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Old November 6, 2010, 08:50 AM   #1
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scope-mounting tools: what do I need?

so i've been watching various tutorial videos on how to mount a scope on my rifle, especially the ones by Leupold and however, they both suggest the use of certain products to make the mounting process easier.

my question is, how many of these products do I actually need?

- blue threadlock. I bought this yesterday because I decided that I don't want base mounts permanently attached to my rifle.

- ring wrench

- torque screwdriver

- alignment bars. I don't know why alignment bars are considered a necessity when you can just use your scope. seems like a waste of money to me.

- scope level

- lapping bar
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Old November 6, 2010, 10:04 AM   #2
Dr. Strangelove
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Ehhh, my scope mounting kit consists of the hex wrench that comes with the mounts, and some Loctiteâ„¢.

The other items are nice to have, but hardly needed for most folks. If you are like the vast majority of shooters/hunters who never shoot past a couple of hundred yards, just mount the scope and go.

Unless I was planning on mounting a bunch of scopes, I'd save the money on the tools and just have a gunsmith mount it if you don't feel up to the job. Most places you buy scopes will mount and bore-sight free of charge as well.
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Old November 6, 2010, 01:28 PM   #3
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ring wrench Depends on the type of mounting system. Some have a lot of force needed initially & the scope tube is not the right thing to use for this. If you're getting the kind that rotate into alignment you'll need something.
(a 1" wood dowel, or other similar object will do fine though.)

torque screwdriver I've never needed one & I use them for other things. I'm able to "feel" the tension & match close enough for all practical purposes. YMMV though only you know how good you are at this kind of thing.

alignment bars. I don't know why alignment bars are considered a necessity when you can just use your scope. You're misunderstanding the purpose of the bars, which explains your confusion. What the alignment bars do is align the rings with each other perfectly to prevent them twisting on the scope tube.

lapping bar (I changed your order here a bit as this works with the bars above.) This is only needed if there is a misalignment issue that can not be fixed horizontally with the alignment bars. For example the holes aren't parallel when made at the factory. Unfortunately you won't know this till you try with the bars & find it is "off" somehow they can't fix. This is more of a problem with cheaper rings BTW, precision alignment is one thing you pay more for.

scope level There are 2 kinds of these, one used to install the scope dead vertically, the other to keep the installed unit vertical when shooting. I'm not sure which one is being suggested.
My experience has been that it depends on the action for the type used in installation, some really need a level others not so much as you can figure it out with the ol eyeball. The type used to keep level when shooting I don't use.
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Old November 6, 2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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They are all right. But it depends on the degree of accuracy you want in the mounting. Just a screwdriver or hex wrench will get the scope mounted. Or, you could go the way of a serious bench rest shooter and need several specialized tools and products. Read up on it or just take to a gunsmith. Scope mounting (properly) is not as simple a task as it might look to the uninitiated.
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Old November 6, 2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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All you really need is a screw driver or hex wrench. I'm sure the other tools are fine, but you really don't need them unless you are bench shooting.
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
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Old November 6, 2010, 04:31 PM   #6
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I agree with everything so far.

I would have to add an optical Collimator (Bushnell Bore Sighter or a Site-Lite Mag 150) as well. I'm just starting to use the Site-Lite and so far it's amazing the software is easy to use.
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Old November 6, 2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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With the allen wrench,torx driver or whatever,you can clamp a scope on top of a rifle.Seems like anyone who can put a new set of plates on a cars bumper can do it....Yeah,well,sort of.
Each part has tolerances and how they stack is a crapshoot.I have spent time a surface plate,vee-blocks,indicators,etc.If I cannot set the receiver on parallels and run a dial indicator across the front scope block then the back scope block and have everything within .002 or so I set up and remachine the bottoms of the blocks .
Even on modern rifles I have seen significant errors.Some scope base mfgr's do not do a good job.
Once the blocks are true,I set the lower halves of the rings and float the lap bar through.My lap bars ar ground .005 undersize to allow for the grit.
I want to see 70% or so contact before I put the scope in the rings.
Scope tubes are thinwall,light,and therefore flexible.As you are sucking up and torquing all the ring clamp screws to a 3 white knuckle torque,unless the bores of the rings are in alignment and true,you will distort the tube.
You pay a lot of money for the precision inside a scope.It all disappears when you bend the tube.
I do not understand those who say"Its good enough for deer hunting accuracy"
One could induce accuracy and optical problems through tube distortion,but how about the way the windage and elevation adjustments work?
I'll spend as much good money on a scope as I will on a rifle,why compromise it all mounting the scope?

