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Thread: Let's talk mounting a scope

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold Repass's Avatar
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    Let's talk mounting a scope

    How far do you guys go when mount a rifle scope? I've seen some guys lap the rings. Do you always use torque wrenches to tighten to exact specs? I assume everyone levels it. What kind of loctite do you use?
    As I think of my friend, I can't help but think of him. I've seen that dude shoot a lot of deer with crosshairs that were way off. I'd look through his scope and just shake my head.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master



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    I only lap if required due to misalignment.

    I have torque wrenches and recommend them for the average user. That being said you do develop a feel if you do enough of them. Torque wrenches tend to go out of calibration.

    Level is important for long range. Not so much for shorter yardage. Some people prefer to cant the firearm and hold the crosshairs level.

    Loctite is only used on the bases not the rings. Loctite 222 for small screw is the appropriate grade.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 10-28-2022 at 01:11 AM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I lap the rings on my benchrest guns, not so much on my hunting rifles. As far as torque is concerned, I do not torque the screws, 59 years of mounting scopes has allowed me to develop a feel for it.
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  4. #4
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    Just like stubshaft -- you get a feel for the correct amount of tightness. I've very seldom lapped rings. I have 3/4ths, 30mm, and 1 inch bars that I align the rings with before actually mounting the scope.

    DG

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy muskeg13's Avatar
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    I clamp the rifle in a padded vise and level it lengthwise and crossways. I use a dowel or brass rod to assist checking level of the rings. I only lap or apply electrical tape or rubber cement if there's a problem. When installing ring screws, alternate snugging the screws (in X patterns fore and aft) to avoid having the scope twist in the rings by tightening one side too much at once. Check scope levels several times during the process. I do final tightening with a properly fitted screwdriver bit by hand, mindful not to strip the fine threads, particularly with aluminum mounts. I occasionally use Loctite Blue on bases only, depending on the caliber and expected recoil level.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I don't lap the rings, but do use the non hardening blue locktite.

    I don't use the red permanent stuff because like herpes---- its on for life.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I've come to greatly appreciate vertical split scope rings. Warne vertical split rings are the only ones I buy if I get the option. The problem with torqueing a horizonal style ring set is you have 4 screws to tighten, but they each are adding to the clamping. You tighten one, and the one across from it is also tightening. You are also clamping inwards at the same time, however this is a minor issue. Vertical split rings are a better clamping design. Essentially when you do them right you are clamping down one side instead of two. They are more consistent and forgiving. They give a much more positive feel when tightening them down. None of that back and forth trying to get your ring halves to be even. In theory vertical split rings are not supposed to need lapping, but I'm sure some are bad enough to warrant it for long range shooting.

    Short version:

    I buy vertical split Warne rings, and tighten by feel with the wrench they come with.

    I always push the rings forward in the slot of the base rail.

    I do not lap rings

    I do not use loctite

    I generally eyeball level, unless I'm working with a rifle I can put a real level on. It's easier to level with vertical split rings.

    I sometimes, although rarely, bed the base rail.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 11-23-2022 at 01:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master armoredman's Avatar
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    I am a loser, don't have the right tools, never did it, so the only rifle I have a scope on was sent out to a professional to mount it...I don't even have it back yet...

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    put it on,make sure it close to straight,put top of rings on,start screws down,check again its close to straight,make sure its eye relief is good eg not to far back or forwards,do up screws firmly by hand...not crank down till sweat breaks out,of loosey goosey,just good and firm,go around them all again then bore sight and check on range...
    oh and when a mate gives me stick about cross hairs being on the piss...I put them at 45 degrees eg a true X hair..works great in the tight bush but takes a bit to get head around sighting in movements.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    I like to use one piece bases. I bed them with JB weld. I use a leveling kit. I lap all rings every time. I use Loctite on the base screws. And I use a torque driver on all hardware.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I use those Pointy rods for checking alignment..as I do some Converted military arms as well...many end up with shims under the Base(s)
    Then... sounds like the rest of my process is much like all of the above.. Don't even gots a Bore Sighter.,.. I Look!!!! Obviously Only on arms that the Bolt comes Out Of!!!
    Just did an '06 before Snowfall. Looking, (off of a Good Bench setup) got me on Paper really well, Back up and Shoot a little bit from there... I do Not Mind Shooting!!!!

