Scope 101: Part 12 – Boresighting

April 11, 2016 by Calley Carpenter


A boresight tool can be helpful to you to align the bore to the crosshairs of the scope. The purpose of a boresight tool is to get you on the paper when you zero your rifle. It will not accurately align the bore to the scope it is simply an aid so you can more easily sight in your rifle when you shoot it.

The oldest method is the ‘eyeball’ method. Secure the rifle in a cradle, remove the bolt, look down the rifle barrel and center the rifle bore on a bullseye target at 50 yards. Then you adjust the crosshair reticle to the same point on the bullseye. Since you used the bore to sight in the rifle that is why it’s called ‘boresighting’. This method does not work with semi auto rifles, pumps, lever action and most pistols.

A laser boresight is inserted into the bore of the rifle and project a laser dot on a target. Then the shooter adjusts the scope to the dot. There are different laser boresights for different calibers. The laser is both mounted inside an arbor type item and inserted into the muzzle or as a dummy cartridge that goes into the chamber. The laser dot has to be projected onto a target at a known distance, usually 50 yards.

Boresighting will only get you on a paper target if done properly. It will not accurately zero any rifle. The only way to accurately zero a rifle is to shoot it with the specific ammunition you plan on using to hunt with. Boresighting will alert you to any mounting or scope adjustment issues immediately, saving you time, ammunition and frustration.

A small crosshair leveling level will be required to ensure that your crosshair reticle is level to the rifle. You can eyeball this process but each person is different and this will ensure level. Just like everything else we are doing to mount this scope, it will eliminate a variable. If your crosshairs are not level, as you adjust for windage and elevation, it will not be true to impact. If your crosshairs are not perfectly level, as you adjust for windage and elevation, it will go at a diagonal, not exactly straight up and down or left and right.

Once you have the proper mount location, boresighting done, the correct level and the optimum eye relief, your scope mounting is done. Congratulations! Now it is time to talk about fine-tuning the internal adjustments of your scope namely windage, elevation and parallax.

Any questions along the way can be directed by email to or by visiting our website at