A day at the range is meant to be a pleasant experience. A time to work at becoming a better marksman, to practice and improve. Unfortunately it doesn't always turn out that way, particularly with a scoped rifle, shotgun, or pistol. Taking the time, energy, and money to go out to a range and then have it be a wasted trip can leave a sour taste in any of our mouths. There are a few things you can do to help eliminate frustration at the range though. Making sure you equipment is properly maintained is a start (check all screws, mounts etc...), but there is also a line of products that can help you too. We are looking at one these items today, the Bushnell Laser Boresighter.
The Bushnell Laser Boresighter set includes the following items:
• One laser unit
• One carrying case
• Instruction set/small target
• Seven plastic arbors (from .22 to .50)
• Seven screws
• One hex key
The product seems sturdy enough. If I were to have an initial complaint, it is that there are lots of small pieces and the pocket in the case for it doesn't seem quite big enough. It certainly fits, but its tight and everything has to come out of the bag to find just a single piece.
The purpose of this device is to reduce the amount of time and energy required
to zero your scoped weapon. Before we begin, let me remind you to observe all basic
firearm safety rules while using this item! According to the instructions you need to
• Find the biggest arbor that fits your barrel.
• Assemble the device.
• Aim the scope at the red dot.
The instructions seem straight forward, however, there is one notable exception. The instructions state that there is a On/Off switch. There is not. The head of the laser just screws down until the laser activates. There is also an omission that really should be in the instructions: Put a screw in each arbor and turn it all the way down! This will make more sense as we look at step one.
Lets walk through the process on a .22.
• Set up your rifle, shotgun, or pistol in a vice.
• Find the appropriate arbor for the barrel and assemble the device. When done, it should look like this:
• The screw is on the barrel side. You turn the screw clockwise to expand it to fit the barrel. It will take a little trial and error, but eventually you will get a snug fit. When you get a snug fit and leave it inserted, it will look like this:
• Now that everything is together you can turn the laser on if you are ready to sight in. • Hang your target/paper where the laser is shining on it. • Adjust scope as necessary to either aim at the red dot, or do some rough elevation, adjusting depending on distance between target/paper and weapon.
The first unit I received was a huge let down. I kept ending up way off target. After some investigation I found that the laser itself was not aligned in its housing. Here is a picture of how far off the first unit was at only five yards with quarter turn rotations:
Each red dot marks the laser location after a quarter turn. Obviously with this unit if you simply aim at the red dot, you will not be doing yourself any favors. I requested a second unit, and what an improvement! Here is what the second unit produced at the same five yards:
Much, much better! However, when you push this out to fifty, or one hundred yards you are still going to end up with quite a deviation off of center.
I was initially going to give this product a poor review. You can't follow the
enclosed instructions and have it be very useful. However, after looking at a similar unit
from another manufacturer with a different set of instructions, I realized that this product
is still useful. Here is how I recommend you use this unit:
• Set up your rifle, shotgun, or pistol in a vice.
• Find the appropriate arbor for the barrel, and assemble the device.
• The screw is on the barrel side. You turn the screw clockwise to expand it to fit the barrel. It will take a little trial and error, but eventually you get a snug fit.
• Now that everything is together you can turn the laser on if you are ready to sight in.
• Hang your target/paper where the laser is shining on it.
• Here is where it is a little bit different. Go to the target/paper and make a mark where the laser is shining.
• Go back to the weapon and either turn the laser one quarter turn; or pull the laser out rotate one quarter turn, and reinsert.
• Go back to the paper and mark where the laser is shining.
• Repeat the last three steps two more times. You should end up with a target/paper that has four marks on it.
• Find the center of the four marks. This is your actual zero point. You can either aim directly for it or make rough adjustments for elevation depending on distance.
There are several things I like about this product. The first being that it makes it easier and more convenient to mount a new scope, or verify zero especially for weapons that don't have a removable bolt. The second thing I also really liked is the ability of this device to fit such a wide range of calibers. The item is also extremely portable and compact.
There were two huge negatives to me. The first is the inconsistency between the two units I received. I don't know if the first one was a weird anomaly, or whether it is indicative of a larger manufacturing or quality control problem. The second issue has to do with the instructions. If the instructions told you to use the product the way I described, I probably would not have known there was an issue with the first one. If they changed the instructions I would wager their customer satisfaction with the unit would improve significantly
After a rocky start I am impressed with the product. I definitely have uses for this item. It means I can do some preliminary work in my home or yard. It means I get the most out of my limited range time. It reduces the number of rounds I need to fire to sight in, which is nice for those of us who fire expensive rounds, or high power cartridges. I would recommend this item to anyone who does preliminary sighting with multiple calibers, especially where there is no way to visually bore sight.
Update- While evaluating the product further, and discussing it with other people. The point was raised that one could simply tighten the laser head all the way down, make a mark, loosen just the laser head one quarter turn, make a mark, and repeat twice. This would eliminate the need to rotate the entire boresighter in the barrel.
This review written by Joel Zielke an independent product reviewer.