Boresighting a Rifle

How to Boresight a Rifle

Boresighting a Rifle – Remove the bolt and lay your rifle on a steady platform. Position the rifle so that you can see the target through when looking through the barrel of the rifle.

On a snowy day last winter I mounted a Leupold scout scope to a new Ruger Gunsite Scout bolt-action rifle chambered in .308.

In this Survival Topic I will show you how the boresighting of the rifle and scope was done. It’s quick, easy, and requires no expensive tools or special setup.

Often I choose to go scopeless on rifles but by utilizing quick release scope rings I have the option to easily switch back to iron sights at a moments notice. My experience has been that I can then re-mount the scope with a minimum of re-adjustment necessary.

Rifle Bore Verses Rifle Scope Point of Aim

A problem you will likely face upon mounting a fresh scope on a rifle is that the cross hairs of the scope will not register very near to where the bore of the rifle is aiming. If you were to look through the scope, place the cross hairs on a target, and fire off a round, it may miss your aiming point by a large measure – and often miss the target entirely.

Boresighting your rifle before firing a shot is the easy solution. Boresighting will get your rounds on the target. Then at the range you fine tune your rifle to hit dead-on.

Steps to Boresight a Rifle

Here is how boresighting a rifle can be done:

Boresighting Scope

Freshly Mounted ScopeWith the bore of the rifle sighted directly on the target, the cross hairs of the scope will likely be off target until you adjust them.

  1. Securely mount the scope onto the rifle.
  2. Remove the bolt from the rifle.
  3. Place the rifle on a stable platform at about chest or eye level so that you can comfortably peer down the barrel of the rifle.When at home I like to use the firewood pile in the backyard as a platform because the sticks of wood – perhaps with the aid of a jacket or empty nylon pack – are readily adjusted to hold the rifle in whatever position is required. You can use a table top, log, bench rest, or whatever else is handy and available.
  4. Locate an easily recognizable object that you can see when looking through the rifle barrel while it is resting on the platform.  The object can be the edge of a roof, a spot on a tree, a marker you set up or what have you. In the pictures you can see that I used an orange ribbon tied to a stake about 50 yards distant.
  5. while looking through the barrel of the rifle, center the object in your field of view by moving the rifle to the left or right, and up or down. Secure the rifle in that position. This straight line of sight between rifle barrel and target is what you want to mimic with with scope.
  6. Now look through your rifle scope. Chances are the scopes cross hairs will not be aligned onto the target. In my case the cross hairs were pointing high and to the left, as shown in the photograph.
  7. Remove the turret caps from the rifle scope and adjust windage (left – right), and elevation (up – down) so that the scopes cross hairs are on target. Replace the turret caps and, of course, the bolt.
boresighting a rifle

Adjust the Riflescope Cross Hairs – Adjust both windage and elevation so that the cross hairs line up on the target. You can do this while looking through the scope.

That’s it. Your the rifle is now bore sighted. This means that when you aim at a target using the cross hairs of the scope, the bullet should impact somewhere near what you were aiming at.

You can then use this point of impact to make the final adjustments the rifle scope needs to fire true to target.

getting closer to target

Getting Closer to Target – Recheck the settings by taking another look through the rifle bore and the scope cross hairs. Re-adjust as necessary.