How to Mount a Scope: A Foolproof Guide
When you’re taking aim at your target, the adjustment of your optic scope, both horizontal and vertical, determines how accurate your shot will be. Whether you’re in the field on a hunt, competing in a skeet shoot, or just practicing at the range, make sure your crosshairs are aligned perfectly with every pull of the trigger.
Searching for more information on improving your shot accuracy? Here’s a foolproof guide on how to mount a scope — let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
First things first, you will need to acquire the right tools and equipment in order to get the job done right. These will help prevent you from making errors and causing more work for yourself. You may need some or all of the following; consult your firearm’s and/or scope’s manual to find out which options are right for your rig.
- Torque wrench: These adjustable tools allow you to apply a specific torque to bolts on your gun mount.
- Hex wrenches: Many scopes use hex wrenches for tightening and loosening fasteners.
- Gunsmithing bits: These are specially made for working on firearms, with their hollow-ground design, the bits supply more torque while reducing wear.
- Level(s): A basic bubble level with horizontal and vertical alignment will do just fine for your needs so you can align the scope and bore.
- Degreasing agent and cleaning swabs: The last thing you want is oil on your gun when installing your rifle scope, so use these to dissolve and wipe away any excess residue.
- Thread locking compound: Try a product like Loctite or Surethread to keep your screws from coming loose during the shooting process.
- Gun vice: This keeps your rifle sturdy and in place while you secure the mount. For extra security, a gun cradle is a more reliable option.
- Mounts and rings: Purchase mounting parts that are compatible with your rifle and find the proper-height rings for your scope.
How to Properly Mount a Scope: Step by Step Instructions
Now that you’re set up with the right equipment, keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to mount a scope.
H3: Step #1: Secure and degrease your firearm
Secure your firearm in a vice and use mineral spirits or another degreasing agent to remove any oil or residue from screws, nuts, the base, and any pre-tapped holes. This ensures a clean foundation to start from. Once it’s all degreased, do a test by loosely assembling parts together to ensure everything seems to match. Specific scope rings will only fit with certain base counterparts, and they can also come in different heights, making it confusing sometimes.
Step #2: Mount the base to the receiver
Align your base to your receiver using the pre-tapped holes as guides. Notice how the slots mount to allow the rings to correctly connect the scope. Apply a small amount of thread locking compound to your base screws, adjust your torque wrench (usually to about 15 in-lbs), and tighten your screws in a criss-cross pattern to supply an even level of pressure across the base. You’ll know when to stop when the torque wrench makes a ticking noise.
Step #3: Mount the rings to the base
Using hardware included with your optic, mount the ring bottoms to the base. If you are using rotating socket rings, use a small dowel to twist the ring into position. The goal throughout these steps is to install the scope as low as possible on the gun without it touching the barrel while allowing clearance at the reticle for free operation of the bolt.
Step #4: Line up the reticle
Now that the bottom half of the rings are secured, tighten the top halves just enough so you can rotate the optic in line. Check and recheck your horizontal and vertical leveling throughout this step to ensure you’re tightening correctly. Move the scope as needed until it’s squared up and torque it down (note, it will require a few extra steps at the range to completely zero in your scope).
Step #5: Set the eye relief
Next, you want to set the eye relief so that you’re receiving a crystal-clear visual of a target. Push the optic all the way forward into the ring bottoms, set the magnification to its highest power, set any adjustable parallax to the correct distance, and remove the rifle from your vice. Looking through, there will be a visible dark ring bordering the outside. Bring the optic backward until you no longer see the dark ring. Make sure to position it far enough forward that your eye is protected from recoil and tighten it down.
Step #4: Inspect your work
The final step is to double-check your rifle, scope, and mounts to make sure that everything looks in order. Make sure the rifle isn’t touching the rifle anywhere but the mounts, as that will have a negative impact on your accuracy.
Mounting a Scope on an AR vs. a Bolt Action Rifle
The main difference between mounting a scope on an AR versus a bolt action rifle is the style of mount you’ll use.
Generally, ARs benefit from the use of a one-piece scope mount, because they can add necessary height that makes aiming more comfortable and keeps your eye safe from recoil, all while being more durable and rigid.
Bolt action rifles, on the other hand, are best used with two-piece scope mounts. These provide a more basic setup, but numerous advantages in that the mounts are lighter, provide better chamber access (great for hunters), more affordable, and can be swapped between various rifles.
Additional Tips for Scope Mounting
To make sure you achieve the best mount possible, keep the following tips in mind when going through the process:
Insert a boresight or a laser bore sight using the correct insertion pin for your rifle caliber, then adjust the horizontal and vertical axis to achieve your desired shooting direction.
Some scope rings and their halves will not fully connect when torqued down. This is fine, so don’t force them further than they can reach.
Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any harmful chemicals from cleaning or degreasing agents, or gun residue.
Make Your Shot Even More Accurate
Have confidence when drawing a bead on your target by taking the proper steps to correctly mount your scope. Just follow the above instructions, and you’ll be well on your way to lining up the perfect shot in your crosshairs, pulling the trigger, and hitting the bullseye.
If you’re searching for another way to improve shot accuracy, consider adding a silencer to your gun. Not only do they suppress loud gunshots, allowing you to better focus on the situation at hand, but they also reduce heavy recoil that affects bullet path. Silencer Central specializes in the sale of Class 3 firearm suppressors and can help you find the perfect product for your needs. Buy a silencer through our website, and let us take care of all the ATF paperwork for you while you wait for front-door delivery.
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