How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting - Daily Shooting | Shooting Tips And Reviews

How to Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting

Are you interested in learning how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting? Sighting in a scope is the act of aligning where the scope is pointed with the barrel of the gun. The flight or direction of your bullet is dictated by your barrel, and there are no adjustments for a barrel. The reticle in your scope is the traditional crosshairs, so to speak. You need the reticle to be aimed where the bullet will hit, but the reticle cannot control the bullet in any way.

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A red dot sight is an optic that uses a red laser as the reticle, and this offers shooters an easy way to learn how to sight their rifles. Learning how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting is easy to do if you take it one step at a time.

Why Do You Need to Sight In Your Rifle Scope?

preparing to use a rifle

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Sometimes we just assume that we should eye our target and the bullet will travel in a straight line from the rifle to the target. Even though our naked eyes can’t perceive it, rifle bullets travel in an arc as gravity pulls them downward.

Sighting your rifle ensures the bullet meets the target where the scope is aimed. If your rifle is sighted at 100 yards, the arc of the bullet will meet dead on with the target from 100 yards out. Deciding a good shooting distance for your particular needs will help you decide what distance to sight in your rifle scope.

You may use your rifle for different tasks and types of hunting. If so, you should sight in your scope before every outing. Ammunition choices also play into the sight adjustments, so it is important to re-sight your weapon any time you change ammunition.


Sighting in your scope accounts for all these variables and makes accurate shooting possible. It can also help identify problems with your weapon or with your own shooting technique.

Sighting in the scope will also help you determine the greatest distance at which you can accurately shoot based on your skill level and the weapon you are using. Understanding this limitation will also make hunting safer. You must always know where your bullet is traveling.

Finally, sighting your weapon should give you confidence that it will fire accurately. Shooting with a lingering doubt about whether the rifle will properly do its job can take the fun out of any type of shooting.

Why Sight in a Scope without Shooting?

sight in a scope but no shooting

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By now you understand the importance of sighting your rifle scope, but why would somebody want to sight the scope without shooting? Some folks sight without shooting in order to ensure safety when they are not at a proper range. Remember, you must always think about your target but also the area behind your target.

A more practical reason is that some thrifty shooters do not want to waste ammunition on the sighting. You may have your own reasons for wanting to sight in your rifle scope without shooting, but this process, also known as bore sighting, is a quick and easy method to adjust your sight so it is aligned with the barrel of your rifle.

How to Sight In a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting

military aiming with a rifle

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You may be learning how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting because you are a new to red dot scopes or shooting in general. Others may be reviewing how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting because you’ve acquired a new rifle or recently changed scopes. Either way, here’s what to do:

Loose Installation

Install the scope, but do not fully tighten it. Get it just tight enough to be sure you have the proper eye relief. If the distance from your eye to the scope feels good, you are ready to proceed.


Be sure the rifle is stable. This is a simple but crucial step. Get your rifle on a level, secure surface. To proceed, the rifle must be absolutely stable.

Line It Up

Line up your reticle with your target. With proper positioning and eye relief, be sure your target is squarely in the crosshairs. This needs to be done at a particular distance. By sighting down the bore of the gun to a fixed point at a fixed distance, you can adjust the scope to aim at the same distant object.

It is best to do this with a collimator that produces parallel ray beams for alignment or with a laser bore sighter. Your sighter will either insert into the end of the rifle barrel or else be loaded into the chamber, depending on the style you are using.

Make Adjustments

Turn on your sighter and adjust the rifle so the laser beam is directly in the middle of your target. Bullseye targets are usually best for this task. The laser will demonstrate where the bullet will hit to let you know when the scope is perfectly aligned with the barrel.

If you are using a laser that loads into the chamber, be sure it is intended for the precise caliber of your rifle to ensure a secure fit and accurate aim.

Tighten It Down

When you are confident with the alignment, the final step in how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting is to tighten the scope. Ask yourself one last time if you’ve done everything carefully and with a purpose. Also, be sure your target is on an essentially level plain.

Key Hints and Tips

two military men aiming before shooting

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Remember, learning how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting comes down to aiming the bullseye. If the rifle is properly sighted, you can hit almost any target. Within the unit, an LED light shines onto a specially designed piece of glass and is reflected to create the reticle.


A scope has two primary lenses: the ocular lens and the objective lens. The ocular lens is the one closest to your eye, and the objective lens is on the target end of the scope.

The objective lens is actually the more critical piece of glass. A large objective lens allows more light into your scope. This is important because magnification will naturally make your scope dim.

A large lens doesn’t increase magnification, but it is needed with increased magnification to allow proper light.

Brightness can also be affected by coating your lens. A good lens coating can also provide clarity by manipulating light spectrums. A coated lens is one with a layer of coating on the objective lens. Others will be labeled as a fully coated lens, meaning all lenses are coated.

The multi-coated lens has multiple coats applied to the objective lens, and fully multi-coated lens all lenses are coated with multiple coats.


magnifying rifle

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Every scope magnifies, and you have to understand how much magnification you prefer. As you learn how to adjust a rifle scope, remember that your scope will only be accurate at the magnification you chose when sighting your scope.

Changing magnifications after sighting the scope will leave it unreliable, so be sure you know what magnification you want. Biggest is not always best.

Remember, a more magnified scope will be less bright, and even the military rarely uses more than 10x power magnification. It does no good to choose a high magnification if you do not have an objective lens with the size and coating needed to provide appropriate light.

Field of View

Your field of view is basically a ratio of feet to yards that measures the width of your scope view at a particular distance. In other words, a field view of 10′ at 150 yards means that, when eying a target 150 yards away, you will be able to view five feet on each side of the central target.

This also plays into your magnification decision, because the more magnification you use, the less field of view (FOV) you will enjoy. The advantage of a broader field of view is being able to quickly locate your target.

Naturally, your eye will want to fix on a landmark, and when you do simply adjust accordingly until your target is in your sight.


As shooters learn how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting, rifle shooting is being revolutionized. For weekend hunters and competitive shooters alike, red dot sights give you the best potential for success.

They can be sighted more quickly than iron sights or magnified optics. Another distinct advantage is that the reticle is on the same shooting plane as the target.

Parallax is the phenomenon when the reticle appears to move as you eye your target. Red dot sighting dramatically reduced parallax. Understanding how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting is an important step to achieve consistently accurate shots. Sighting in the scope is easy if you understand the right way to do it.

Nothing is more important than your scope because it is most responsible for hitting the target. A well-adjusted scope and some practice can result in precise accuracy that is not possible without a scope or with a scope that has not been adjusted and sighted.

Featured Image via Pixabay

Daily Shooting Team

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