Using the Sako Dovetail for Windage Adjustment

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by South Pender, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Can someone explain to me how you can use the Sako tapered dovetail for windage adjustment with scope mounts that don’t have windage adjustment built in? I’m thinking of mounts like the Leupold ring mounts for Sako and also Sako’s ring mounts that clamp directly on to the dovetail (not the Optilocks with bases). I’ve read that sliding the front mount back and forward on the dovetail causes movement in the scope away from its centerline, but am having a little difficulty in visualizing the geometry of this.

    The Leupold Sako ring mounts recommend clamping the rings midway along the dovetail, both front and rear. They also suggest putting the clamping screw on the left side of the receiver (not sure why they recommend this). Would this tilt the front of the scope towards the right (the non-screw side) if the front mount is slid forward on the dovetail (and thus causing the POI to move towards the left)?

     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019

  2. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    The dovetails are tapered, so it will cause the ringmount to move sideways in relation to the bore as you slide it back & forth. Same with the rear one. Trick is to get them both where they don't put side pressure on the scope tube, while still gaining the windage movement you want. You are worrying about stuff that really doesn't amount to much. Position the rings so they fit the tube where you like & are in alignment, then just use the scopes internal adjustments to zero. I've never had to turn the windage knob enough to worry about the scope being "centered" or it affecting anything regarding accuracy or limiting any elevation adjustments I needed. Leupold's recommendation of putting both in the center of the dovetail would "theoretically" put the scope tube in line with the bore, but none of mine are positioned so. They put windage adjustment turrets on scopes for a reason. Why not use them?
     
  3. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how this is true if the taper is proportional on both sides--i.e, increasing the same amount from the center line on both the left and right as you move forward. If this is not the case, and the dovetail is disproportionate (increasing more on one side than the other), i.e., angled slightly to one side, then I can see the front of the scope moving slightly in one direction.

    True, but some scopes have very limited windage travel, and it's conceivable that you could run out of windage using just the scope's windage adjustment with such a scope. This has happened to many shooters. The other point centers around the belief that as you move the windage or elevation towards the extremes, you are in some way degrading the image. By this theory, if you have had to use all the scope's windage adjustment, the image has been degraded to some extent, relative to what it was when the scope's windage adjustment was in the center. I've read this, but haven't seen definitive evidence about it. Maybe someone here can comment on it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  4. tripledeuce

    tripledeuce Well-Known Member

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    In my working with Sako's split rings, the rear ring is centered via the ring tab and base milled groove. The front base is installed to desired position per scope. With upper halves removed, the scope is laid in lower halves. Using a Bushnell professional bore sighter, the windage recital is adjusted to center of adjustments. Then the front base is adjusted to put crosshair in center of grid. Adjust scope to proper eye relief and square to bore axis. Install upper halves and secure. With older one piece strap rings, the centering of crosshairs on grid is done by moving front ring forward or rearward as the left side of groove is fixed. Have never had any issues with this procedure. My 2cents.
     
  5. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    This topic has been written about here and on other sites and the opinions are all over the board. Personally, I’ve never experienced extremes in windage regarding where a leupold ringmount is positioned. I’ve also used Optilock ringmounts with virtually the same results. The parts are geometrically pattered, therefore the farther forward on the dovetail it goes the more you need to open the clamp. Equal surfaces are always touching. There is no built in windage adjustment regarding this style of mount.

    Coincidentally this morning, I mounted a Leupold 2-7x28 Vari -X II on a Vixen.223. I purchased the scope earlier this week. I started by centering the reticle. 4.5 full turns for windage and elevation respectively. Therefore. 2.25 turns back to center. I installed rear Leupold ringmounts about half way up the dovetail, the front slightly farther. More like three quarters. With the bore sight tool installed I looked into the eye piece. Power ring was at 7X. Windage was off two frictions right. Elevation was four frictions high. Made the necessary adjustment, then removed sight tool and the rifle from the vise.

    While shouldering the rifle I realized the eye relief at 7X was off. In other words, the set up was too far forward for my liking. The beginning of the bell taper was already within 1/8 inch of the ring. So I backed off the dovetail screws and moved everything back to a point where I experienced a full field of view without any fuss. Then I remounted the bore sight tool, looked and nothing changed.

