Sighting a red dot scope is not that difficult when you have the freedom to shoot. But it is not the case in the neighborhood. On top of that, having to shoot multiple shots just to zero the scope is kind of a waste. Hence, knowing how to sight a red dot scope without shooting is pretty helpful.
We humans have a long history of warfare. Previously swords dominated the war, but the invention of guns changed everything for good. Even though the history of war is well behind us, guns are still around and enjoyed as a good sport.
Unless you are in the military, which I know that you are not, otherwise you would not be reading this, you are most likely to be using a red dot sight. In this article, we will discuss exactly that, how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting.
But first, here are the basics –
What Is A Red Dot Scope?
A red dot scope is one of the basic scopes used to pinpoint the target. They typically do not have anything crazy going on like crazy magnifications, zooming, or night vision. They are simply a glass pane surrounded by plastic or metal borders that provides the crosshair to target the target.
Types Of Red Dot Scopes
Despite the simplicity, a red dot scope can be categorized into different types based on their structure and the guns they are intended to be used with. Structurally they are of two groups. One is to be used with pistols or handguns, and the other is for rifles and shotguns.
The first ones are typically smaller in size and more compact compared to the second type. Although they can be interchanged and used nearly equally effectively, they work best with the gun recommended.
Based on functionality, the scopes are a lot more diverse, and the differences are blurred. Some red dots may have a bit of magnification, while some others may have a different crosshair type, which is more useful.
But for the most part, red dot scopes do not have any magnification, and they have a simple cross mark at the center. We will be talking about this type of scope and be zeroing with a bolt action rifle.
How To Sight In A Red Dot Scope?
Sighting a scope means aligning the crosshair of the scope with the position the shot actually lands.
Sighting With Shooting
When you have the freedom to shoot shots, life becomes so much easier. All you got to do is to make a grid with 1-inch x 1-inch cells and place it as the target. Place the scope on your firearm and prepare the rifle for shooting.
Make a quick assumption where your shot will land and put the crosshair at the center. Take a shot, measure how off you are, adjust the scope accordingly. After a few shots, you will be ready.
But as I mentioned, it is not possible all the time, especially in the neighborhood. So –
Sighting Without Shooting
In my opinion, it is a good practice to sight your scope via the following methods first before shooting, even if you have the freedom to shoot to sight. The methods I will be mentioning are fairly simple and not that time consuming at all. All you have to do is to fire only a shot or two on the range to perfectly zero it. Here’s how it goes:
Using Laser Boresight
Using laser boresight is a common and effective way to quickly sight your scope without firing. You can buy one online easily, and it should also be available in your local gun shop. They are basically lasers with a long narrow stick-like tail. To sight with a laser boresight,
- Insert the tail of the laser through the muzzle and lock it there. Use the appropriate adapter if needed. Adapters will come in the package with the boresight.
- Install the scope on the rifle and prepare the stand at the firing position.
- Place the rifle on the stand as if ready to fire. But instead of firing, turn the laser on.
- Take a position and look through the scope. Keep note of how off your crosshair is from the laser.
- Adjust the scope until your crosshair meets the laser.
- Start the same process from a 25 yards distance. Repeat the process and gradually make your way up to 100 yards or whatever you prefer.
Pros Of Laser Bore Sighting
- It is fast.
- It is continuous—no need to stop to reload the rifle.
- No kickbacks from the rifles.
- The bore sighting tool is not very expensive and available.
- It is cost-efficient compared to scoping while shooting, especially for beginners.
Cons Of Laser Bore Sighting
- It is not a 100% reliable process, especially if your boresight has defects.
- Even if your boresight is perfect, you will still need last-minute adjustments at the range because the boresight does not count bullet drop and crosswind.
Sighting Without Any Tools
Sighting your firearm without the aid of any tool is another option. While it is somewhat reliable, it is not perfect. But it could get you going in the moment of emergency, especially if you forgot to bring the laser boresight, or it just died on you at the range.
For this process –
- Place your firearm on the stand at the shooting position of about 25 yards away from the target.
- Take off the bolt from the rifle. This will allow you to look through the barrel freely.
- Look through the scope and center the crosshair on the target.
- Now look through the barrel and locate the target. You will likely need to move and turn your gun slightly to be able to see the spot, as the scope will initially not be sighted.
- Once the target is located, freeze the gun.
- Look through the scope without moving the gun and take note of how off your crosshair is.
- Make adjustments as necessary to bring the crosshair back on the target.
- Repeatedly look through the scope and the barrel until both matches.
- You can increase the distance if you want to, but it will lose effectiveness the further you go.
- The simplest method of sighting without spending any budget on it.
- Can be performed at any time, at any spot, no preparations required.
- It takes barely any time to perform.
- One of the most inaccurate methods of sighting a scope. You are almost guaranteed to be off from the target when you start shooting.
- Ineffective when sighting at a greater distance and not effective at night.
Despite all the limitations, why did I mention this one? The reason is it is a good starting point. Once this one is done, you can very easily perfect the sighting with only a shot or two. As I mentioned before, this will come in handy when your laser boresight or other similar tools gives up on you.
Shooting as a sport is fun, and sighting is a crucial part of shooting. However, keep the risk in mind. Never try to sight a scope in the neighborhood with actual shots. And even in the range, always be careful of where you are and what you are shooting at.
Follow the rules and instructions, and you will not have to worry about sighting anymore. More importantly, once the process is practiced enough, it becomes a habit, and it will seem increasingly easier.
The final word is “be patient” when sighting and when shooting. And that concludes our guide on how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting.