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Mounting a scope without damaging the scope tube or rifle

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by ricksengines, Dec 4, 2017.

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  1. ricksengines

    ricksengines Well-Known Member

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    A while back I added a thread to the post Choosing a Scope & Mounts where I described the method that I have used for years to mount a scope without damaging the rifle, scope tube. At the same time achieve near perfect alignment of the scope with the bore minimizing sight-in problems with windage and usually getting to zero in under five rounds. Sounds good! Then keep reading.

    Now this method works for Leupold mounts with the windage adjustment screws on the rear of the mount. It will also work with any similar mounts from a variety of manufacturers and you don't need to be a gunsmith to use this technique successfully.

    My apologies to the Forum because I am using the Remington 700 BDL in 17 Rem that I picked up at the gun show a few weeks back but I didn't have a Sako rifle that needed a scope mounted on it. Besides I encountered a problem with this mount that is worth sharing because all too frequently a similar problem might arise when you try to mount a scope on your rifle.

    Lets set the stage. the rifle is as I stated the Remington 700 BDL in 17 Remington. The rifle is first year of production for this model and had a see thru mount on the rifle with an el cheapo scope on it. BTW the rear sight had been removed so I couldn't understand why a see thru mount had been installed in the first place.

    To do the job properly you will need a piece of 1" round stainless rod about 8" long that is slightly beveled on both ends. The proper screwdriver needed to fit the windage screws, The proper screw driver, hex wrench or star drive to fit the ring screws.

    After removing the scope and mounts clean off the top of the action. As you can see,there were areas on the top of the receiver where the bluing had flaked off.


    This can be a common problem with older rifles and if left untreated can cause more serious rust problems down the road. I used Brownell's old standby cold blue to re-blue the top of the receiver I polished the areas with a large cleaning patch until I got the color to match the original finish then I oiled the receiver to lay down an oil barrier before I put the mount on the receiver.

    Mount the one or two piece base on the receiver and install the screws. Do no overtighten them. I also never use locktight on these things because it makes removal doubly difficult later on. Remember never overtighten mounting, windage, or ring screws. Hand tight is almost always sufficient.

    Preparing the windage adjustment. Back out one of the two windage screws far enough to allow the opposite screw to be screwed in all the way. After it is screwed in, back it out and keep track of the number of half turns it takes to get it far enough out to allow the other screw to be screwed in all the way. Then back it out the same number of turns as the screw you did first.


    Remove the top half of the split rings and check to make sure that the bottom half goes on the scope tube smoothly. There should not be any binding here. Put the top half of the split ring on the scope tube and check to make sure that both the top and bottom half of the rings go on the scope tube without binding. If any of these parts don't fit without binding you will have to open them up a bit until they fit around the tube properly.

    Install the front ring. Clamp the steel bar in the ring by installing the top half of the split ring assembly. Put some gun oil on the tang of the base and insert it into the slot in the front of the base. Rotate the steel bar back and forth, turning the front ring until it turns in the slot smoothly and without binding. I also turn the bar a full 360 degrees clockwise and then counterclockwise until the front ring turns smoothly in both directions. No binding here and for gosh sakes don't try to do this with the scope or you will really mess it up. When done, remove the top of the split ring and remove the steel bar. Leave the bottom half of the base in place.


    Mount the bottom half of the rear ring mount on the base and begin to turn the windage screws into the base. At first make one complete turn of each screw on either side of the mount. As the windage screws get closer to the groves in the bottom of the rear ring base drop back to half turn, then to 1/4 turns until the base is secure. I usually check to make sure all of the play is out of the base by trying to turn it slightly (left and right) just before the screws snug up. This method assures that the rear ring mount is almost dead center on the base and in proper alignment with the bore. Make sure that you alternate turning the screws. Don't screw in one side all the way and then the other. The objective of alternating from one side to the other in the end will result is an almost perfect alignment of the rear ring base with the bore.

    Snug up the rear windage screws making sure that you make the same number of turn adjustments to each side of the base. Be sure to alternate sides. When tightening up the windage screws don't kill them. A little past hand tight always works just fine and won't booger the screws by you trying to overtighten them.


    Take the steel bar and lay it into the rear and front ring mounts. I use an open end wrench that just fits the bottom of the lower half of the rear scope mount to make sure that the windage screws are properly seated in the half moon indentations in the ring mount. By applying a little pressure left and right most of the time there is a little play there that needs to be dealt with. Using the wrench I just wiggle the rear mount until the thing is centered properly on the windage screws then I snug up the screws alternating left and right side until the rear mount is mounted correctly. Carefully adjust the front mount making sure that the steel bar settles into the mount and turns without binding. You can usually eyeball this fit. If done correctly the steel bar will rotate freely in both the front and rear mounts.


    Remove the rod and install the scope in the two bottom halves of the mounts. The scope should rotate freely in the mounts and slide back and forth without the mounts marring it. You can also put a drop or two of oil on the inside of the rings just to add a little lube there.


    Install the top halves of both rings and make sure that the gap on both sides of each split ring is the same. Begin to tighten the screws on each ring until the scope begins to have some slight resistance when you try to rotate it or move it back and forth in the rings. Remember to alternate tightening the ring screws. Do a half turn on one side then do the same on the other side until the rings just start to slightly grip the scope tube.


    Setup the eye relief by moving the scope back or forward until you get a good clear sight picture that is equal to the full diameter of the scope as you look through it. Next align the crosshairs until they are level as you look through the scope. I usually do this with the rifle mounted in a cleaning jig and eyeball the crosshair alignment. 99% of the time this alignment method results in the crosshairs being properly aligned. Finish tightening up the ring screws. I usually leave them a little loose just in case I need to tweek anything when I get to the range. Be sure to tighten the ring screws by alternating from one side to another as you tighten up the screws. Don't screw one side all the way down and attempt to tighten up the opposite side. All that will do is to knock the scope out of alignment and result in a cant of the crosshairs. Tightening the ring screws takes a little time but if you do it properly an don't rush the process the finished product with serve you well for years to come. Also don't overtighten the ring screws. Hand tight will hold a scope in place on the heaviest of magnum rifles.

    When you get to the range, put the rifle in a suitable rest of sand bags. Look through the scope until you see the target. Aim at the center of the bullseye. Remove the bolt and look though the bore. Move the rifle in the rest until the bullseye is centered in the barrel view. Look back through the scope and adjust windage and elevation until the scope view matches the bore view. Fire your first round and you should be within an inch or so of dead center. This method results in a three round sight in.

    Following this procedure will result in a properly mounted, undamaged scope. Remember, do not overtighten the screws either on the scope mount or the rings. People tend to do this and all it does is foul up the works down the road.

    Have fun!


  2. kirkbridgershooters

    kirkbridgershooters Well-Known Member

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    Here is a very simple tool made just for scope mounting and helps line the scope with the center of the gun. It is a Scope Tru designed by Jerry Schmidt in Bozeman, Montana and works.


    The design is very simple and effective. If you mount your rings loose and then put the scope-Tru in the rings before you tighten them and line the points of the tool with the center of the gun, you can get it as near as possible with the least amount of wasted time. I always line the inside of my rings with 3M electrical tape to protect the tube of the scope and also help hold the scope within the rings.

    Then Jerry also designed the Reticle-tru which allows an easy way to mount the scope straight up and down for the best alignment possible with both tools...

    118_2826.JPG 118_2827.JPG 118_2829.JPG 118_2830.JPG
    sws1213 likes this.

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