View Full Version : Lapping steel rings and rusting.

September 20, 2005, 09:23 AM

After lapping steel rings, what's the best thing to use for rust protection?

I'm in the market for rings and am debating between Leupold QRW or Burris Signature. The signature are attractive since they don't need lapping. The QRW's are attractive because of the quick release, but they may need lapping.

This is a double post from the rifle forum, but there wasn't much response.


September 20, 2005, 10:50 AM

I bought a bottle at a gun show and use it on lapped steel rings and everything else in the way of touchups. I warm the part up on the radiator and/or heat a little OB in the cap in the microwave - it seems to work a little better that way on things like the BHP hammer I bobbed.


September 21, 2005, 10:12 AM
Thanks Johnbt. I'll give that a try.


Harry Bonar
September 28, 2005, 08:07 AM
Dear Shooter:
I have never laped scope rings; given the proper alignment they don't need lapped.
You know, all of our fancy modifications are needful and good - but, some old guy with a 32 Special, worn out old 94 Winchester will come along and shoot the pants off of a "modified" 98 Mauser!!!
Or you'll see a Springfield or Enfield with a bbl shortened by a hacksaw, left as it is, and shoot like a target rifle, rattling around in a stock with loose guard screws!! We can't explain it, but isn't it funny!
Harry B.
Of course they don't have the fun of "fixing" stuff :)

September 28, 2005, 06:44 PM
Harry, didn't you know that lapping the scope rings fixes all the ills of making a mistake in allignment. I use the little deals with the point on each end to make sure the rings are in line myself. None of my rings have ever needed lapping either. I use 1" rings for a 1" scope tube. Lapping them removes some of the metal and to me makes for a sloppy fit, but that is just my opinion.

If you need to lap them and they are made of steel, I would first cold blue the inside and then apply some clp and then wipe them clean. Get it back off of the rings to make sure you don't have a scope that slides back and forth. That should suffice, make sure to wipe them dry as good as you can. Before I would lap them though, I would make sure they are aligned. If they aren't, lapping them will never get it lined up completely though, it will just remove enough metal to help the rings on.

September 29, 2005, 07:41 AM
You must be buying better guns and rings than I do. ;)

I use the lapping rod to align the rings and as long as I have it out I make a couple of passes to see if I have full, or near full, contact. I was never convinced that those pointy dealies actually worked like they were advertised. I appears to me that just because the points touch doesn't mean both rods are straight, parallel, etc. They could still be a degree or three off dead straight.


September 29, 2005, 11:39 AM
Harry, honestly, your post isn't germane to this thread. :rolleyes:

September 29, 2005, 05:32 PM
I do use very good rings myself and have not had a problem with any that I use on a regualr basis. I use good Leupold rings and bases and they just have never needed to be lapped, your milelage may very. Tip for you, if you use the tips and make sure they will hold a business card up when they touch, they will be dead center accurate. If they won't hold the card up, then they aren't aligned correctly like you supposed. More than one way to skin a cat as they say. I still feel that lapping the rings are used by folks that haven't got the rings alligned properly more than by folks that have bad rings. I just never thought lapping steel to make something fit was as good a practise as making sure the rings were in allignment. Maybe I am wrong about it according to you and some others, but my scopes aren't crushed or are in a bind when the rings are tightened up on them which leads me to believe they didn't need lapping.

Not everthing you can buy and use on a gun is necessary to use all the time. Just my 2 cents. I feel that Harry's post was very germane to the question as well as mine. What purpose did yours serve but to say someone that disagrees with lapping the rings isn't correct for their own practice. Disagreements are as necessary to life as agreements. Without them, you would never learn anything.

September 29, 2005, 10:04 PM
Not germane to the specific question of how to stop rust, perhaps, but an interesting digression, making the point, indirectly, that rust would not be a threat if you never lapped in the first place.

That said, I think there are occasions for lapping. I have seen some scope rings that are pulled out-of-round by normal tightening (could see light through a small gap at the bottom). Bad ring design or execution is the actual fault, but nothing short of lapping would clean them up. (Replacement would have been a more reasonable option here, but some people just have to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I won't mention who.)

To stop rust, Oxpho-blue and Van's gun blue are both chemically similar and leave a charcoal-gray phosphate coating on the metal that tends to protect it. Despite that, I always recommend treating steel treated with these two cold "blues" as you should a newly Parkerized finish: Neutralize the acids with Formula 409. Rinse then boil in water so the water flash dries and leaves blue oxide on any microscopic untreated spot when you pull the part out and shake it off. Soak overnight in Brownells Water Displacing Oil or in WD 40, then wipe as completely dry as possible before proceeding to alcohol cleaning and whatever other steps your ring instructions may say to take.

If you are just trying to get perfect alignment, the pointed rods can be assisted by a lathe alignment tool Brownells sells. This consists of two little buttons co-ground between centers to a matching diameter. They have flats on their facing sides and conical holes drilled for the centers on their back sides. You put them between the rod points, then a micrometer will let you measure any misalignment as and oversize diameter across the buttons horizontally.


September 30, 2005, 12:11 AM
I like the button deal, but when a free business card or one of my own will do the same trick, why spend the money for the buttons. If the tips are off center by even a degree, the card will fall free. I like to keep things as simple as they can be kept and a trick like this comes in very handy.
I am not saying the buttons are no good, they are, but when a man can do the same thing by using his head and a common card, why spend the big bucks to do the same thing.

I think Harry's post went to the heart of the question, I hate to speak for anyone, but he did say he didn't lap the rings in the first place which like you said, digressed a might from preventing rust after lapping, but it sure does a heck of a job preventing it before you lap. Hmmmm, maybe he was on the right track afterall.

If you have a ring that doesn't fit well, I would toss it or return it if you can. I just don't like to reduce the rings myself simply because most of the time when I tighten mine down, there's not much space left between the two rings. If you get to lapping them and take off too much, then you are back where you started off from with a bad ring. Take care,


Harry Bonar
October 7, 2005, 07:08 PM
Dear smiths:
Oh! My! We've stirred one up again CNTRYBOY1289.

I'm so, so, sorry and disheasrtened when this happens and I make a mistake. PLEASE FIRGIVE US. :rolleyes: :p :confused: :o

Harry B.

October 7, 2005, 09:04 PM
very good one Harry