  12. #12
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    I use a good set of hollow ground screw drivers. I don't use a torque wrench but I've developed a feel for correct tightness. Snugging up the rings I try to keep the tightening sequence uniform, kind of like tightening the lug bolts on a car. I don't lap the rings as my shooting is always less than 250 yds. I seldom use any form of lock-tight, but if I do it is the "blue" not the red type. Trial and error setting the scope cross hairs correct as I tend to cant the rifle when I aim.
    Be patient and have a good work bench, well lighted and with lots of padding to prevent damage.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Rapier's Avatar
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    If you buy the proper bases and put them on correctly, with the right screws in each base, they will go on correctly. Get the screws backwards and you will have bolt function problems. If you want to use locklight, use only blue do not use red. Degrease the screws and the screw holes with a qtip and a solvent. Apply a small drop on the screw tip only. Tighten the base screws properly, you can use a torque wrench if you wish. Set the bottom of the rings first, place the scope in and align the scope for eye relief, cant, etc. Then tighten the bottom rings to the bases. I use a Lead Sled and my shooting bench to bore sight at the same time as tightening the rings, be careful not to tighten a multi magnification scope tube too much, you can stop its function. The top rings go on last, two finger tight only. I can and do break a screw driver now and then, so I have developed a method over the years for scope mounting.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a Bushnell bore sight -Level-and a Mac inch pound torque wrench. I probably spend too much time doing it but it saves a lot of ammo and guessing. I am a retired mechanic and don't use the torque a lot. When I do check the torque it's close. On a higher caliber I try to use a thin double side tape inside the rings to keep the scope from going forward under recoil. A one piece mount and the proper thread locker is good also. I mount the rifle in a lead sled doing this. I really don't have a problem doing it the old fashion way. It takes longer to mount a scope correctly than one would think.
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    Last edited by 45DUDE; 11-23-2022 at 01:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapier View Post
    If you buy the proper bases and put them on correctly, with the right screws in each base, they will go on correctly. Get the screws backwards and you will have bolt function problems. If you want to use locklight, use only blue do not use red. Degrease the screws and the screw holes with a qtip and a solvent. Apply a small drop on the screw tip only. Tighten the base screws properly, you can use a torque wrench if you wish. Set the bottom of the rings first, place the scope in and align the scope for eye relief, cant, etc. Then tighten the bottom rings to the bases. I use a Lead Sled and my shooting bench to bore sight at the same time as tightening the rings, be careful not to tighten a multi magnification scope tube too much, you can stop its function. The top rings go on last, two finger tight only. I can and do break a screw driver now and then, so I have developed a method over the years for scope mounting.
    I've never understood why someone will buy a rifle and often make stock, trigger and barrel modifications to improve accuracy then turn right around and throw a set of bases and rings on making the assumption that everything will fit perfectly. Often a scope is mounted that costs more than the rifle, sometimes several times more. It's no wonder you see ring marks on scopes or scopes/bases/rings that work loose. Gun forums are full of people fighting scope problems but it just goes on and on.

    I don't care what anyone else does because it doesn't matter to me. But having learned the hard way I don't just slap parts on and make assumptions any more.

  16. #16
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    How do you determine top dead center on the barrel to drill and tap?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by armoredman View Post
    I am a loser, don't have the right tools, never did it, so the only rifle I have a scope on was sent out to a professional to mount it...I don't even have it back yet...
    I was there once. I have had to correct every "professional" scope mounting job, including my gunsmith's. His mounting was mathematically perfect (within any measuring tool's ability), that rifle just happened to shoot really high vs. bore center (257RAI). Professional gunsmith and book writer Roy (not Bob) Dunlap noted that every 257 he built shot oddly high, so I guess we're in good company.

    I lap rings on all my higher recoil rifles. I'll do it on my lower recoil rifles just enough to see if it's necessary. What I usually find is that quality rings are round and (with quality mounts) can be brought to > 50% contact. Cheaper rings, not so much. So I end up lapping cheaper rings much more than expensive, go figure. But I'm the kind of guy who will lavish time and attention on cheap equipment in order to get optimal results. (I do the same with my expensive equipment, too.)

    There's already a lot of good advice in this thread. One thing I would add, a scope should be mounted (or remounted) so that it points to your intended zeroing point while in the center of its adjustment ranges (that is, vertical and horizontal). For some scopes there is no "stop" on one or both axis, then I center the scope on its optical center. Yes, that usually means that after initial mounting, sight-in and zeroing, I have to remount the scope, to move the scope center to point it at the actual shooting zeroing point (not the ideal geometric zeroing point). The payoff there is that center range of scope adjustments are the most consistent, and you have more of them in every direction. (If anyone says "but my Brand X scope has consistent adjustment across it's entire range"... well... I got news for you... well, yes, some are better than others.)

    Centering a scope means your mount/ring setup has to have some kind of adjustability to it... If it doesn't, you may get lucky. I guess I'm not a lucky guy. Also, the more you adjust your mounts, the more likely your rings won't line up perfectly.

    Different mounting systems solve this problem different ways, or not at all. The old Redfield system (dovetail front, windage rear) on a one piece mount may be out of fashion, but it's a darn good adjustable system for windage, and for elevation you can just shim the entire mount. Since the front is in a dovetail, it can swivel to maintain alignment with the rear ring and not bend the scope. However repeated assembly/dis-assembly of the front dovetail ring can cause it to get loose and string your shots. Ask me how I know.

    Millet makes (or at least made) windage adjustable Weaver-type rings. The problem with these, if you have to invoke serious windage changes, is the rings are parallel to each other but offset, meaning the ring edges will dig into the scope. That's when lapping, or even align boring comes in. That, or machine or shim the mounts.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    How do you determine top dead center on the barrel to drill and tap?
    There are various gunsmithing apparatus to do this, usually a V-Block with a hole for marking or drilling on the barrel. You can put a spirit level on the V-Block, assuming you have the gun perfectly level in a gun vise. Or, line it up mechanically or visually with something on the receiver that determines what is "level".

    Alas, my gun vise rarely holds my ergonomic stocks anywhere close to "level", so I usually take it to my gunsmith for that work, but I have done it myself (PITA).
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I guess I should have noted, I never use loctite on scope rings. I do almost always use it on the base rail screws. There's a lot of options out there. Obviously don't use high strength. I always go with tried and true Loctite blue (242). I don't fight them off, and they don't come loose on their own either. When I bed base rails, it seems anything that works good for stock bedding works good for scope rails. I've even had really good luck with JB weld. JB quick would be a really good option.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    How do you determine top dead center on the barrel to drill and tap?
    Dial indicator.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check