Boresighting vs. Zeroing

It’s important for all shooters to learn that boresighting and zeroing in your weapon are not the same thing. Some learn the hard way and end up wasting time, money and ammo before they figure it out. But once you understand a little bit about external ballistics, not only will the difference become simple, but in the meantime, you can also become a better shooter.

What is boresighting?

Boresighting is a method of adjustment to a firearm sight to align the firearm barrel and sights.

What is zeroing?

Zeroing is a method of adjustment to the sights so that the point of aim is the point of impact.

Although you can manually sight the bore yourself, the more modern method is with a laser that either attaches to the muzzle or is inserted into the chamber. The laser will emit a strong enough beam to see up to 100 yards away so you can easily align the bore.

While boresighting will get the scope aligned with the bore, it is not 100% aligned with the point of impact from a bullet, as outside factors such as wind and gravity will affect the trajectory of a flying object. The goal of boresighting is to get on paper. The goal of zeroing is to make the correct adjustments to guarantee the bullet hits where you’re looking.

The goal of boresighting is to get on paper. The goal of zeroing is to hit where you’re looking.

These are both essential steps before you start shooting seriously. Those who don’t boresight their weapon will go out to the field and waste round after round just trying to get on paper because their sights aren’t aligned. Others believe the misconception that boresighting will automatically zero their gun, so they hit a bullseye at 25 yards but are then frustrated that they’re multiple inches off at 100 yards. This happens because they don’t take external ballistics into account.

External ballistics deals with factors affecting the behavior of a projectile in flight.

Once the bullet leaves the barrel, gravity will start to affect its vertical movement, and wind will affect the horizontal movement. The farther your bullet goes, the more it will drop. This is why zeroing your weapon at 100 yards won’t zero it for 200 yards as well. Most firearm optics and sights come with adjustable knobs for elevation and windage for this very reason, and the MOA (Minute of Angle) measurement will tell you how much you need to adjust the scope at a certain yardage.

When you’ve both boresighted and properly zeroed your weapon, you’ll be prepared to shoot any target or game that comes your way.

Click here to buy a Sightmark Boresight.

Boresighting a Pistol

 “When you read about “accuracy” of any given handgun, know that unless machines are involved, what you’re really getting is an indication of that pistol’s ability to be shot accurately. — Tom McHale Shooting Illustrated

When we say a pistol is ‘accurate,’ we mean it consistently hits where we aim. A lot goes into whether a gun is accurate. The barrel, fittings and how precisely-machined all the parts affect accuracy. The sighting system affects accuracy. But we can’t blame all accuracy issues on the pistol. Most accuracy problems originate with you, the shooter. If you have the fundamentals of pistol shooting down—your aim, stance, grip and how you manipulate the trigger—than you should be shooting pretty darn straight. If you are still having problems punching holes into holes from a self-defense distance (10 feet and under), there just might be an issue with the gun.

So, where do you begin?

Inserting a laser boresight into a Ruger pistol
Increase your accuracy with Sightmark’s in-chamber boresights.

Let’s start by inspecting the sighting system you have on your gun—iron sights, night sights, lasers and red dots all need sighting-in to make sure they are aligned properly. Surprisingly, a lot of us just compensate our aim to match that of our gun’s sights from the factory. For example, if your sights are off, which they could very well be, we simply just shoot low left, or high right—whichever way your sights are set—to hit bullseye. It is not good to compensate our aim for offset optics or sights.

Why does accuracy matter?

To stop a threat, you must be able to hit vital organs. Inaccuracy could mean the bad guy wins.

What Happens to Your Body During a Self-Defense Shooting

When we are faced with a threat, our bodies dump adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol into our bloodstream, preparing us to either stay and fight or run. Our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increase, our pupils dilate and our muscles tense. This dump of hormones can cause memory problems, loss of hearing and create tunnel vision.

In a self-defense situation, you won’t be able to take your time to aim. You won’t focus on the front sight. That is why we put lasers, red dots and high-visibility aftermarket sights on our handguns. Anytime we get a new handgun or a new sighting system, we need to make sure our sights or optic is centered with the bore. This makes your gun more accurate. An in-chamber boresight is a perfect way to do this and saves you time and money.

What is a Laser Boresight?

Zero your pistol from 15-100 yards.

