How to Bore Sight a Scope in Simple Steps

Are you struggling to align your optical sight properly? Without a doubt, adjusting a scope can be frustrating. Shooting at any range presumes an actual zero for the telescopic sight. 

Boresighting is a necessary procedure when setting up a scope to aim at a target accurately. It helps save a lot of time in shooting (the target) and expenses over the ammunition. 

Methods of Bore Sighting a Telescopic Sight 

In the main, there are two types of boresighting methods. We can use both methods for boresighting a telescopic sight accurately.  

1. Optical Boresighting 

Optical boresighting, in particular, means centering a target by sighting through the rifle’s bore while simultaneously adjusting the same target through your scope. 

This method works with a rifle with a sightable bore. It is impossible to remove the bolt and see through the bore in some rifles. Most semi-automatic pump rifles, along with lever-action rifles, fall under this category. They require serious disassembly to look through their bore. 

Despite this method, there are some methods of boresighting for these rifles. Refer to method number two for this issue. 

Steps for Optical Boresighting

1.  Setting Up the Hardware 

Make sure that you have set up the hardware required for aiming and proper parallel alignment.  

  • First, unload the rifle. If not, unload it safely. 
  • Second, Mount the scope on the rifle. Most modern rifles have pre-drilled screws for telescopic sight mount installation. Place the scope mount securely. Afterward, install the scope ring and scope itself. Make sure that the scope is not too tight so that later change can take place.
  • At last, remove the bolt so that the bore is visible. For this, hold the trigger back and pull the bolt towards the rear of the rifle.

2. Create a Target and Position Yourself

Creating a proper target helps in reaching zero for rifle scope faster. A bright red dot with a Cross Hair target is ideal, as it would be visible through the bore. Also, it will help in remembering the bore picture and aligning to the exact point. 

Position yourself at an optimal distance. Placing the rifle is vital. Being far from the target could interfere with the target’s visibility through the bore whereas, being too close to the target would make boresighting less accurate. 

Ideally, the Professionals recommend 25 yards of distance at starting going further with doubling the length. This distance helps in finalizing zero in minimum ammunition fired. 

3. Stabilize the Rifle

Keeping the rifle level firm and placing the rifle at steady rest is very important. An unstable rifle leads to inaccurate alignment while making adjustments to the scope.

Set the rifle either on the ground or on the bench with a holding place. This holding could be a stand, sandbag, or even a “V” cut wood or cardboard, but it should support the rifle. 

4. Tune Up the Scope

Tuning up the scope is the most crucial step. Pursue this step carefully. Make sure your rifle doesn’t move while tuning the scope. 

Look into the bore of the rifle towards the distant target point. Carefully, Point the gun towards the center of the target. Plan the target position.

Once the object is at the center, look at the target through the scope, then adjust the scope so that the crosshair aligns with the exact point you centered in the boresighting picture. 

Check back and forth in the bore and the sight many times during this process. 

By following these steps carefully, you will aim correctly at the target. 


2. Laser Boresighting

In laser boresighting, instead of eye inspection, a laser pointer is used to illuminate the distant point of the target in a more modern approach to boresighting. This method is preferable because it produces less parallax, allowing for more movement in the rifles. After all, the projected laser beam remains true to the bore axis and does not require the removal of the bolt.

Steps for Laser Boresighting

Follow the hardware set-up, same as method one. 

1. Set Target and Distance

Target can be any surface where you can easily see the laser. It is easier to see a laser indoors than to see in bright lights. 

2. Install a Laser Into the Barrel 

Insert the laser bore sighter into the barrel and turn it on. It projects a laser extending from the barrel bore. 

3. Stabilize the Rifle and Tune Up the Optical Sight

Set the rifle on support and point the laser at the center of the target. Look through the scope. And adjust the crosshair so that the center is over the dot of the laser. You can keep looking through the scope, unlike Optical boresighting. 

Make sure that your laser is steady and fits tightly. Any bumping on the rifle can cause it to move and change outcomes.

You will reach zero with a laser quickly. Note that laser points to infinity, and for long-distance shots, bullets of rifle drops. 


Boresighting a scope needs multiple corrections. After following the steps carefully, practice a few rounds to get the feel of the accuracy and make adjustments as necessary. Each rifle is different irrespective of its accuracy, so take time to sight correctly. After these steps, double your distance from the target and follow the steps again. Finally, you will reach zero.

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