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Bore Sighting The Ruger Mark Ii
Sighting in scoped pistols

Posted By: Eric Stoskopf - Cool Calm Calamity

Posts: 2499

Posted At: (3/25/04 7:58 pm)

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I'd appreciate some advise on how to properly sight in a scoped pistol specifically a Ruger Mark II.

Can the Mark II be bore sighted in the traditional manner like that of a rifle?

Thanks in advance.


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Bore Sighting the Ruger Mark II

Posted By: ML - Registered User

Posts: 496

Posted At: (3/28/04 9:24 pm)

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Bore Sighting the Scoped Ruger Mark II

The other contributors here have given you some sound advice. Let me expand upon it a bit, and suggest the way in which I have gone about it.

The Ruger Mark II offers some inherent design features which make bore sighting it easy and accurate compared with some other handguns. (Boresighting, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the act of making preliminary adjustments to a telescopic sight by sighting through a firearm’s bore and adjusting the telescopic sight’s crosshairs to coincide with a point viewed through the bore. While no substitute for actually firing the firearm to verify sight adjustment, it is a very sound first step which can help you “get in the neighborhood” and which reduces the amount of shots you’ll need to fire during the actual verification.)

The Ruger Mark II aids in this process because it is possible to remove the pistol’s bolt and sight cleanly through the bore. Also, as this pistol features a barrel fixed solidly to the receiver, there is no barrel movement which one has to eliminate or take into consideration (for example, the tipping barrels of the Glock family or the M1911 Colt Automatics).

I like to use a bench-mounted vise with well-padded jaws.

First, remove the pistol’s bolt assembly as per the directions in the Ruger’s manual. This involves unlatching a mechanism in the grip-frame’s backstrap and withdrawing a large-diameter pin from the rear of the receiver. It’s quite an elegant system, but not very intuitive, and you’ll often see Ruger .22 pistols that have been scarred badly by uneducated owners who’ve tried to pound or pry the pin out.

Next, remove the pistol’s grip panels, and clamp the pistol’s grip frame in the vise, using the padded jaws. You want the pistol held firmly, but don’t want to tighten the vise so much that you crush the grip—the Ruger, especially, uses relatively thin metal here. Alternatively, if you have a set of prismatic or “V” jaws for your vise, you can pad these and clamp the pistol in the vise by the barrel proper, and this is even a better setup. (You can make a set of “V” block inserts our of some scrap 1-by-2 or 2-by-four lumber with masonite or plywood backing. You’ll find them handy for holding other round objects in your vise, too, like pipe. Really, you need them for only one vise jaw, while a conventional padded jaw is fine for the other side.)

Now, sight down the bore at an object some distance away. How far away? Ideally, the distance you imagine you’ll be taking most of your shots—whatever that may be. Our friend the informed Dr. Alex mentions firing your sighting shots first at ten yards or so—excellent advice, and we’ll come back to that in a bit. But for boresighting, further is better, as it naturally begins to close the angle between the telescopic sight’s line of sight and the bore’s line of sight. These are not parallel, but intersect at some distance, and for our purposes here, the further the distance the better. Twenty-five yards is good, and fifty yards perhaps better—but an exact distance is not critical.

Sight though the bore at an object, and center the object in the bore. This does not have to be a round, bull’s-eye target—a square is fine. Ideally, you do want the object to fill about half of the bore—too big and it will be hard to center. High contrast also helps; say, a black square or circle against a white background. Size, naturally, depends upon how far from the muzzle this “target” is mounted.

You can mount the telescopic sight in the rings at this point, or it can be mounted before. In general, it’s good to use rings which mount the scope as low as possible over the bore. This is of paramount importance with a rifle, as the low sightline aids in keeping a good cheek weld on the stock. With a pistol, the ergonomics are not an issue, but the lower the sightline comparative to the barrel’s bore line, the tighter the angle of convergence between the two at any given distance, and the more compact the overall package. Just make sure it’s mounted high enough that the focusing ring doesn’t foul the mount’s base, and that you still have room enough to grasp the bolt in order to manually cycle the action.

Now, using the windage and elevation adjusting screws on the scope, move the crosshairs until they perfectly intersect your target, checking periodically to make sure the target is still centered in the barrel’s bore.

Once this is done, it’s time to verify your rough zero by actually shooting. Here, Dr. Alex is right on—start at an extremely close range—seven to ten yards. Don’t start chasing the adjustments with the first group your fire, though, just note where the group prints in respect to the target, especially in regards to windage.

Now, start moving the target back, and note how the group’s point of impact moves. When you’re sure of where it will print at a reasonable distance—say 25 yards—then it’s time to correct for your final aim by once again adjusting the windage and elevation screws.

Do your actual firing for the most solid rest you can—sandbags or shot-filled bags are a great idea. A stuffsack filled with cat litter will work, too—just make sure you watch out for your pistol’s muzzle blast.

Pistol scopes generally have long eye reliefs, and sometimes they exacerbate parallax at certain distances. Usually parallax is worse up close—another reason to boresight at a target some distance away, and to perform your final sight adjustments also at distance. The scope manufacturer or the scope’s literature can tell you at what distance the scope’s parallax is set.

Hope that helps. And hope you enjoy your new Ruger.


"In the school of the woods there is no graduation day" Horace Kephart
Ok I have got to ask. Why would you want to bore sight a hand gun? I have been carrying a hand gun daily for almost thirty years, have I missed something?

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