How To Tighten Scope Rings

Shooting is a wonderful sport that can be very relaxing, whether you are shooting targets or hunting. In order to start shooting there are a couple of things you need. A rifle is an obvious must. But a scope is also important. Choosing the right scope can make a big difference when it comes to shooting accurately.

Once you pick a scope it is time to mount it. A lot of first-time shooters think that all you need to do is simply slap a scope onto your rifle. A few turns of a screwdriver and done. This is far from the truth. Mounting a scope is a process, not a major one, but one that takes some know how to complete.

We are going to cover the basics of how to mount your scope and how to tighten scope rings. We’ll try to keep it as basic as possible in order to make it a simple process. Keep reading to get your scope mounted and tightened perfectly.

How To Tighten Scope Rings

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Tools Needed

Tightening down a scope ring is the process of mounting it onto a rifle. Even if you are retightening a scope ring you want to ensure that the scope itself hasn’t shifted in position. While the process might take a little bit of time, it isn’t too hard. The number of tools you need is very limited.

  • Rifle
  • Scope
  • Scope Tool (hex wrench, screwdriver, and/or specialty tool)
  • Levels (optional for leveling)
  • Vice Grips (optional to hold rifle)
  • Target(s)
  • Ammunition (kept separately until the end)
  • Ruler

How To Tighten Your Scope Rings

Step One: Clear and Position The Rifle

Gun safety is always important. The first step you should take any time that you are working with any firearm is to ensure it is clear. Make sure there is no ammunition in the rifle and any ammunition present is kept as far away from the rifle as possible. Preferably have the ammunition in a separate room or some other location that physically prevents it from entering the rifle, even by accident.

Now that the safety briefing is over, you will want to position your rifle to work on it. The best way to have your rifle positioned to attach a scope is to have it immobile. One way to do this is to place it in vice grips. Another option is to place your rifle on sandbags, this will keep it less mobile but not perfectly immob

Step Two: Determine How Your Scope Rings Mount

The most common way to mount a scope on a modern rifle is with a rail system. These rails are designed to make attaching accessories as simple as possible. Your accessories simply slide on and are fastened down. Another type of scope mounting is with screws. The rings screw directly into the top of the rifle. Determine which scope mount is correct for your rifle and purchase the correct scope rings.

Step Three: Loosely Attach The Scope Rings

Now you will loosely attach the scope rings to the rifle. Allow the scope to sit in the rings and ensure that it is pointing straight forward. Once the bottom half of the rings are perfectly aligned, tighten them down to the rifle. The manufacturer of the scope rings likely has a recommended amount of tightening that should be applied to the screws.

On the other hand, if your scope rings do not have a recommended tightness, you will want to tighten them until the nut or screw is flush with the ring. You don’t want anything scraping against the scope if it was not designed to do so. At the same time, if you hear any cracking or see any damage from tightening, stop. It is important, though, to tighten the scope rings enough that they will not loosen when you fire the rifle.

Step Four: Level The Scope

When attaching a scope to a rifle it is important that the verticle and horizontal points are perfectly aligned. If the scope is not properly leveled your crosshairs will not be properly set up and your shooting will be off. Many casual shooters level their scope by plopping the scope on and visually estimating the alignment. That can lead to small errors which grow bigger the further out that you are trying to shoot.

To ensure that your scope is properly aligned, place a level on your windage and elevation knobs. Turn the scope in the scope rings until it is perfectly level. Make sure to hold it in place until the scope rings have been tightened down.

Step Five: Tighten The Scope Rings

Before tightening the scope down you should read the manual for the scope. Every manufacturer has a different recommendation for how tight their scope should be tightened down. Unless you are buying a specialty scope or specialty ring mounts though, they will be roughly the same. We are going to breakdown the tightening into the standard way and the advanced way.

Standard Scope Tightening

A basic tightening of the scope is satisfactory for most shooters and very simple. Your scope should come with a tool to tighten the rings such as a hex tool, screwdriver, or another specialty tool. Take this tool and fasten the scope rings down evenly. You will want to go slowly and watch the rings to ensure that they do not have a large gap. Once the gap is barely there or just gone, your scope rings should be tight enough.

Being able to fit a couple of pieces of paper through the mounting ring is okay.

Advanced Tightening

Tightening a scope in the advanced way requires a tool that you might already have at home: a torque driver. Take the torque driver and tighten the rings down with between 15 and 18 inch pounds. You do not want to exceed 20 inch pounds. Again, we recommend consulting the manual for your scope to see if it has a different level of tightness listed.

Step Six: Sight In The Scope

After you are done mounting a scope you will want to sight it in. If you are tightening the scope down after it has become lose you should still sight in the scope again to ensure that you are still able to get on target.

Sighting in your scope involves taking a series of three shots at a time at your target. When the shot hits, measure the distance between the shots and the center of the target and adjust accordingly. If you are sighting in at 100 yards, each click of the scope knobs will adjust the sight by ¼ of an inch.

A Warning About Overtightening

Overtightening your scope can result in any number of problems with your scope or your rifle. One of the most common problems to encounter is damaging the scope. Exerting too much pressure on the scope tube breaks the internals.

Another problem that you can encounter is the screws being stripped or fastened so tightly that they can’t be removed. Shooters have had to have their scope rings cut off their rifles before due to being overtightened. That can damage the rifle and most definitely will damage the mounting.

Once you are done reading this article you should be well-equipped to mount your rifle scope to your rifle properly. These instructions were designed to be simple yet to get the job done.

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How To Tighten Scope Rings

How To Tighten Scope Rings

A basic tightening of the scope is satisfactory for most shooters and very simple. Your scope should come with a tool to tighten the rings such as a hex tool, screwdriver, or another specialty tool

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