People who use rifles don’t always know how scopes work. Scopes are usually needed for a bit more professional work.
But not to worry, I’ll reveal how rifle scopes work and teach you how to mount a rifle scope in this article.
Also, I’ll provide you a step-by-step guide on the process so that there’s no possibility for mistakes. In addition, there will be discussions on other things that will help you improve your shooting.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What is a Rifle Scope?
A rifle scope is also called a telescopic sight. This is a kind of optical device made for sighting on rifles. It is equipped with a reticle, which is a graphic image pattern. This reticle is mounted in a position to give an optically appropriate aiming point that is accurate.
There are many kinds of rifle scopes, and the scope you need depends on the type of shooting you’ll do. And not all rifles are the same, even if they appear the same. But function-wise, there will be factors that distinguish them.
So, you obviously can’t mount the same kind of scope on various types of rifles the same way. You’ll need to make adjustments to the settings on the scope.
What Is Mounting?
The mounting means to attach or place something on top of something else or a surface. Here we’re talking about mounting scopes on rifles. And the general scope needs two parts to be mounted: the scope rings and the scope base.
Steps to Mounting a Rifle Scope
You can go to professionals to have your scope mounted appropriately on your rifle. But if you wanted to, you can try mounting it yourself. And the good thing about mounting it yourself is that you learn about different measurements on your rifle, and you get to match it to your sight and shoulder comfort.
There’s also the fact that you get to save money rather than going to a professional gunsmith.
But to mount your own scope on your rifle, you’ll need to follow a few steps. Carefully follow the steps that are given below:
Installing the Scope Base
Before we start the first step of mounting the scope, you need to hold the rifle in a position and aim at something. And positions include where you are and how your body is set. Whether you’re sitting, kneeling, standing, or lying down, you need to analyze the position thoroughly.
After you’ve figured out your comfortable position, notice the rest of your body movements, and memorize them. According to these postures, you will mount your scope.
The first step here is to get a gun vise and a clean area that’s well-lit with light, whether it’s focused light or open light. If your receiver’s top area has any filler screws, remove them with a screwdriver.
Then you need to de-grease all the holes and mount the parts so that you can apply a new coat of oil on the receiver’s top and on the bottom areas of the scope rings and base.
Ensure that all screws are placed correctly according to size, length, and fitting. They should all protrude the same length from under the base. Then, you can install the base with the help of oil and then tightly secure it in place.
Fitting the Scope Rings
The next step is to install the scope rings on the bases. Scope rings are basically clamps. You’re supposed to attach the lower halves to the scope base, and the scope rests in the lower halves of the rings, while the upper halves support the scope.
These rings come in different sizes and heights, so you need to buy them according to your scope’s size.
In the case of a Picatinny or Weaver system, you should tighten the rings with the right sized wrench or screwdriver. And if it’s a Leupold turn-in system, then you should assemble the top halves of the scope rings to the bottom ring first and then put it in the base.
After that, use a dowel or screwdriver on the ring to turn it to 90 degrees. Make sure to not de-grease the mating parts here, because Leupold styles tend to get looser over time. But if you need to, you may apply grease over it.
Perfecting the Ring Alignment
The best scopes need the best mounting techniques. And for that, you need the best scope and ring alignment tool so that you can mount your rings perfectly. You need a scope ring alignment rod for this step. This tool should be either two-piece 1 inch or 30-millimeter rods. It will also have a pointed end.
When you’re using the alignment rod, make sure the base is still, with no movement, while it’s pressed to the receiver. No screws should be sticking out of the receiver. While the base is mounted, you can follow through with adding the rings.
You need to install this between the halves of the rings and move the front and back rings with this tool to the point the tips almost touch. Then remove the rings’ top halves and place the scope in the rings’ bottom halves. The scope will then slowly fall to the bottom of the rings.
Adjusting the Scope Sight
This step needs something called a bore sighter. Here you need to take off your rifle bolt. Then you need to look through the rifle bore at any specific target you want, which should be about 25 yards. Adjust your scope in a way that the crosshairs point at that very target.
Next, install your bore sighter to the tip or muzzle of the rifle and look down it. Position the reticle of the scope to the center of the reticle of the bore sighter. If you need to adjust some of the settings to do this, you can do so.
If that still doesn’t work, then you’ll have to adjust the rings’ positions by the knobs and screws. Through all the efforts, if the centers match even a little, it should be enough.
Corrections for Windage
Windage means adjusting the rifle so that it accommodates your strikes to directions of your target. In case your windage isn’t adjusted in the right position, then take the scope out again and start readjusting the bases to align the rings.
Use your alignment tool to realign your rings and base and put the scope back in the bottom halves of the ring to let the scope fall to the bottom. After installing the top halves, check your boresight’s measurements again.
If you have problems with your elevation, then put a shim under one of your bases to get a built-in elevation for your base.
And if you don’t have either the alignment tool or boresight, then feel free to adjust by trusting your own eyes.
Lapping increases contact between the rings and the scope. It also enhances the alignment of rings. To lap your scope, you need to apply a compound to create friction between the two surfaces.
After ensuring your boresight is fine, go ahead and lap the rings. Lapping helps in a way to polish the rings’ insides. After you finish lapping the rings, remove any traces of abrasions with any kind of solvent, and de-grease it.
Place your scope in place and adjust your rings. Keep your scope with the highest magnification; aim it at a distant wall. Next, adjust its eye relief by moving the scope back and forth to get the distance that gives you a full view.
Though at lower magnification, you get better eye relief, for aiming it’s best to keep it at high magnification.
This step includes leveling crosshairs, and it’s better to do this by eye. Loosen the ring screws a few times till the reticle is straightened enough and then tighten the screws again. There might be a slight gap between the rings, but you shouldn’t close the gap.
After the scope is properly mounted and secured tightly, try your rifle functions and see how it works to see if any adjustments are needed. Verify that the action isn’t bound by lengthy base screws, or that the ocular bell doesn’t disturb the bolt manipulation during the bolt action of the rifle.
Completing such a project takes a lot of time and patience. But with proper instructions, the results will come out satisfactory. So, now that you’ve gone through the steps on how to mount a rifle scope, you can try it yourself and finally go out to the field and try out your new scope.
Whether you’re hunting or practicing for a competition, you won’t need a professional’s help anymore if you ever need to change your scope or make adjustments. Now you can handle all that on your own.