A laser boresight is a preliminary method of getting your sights dialed in without using a lot of ammo at the range. Using a laser diode, it projects a red dot on a target, making it easier for you to center your sights and optics. Sightmark’s pistol boresights are caliber-specific and placed directly in your firearm’s chamber.

How to Boresight a Pistol

Using a pistol boresight is simple.

  1. Unload your firearm and pointing it in a safe direction, stabilize it using a benchrest or shooting bags.
  2. Hang a target 15 to 25 yards out.
  3. Unscrew the bottom of the boresight and insert the batteries according to the instructions. The boresight automatically turns on when the batteries are inserted correctly.
  4. Put the laser boresight into the chamber.
  5. Close the slide.
  6. Line the laser beam on to the center of the target.
  7. Look through your optic and using your windage and elevation knobs, adjust the crosshairs or dot until it lines up with the dot of the laser boresight. If you do not have an optic and just want to calibrate your sights, aim as you would regularly and then use a pistol sight adjustment tool to correct for windage and elevation.

As mentioned above, most inaccuracy problems can’t be blamed on the gun. There are a few things we can do besides improving our own technique to help increase accuracy. Accuracy isn’t just for precision shooters or competitors. Accurate is something we must all aim to be. For a small price to pay and a few minutes, a laser boresight might just make all the difference.

Pick your laser boresight out by clicking here.

Do you have any tips on how to improve accuracy? Help other shooters and leave them below in the comment section.

Zero Your Handgun With Sightmark’s New .380 ACP Laser Boresight!

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/01/30) – Worry no more, .380 ACP owners—Sightmark has your zeroing needs covered with their redesigned .380 ACP Laser Boresight (SM39046). The perfect tool for boresighting and zeroing your pistol from 15-100 yards, this unit is more compact than the previous model, helping to fit into more compact .380 ACP handguns.

Inserting a laser boresight into a Ruger pistol
Increase your accuracy with Sightmark’s in-chamber boresights.

Far more accurate than a muzzle-attached boresight, the Sightmark .380 ACP Laser Boresight chambers directly in your firearm, just like a normal round, allowing precision accuracy when sighting in. The boresight’s brass construction helps not only with durability, but also improves chambering and ejection. Extremely lightweight and no larger than a standard .380 ACP bullet, this boresight is easily stored for use at the range or ranch. The .380 ACP Boresight provides 1 hour of battery life from two AG5 batteries and includes batteries and a carrying case.

Zero your pistol from 15-100 yards.

How to Boresight a Rifle

When you purchase a new optic for your rifle, that optic is not going to be accurate right out of the box. Before depending on your optic to help you hit exactly where you mean, you’ll have to zero it. Sighting in your scope can take a long time and waste a lot of ammo. Fortunately, there is a solution.

There is a more efficient and faster way of zeroing in a new optic. By using a laser boresight, you save time and money by making sighting-in much faster without using any ammo!

Bore sighting is a reliable way to align your reticle, sights and scope’s crosshairs with the true center of the gun’s barrel—which is the bore. Boresights use a laser diode to project a dot on a target much like a laser pointer, making it easy to see when your crosshairs align with the laser. Since the two run parallel to each other, they can only truly zero at a given distance. This is typically 25 yards.

You can bore sight any firearm—AR-15 and other MSWs, shotgun, bolt-action, and handguns. Bore sighting also works on any sighting system—red dot, reflex, riflescopes, holograph and even your iron or night sights.

There are two different types of laser boresights—one you put directly into the chamber and one you insert into the barrel.

In-Chamber

In-chamber boresights are inserted directly into your gun’s chamber, so they must be caliber-specific and made to the same dimensions and specs as a cartridge in that caliber. These types of boresights are the most accurate. These can, however, become costly If you have firearms in multiple calibers that you need to sight in, because you must purchase a separate boresight for each caliber.

Man inserting a brass-cased in-chamber Sightmark boresight into his AR-15.
In-chamber boresights are accurate and easy to use.

Laser boresight cartridges are easy to use. You simply turn them on and insert it into the chamber of your firearm like you would a live round or snap cap.

Sightmark in-chamber boresights are superior to competitors, due to the multiple set screws that lock in the laser diode, ensuring the laser stays straight and centered. To test an in-chamber boresight’s accuracy, roll your laser boresight on a flat surface, the laser should stay straight along the wall as you roll it. If the dot rotates, you know the diode is canted and you won’t be able to accurately zero-in your scope.

