How to bore sight a rifle

Get zeroed


How to bore sight a rifle

Table of Contents

How to bore sight a rifle. Bore sighting is a crucial step in getting your rifle to shoot accurately. In this guide, we’ll show you how to use a bore sighter or naked eye and fine-tune your rifle’s zero for better accuracy. Follow our step-by-step instructions and you’ll be hitting your targets with ease.

Here are the steps for how to bore sight a rifle:

  1. First, gather the tools you’ll need.
  2. Next, set up your rifle and target. 
  3. Adjust the scope.
  4. Fine-tune at the range. 

Note: The “1-inch low at 25 yards” rule of thumb 

Keep in mind that bore sighting is just a rough approximation of where your shots will hit, and it’s not a replacement for actually shooting at a range. However, it can be a useful tool to help you get your rifle’s scope roughly zeroed in before you start fine-tuning your shots.

1. Gather the tools

You can use a bore sighter, which is a device that fits into the bore of your rifle and projects a laser beam onto a distant target. Alternatively you can just do it the old fashioned way and take the bolt out a take a look down the bore yourself with the mark one eyeball.

You’ll also need a stable surface to rest your rifle on. A rifle stand or vise, sandbags or shooting bags are good.

Also something to use as a target (some here you can print out). Free printable targets.

You will also need the tools to adjust the scope in its mount/s.

Laser bore sighter
.308 Laser Bore Sighter

2. Set up your rifle and target

Place the target 20 meters (25 yards) away, then, make sure your rifle is unloaded, and then rest it on a stable surface with the barrel pointed towards the target. Adjust the position of the rifle and target so that the laser beam from the bore sighter is hitting the center of the target. Or if you are looking down the bore, the bore is centered on the target.

3. Adjust the scope

Now, look through the scope and see where the reticle (crosshairs) are in relation to the laser beam on the target. If the reticle is not lined up with the same place on the target, then you’ll need to make adjustments to the scope to move the reticle into position.

Most scopes have turrets (knobs) on the top and side that you can use to make these adjustments.

4. Fine-tune at the range.

Once you’ve roughly zeroed in the scope using the methods above, you’ll need to fine-tune your shots at the range. This involves firing several shots and adjusting the scope based on where the bullets are hitting. After a few shots, you should be able to get your rifle zeroed in and ready for more precise shooting.

"1-inch low at 25 yards" Rule of thumb

There is a rule of thumb on how to bore sight a rifle that tends to be true for a fair few rifles. That is instead of bore sighting your scope to be precisely on target at 25 yards (20 meters). Adjust the sight to be an 1″ (25 mm) low at 25 yards (20 meters). This is generally close to having the rifle zeroed at 100 yards (90 meters).

This is assuming the scope center line is 1.5 – 2 inches (35 – 50 mm) above the center line of the rifle bore.

How to bore sight a rifle
Bore sighted at center and 1 inch low


Bore sighting is by no means the definitive way of zeroing your firearm. It can, however, at least put you on the target so you can avoid hours of frustration trying to see where your fall of shot lands when you start chucking rounds down range.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Bore sighting can be accurate to a limited extent. It’s primary function is to get a rough zero so that when you get to the range you do not waste time and expensive ammunition trying to get the first rounds on the target somewhere. Once the bore sighting has you on the target then you can begin the process of fine tuning your zero with live rounds.

You can bore sight a rifle using a laser bore sighting tool or your naked eye. Both methods can be effective in aligning the rifle barrel with your sight.

Bore sighting is needed if you want to zero your rifle in the most efficient manner. Bore sighting saves both time and money.

You can bore sight a rifle with iron sights or with open sights in the same manner you bore sight a rifle with a scope. Allowing you to roughly zero the rifle before firing at targets. This saves time and money.

You can bore sight any rifle caliber including a 22LR.  Allowing you to get an initial zero that you can fine tune later in the field.  This saves ammunition and time.

In vast majority of cases people find laser bore sighters accurate enough to the do the job of getting an initial zero. No bore sighting will ever take the place of getting down and fine tuning you rifles zero by sending some shots down range.

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