By Jon R. Sundra
Wheeler Engineering, which is part of the Battenfeld Technologies family of companies, has come up with a boresighter that works on a totally different principle. The purpose of all such devices is to enable one to adjust a newly mounted scope to where the first shot is at least on paper, thus minimizing the number needed to properly zero a rifle.
Rather than using the bore for collimation, this Wheeler Engineering Professional Laser Boresighter using the squareness of the muzzle crown to aim the laser. A powerful magnet with a precision-ground surface about the size of a half-dollar clamps the unit - which also houses the laser and battery compartment - against the muzzle. The beam itself is highly visible and intense enough to be seen on a 50-yard white target on an overcast day. The product comes with a square reflective target that makes the beam visible up to 100 yards.
Frankly, when I first saw this thing, I doubted that the typical production rifle was crowned precisely enough for it to work with any consistency, but apparently they are! I've now used this gizzy to initially sight-in 11 rifles and the farthest I've been off center with the first shot at 100 yards was 9".
The instructions state a minimum distance of 25 yards be used to adjust the scope. I use the front wall of my garage and pace off 25 steps into the driveway. At that distance, the laser is quite bright on the white wall in the shade of my garage. Then, simply holding the rifle offhand, I make the necessary trial and error changes in windage and elevation to where the beam is 1-2 inches below the reticle, as per the instructions.
Red and green beam versions of the boresighter are available.
Best price I've seen is $99.95 from Cabela's. With the high cost and scarcity of ammo today, a boresighter earns its keep, particularly if you're constantly selling, trading, or otherwise acquiring new guns that involve adding or switching optics. And for guys like me and professional gunsmiths, it's a necessity.