Collimators essentially allow a rifle to be bore sighted so that when fired it will be relatively close to point of aim. A spud is inserted into the barrel aligning the collimator with the bore. The shooter then looks through the scope and adjusts the recticle to point of aim. Collimators cannot take into account the effects of external ballistics, such as gravity, but will allow a shooter to cut paper generally on the first shot.
Collimators have largely fallen from favor, as newer technology has come into play, such as the laser bore sighters that are not relatively inexpensive.
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