How to Sight in a Gun Without Shooting it

By Peter Timm

Sighting in a gun without firing the weapon is a relatively simple procedure. By using a boresighter (a device that indicates the rifle’s projected point of impact), or by visually determining the point of impact by looking through the barrel at a predetermined spot, your rifle can be sighted in within minutes. The technique of visually determining the point of impact is only applicable with a bolt-action rifle that allows you to remove the bolt. Before handling your rifle, always verify that the rifle is unloaded.

Using a Laser Boresighter

Step 1

Install the laser boresighter. Laser boresighters come bullet shaped or end mounted. If you’re using a bullet-style laser, place the boresighter into the chamber and close the action (turning on the laser). If it's end mounted, insert the laser down the end of the barrel and activate.

Step 2

Look through your scope and observe the red laser point. Adjust your scope’s crosshairs to center on that point. Move the crosshairs by manipulating the adjustment dials on the center of the scope body. Rotate the top dial counterclockwise to move the crosshairs up, and clockwise to move them down. Rotate the side dial counterclockwise for the right, and clockwise for the left. When the crosshairs are centered on the laser point, the rifle is zeroed in.

Step 3

Remove the laser boresighter.

Using an Optical Boresighter

Step 1

Attach the optical boresighter to the end of the barrel. The boresighter lens should be lined up with the scope.

Step 2

Look through the scope, you should be looking at a grid in the boresighter lens. Adjust the crosshairs so they intersect with the center of the grid (use the scope adjustment procedure described in Section 1). Once the scope is centered on the grid, the rifle is zeroed in.

Step 3

Remove the optical boresighter.

Visual Boresighting

Step 1

Remove the rifle's bolt and point the rifle at the target from a stable platform (such as a sandbag).

Step 2

Look through the barrel and adjust the rifle's position until the barrel lines up with a specific point on your target.

Step 3

Move the scope crosshairs (use the scope adjustment procedure described in Section !) to align with that point. if the rifle gets moved in the process, simply realign it. When the scope is zeroed in on that specific point, your rifle is sighted in.