Ever ran through 40 rounds sighting in?Wonder what causes that.

Yeah,just about any junior high kid with a bicycle can attach a scope to the top of a rifle.
Unfortunately,taking it in to a gunshop is not a guarantee that it will receive any better job than you will do on the kitchen table.
I do for myself what is not easy to hire done.

Last edited by HiBC; November 6, 2010 at 05:32 PM.
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Old November 6, 2010, 06:52 PM   #8
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Well said HiBc.Im with ya all he way.Mounting goes a long way for accuracy. Do it right or don't do it at all.
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Old November 7, 2010, 09:19 AM   #9
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the ones by Leupold and
Some good points here & I certainly agree that the purpose for the rifle/scope factors into the need for equipment. The same is true of the skill level of the person doing the mounting.

Just bear in mind that all those videos were made by someone wanting to sell products & they are slanted accordingly.
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Old November 12, 2010, 03:31 AM   #10
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thats pretty much all you need. The alignment bars are good for diagnosing a problem, not so much needed for when you set something up for the first time, although it wouldn't hurt.

I think they're actually more useful for the older dovetail styled rings. There really isn't much you can do with weaver or picatinny bases besides lap the rings.
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Old November 12, 2010, 12:12 PM   #11
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"The alignment bars are good for diagnosing a problem, not so much needed for when you set something up for the first time, although it wouldn't hurt."

Actually, the alignment bars are necessary in order to AVOID problems in the first place. I would put the torque screw drivers and lapping bars at the bottom of the list.

The number one scope problem is screwed up erector systems cause by mounting scopes without checking the rings for alignment. This is especially true when using the Redfield type turn in rings. It's true that most anybody can get the scope on the rifle with just a screwdriver, hex wrench and Loctite and a lot of times it will be OK but, a lot of more times it won't be OK.

How do I know?

I learned the hard way. There's never time to do it right but always time to do it over. Sort of like the construction workers rule of measuring twice to cut once. Amazing that some folks recommend not measuring at all. Ask any gunsmith.

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Old December 10, 2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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New design of multi torque driver from Borka Tools, optimized for work on firearms, specifically scopes rings, mounts and action screws. Includes all needed accessories (bits, socket, adapters, etc.) Made in the USA.
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Old December 10, 2010, 09:50 PM   #13
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One of my former employers had some Swiss turning machines,They were set up with a bar feeder that took stock OD ground .005 under nominal.(hint,yellow pages,internet,who has swiss turn machines?"Please,kind sir,have you any barends?")
An old moldmaker told me generally grit sizes are the screen size,240 is one 240th in nominal,+-.400 grit to 320 grit clover works for me.
Using 1.000 drill rod or such will lap oversize.The grit adds to the size of the bar.Same applies to something like lapping a slideA slide lapped in with 500 grit theoretically should have .002 running clearance when it first frees up.
320 would give about .003.This is for general idea.Grit imbeds to a degree in softer metal,etc.
Way off topic,but a tip.Linear motion parts,like slides,when the polish lines are in the same direction the slide travels on both parts,they try to intermesh as they run.Much more likely to gall.Those horrid chopping tool marks across the slide ways on millsurps,trap sand,hold lube.Run good.
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Old December 11, 2010, 12:16 PM   #14
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Not too much mention of shooting after the scope is mounted. Seperate process..

Bore sight or use bore sighter--REMOVE before firing--dont laugh. you wont be the first to blow up the gun if bore sighter is left in the bore.
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