Scope mounting to maintain zero

Formidilosus

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After multiple requests for an explanation of how to mount a scope in order to have the lowest possibility of loss of zero, a discussion of a scope mounting video, and the latest thread about scope bases and action screw coming loose, I took some pics of what I do with a rifle when I get it and how I mount scopes (or anything with screws).

To start- a bit of background of why I say what I say.

I am a backpack hunter. What I write below is tailored to hunting.

Having sid that, I work at a place that fires a lot of ammo. I see over half a million rounds a year on average get fired. 90% of those rounds are tracked. Weapon zeros are checked nearly daily, scopes, mounts, rifles, ammo, etc, are being tested constantly. If a rifle has even a .5 MOA shift in zero we will see it almost immediately. My thoughts are this- scopes are an aiming device. They are a container to hold my reticle so that I can hit targets. I do not care about scratches, dings, or ring marks. I do care that the bullets go where the crosshairs are pointed. My first requirment is that the rifle stays zeroed through use. To do that the mounts, rings, and action screws can not come loose.

The #1 reason that we see for loss of zero is failure to mount optics correctly. The #2 reason is the optics themselves failing. This applies to hunting rifles as well. #2 has been discussed several times so I will leave that one alone.


Here we go....


Some principles:

1) Things don't shoot "tight", they shoot "loose".

2) Oil and greas helps things move/keeps things from sticking together (this includes oil from fingers)

3) Under torquing screws helps them shoot loose. Over torquing breaks things.

4) Manufacturers apply oil to every metal component to keep it from rusting. Every screw, every base, ever ring has oil on out of the box.

5) Manufactures generally offer info that keeps customer service calls down. When it comes to scope mounting- Ring manufactures generally get calls for rings and mounts "marking" scope tubes. Scope manufactures generally get calls for crimped scope tube causing erector issues. The first is a bit of improper alignment and over torquing, the second is overtightening and fragile scope tubes.

6) The farther apart the rings are, the better support for the scope tube. Ring spacing is a thing.



All the parts for those that will ask-

Howa 6.5 Grendel
SWFA SS 3-9x42mm
Seekins Pic Rings
Burris XTR Bases
Hand tools
Acetone or break cleaner
Blue Loctite, paint pen, or finger nail polish
Napkins and Q-Tips
Scale because someone will ask....









Take the rifle apart. Brand new out of the box. That is oil on the screw. Aka- it will come loose Aka- loss of zero.







Spray brake cleaner or dip the action screws in acetone. Wipe with a clean rag.






Next is the action base holes. Spray/wipe down the action and inside the screw holes to remove oil.







This is oul on tbe Q-tip. Aka- loss of zero.







Next is to wioe dowm down the bases. Oil here too.







Next the base screws. Oil here.
 
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Formidilosus

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After cleaning, apply thread locker to both screw and screw hole






Tighten to whatever you deem appropriate. The small end of the wrench works fine, with the long end for a finish.








When tightened...








Next the rings...






Take apart apart me wipe the caps, and clean screws and screw holes.





 
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Formidilosus

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Degrease base.




Thread lock base screw amd holes






Tighten appropriately and if using Picatinney or Weaver rings push rings forward into the lug.





Degrease scope tube, ring cap screws, and apply thread locker to screws and screw holes








 
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Formidilosus

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Just get the rings screw not quite snug and set eye reload and align the reticle. Whatever way you do not is fine if it works. I mount a lot of scopes and can eyeball the vertical posts with the butt stock very close.




Then ensuring that the scope doesn't twist, tighten the ring screws. 18in-lbs is what I generally do. Any less than about 16in-lbs and you sometimes see slippage. The little end of the wrench is good for this.








Once that is complete spin the power ring and parralax knob if it has one and spin the turrets up and down. You're just looking for binding or anything weird. If it's good, you're done.











Now I really don't like things to move. So I go a step further and seal around the screws with a paint pen or nail polish. This is another layer to keep oil out, and allows at a glance to see if a screw has loosened.







Just a dab around the screw heads will do.




 
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Formidilosus

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With that completed, off to the range to check rifle, mounts, scope, and ammo integrity.


10 round group at 100 yards. Do not care about getting zeroed, as the stock is getting a diet immediately.







1.15 MOA for ten rounds is about as much as one can hope
for with a normal rifle and factory ammo.



















This how I do it, and why. Every single problem we have with optics moving, or screws coming loose is due to not degreasing, not using thread locker, and not torquing correctly.
 
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mtnwrunner

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Form..............great thread. Thanks for the info! Now that you're done with that and don't have anything else to do.............:rolleyes:
Could you use that same format and show/explain how you and your crew test and evaluate scopes, especially the tracking tests?
I think that most folks here would be really interested in seeing that, I know I would.
As always, thanks.

Randy
 

UtahJimmy

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With that completed, off to the range to check rifle, mounts, scope, and ammo integrity.


10 round group at 100 yards. Do not care about getting zeroed, as the stock is getting a diet immediately.







1.15 MOA for ten rounds is about as much as one can hope
for with a normal rifle and factory ammo.



















This how I do it, and why. Every single problem we have with optics moving, or screws coming loose is due to not degreasing, not using thread locker, and not torquing correctly.
Great thread!

What app is that?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 
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Formidilosus

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Form..............great thread. Thanks for the info! Now that you're done with that and don't have anything else to do.............:rolleyes:
Could you use that same format and show/explain how you and your crew test and evaluate scopes, especially the tracking tests?
I think that most folks here would be really interested in seeing that, I know I would.
As always, thanks.

Randy

I will try to get something put together in the next couple of weeks.





Great thread!

What app is that?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

Ballistc AE.
 

wildcat33

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Great post. I made a mental note of how you used the heavy duty Seekins rings, even on a light weight and lighter caliber rifle.
 

bpotter

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Apr 6, 2013
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Great post Form..
Any need to bed two-piece bases (like the Burris Xtreme) to reciever, particularly on a higher recoil calibers? Suggestions rings things don't line up perfectly?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 
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22tcm

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Form, I am curious if you ever lap your rings for better contact or do you find that to be an unesessary step?
 
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Formidilosus

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Great post. I made a mental note of how you used the heavy duty Seekins rings, even on a light weight and lighter caliber rifle.

It's not recoil that I plan for, but abuse. Good pic rings and bases fend abuse and hold zero better than any other setup, while allowing one to set ring spacing as needed. Seekins, Nightfocre UL, Warne Mountian Tech, etc. are all good options.




Great post Form..
Any need to bed two-piece bases (like the Burris Xtreme) to reciever, particularly on a higher recoil calibers? Suggestions rings things don't line up perfectly?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

If needed. I haven't bedded any of mine yet, but intend to use 1-piece pic bases on guns who's action bridges are correctly milled. If I get any more Remington's, I will bed them as they tend to have issues and it can't hurt.





Form, I am curious if you ever lap your rings for better contact or do you find that to be an unesessary step?
Used to. Not so much anymore as the combination of good actions, Picatinney bases and rings, and strong scope tubes generally make it unnecessary. If it were, I would bed the bases instead.
 

snowcamoman

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Feb 19, 2014
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Excellent post with clear directions and photos. Thanks for this one, I'm sure a lot of guys can utilize the tips you're using to help secure a scope reliably. What are your thoughts on bedding scope bases or rail onto a rifle?
 

texag10

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If you are able, a series on common issues you see/best practices you have developed would make a great sticky for this forum.
 
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