Sighting in a rifle is a skill — one that takes time to develop — and one that can be made much easier with a few tools.
Boresighting is the process of lining up your sight with the axis of your gun’s bore and is a critical first step in sighting in your scope. Boresighting creates a starting point for you to sight in your gun, and the more accurate that initial boresight shot placement is the easier it is to get on zero.
It also saves time, ammunition, and some wear and tear on your shoulder.
In This Article:
Comparison of Laser Bore Sights
Below is my list of the best laser bore sighters for 2021. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, design, and cost.
Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of bore sights.
The Best Laser Bore Sights Reviewed
1. Best Magnetic Option: Wheeler Professional
- SPECS: Class IIIR with power output of less than 5mW
- EASE OF USE: Magnetic connection quickly and easily attaches to the muzzle of the gun and can be...
- RELIABLE: Laser module permanently secured for dependable performance and hand-tuned during...
Wheeler is a household name in gunsmithing, we love their toolsets and wrenches, and their Professional Laser Bore Sighter is as good as they get. It’s also, in keeping with Wheeler’s focus on quality, one of the most expensive.
It’s available in red or green laser, which are priced slightly differently (at time of print the red will set you back $75; the green bumps the point of entry to $115).
The Wheeler Professional has a rugged aluminum housing, with a magnetic connection that allows you to directly mount it to the muzzle. There’s a switch on the housing that you simply push to activate the laser. It’s powered by a CR123 battery, which is a little harder to find than a standard AAA or CR2032, but being lithium-based it’s far superior to an alkaline.
The Class IIIR laser is a typical low-power laser common on almost any laser pointer, so there’s little danger outside of flash blinding someone within 530 feet so, as with any laser, exercise caution.
2. Best Cartridge Kit: StrongTools
- 【Caution】: Avoid the eyes to be exposed to the beam directly
- 【Contents】: 7 boresights include: 223REM, 9MM, 7.62X39MM, 30-30WIN, 30-06/.25-06/270,...
- 【Efficiency】: Increase the accuracy and speed to sight the bore for serious hunters, shooters,...
The Laser Bore Sighter Kit from StrongTools is a set of cartridge-variety bore sighters, so rather than buy a single caliber-specific bore sighter you’ll get a selection of 7 boresights from 5.56/.223, 9MM, 7.62X39MM, 30-30WIN, 30-06/.25-06/270, 243/308WIN/7MM-08REM, and 45 Colt.
These are brass cartridges that use a threaded cap to cover the battery. Screw the cap in partially to turn it on, all the way in to turn it off. It will insert in the chamber, but you may or may not be able to close the bolt. That said, you can seat the cartridge, and release the bolt slowly to apply pressure to the sighter. They will keep handguns out-of-battery, backing the slide out around a 1/2 inch.
These aren’t intended for dry-firing practice as there’s no rubber primer to protect your firing pin from wear.
3. Best Universal Option: LaserLyte
- BRIGHTNESS: Features a 5mW peak, 630-670nm, Class 3A visible red laser that is in conformance with...
- EASE OF USE: Bore sight fits into the barrel of the unloaded firearm using the included caliber...
- CONVENIENT: Includes daylight laser target for easy adjustments
I am, in general, pretty cheap, so I look for systems and tools that work with anything. The LaserLyre Universal Bore Sight Kit is a total sighting in tool set, featuring the bore sighter, adapters for multiple calibers – it works for rifle calibers from .223 to .50 BMG, as well as 20 and 12-gauge shotguns – and even a scope leveling tool for proper installation.
It’s the plastic rod type, which you insert into the muzzle of the firearm you want to sight in. You then screw in the correct adapter sleeve for the caliber of firearm you’re zeroing and with a little trial and error you can get close to a filly zeroed scope relatively quickly.
I have found these muzzle insertion-style bore sighters to be pretty finicky, and since upgrading to a magnetc style haven’t looked back. That said, these can be had for half the price, and some of my shooting buddies swear by them.
It comes in a convenient carrying case, along with 3 393 batteries, again a common miniature. Price of entry is $65, but it’s a versatile enough tool to justify the spend.
4. Best 9mm Bore Sight: CVLife
- Class IIIA laser, less than 5mW.
- Perfectly fit in 9mm chamber, caliber specific.
- High accuracy, allowing you to quickly and accurately target any scene or object. No worrying about...
The CVLIFE Bore Sight series is a lot like many other budget-focused brands made specifically for Amazon (you won’t find these in any outdoor retailers). CVLIFE makes a lot of outdoor products, and while not American-made, many of their products are a good fit for budget-minded folks.
