You don’t have to drop any cash on gadgets or take your rifle to a professional to get it dialed in, you can do it yourself. Friends and fellow hunters…let’s bore sight our rifles without any laser aids!
First, a few basic elements are required before you can sight in your rifle:
Some things are meant to work as companions, and in this case a good mounting system is an essential companion for your scope. It doesn’t matter how fancy or rudimentary your scope is, the fact remains that a solid mounting system is important to the consistent accuracy of your scope. The investment you have wrapped up in a rifle and scope is significant, but don’t be tempted to nickel and dime the mounting system – good mounts will keep your scope secure avoiding the nightmare of unreliable zeros and inconsistency in hitting your intended mark, especially when you’re afield.
My rifle is outfitted with NOMAD ZL scope mounts from iota. These are really cool. It’s a ring-base combo mounting system that has under-angled screws rather than top down screws. This design gives you a smooth appearance which is visually appealing, but more importantly it reduces the amount of dirt and moisture, plus rust, that would traditionally build up in the sockets of top down screws. Another great feature is the ZEROLIGHT technology which essentially illuminates your turrets and level in low light situations. Speaking of that level, there is a built-in anti-cant bubble level to help you make sure you’re square every time which aids in avoiding inaccurate shot placement. (Get a closer look and a more in-depth explanation of the ZEROLIGHT, anti cant technology, right here.)
Now, for the scope. I happen to be using the new Bushnell FORGE Riflescope, 4.5-27X50 with DEPLOY™ MOA SFP Reticle. I’m excited about this scope. Bushnell recently introduced three brand-new hunting lines of binoculars, spotting scopes, laser rangefinders and riflescopes. The one I have is from their new top-of-the-line FORGE lineup. There are a lot of great features about this, but from a practicality stance I think hunters are going to appreciate just how tough this thing is. Clearly the folks that developed this new line have spent a little time in the field and know that scrapes and bumps are going to happen, and they engineered it to really take a lickin’ without affecting performance. I’m using the 4.5-27x50 which gives me a lot of versatility and especially shines in long-range hunting/shooting scenarios. I’ll talk about this scope in more detail later and highlight all of its cool features, but if you’re curious now be sure to check it out.
Okay, with your scope firmly mounted on your rifle it’s time to get at it and sight it in. Now, before we dive in, it’s worth noting that some people prefer to do a preliminary sight in to get it on paper before they ever go to the range. This can save them a little time and possibly a few bucks in cartridges. However, I prefer to do it all at the range.
- Set your rifle up on a sturdy platform and use sandbags, a vise or any other suitable rest to support the rifle making it as rigid and stationary as possible.
- Remove the bolt.
- Looking through the bore of the rifle, line up the target you have placed down range in the center of the bore. (I set my target up at 100 yards.) Steady your rifle on that target.
- Without moving the rifle, now move up and look through your scope.
- Taking your cues from the position of the reticle on the target, adjust the windage (left to right) and elevation (up and down) until you center the reticle on the target.
- With your first adjustments made, it is now time to fire a round and see where you stand. Put your bolt back in, chamber a round and send it down range.
- After firing, take a close look at your target and note the point of impact. Now you need to adjust your scope to compensate for and correct your shot. This can be done a couple of different ways:
- Some people prefer to essentially measure the point of impact both up-and-down and left-to-right in inches. From there they translate that number to “clicks” on their windage and elevation dials. On my scope it is noted that “1 Click = ¼ MOA”. So, if my shot is one and half inches low and an inch to the right that would translate to 6 clicks on my elevation dial and 4 clicks on my windage dial.
- Instead of walking out to your target, measuring and counting clicks, in this instance your scope does all the work. Re-aim at the bullseye you initially intended to hit. From there, adjust your elevation and windage dials until the reticle moves and rests directly over the original bullet hole. Once you have your scope dialed in and centered on that first point of impact you should be pretty close.
- With your second set of adjustments made, re-center your rifle on the target and fire another round down range. Hopefully, this has you close or even right on center. From here, fine adjustments can be made in the same way, if necessary.
You can have the best gear in the world, the most expensive gadgets, the best hunting location – however, none of it matters if you can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Y’all, take the time, get to the range and sight-in your rifles. Shot placement is everything and means the difference between a full freezer and a hefty serving of tag soup!