When it comes to any style of shooting precision is key. Whether you’re an experienced marksman or a novice refining your skills, consistently hitting your target with pinpoint accuracy is important. This is where laser boresighters, often referred to as laser boresights, can help you achieve an initial zero.

Laser boresights are a tools that facilitate the alignment of your firearm’s sights or optics with the bore of the barrel. By providing a reference point, they enable you to tune your weapon, ensuring that your shots mind their mark. In this article we will explore the world of laser boresights, including their functionality, types, benefits, and how to use them effectively. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to save both time and money on your way to achieving an initial zero.

What Is a Laser Boresight?

A laser boresight is a tool that helps align a firearm’s sights or scope with the barrel. It works by projecting a laser beam onto a target. This laser point allows shooters to adjust their sights without firing a shot, saving time and ammo. Its purpose is to make initial sighting easier and ensure your shots hit the target accurately.

laser boresight
Laser Boresight

What is the Range of a Laser Bore Sight?

The effective range of a laser boresight depends on several factors. These include the power of the laser, the quality of the optics, and atmospheric conditions. In general, most laser boresighters have an effective range of around 10 to 25 yards.

It’s important to note that the brightness of the laser beam diminishes with distance, making it less visible beyond the specified range. When using a laser boresight, it’s essential to be within the specified range and consider environmental factors for accurate and reliable results.

Laser Power

The power of the laser in a boresight affects how far and how brightly the laser dot can be seen. Higher-powered lasers can produce a dot visible at greater distances, even in daylight conditions. However, regulations and safety considerations may limit the maximum power of consumer laser boresights.

Lighting Conditions

Lighting conditions play a significant role in the visibility of a laser boresight. In bright daylight, the laser dot may be harder to see and thus limit the effective range of the device. Conversely, in low-light conditions or indoors, where glare is not a concern, the laser dot can be seen at longer distances.

How Far Should I Sight My Rifle With Laser Boresight?

Sighting your rifle with a laser boresight involves selecting the right distance based on your rifle type and intended use. Here’s the basic breakdown:

  • Iron Sights: If you’re using traditional iron sights, a common sighting distance is around 25 to 50 yards (23 to 46 meters). This range works well for handguns, shotguns, and rifles with basic iron sights.
  • Red Dot Sights: Red dot sights are versatile and can be sighted in at various distances. Many shooters prefer sighting them at 50 yards for a balance between short and medium-range accuracy.
  • Low-Power Variable Optics (LPVO): LPVOs are often set at 100 yards because they are suitable for short to medium-range engagements. This distance accommodates the 1x setting for close-quarters shooting and the magnified settings for longer ranges.
  • High-Powered Scopes: For precision shooting and long-range applications, scopes are commonly sighted in at 100 to 200 yards or farther. The specific distance depends on your ammunition, caliber, and shooting conditions.

Caliber

The caliber of a firearm refers to the diameter of the barrel’s internal bore and, by extension, the diameter of the bullet that is fired through it. Different calibers have varying ballistics and will therefore influence the ideal distance for sighting with a laser boresight. Higher caliber rifles, with their longer range and flatter trajectories, may be sighted in at longer distances compared to lower calibers.

Intended Use

The intended use of the firearm—whether for close-quarters tactical situations, mid-range hunting, or long-range target shooting—also dictates the optimal sighting range with a laser boresight. For example, a home-defense handgun may only need to be laser-sighted for distances as close as 10-25 yards, whereas a hunting rifle might be sighted at 100 yards to provide a good zero for various shooting distances.

Considering factors like laser power, lighting conditions, caliber, and intended use, shooters can employ laser boresights to achieve precise alignment of their firearm’s sights with the barrel, enhancing their overall tactical shooting capability.

Ammunition Type

When deciding on the ideal sighting distance for your rifle with a laser boresight, it’s crucial to consider the type of ammunition you plan to use. Ammunition characteristics, such as bullet weight, velocity, and ballistic performance, significantly impact the choice of sighting distance. For example, heavier bullets generally have a different trajectory and drop compared to lighter ones, and faster bullets may require adjustments in sighting distance. Understanding how your chosen ammunition behaves over various ranges is essential for accurate and effective shooting. 

Speaking of caliber there are two main types of boresights. There are universal laser boresights designed to fit different firearms by using shims, and there are caliber specific laser boresights. Which one is best for you depends on if you have multiple calibers you plan on using the bore sight with.

