How To Sight In A Rifle Scope Without A Boresighter

How To Sight In A Rifle Scope Without A Boresighter
Alfred Mendoza

Most people rely on laser boresighters a lot that they go berserk when this boresighting device isn’t within their reach. In such cases, when boresighters are absent in their hunting gears, their scopes practically don’t have any use anymore. 

But why get frustrated when you can spot in a rifle scope without a boresighter? Here’s how.

One of the main reasons hunters fail to get the perfect shot they aim for is their inability to spot in their optics. While a boresight is essential to make zeroing faster [1], learning how to sight-in a scope without laser boresighters is equally important. You won’t have to waste money by buying additional parts or contents just to make your riflescope fully functional.

1.    Mount the Rifle

The first thing you need to do is to mount your scope in the rifle’s mounting system.

Ensure that the scope is appropriately mounted, with its eye relief and reticle focus also properly set.

Make sure that you will still have a solid rest to shoot from while doing the sight-in process.


2.    Ensure Stability & Safe Backstop 

Next, you need to ensure the rifle scope’s stability and safe backstop. Unload your gun and ensure that the center of its bore is perfectly aligned in a straight line as possible with the center of the scope you have mounted in the mounting system. 

Visually match the gun’s bore position with the rifle scope’s center by setting up the rifle on a stable platform like a flat table. Use a sturdy rest, manufactured, heavy bags, or whatever you have that would support the rifle in a stationary position.

3.    Determine the Range

The next step would be to determine the range where you desire to shoot. Before doing this, ensure that you have a safe location, have a safe backstop to catch the rounds, and safely stop the fired rounds. If you are doing this process the first time, we suggest that you place the target point in a closer range first to zero.

However, for long-range shooters and hunters with sighting experience in optics at least 100 yards, you may start boresighting with a target at 30 to 50 yards. Then, you can slowly move the range out after adjusting the shot placement.


4.    Do a Manual Boresight 

If you happen to have a bolt gun, it’s safer and better to do a manual boresight. These semi-auto, laser bore sighter, or pump bore sighting devices aren’t applicable with a bolt action rifle. To do this, remove the bolt from the gun to visually check the barrel.  

Next, position the unloaded gun with the mounted rifle scope towards the target you have set. To see down the barrel and position your head where you can see correctly through the scope. We separately tried this process, and it saved us time and ammo. 

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5.    Fire the First Shot & Evaluate the Impacts

After setting up the target paper and determining the safe distance to shoot the target, carefully fire the first shot. Aim or point at the center of the target paper, or whatever the smallest part of your set target. Ensure that your eyes and even ears are in place before firing the first shot, even if you hit it at 100 yards.  

When we did this, we placed the crosshairs simultaneously and fired at least three shots to evaluate the point of impact made when shooting the target. We find this method better as it is an easier way than firing one shot to evaluate the point of impact.


6.    Make Necessary Adjustments 

After evaluating the bullet impact of the first three shots we have fired, we adjusted the scope’s elevation and windage dial. One team member said that since he usually shoots the target paper in a single shot when you bore sight-in, he adjusts the windage and elevation dial one at a time. Find out how you can sight in an AR-15 here

7.    Fire Another Shot & Make Final Adjustments

Lastly, after making the necessary fine-tuning, we suggest taking another shot to make your final adjustment in your scope. Determine your most preferred distance, fire the shot and see whether you have made the perfect adjustments needed for your scope. 

You may do this process from three, five, or even up to ten shots, whichever you prefer. If you want to conserve your ammo, shooting a smaller three-shot group is also fine. When you use heavy caliber rifles or firearms with high recoil, you may also reduce the group shots or use a Lead Sled.



Learning how to sight-in optics without a boresighting device is essential, especially when you frequently shoot or hunt. This skill just might make you a better shooter as it allows hunters to be more versatile, teaching them how to make adjustments depending on their preferred safe distances and eye relief preferences.  

After learning this process, we suggest that you carefully practice it to improve not just your sight-in process, but also improve your scope’s accuracy. Find a way to adjust your scope based on your shooting comfort and preferred hunting distance.



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