The CVLIFE Bore Sight is similar to the StrongTools products above — they use a brass housing paired with a threaded end cap which activates and deactivates the laser by screwing in to complete the circuit. The red laser is billed to up to 100 yards of visibility.
You’ll need to purchase the specific caliber of your firearm, but the good news is they go for as little as $12 each, so no need for a second mortgage if you need more than one.
Why Use A Laser Bore Sight?
A laser bore sight, or more accurately a laser boresighter, projects a laser dot from either a module inserted or mounted to the gun’s muzzle or a caliber-specific cartridge you insert into the chamber. They’re available in rifles and pistol calibers, as well as for a variety of shotgun gauges.
Once you mount or insert the boresight, you activate the laser and point the gun at your target. The point at which the dot appears aligns with your bore axis — from there you zero the gun.
After installing a new scope on your rifle, you’ll use a boresight to align the reticle with the projected dot at 25 or 50 yards. This gets you to initial zero. You then remove the sight and shoot a group at 100 yards (or your desired zero distance) which should group within a few inches of one another.
Those of you familiar with the old Army method of zeroing an AR at 25 yards (or 25 meters) for a 200 yard/200-meter zero will cut down on set-up time considerably. Not to mention zeroing faster will save on wasted rounds, which are about worth their weight in gold these days.
You can also use a boresight to check alignment for pistols or shotgun sights, especially if installing new sights in a lateral (side-to-side) dovetail.
They’re a useful tool for rifle scope installation, as well as iron sight alignment or patterning a shotgun because the dot they project provides an unambiguous reference to where the bore is aiming. You get an idea of where the point of impact will be relative to point of aim, which is impossible to eyeball. A laser boresight also eliminates the need to remove your gun’s bolt, which is a nice time-saver as well.
What To Look For In A Laser Bore Sight
Laser bore sights are simple tools that make this relatively challenging job much easier. They’re one of the most convenient tools for optic-equipped rifles — be it your home protection AR, hunting rifle or long-range bolt action — using one will both save you time and headaches (provided you remove it before taking your zeroing shots.)
These are ideal for checking your zero in the field or periodic checkups at the range. The first time you use one after installing a new scope, you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking going without.
Oh, but it doesn’t stop with rifles; a laser bore sight is good for both rifle and pistol applications (especially if using a red dot) and even for shotguns, believe it or not.
Universal or Caliber-Specific
You’ll need to determine if you’d prefer a universal model — one that works with a variety of firearm calibers by sliding into or attaching to the end of the barrel — or a boresight designed for a specific caliber.
Diferent Styles of Bore Sighters:
The barrel-insertion boresights are essentially dongles on a rod which has a progressively larger diameter. The rod gets inserted into the muzzle of your barrel until the bore matches the diameter of the rod. These will often include an array of adapters to ensure the rod stays true to the bore axis.
While not a massive investment these barrel-insertion boresights are more expensive than the smaller caliber-specific variety, but given they are essentially universal you can use one for any number of firearms.
A cartridge-based laser boresight is similar to dry-fire training lasers. They are inserted into the chamber of your firearm which, once the action is closed, creates a tight fit between the cartridge and barrel, eliminating play between the two and providing a reliably accurate laser placement.
Cartridge-type bore sights are the more compact of the two and typically aren’t very expensive. They are, however, caliber-specific so you’ll need one for every caliber of firearm you own (luckily these are often available in sets which cover popular calibers from .22 LR to .45 ACP and larger.).
A third option is magnetic boresight, which uses very strong magnets to provide a tight connection to the firearm. These tend to be the most expensive option, but given the price point tend to be well engineered and solidly durable. They’re also universal, so one boresighter to rule them all, if you will.
The one universal consideration is batteries. Ensuring your bore sight uses commonly-available batteries will avoid headaches down the line. Many of these are also available in multiple colors, so be it a green laser or red laser, you’ll generally have your choice between the two.
- Optics Planet, Steve Ledin, How to Choose and Use a Boresight – Expert Advice from Steve Ledin
- Youtube, Backfire, How to Bore Sight a Rifle in 2 Minutes Flat
- Laser Safety Facts, Safety of Class 3R visible-beam lasers
- Wikipedia, Out-of-battery
More on scopes & optics:
Is Holosun’s 510c the best red dot sight on the market today? We put the sight to the test to determine if this budget-friendly red
Stock shotgun sights will get the job done in a pinch, but who doesn’t love customizing the sights on a new gun? We walk you through the best shotgun sights for your next scattergun.
When it comes to AR-15 optics, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. A rifle’s purpose — what you are trying to achieve with your rifle —
It’s rare to find anyone with an AR not interested in hitting their target, but — depending on the purpose of your firearm — the
Sighting in a rifle is a skill — one that takes time to develop — and one that can be made much easier with a