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As you would expect, bolt-action rifles and handguns need to be boresighted as well. Here's how to git er done:
• Check if the gun is loaded; if so, unload it.
• Mount the scope on the gun if it's not already mounted. Make sure the scope and mounts do not interfere with the operation of the gun (by conflicting with the throw of the bolt handle, for example).
• Remove the bolt from the gun. This is usually very easy and only requires holding the trigger back or engaging another type of release while pulling back on the bolt.
• Place the gun on a solid rest of some type that won't mar its finish. On cushions on the hood of your truck, across the back of a sofa, or in a solid shooting rest are all choices that will work.
• While looking through the bore (barrel), carefully align the barrel with an easily identifiable distant object. It can be as close as 40 feet, or as far away as you like.
• Without moving the gun, take a look through the scope and note how far, and in which direction(s), the crosshairs are from the object in the previous step.
• Using the crosshair adjustment screws on the scope, adjust it.
• Eyeball through the bore again. If the gun has moved, re-align the bore with the object.
• Check the scope again and re-adjust as needed.
• Repeat the last two steps until the bore and scope point at the same spot.
• After boresighting, head to the shooting range to sight it in and start shooting at close range (it is recommended you start at 25 yards, no farther than 50 yards).
• Congratulate yourself on a job well done and a savings of ammunition and range time!
Becoming a straight-shooter with a scope on your rifle takes practice. If you are new to shooting, you will need to follow some basic rules on the road to greater accuracy.
Assuming you've got your scope sighted to your liking, and have the target in your crosshairs, you need to hold your breath just before you're ready to fire. You can take a deep breath and let about half of it out, or just take half a breath and hold it. This will reduce wobbling (provided you don't move any other body parts). Then, squeeze the trigger. Don't pull it or jerk it.
*Don't flinch when the gun goes off. If you have this problem, you'll have to learn to control it, or go for the rest of your life never coming close to hitting anything on purpose.
In one sense, you might say rifle scopes are all alike—just as you could say all cars are the same. But beyond the most obvious, there are scopes for rifles and shotguns for every type of game. This profusion of scope use means that there are many, many choices available in sports optics.
It is important to check out the various web hunting and shooting websites as well as the various manufacturers' sites. There's a wealth of information available, you just have to wade through it if you want to get the scope that's best for you.
When mounting hunting optics on a gun, you'll save both time and ammo if you boresight it, or align the crosshairs with the barrel, before attempting to sight it in. Follow these twelve easy steps to boresight heaven:
• Check your gun to make sure it's in good, safe working order.
• Make sure the ammunition you have is the correct cartridge for your gun. Use only the ammo your gun is marked for!
• Find a safe place to shoot, such as a public shooting range or other location with a sufficient backstop and a guarantee that no one will cross your line of fire.
• If you plan to do your shooting on private land, get permission. If on public land, check the laws governing it. Trespass with a firearm is a felony!
• Start out at close range; around 25 yards for a rifle, 15 yards with a handgun.
• Use a solid rest, and take your time. Before each shot, take a deep breath, let half of it out, then hold it.
• Fire two or three shots and note their location on the target. If they are fairly close together, you're ready to adjust your sights. If they're not, then you're probably not resting steadily or are flinching.
• Once you've shot a reasonably tight group (one or two inches with a rifle, two or three inches with a handgun), adjust your sights.
• Move the rear sight in the direction you want the bullet to go. For example, if you're shooting low, raise the rear sight. If you're shooting left, move the rear sight to the right.
• If you're using a scope, adjust the crosshairs in the direction indicated on the scope. If you're shooting low and left, turn the screws "up" and "right" the respective number of clicks (see tip 2 below).
• Shoot another group of two or three.
• Re-adjust your sights.
• Repeat the last two steps until you're on target. For rifle shooting, you'll want to fine-tune the sights, usually at a distance of 100 yards. The point of impact will sometimes be noticeably different between 25 and 100 yards.
You can find riflescopes of virtually any size, configuration, and power you want. But the most common scope by far is the 3x-9x with a one-inch tube, which comes in varying sizes of objective (front) lenses.
Some scopes come with an adjustable objective (AO) option, which can help correct for parallax at various ranges. This comes in handy if you actually want to hit something.
If hunting little critters and varmints is your game, get yourself a 1-inch 4x telescope with a 30mm objective. You will find that the wider reticule provides a larger field of view and lets you track moving targets more easily.
*You can get quality model hunting scopes for as little as 50 bucks. They will serve you a lot better than the puny entry-level scopes that come packaged with a box store rifle.
Here are a few extra tips to keep you, and your scope, well-adjusted:
• Always keep guns pointed in a safe direction.
• The per-click graduation on the scope will usually be marked (i.e. 1/4" per click at 100 yards). This means it will be 1/8" at 50 yards, etc. Guess the distance you're off by and adjust accordingly.
• Some "fixed" sights can be adjusted. If the rear sight is in a dovetail notch, try drifting it to correct for windage error. Do not whack it with a big ol' hammer! If you must whack, use a brass drift and hammer. Better yet, take it to a gun shop and have a professional do your drifting.
*Always keep guns pointed in a safe direction.
When adjusting a scope you must go the opposite direction stated on the scope. You will notice that the bore is aligned with a target, but the crosshairs are right of it. You must turn the windage adjustment screw "right" to correct this. Similar results can be had for guns other than bolt-actions through the use of a boresighting tool.
As these are a bit pricey, you might want to go a gun shop and let them boresight your scope for you. It'll be a lot easier, cheaper, plus you'll know that your scope his boresighted correctly.