It must be about 15 years or so ago since I purchased my first bore sighter. It was one of those Bushnell units with the expandable arbors that would fit virtually any type or size of rifle/shotgun bore. At the time it was a decent piece of equipment…I used it often when mounting new scopes onto new rifles. It also came in quite handy during the hunt when there was no time for sighting-in and you wanted to check if your scope was still true after some rugged field use.
Truth is, I haven’t seen the whereabouts for that particular device for years…and quite frankly, after today I no longer mourn the loss. Even though the Bushnell unit is still sold, and I’m sure has many ardent users who will swear by its functionality…today’s laser technology, in my opinion, makes the old-fashioned bore sighters virtually obsolete.
Actually, I am rather new to the electronic age of bore sighting. I know the fancy little devices have been around for years, but up until a week or so ago I didn’t really feel it was necessary to add one to my array of equipment. That changed when I stopped by my local Cabela’s and saw a model on sale for about $50. At that price I figured it was time to check it out…and maybe it would end up being a real find.
Indeed it was…I must say as soon as I removed it from the package and pointed the laser at a building about 200 yards away I was impressed with the strength of light. Now grant you laser sighters don’t work especially well during the bright daytime hours…but if you wait until dusk these little beauties really perform quite nicely.
This particular model comes with several different adapters that allow you to sight-in any bore from a .22 up to a .50 caliber rifle. Just pick the correct adapter so the unit fits snugly into the bore…and continue to push it into your unloaded gun’s muzzle so everything is totally secure. Now turn on the sight and pick a safe target (darker targets seem to work better) at the ideal range in which you wish to zero your scope…and suddenly you are almost done. Now line up the scope’s cross-hairs with the laser dot on the target by adjusting the windage and elevation until you have your desired point of impact (red dot on target and cross-hairs aligning). It’s really as easy as that. With a little practice you can bore sight a new rifle or pistol in just a couple of minutes. Be sure to read the unit’s complete instructions because there are some factors you’ll need to take into consideration when sighting-in at short ranges (say 25 to 50 yards).
Because the process is so quick I like to actually take the bore sighter completely out of the muzzle, tighten the adapters…then reinsert the unit to do it all over again. Why do I do this? Mostly because the process of bore sighting is so quick and easy it’s really not a big hassle. Quite honestly, if after removing and replacing the sighting aid a few times I get the same settings on my scope…this helps to build my mental confidence that things are bore sighted properly for my equipment.
Keep in mind that bore sighting a gun is not a substitute for actually following up with some live round practice. I think some people seem to confuse this. Quite the contrary…bore sighting is merely an aid to hone in on getting the sights properly aligned for the barrel. In theory, as well as in practice, if everything is done correctly with both bore sighting and live round sighting…the two should be reasonably close to one another. Maybe within 4 to 6 inches, if you’re lucky…or at the very least getting you “on the paper” so you know where the gun is hitting and can then make the necessary adjustments.
Indeed, in the long run bore sighting a gun should save the sportsman money. The $50 I spent on the sighter can be quickly justified when sighting in a high-dollar cartridge, such as a .338 Winchester Magnum. It will also save you lots of frustration if you’re an occasional target shooter who admittedly is not savvy when it comes to adjusting a scope to achieve ultimate accuracy at the range or in the field. Is a bore sighter absolutely necessary…of course not. Is it worth the money…I think so. As laser technology becomes more popular the price on these units will likely drop even further.
So how did my gun actually perform after the bore sighting procedure? Next weekend I will have it at the range to run through the actual live fire tests. I suspect it won’t be perfect, but I’m hoping it will be rather close. When I first mounted the scope the cross-hairs were about a 12 inches to the right and 2 inches high at 100 yards…as compared to the bore sighter. Frankly, I will be rather impressed if the gun would have fired even that close without the benefit of bore sighting…but time will tell. Give one a try!
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.