality bore sighter.

If you only want to write something down on paper, an inexpensive one would suffice.

2. Determine the distance between you and your target

Aligning and balancing are crucial skills, and you must know your target before shooting. Also, you must calculate the distance.

For a skilled shooter, a distance of 100 yards is the bare minimum, while a rifleman can easily cover up to around 250 yards.

Nevertheless, if you are unfamiliar with this subject, it could take several days for you to be able to fire at a distance of 20 yards.

During the first day of training, you may occasionally miss your target.

3. Preparation

Preparation also entails gathering equipment for installation or mounting.

Most of the time, you’ll require some installation components, such as a mounting board.

When applying the red dot scope, precautions must be taken to avoid injuries and accidents.

You’ll need an open area to practice in during the preparation phase.

Furthermore, your weapon should not be loaded, plus an eye rest is a must. Use a plank as a target and exercise throughout the day.

4. Mounting your scope and bore sighter

The complete setup must be stable when mounting. Assemble the scope on the upper side of the receiver and secure it to prevent any movement.

Determine at what distance you’ll be zeroing and arrange your target appropriately.

That is necessary since your red dot should only be effective at the range at which you zero, and you’ll need to correct it when shooting at something close or far away.

After you’ve got things installed and secured, you may place your bore sighter in the barrel’s end.

5. Have a good sight of the target

The next thing is to set your objective and verify that it is no more than 25 yards away.

Use the laser to aim your weapon while disregarding the red dot scope at first.

Once you’ve centered the laser on the objective, it’s best if you can locate a means to lock the weapon without needing to hold it.

The following step is to utilize the red dot’s wind speed and elevation settings to shift the crosshairs over to lay on the upper edge of where your laser is landing.

Most red dots demand the use of a tool, such as a coin to adjust, and you might need to modify it quite a bit to make them align.

Tips to Use a Red Dot Scope

Tips to Use a Red Dot Scope

Red dot sights have made a huge difference when it comes to aiming.

They provide significant advantages in sighting, particularly during competitions or even when on a hunting trip.

They are beneficial in terms of skill development. Red dot scopes offer a significant increase in terms of speed without sacrificing accuracy.

They use magnification to guarantee you focus on the target.

To maximize the speed, you should first understand where it is coming from and then use the red dot in your favor.

To start, you must concentrate on your goal. Nevertheless, this does not always mean a shift in focus. Check that the weapon is near to or contacting your cheek.

Also, avoid lowering your chin towards your weapon. Similarly, keep your head straight while focusing on the objective.

When your weapon is near your chin and you are still focused on your objective and your eyes are open, the crosshairs will appear directly in front of you.

You may do this before pulling the trigger and firing. Using red dot scopes, you may substantially enhance your speed with such an approach.

Challenges with red dots

Red dots are unquestionably straightforward to use; yet, while firing at a close range, things can become difficult. The red dot might not indicate where the object will be hit.

Although light moves in a direct and clear route, bullets can go in a curved path. You may miss the target as a result of this.

Skilled shooters will not have issues with this but to acquire confidence, beginners should practice more.

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!

Leave a Comment