Rifle Sighting-In

Rifle sighting-in will be done soon after your arrival in the hunting area just to check if your rifle is still shooting straight after the journey.

Usually you'll go to a chosen area, not far from camp where you will put a few shots into a target. It is often the hardest shot of the hunt, especially if the hunter is new to Africa and may be nervous in front of his PH and the hunting team. Also, he may feel aware of the scrutiny of the PH on his handling of his rifle.

Nine times out of ten, everything will be fine with the rifle. If there is any slightly 'off' shooting, it may be put down to nerves or tiredness. Occasionally a rifle which has had a particularly rough journey, will need re-zeroing. If it is dramatically off-zero, then you or your PH will need to bore-sight the rifle prior to making the final adjustments by shooting it. If it has been bore-sighted correctly, you should not need more than 3 rounds of ammunition to get the rifle shooting perfectly straight. Be sure not to waste your ammunition needlessly - make the decision to bore-sight or fix any other problem early.

Bore-Sighting A Scoped Bolt Action Rifle

  • Check that all screws are tight and undamaged.
  • If the rifle has a free floating barrel, take a banknote or a piece of fishing line and run it down between the forend and barrel to check they are not touching each other for any reason. If there is contact, remove the stock and investigate and/or fix.
  • Remove the bolt from the rifle, dry clean the barrel and put up an aiming spot such as a target or even a small piece of tape on a piece of blank paper 10 yards or so away from the muzzle.
  • Look through the bore and move the rifle around until you can see the marked target in the absolute centre of the bore. Then gently secure the rifle so that it cannot be moved.
  • Check the bore again to ensure it is still lined up with the target spot and correct if necessary.
  • Without actually touching the rifle, look through the scope and see if the cross-hairs line up with the same target spot that you see through the bore of the rifle. If it doesn't, move the cross-hairs until it does and don't forget to the give the scope a few taps with your hand or an empty cartridge case in case the cross-hairs need a bit of encouragement to move.
  • Look through the bore again to check the rifle is still lined up correctly and repeat the exercise until you are 110% sure everything is lined up correctly.
  • Test shoot the rifle at 25 yards and make any minor correction if necessary.
  • Then test shoot again at 50 yards and then 100 yards. If you've done it correctly, you should be able to get the rifle shooting bang on within no more 3 or 4 rounds.

With open sights, follow the same rules but obviously move the sights. Remember that to correct error on open sights, move the foresight into the error and/or the rear-sight away from the error.

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Page Updated: Mar 2024

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