Red dot scopes are designed for short-range shooting but can sometimes be used for long-range shooting. Most feature magnification that allows for short and long-range shooting.
For most people, sighting a red dot scope requires some shooting. A bit of shooting is necessary to make precise adjustments. However, there are ways you can get pretty close without shooting.
If you want precise shooting at a Minute of Angle in 100 yards, actual shooting is needed. But most experienced shooters can sight a red dot scope without shooting. They do so in a process called bore-sighting.
Looking to sight your new red dot scope without shooting. Keep reading below as I break down the process of doing it.
What is a red dot scope?
Even before we get started, let’s understand the meaning of a red dot scope. Most people confuse it with a red dot sight.
A red dot sight will not zero on a target beyond 25 yards. It’s an optic designed for short ranges below 25 yards. A red dot scope, on the other hand, introduces a magnifier to see further.
With magnification, the MOA size increases significantly. This allows a red dot scope to shoot with higher accuracy at long distances. But you need the red dot aligned with your gun barrel.
Overall, red dot scopes are easily available and affordable compared to long-range optics.
So, how to sight a red dot scope without shooting?
Sighting a red dot scope without shooting
First, you need a clear understanding of how a red dot scope works to sight it correctly.
Red dot scopes work by using an internal mirror as a reflection to create a red reticle in the picture sight.
When zeroing a red dot scope, the reticle must be aligned with your gun barrel. For most people, this aligned is done by trying a few shots.
However, you can still zero the red dot scope without using any ammo.
You need a few tools to get started. First, you need your rifle, and the red dot scope mounted. However, a more important tool required is a bore sighter.
A bore sighter is a powerful laser pointer. The laser pointer goes into the chamber or at the end of your barrel. From there, it shoots a laser out.
The bore sighter is usually the same diameter as the round the rifle is chambered for, therefore, creating a snug fit. This also ensures the laser gives a reasonable point of impact matching that of the bullets.
In addition, you need a target set ut 25 to 50 yards out. It’sIt’s pretty difficult to see with a red dot scope at distances beyond 50 yards. But we know it’s a different case when using a high-end, long-range scope.
What is possible
With the tools above, what is possible when sighting a red dot scope without shooting?
Bore sighting is not incredibly accurate as when sighting with riflescopes. But results can be extremely precise when shooting a few yards from the barrel.
The biggest issue when bore sighting is how shooters fit the laser into the chamber. Improper fitting will have a much bigger impact than distance.
Overall, bore sighting is an incredibly fast and dirty way to sight red dot scopes without shooting. It’sIt’s not the best method to sight red dot scopes accurately. But when you need to save time, bore sighting does work well at short ranges.
The process of bore sighting
The first step is to insert a laser bore sighter into the rifle chamber. A bore sighter comes in a bullet shape. Carefully insert it into the rifle barrel.
Depending on the quality of the bore sighter, it should fit snugly. A cheaper bore sighter will fit less snugly. Make sure you take this into consideration when buying one.
With the bore sighter in place, you need to select the target distance. Ideally, you need the target set at 25 or 50 yards.
Selecting the right distance is important. A red dot scope will only be accurate at the selected distance. When aiming at closer or further distances, you’ll need to compensate for the extra or reduced distance.
You need a pretty powerful laser to ensure the laser is reflected without the battery dying out soon. This is the case, especially when projecting in the daytime. You need the laser to be extremely powerful.
The bore laser will project a laser dot into your target. You then need to line up the laser with the red dot of the scope. Before any adjustments, you need the laser projecting on the target. You need to ignore the red dot at first.
Once the laser is on the target center, try and secure the rifle. The rifle should stay in place without you holding it. This can be done using sandbags, clamps, or just anything that keeps the rifle in place.
With the gun in place, you need to make some adjustments. Small adjustments are needed to line up the laser with the barrel and target.
Here, shooters need to use turrets and windage for adjustments. These adjustments need to move the red dot up and down, left and right. They should ensure the dot is positioned where the laser is aiming.
Adjusting the red dot scope does require some practice. A flathead screwdriver or a coin might be needed to make the adjustment. These tools will allow you to line up the dot with the laser precisely.
In some cases, you can try visual boresighting when using a bolt-action rifle. It’sIt’s a more traditional way to zero a picture in sight. But once the visuals are on, visual bore sighting works more like laser sighting.
Lastly, we have an optical bore sighter. It’sIt’s a more advanced way of bore sighting. It features an etched grid on the lens. This is where you attach your gun barrel. The optical bore sight should be centered and secure on the target. You need to direct the red dot to go through the lens center.
If you’ve followed the steps correctly, the red dot should precisely align with the laser. This way, you can be sur of shooting precisely without firing a
By now, you ought to know how to shoot precisely at different ranges using a red dot scope. You can zero your red dot scope at different ranges. If you’re looking at zeroing at 50 yards, start with 25 yards. Then move closer and get to 50. It becomes easier to get at 50 yards precisely when you start at short ranges.
How to enhance bore sighting
You can make bore sighting with a laser more precisely with a high-quality bore sight and a little patience. Choosing a quality bore sighter and practicing patience is what gets you consistent and accurate results without firing a shot.
Practice is crucial to getting your red dot scope zeroing without shooting. Ideally, getting close to a few MOA from your target without firing is pretty good. Small compensations can be made through windage and elevation turrets.
Overall, you cannot sight a red dot scope properly without shooting unless you use a bore sighter. The bore sight needs to fit perfectly into the gun barrel or chamber for good accuracy.
Variables can occur when you use a poor-quality bore sight. A high-quality bor sight will fit more perfectly than a cheap one. You need to compensate for these variables as they can affect a bullet’sbullet’s trajectory.
Overall, bore sighting is more ideal than no sighting at all. With some practice, you can get good accuracies without trying through some rounds.
Can you sight a red dot scope without shooting?
Yes. You can sight a red dot scope without shooting. Most shooters use a bore sighter to zero on their targets. You need to line the bore sighter laser with the red dot scope.
Can a red dot scope turn on automatically?
A few red dot scopes can turn on automatically, but not all. The few that don’t turn on automatically use either a shake-awake sensor or a vibration. A timed-auto-off function can prevent automatic turning off.
How far should a red dot be sighted?
A red dot scope is only sighted at short ranges of 100 yards or less. However, most shooters sight them at 25 to 50 yards.
Overall, shooters can get precise red dot scope sightings without shooting. Shooting helps you make adjustments and get closer to your target. However, you can zero the red dot scope without firing a round through bore sighting.
Some investments are needed to get bore sighting done correctly ad precisely. First, you need a bore sight with a good level of accuracy. You then need to get to the range and project your laser to a target 25 to 50 yards out.
Overall, bore sighting is a great first step towards accurate sighting without wasting any rounds. What’s more, red dot scopes are cheaper and a lot easier to sight than optical scopes. The idea is to picture your target through a laser and align your red dot with the laser on the target center.
Eric is a former paratrooper and current Army officer with over 15 years of combined military service. He has combat deployments to Bosnia and Afghanistan. He is was trained as an Army Small Arms Weapons Expert in 2006 and has trained at the Mid-South Shooting Academy. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with he firearms community, and can be found at themilspecguy.com.