Universal laser boresights
Caliber specific and universal laser boresights

Laser Boresighting Tips & Best Practices

For successful laser boresighting and zeroing rifles, consider the following tips:

  • Stable Platform: Begin by securing your firearm in a stable gun vice or rest to eliminate movement.
  • Target Placement: Set up your target at the desired zeroing distance, ensuring it’s level and clearly visible.
  • Alignment: Carefully insert the laser boresighter into the firearm’s chamber or muzzle, following the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it’s seated properly.
  • Adjustments: Adjust the scope or sights until the crosshairs or sight picture align with the laser dot on the target.
  • Fine-Tuning: After initial adjustments with the laser boresighter, fine-tune the zero by shooting at the target and making any necessary corrections.

Limitations of Laser Boresights

While laser boresights are a tools, it’s important to understand their limitations are severe. First and foremost, laser boresights are not meant to provide a final zero for your firearm. They serve as initial aids to get you on paper but are not a substitute for live firing. Expecting them to deliver accuracy is unrealistic.

One important factor to consider is laser beam divergence, which can result in the laser dot appearing larger as it travels downrange. Additionally, visibility issues can arise in very bright conditions, affecting the clarity of the laser dot. Furthermore, achieving perfect bore-to-barrel alignment can be challenging, introducing slight inaccuracies.

However, these limitations are not insurmountable challenges but rather inherent to the technology. Properly understanding and using laser boresights within their intended role can greatly enhance your shooting accuracy and save valuable time and ammunition at the range.

Can You Laser Boresight a Rifle at 100 Yards?

Nope. Laser boresights by in large are not nearly powerful enough to be seen at 100 yards with any sort of sunlight or ambient light present.

An alternative method for zeroing is to first use the laser boresight for an initial approximation and then perform live-fire zeroing to fine-tune the sights or scope.

What is Laser Level Accuracy?

Laser level accuracy, in the context of boresighting refers to the degree of precision with which the laser aligns with the firearm’s bore. While laser boresights can ensure you’re on paper at 50 yards, they are not foolproof. The device may get you close to your target, but it is unlikely to provide accuracy without further live-fire adjustments.

Is Green or Red Laser Better for Bore Sighting?

Choosing between green and red lasers for boresighting boils down to visibility and personal preference. Here are factors to consider:

  • Visibility: Green lasers are typically more visible than red, especially in daylight or bright environments.
  • Battery Life: Red lasers generally consume less power than green, offering longer battery life.
  • Price: Red laser boresights tend to be less expensive than their green counterparts.
  • Eye Sensitivity: The human eye is more sensitive to green light, making green lasers easier to spot.

Maintenance & Care Tips

Proper maintenance and care are essential for the accuracy and longevity of laser boresights. Consider these guidelines:

  • Storage: Keep your laser boresight in a protective case away from moisture and extreme temperatures.
  • Battery Care: Remove batteries when the boresight is not in use to prevent corrosion.
  • Cleaning: Wipe the laser lens gently with a soft cloth to remove any dust or fingerprints that could diffuse the laser beam.
  • Regular Checks: Test the boresight for accuracy periodically by checking its alignment against known reference points.

By adhering to these tips and recognizing the limitations of laser boresights, shooters can effectively use these devices as part of a comprehensive zeroing and firearm maintenance routine.

Do laser boresighters really work? 

Yes, laser boresighters work effectively for the initial sighting-in of firearms. They are used to align sights and scopes with the bore before fine-tuning with live ammunition.

What is the range of a laser bore sight? 

The effective range of a laser bore sight typically falls within 50 yards. The visibility of the laser at longer distances can vary depending on lighting conditions and the color and power of the laser.

Is green or red laser better for bore sighting? 

Green lasers tend to be more visible than red, especially in bright conditions, making them preferred for bore sighting. However, red lasers have longer battery life and are usually more cost-effective.

Can you zero a red dot with laser boresight? 

Yes, a red dot sight can be initially zeroed using a laser boresight. It can get the red dot close to the target, but live fire adjustments will be necessary for precise zeroing.

Conclusion

Laser boresighting is a step towards achieving shooting precision, offering a quick and efficient means to align your firearm’s sights with the barrel. As you integrate this tool into your tactical equipment, remember that while it streamlines the zeroing process, but it can only be complemented with live fire adjustments. For those looking to enhance their shooting setup, Tacticon provides a selection of laser boresighters and related accessories, designed to fit various calibers and firearm types. Embrace the precision that laser boresighting can bring to your marksmanship, and let Tacticon be your ally in fine-tuning your aim to perfection.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tacticon Armament.