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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.