Ring Marks on Scopes

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks for gunsmithing your own Sako' started by icebear, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Here's something that may help with unsightly ring marks on used scopes.

    I recently bought a Zeiss 3-9x Diavari-C from an eBay auction. The seller disclosed the ring marks and provided pictures, but the ring marks looked worse in person than in the pictures, so I decided to see what I could do to improve the appearance. The scope tube has a low-gloss finish, neither glossy nor matte. First I took a Birchwood Casey gloss black paint pen and painted all the ring marks, with a margin around them. Then I let the paint dry overnight. The painted areas stood out, of course, so the next day I rubbed them with fine bronze wool until the paint was blended and the excess paint was gone. It's important to use bronze wool rather than steel wool - bronze wool is soft and won't mar the finish. I got mine at Ace Hardware, in the paint department. Finally I polished the entire scope tube with automotive polishing compound. Polishing compound is lighter and less abrasive than rubbing compound. When I finished, the ring marks were still there but you had to look for them - the appearance of the scope was very much improved, and with a relatively small amount of time invested.

    The Zeiss is now mounted on my L461 carbine, replacing a Burris Compact. I checked the zero with a laser - it looked pretty good so the next step is to the range for final sighting-in.

     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019

  2. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Hi Ice

    Good info. I just wish that you had taken pics as the process went along. I think we all could benefit from seeing what you did. No doubt you have another scope that you could use to repeat and document the process. If not I have a bunch of scopes like this and would be willing to give it a try time permitting.

    rick
     
  3. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    It didn't occur to me until I was almost finished that I might post the information online, so I didn't bother to take pictures. If I can grab one of the original eBay photos for a before picture, I will take a picture of the mounted scope and post both.
     
  4. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    OK, here are before and after pictures. Not very useful as it's hard to photograph something that's black and round and get any detail in it. The first picture I snagged off eBay; the second is the best I could do with a small digital camera without dragging out the D750 and a bunch of soft lighting equipment. The photos don't really show much, but there is a visible difference between the scope as it was and how it looks now. You can click on the photos to enlarge them for better detail.

    Zeiss Ring Marks 1.jpg

    Zeiss After 2.JPG
     
  5. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Nice work for sure. Definitely a noticeable improvement.
     
  6. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Many thanks for taking the time to post the pics. I didn't know that the touch up pens even existed. I'm going to order several off of Ebay and given them a try.

    rick
     
  7. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Hi Folks

    I'm seeing some pretty disturbing reviews on the touch up pens. Anyone care to chime in and give an educated review of the product before I dive in.

    rick
     
  8. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    You might also consider a lacquer stick. They are used for filling in lettering or engraving on guns, among many other uses. I don't happen to have a black one, but I've found the white, silver, and gold ones to be useful from time to time.

    And on the subject of touch-up pens, Birchwood Casey also has one that dispenses cold blue. Handy for little spots.

    And one final comment - going over the tube on the Zeiss with the polishing compound made a definite difference in the overall appearance of the scope. I'll be doing that again with old, visibly worn scopes.
     
  9. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    What is being said? The touch-up pen has always worked for me, within its parameters. It's basically a felt-tip marker that dispenses paint. The tip is spring-loaded to seal the reservoir so it doesn't dry out. I've had the one I used on the scope for a whole bunch of years and it still works. You have to know how to use the thing - you can't just apply paint; you have to blend it into the existing finish . That's why I did the additional steps with the bronze wool and polishing compound. Like anything involving paint, a certain amount of skill and thought are required. I'm curious as to what the negatives are.

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Before applying the paint, I cleaned up the entire scope tube with denatured alcohol. Paint requires a clean surface.
     
  10. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Have tried both the gloss and Matte Birchwood pens myself a few times. I’ve had greater success with matte for obvious reasons. As you’ve stated Icebear, application of light acetone or denatured alcohol gives the best hope for the paint adhering. even though products like this don’t typically last on aluminum or other alloys. Also, shaking the pen thoroughly mixes the product.

    I dab with the tip, rather than trying to “paint”, then I carefully wipe all the excess quickly except obviously where the marks are. Then I use bronze wool the next day. Then repeat the process until the improvement is acceptable.

    It’s never perfect but it can make for great improvement. Also, sometimes you get lucky when you remount the scope and parts of the imperfections are concealed by the rings, simply by chance.

    I like your idea of the polishing compound as a final step. I’ll try this for sure the next time around.
     
  11. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    A handy tip, a nice piece of glass well matched to the rifle, and a stunning stock - this post is just good all round!

    Marcus
     
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  12. icebear

    icebear Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comment. I try to be helpful. And since you mentioned the stock, here's the whole Sako. This is one of the best pieces of factory wood I've ever seen on a Sako. This photo was taken when I got the rifle, before I cleaned and waxed the stock and mounted a scope. The pattern on the buttstock reminds me of an octopus . Or maybe the Shadows from Babylon-5.

    Carbine 1.JPG Carbine 2.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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