What is a Rifle Scope Collimator?
When you’re shooting, the idea is to have the most accurate aim to successfully hit your target. The refraction of light through the scope lens can interfere with the accuracy of your aim. One way to prevent this is by using a bore sighting device.
A quick way to check if your riflescope reticle is centered is to rotate the scope while it’s secured in its mounts and simultaneously look through a boresight grid. If the reticle moves in a circle that is much larger than the grid or the target object, the reticle is not centered and it means it’s time for you to bore sight your riflescope.
What Does “Bore Sighting” Mean?
Bore sighting refers to the adjustments you make to the sights used with a rifle scope to align the optic and the sights. This can be achieved by using a rifle scope collimator or bore sighter. The device consists of an optic head attached to an arbor, which is attached to a rifle through the muzzle. The grid on the optic is meant to be aligned with the sights of the rifle scope barrel.
In the previous times, bore sighting involved dismantling the bolts and screws and sighting the bore of the gun. Nowadays, the rifle doesn’t need to be tampered with. The scope and sights are adjusted to improve your aim. This can be achieved with the help of a laser.
For shooters bore sighting with a laser, you simply have to fit the laser into the barrel (making sure that there are no bullets in the weapon) and switch it on. Adjust the rifle so that the laser dot is directly on the target. Once you’re sure of this, switch to your optic. Just like the laser, your target should be centered on your scope lens. If it’s not aligned, adjust the turrets of your scope till this is achieved. Make sure to remove the laser device before loading and firing.
What is a Rifle Scope Collimator?
One method of bore sighting is to use a rifle scope collimator. A collimator focuses light into parallel (collimated) beams.
In riflescopes, collimators are used to combat parallax error by aligning a distant target with the axis on the scope lens. When you look through the scope, you can observe a grid or crosshairs.
All you have to do is make adjustments to the scope elevation and windage to align the reticle of your scope with that of the collimator. It is important to note that the axes of the two optics are parallel and converge at a point that is likely to coincide with the bullet trajectory. It is also important to remember that alignment errors can occur, which will prevent your aim from being accurate every time.
It’s your job to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the reticle and bullet have the same point of impact. You can also ask your local gun store to align it for you.
Other ways to avoid misalignment include using a laser range finder and adjusting the scope reticle to match the laser pointer’s point of impact. The only real problem with using a laser pointer is that the point may be hard to identify in a sunny environment. Collimators are generally pretty affordable.
Do You Need to Bore Sight Your Rifle and Scope?
When you initially buy your rifle and scope, they will need to be bore sighted. Let’s look at it this way: if you’ve ever fired at a short range distance of around a hundred yards or less at a massive, still target and missed, your riflescope needs to be bore sighted.
A wasted shot is expensive and taxing. A collimator will help you get close to the center of your shot from the get go. This is because bore sighting with the help of a collimator can center your scope almost exactly (it is usually off by a couple of inches).
A collimator basically makes use of the rifle’s length, a reflective surface, lenses, the riflescope and the barrel of the rifle to center your aim at your target without actually shooting.
Bore Sighting Without a Collimator
If you don’t shoot frequently and don’t wish to invest in a collimator, you can bore sight your riflescope without one.
- Secure a target downrange
- Place your rifle on some sandbags so that it doesn’t move around
- Remove the bolt from the rifle and observe through the bore to see the target
- Adjust the rifle till your target is at the center of the bore
- The next step is to look through the scope.
- If the scope is not aligned with the target, adjust it so the target is at the center of the scope lens.
It is essential that throughout this process, the rifle doesn’t budge from its place as this is likely to make you miss your target by a few MOA. Once you’re done, fire a shot at a nearby target (as close as around 20 yards) and zero the rifle there before zeroing at longer distances.
Collimating is a relatively simple process but it does require a little skill and effort. The most important thing is to follow the instructions properly and you’ll be able to bore sight your rifle and scope without any trouble.
This will help you save your bullets from a bunch of failed attempts to center your shot. Even then, you might have one or two initial missed shots but they’re likely to be off by only a couple of inches and once you make the necessary adjustments to the scope elevation and windage, your aim will be perfect.