Made of high-quality brass, the Sightmark boresights are calibrated to make sure the laser is true to center, and measure precisely the same specs as a live round. The extensive offerings include 12- and 20-gauge shotgun, the most popular self-defense handgun calibers, and over 30 different hunting, defense, sporting, and popular rifle calibers—including .223/5.56, .308, .50, .300 BLK and 6.5 Creedmoor.

Using an In-Chamber Boresight

  1. Use a benchrest, shooting bags, or other platform that stabilizes your gun. Make sure the firearm is completely unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Hang a target 15 to 25 yards out.
  3. Remove the batteries from the boresight packaging and unscrew the bottom of the boresight. Insert the two batteries according to the instructions. The boresight will automatically turn on when the batteries are inserted correctly.
  4. Lock your bolt open to the rear.
  5. Put the laser boresight into the chamber.
  6. You may close the bolt or leave it open.
  7. Line the laser beam on to the center of the target.
  8. Look through your optic and using your windage and elevation knobs, adjust the reticle, dot or crosshairs until it lines up with the dot of the laser boresight.

Universal Boresights

Other boresights are either attached or inserted into the barrel. Most boresights that you must insert into the barrel come with a set of arbors that will modify the boresight to fit different barrel sizes. These types of boresights are the most affordable, but they do come with some disadvantages.

  • Arbors are small and can get lost easily. They also wear out and break.
  • The entire boresight itself can play against the barrel, causing inaccuracy.
  • Safety concerns. Forgetting to remove a boresight from the barrel can result in a catastrophic accident.
Image shows a rifle with a barrel blown up in three pieces, split down the center from a forgotten in-barrel boresight
This barrel blew up when a competitor’s boresight was forgotten inside.

Sightmark’s universal boresights provide a much safer way to boresight if you prefer this type of boresight over an in-chamber boresighter. If you have looked at any firearm failure montages or spent any good deal of time on gun blogs and forums, you have probably seen the blown-up barrel caused by an in-barrel boresight. Our universal laser boresights securely stay on your rifle, shotgun, or pistol via a heavy-duty magnet. Only a small portion of the arbor goes inside the barrel. They incorporate a self-centering arbor, so you never have to worry about losing pieces or breaking parts. They will sight in firearms .17 to .50 caliber.

 

Using the Universal Boresight and Universal Boresight Pro

  1. Use a benchrest, shooting bags, or other platform that stabilizes your gun. Make sure the firearm is completely unloaded and point it in a safe direction.
  2. Hang a target 15 to 25 yards out.
  3. Remove the Universal Boresight from the package. Turn the unit on. To preserve battery life, the Universal Boresight Pro will only activate when the arbor is pressed in when it is attached to the barrel.
  4. Remove any suppressor or muzzle device you have on your firearm.
  5. Simply attach the boresight to the end of the barrel.
  6. Look through your optic and using your windage and elevation knobs, adjust the reticle, dot or crosshairs until it lines up with the dot of the laser boresight.

It’s as easy as that!

Now, you are ready to head to the range to make precise adjustments to your riflescope. It shouldn’t take but a few rounds to zero it in.

You will want to bore sight your firearm any time you get a new optic, upgrade factory sights, for a competition, before hunting, and on a firearm that has been in storage.

Click here to buy boresights from Sightmark.

Do you have questions about boresights? Leave them below and we will do our best to answer them.

Save Your Ammo with Sightmark’s 6.5 Creedmoor Laser Boresight

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2017/11/16) – Nobody likes taking the time to sight-in their rifle. Wasted time and ammo, as well as frustration when fine-tuning, are just a few of the reasons why laser in-chamber boresights are becoming increasingly popular. Perhaps even more popular is the 6.5 Creedmoor rifle cartridge, which is dominating the long-range precision shooting and hunting game. Lucky for those who stay on the forefront of popular cartridges, Sightmark is proud to announce a 6.5 Creedmoor laser boresight (SM39020) that can also be used for .22-250 chambered rifles.

