BSA BoreSighter Kit

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

BSA BoreSighter Kit
Illustration courtesy of BSA Optics.

The importance of bore sighting a rifle after mounting scope cannot be stressed enough. Even if you buy a rifle with the scope already mounted, it is a good idea to bore sight the scope yourself.

Case in point. A few years ago, we were hunting on the Double C Ranch in south Texas. All hunters at the Double C were required to shoot on their 100 yard range upon arrival to ensure that their rifles were sighted-in. A fellow arrived from Chicago with a new Marlin .30-30 lever action rifle. He told everyone that he purchased the gun with the scope already mounted and didn't need to waste ammunition on the range. Of course, the guides informed him that he had to shoot, or he couldn't hunt.

Reluctantly, the Chicago nimrod was led to the range. He sat at the bench on the firing line and fired two quick shots, asking the guide if that was good enough. To his dismay, the guide reported: "No holes in the target." He fired again and, as expected, produced no hole in the target.

The guides put up a larger target, about 24 inches square, and he fired again. Still No holes. Finally, they put up a six foot square piece of paper covering the entire target board and had him shoot. His rifle was shooting about three feet high and three feet to the left. He was just barely on the paper. After using more than a box of ammunition, he finally got the rifle zeroed.

The point to this sad little tale is he could have saved a lot of time, frustration and ammunition if he had bore sighted his gun prior to arriving for his hunt. Unfortunately for this chap, no one at the ranch had a bore sighter, which is why he had to shoot so much to sight-in.

To quote from Chuck Hawks' article How to Bore Sight a Rifle:

"(bore sighting) does not mean that your rifle is sighted in for 100 yards, but when you go to the range to sight in your rifle, you should at least hit the paper at the preliminary distance of 25 yards. After you refine the adjustment of the scope to hit the center of the target at 25 yards, move to a 100 yard target and finish sighting in your rifle."

Fifty years ago, we used the Sweany Site-A-Line Bore Sighter. As good as it was, it could be jarred out of alignment. The reticle was held in place via four set screws and it was difficult to realign them. That said, most gunsmiths of the time used the Sweany when mounting scopes for their customers.

With the advent of laser bore sighters, many folks forgot about the "site-a-line" units, but not us. As good as the laser units are, you have to take them outside and pace off 25 yards and adjust your scope's reticle according to the instructions. Jim has a lot of trouble seeing the laser in daylight, so he yearned for the good old days. Don't get us wrong, laser bore sighters work very well. However, Jim wanted something that we could use in the shop to align our scopes and then head to the range, being confident we would at least be on the paper at 25 yards.

With the above in mind, we ordered the BSA Bore Sighter Kit, an optical bore collimator, to test. It came with fifteen arbors for calibers: .177, .22, .243 (6mm), .25, .264 (6.5mm), .270, .284 (7mm), .30, .32 (8mm), .338, .35, .375, .44, .45 and .50, as well as an adjustable arbor that fits shotgun gauges 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28. The kit includes a hard plastic case to protect the unit against damage, keep everything together and reduce the chances of misplacing an arbor.

The BSA Bore Sighter has an advantage over the old Sweany Site-A-Line, because (like most modern optical bore sighters), when viewed through a scope the BSA collimator shows a grid pattern, rather than a plain set of crosshairs.

You will need to position your rifle on a sandbag, in a gun vice, or on something like the MTM Case Guard Maintenance Center before inserting the bore sighter. Once the appropriate arbor has been inserted into the rifle's barrel, position the bore sighter so that its reticle is level with the scope reticle. Then, adjust the windage and elevation dials on your scope to align the scope's reticle with center of the BoreSighter grid and you are finished. However, since each square on the grid is equal to 4 MOA, you must be as precise as possible in aligning the grid with the reticle of your scope.

We mounted a new BSA 6-24x40 Contender riflescope on Mary's Remington Model 700 .22-250 rifle for our test of the BSA BoreSighter. After conveniently bore sighting the scope in our shop, we headed to the range. The first round at 25 yards was 2.0 inches high and 3.0 inches left.

That was better than we expected. Jim then "walked" bullets into the target's center ring with three more shots.

Jim put a target at 100 yards and fired a group. The windage was perfect, but he was 1inch high. After adjusting the elevation turret 8 clicks down (the Contender has 1/8 MOA adjustments), he fired again. He was in the X-ring. He fired three more shots and recorded a group that measured 0.75 inch.

Not too bad for an old guy. Of course, Jim was using custom loads prepared by Mary's late father, who was an expert at loading precision ammunition.

The BSA BoreSighter performs exactly as advertised. For shooters who want to bore sight their guns at home, rather than at the range, and for those of us who have trouble seeing lasers in daylight, an optical bore sighter is the way to go. In our opinion, the BSA BoreSighter kit is a handy device and well worth its 2014 MSRP of $72.95.

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Copyright 2014 by Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.