How to Mount Your Scope the Right Way
Dr. John Woods 10.29.13
All scope rings are not created equal, and neither are receiver mounts. Some name-brand scope makers also manufacture rings and mounts for their scopes. It’s reasonable to expect that if you have, say, a Leupold scope to mount, then Leupold’s own mounting system is the best available. Of course, those mounts also fit all kinds of other scope mounting applications.
I only use two brands of mounting systems. One is Leupold and the other is the DNZ Reaper one-piece milled mount and rings. For AR rifles I recommend GG&G quick release rail mounts. I prefer steel to aluminum, but even I have to admit that there are alloys out there now that can hold up to anything.
Buy rings and mounts of the same brand so there is some degree of match. The rings have to fit precisely onto the mounts. Mounts usually come in one piece or two-piece versions, and both are reliable scope bedding systems. Just make certain a one-piece mount does not interfere with cartridge ejection.
Basic rings come in 1-inch or 30mm. It is an obvious necessity to match the scope tube size to the ring size. Some 30mm rings also include a set of Delrin inserts to size these rings down to fit a one-inch scope. I tend to stay away from these inserts because a scope can slip inside of them, but they generally work fine.
A lot of things can be screwed up when mounting a scope. It isn’t rocket science, but it does have to be done right. First get out the right tools and screwdrivers that fit the screws, hex heads, or Torx type screws.
Then degrease the mounting holes on the rifle with a cotton tip dipped in alcohol or gun solvent. Likewise, wipe down the mounts, rings, and all mounting screws to remove packing oil or grease. Let them dry.
Run the mount screws into the rifle scope mounting holes before putting on the mount. With each screw, a dab of gunsmith locking glue is a good idea. Turn the screws down tight for each mount, alternating tightening them down. Don’t overdo it. The worst thing that can happen is breaking off a screw in the rifle mounting hole.
For the rings, I like to run some 400 grit sandpaper inside the rings to clean off the bluing or stainless finish and then wipe clean without oil. Mount the rings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make certain the rings are mounted or turned square to the receiver so they won’t bind on the scope, then take the top half of the rings off to complete the job.
Set the scope down into the lower half of the rings, put on the top part of the rings, and turn all the screws down loosely. At this time you must adjust the eye relief or the distance from the eyepiece to your shooting eye when the rifle is mounted to the shoulder. You also have to square up the crosshairs so that they’re not tilted.
When these adjustments are set, begin to tighten down the scope ring screws. Go slowly, alternating between the screws, but do not over tighten. Check the crosshairs again to make sure they’re squared up to the rifle. Check the gap between the upper and lower ring halves to be sure the space is equal on both sides. This means there is equal pressure on the scope. When tightened down, the scope should not be able to be turned inside the rings.
Wipe down all the metal surfaces with a lightly oiled rag. Then use scope lens cleaning solution and a soft cloth to clean the front and rear glass. That should just about do it. You may want to check the eye focus adjustment again then lock it down.
Now you are ready to bore sight the scope in preparation for heading to the gun range for a live fire sight in session. One nice final touch is to get a soft neoprene scope cover to stretch over the scope for protection from nicks, scratches, and weather elements.