6.5 Creedmoor laser boresight
The new 6.5 Creedmoor boresight will also fit .22-250 rifles.

The quickest way to reliably zero your 6.5 Creedmoor or .22-250 firearm, this laser boresight is inserted into your rifle like a standard cartridge. A red laser shines through the tip of the boresight and out the barrel, allowing shooters to easily align their reticle to the boresight and get on paper for fine adjustments.

The boresight’s brass construction makes it durable and improves chambering and ejection. Since it is the size of a standard cartridge, the Sightmark 6.5 Creedmoor Laser Boresight is easily packed for travel and is extremely lightweight. The boresight is powered by 2x AG5 batteries and includes the appropriate batteries and a carrying case.

 

Sightmark Takes Home the Hardware

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2017/10/19) – Voted on by Optics Planet’s “Hand-Selected Product Experts” the winners of the Optics Planet 2017 Brilliance Awards are in. After competing against tens of thousands of products, Sightmark walked away with two Brilliance Awards in the following categories:

Best Boresighter: Sightmark OPMOD G.U.M.B. Limited Edition Green Universal Boresight

Best Gen 1 Night Vision: Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 Night Vision Goggle Kit

Black, night vision goggle kit
The Ghost Hunter night vision goggle kit wins Optics Planet 2017 Brilliance Award.

Powered by a single CR2 battery, the Optics Planet Exclusive Limited Edition Green Universal Boresight attaches magnetically to the barrel of any size pistol or rifle, saving the shooter money on wasted cartridges and the expense of buying different boresighters for different caliber barrels.

Sightmark’s Ghost Hunter 1×24 Goggle Kit was chosen to be Optics Planet best Gen 1 Night Vision Goggle due to its ability to deliver high-quality image and resolution. The Sightmark Ghost Hunter 1×24 from Sightmark is equipped with a head mount for comfortable, long-lasting, hands-free operation. Safeguards include an automatic shut-off when exposed to bright light sources, ensuring years of operation and its built-in IR illuminator comes in handy when natural ambient light is not enough. Of course, both units are backed with Sightmark’s hassle-free Lifetime Warranty.

 

Sightmark Unveils 10th Anniversary Boresight Kit

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2017/08/01) – In celebration of a full decade of improving accuracy and enriching the shooting experiences of professionals and enthusiasts alike, Sightmark is excited to unveil a limited edition 10th Anniversary Laser Boresight Kit. This brilliantly polished stainless-steel set not only looks great on a desk, the boresights are fully functional and cover a wide range of popular calibers.

Bright, polished stainless steel boresight kit for 9mm to 12-gauge shotguns
The polished stainless steel boresight kit is a limited edition.

The all-new Sightmark 10th Anniversary Laser Boresight Kit (SM39045) includes in-chamber devices, each powered by 2x AG5 or 3x AG3 batteries, for 9mm handguns; .223/5.56, .243, .25-06, .270 .30-06, .308 and 7.62×54-cal. centerfire rifles; and 12-gauge shotguns. While the kit is compact and lightweight, the distinctive high-gloss, black-finish decorative display case is perfect for your desk or display cabinet until a little range time calls these boresights into action. Each boresight includes a red <5mW laser and on/off end cap to save on battery life.

Sightmark pioneered in-chamber boresights and the brand is still a trusted favorite when sighting in. From .17 HMR up to 12-gauge shotgun, Sightmark’s boresights are sure to get you on target faster while saving you money on ammo.

Sight-in in Seconds With Sightmark’s Universal Green Laser Boresight Pro

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2016/10/20) – Sighting in an optic can be a time consuming and cartridge-killing task. Designed to reduce ammo waste, the Sightmark Universal Green Laser Boresight Pro (SM39044) attaches to the end of your barrel and produces a strong green laser, allowing you to sight-in or double-check zero on your rifle, shotgun, or pistol with ease. Using its retractable arbor design and an ultra-strong, expanding base, this versatile boresight fits standard .17-.50 caliber barrels.

The Universal Green Laser Boresight Pro’s durable, compact design makes it extremely easy to pack and transport. CR123A batteries, a digital on/off, and mode controls deliver exceptionally long life. The retractable arbor also helps with battery life and on/off functionality of the laser, allowing the unit to turn on once the arbor is depressed and turn off when removed from the barrel.

Stop wasting time and ammo at the range trying to get on paper. The Sightmark Universal Green Laser Boresight Pro gets you on there in seconds so you can spend more time (and ammo) making fine adjustments.

 

 

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