    Took it to the range made minor adjustments and I’m good to go. I still have tons of windage and elevation adjustment I’ll never use. Bottom line, I’ve read all sorts of opinions about windage issues regarding Sako style mounts. Not here to argue that with others who’ve experienced this phenomenon, only to say I’ve mounted countless scopes on Sako rifles and have never personally dealt with any radical windage problems.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  6. sakojim

    sakojim Well-Known Member

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    I do not mean to disagree with anything said so far but would like to comment as follows from my experiences with scope mounting. I prefer genuine Sako mounts for the best results. I have always mounted scopes with Sako mounts as follows. Insert the rear mount into the rear dovetail with thumb pressure pushing forward to seat the 'recoil' pin in the slot of the dovetail and tighten securely. Insert and locate the rear of the front mount directly in vertical alighnment with front opening of the ejection port and tighten securely. Insert a metal bar of the same diameter as the scope tube into the lower ring mounts and install the upper rings and tighten only enough so that you can turn by hand enough to find if there are high spot marks which would show a need to be corrected by reaming to eliminate scope tube stress and misalignment. If high spots are found an alternative correction would be to use Sako Optilok mounts which eliminate all of the problems. Of all of the different scope brands and Sako mount combinations used I have never encountered problems when using Sako mounts instead of trying to save money with cheaper brand mounts which some times are not a quality alignment match. Sako mounts also allow removal and re-installation without losing zero as long as you retain the recoil-locator pin feature. Keeping vintage scopes and mounts on vintage rifles for authenticity is good but in the interest of accuracy when shooting I prefer Optilok mounts even though they are a little more expensive and heavier but well worth it for the results. Good luck with you mounts. Sakojim.
     
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  7. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Question #1- The ringmount will move sideways in relation to the bore depending on where it is located on the dovetail because the non-clamp side doesn't change it's distance from the center of the ring like the side with the clamp does. Just 'Look" as you slide the ringmount & you can see how the center of the ring moves sideways in relation to the bore.
    Question #2- I can think of no scope that is so limited in windage adjustment that won't work on a Sako. Most scopes have about 5 feet or more of total windage adjustment. If you run out of "clicks" there is something else amiss. Like Sean said, I've never had to make anything but minor adjustments no matter where I placed the rings. You say "I've read this, but haven't seen definitive evidence of it", with regard to image degradation. That's because there isn't any. Maybe it's time to go out and shoot & see real world results for yourself. That's the best way I know to get evidence & answer questions.
     
  8. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Not sure about this. I'll have to check this out with a Sako rifle and ring mount.
    When I said "I've read this, but haven't seen definitive evidence about it," I meant that this problem of excessive windage or elevation adjustment had not been one I'd experienced, and so is one of which I have no personal evidence. However, better optical minds than mine have weighed in on this and have stated that image quality does indeed become a little degraded as you approach the limits of windage or elevation adjustment, and, further, that this degradation varies with scope maker. As an aside, I might just mention that I've learned a ton about scopes from the Optics Talk forum, and from Optics Thoughts, a blog run by the moderator of Optics Talk.

    The issue of running out of adjustment capability in a scope is not that uncommon and has been reported in many articles, forums, and blogs. I can't recall whether this problem has been reported with a Sako rifle, however, and perhaps Sako receivers are sufficiently precisely machined to rule out this scenario. Usually the fix has had to be some kind of shimming.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  9. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    That's useful info, Sean. One thing I've noticed about the Leupold ring mounts is that the front one won't clamp to the dovetail any further back than about halfway along the rail. This somewhat limits their provision for forward/back adjustment, although to some extent this depends on the shape of the scope and the length of the mid-section, or how far back the objective-bell taper begins.

    You had quite a bit of leeway when mounting the Leupold on your Vixen action because of the shortness of the action. With the longer actions, this will be less true.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  10. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    The most important aspect in my mind is to always (and I mean always) have a disciplined and precise routine when mounting optics, and Do Not attempt to stretch the limits of any given product. I always attempt to find a happy medium, then work from there if I need to.

    I often see folks go to extremes for no reason, while lacking basic knowledge and understanding while gaining their knowledge from the Bubba School of hard knocks. In my experience the Sako dovetail system is as good as it gets. However, if folks try reach beyond any accoutrements intended design, then I suppose issues can arise. Then rather than working the problem-they get frustrated or confused and write on some blog.

    Having written the above - I have read a very few times where the dovetails on modern 75’s and 85’s have been misaligned thus potentially causing a windage issue. I’ve never personally experienced this on any Sako I’ve ever owned and I’ve never heard of this in vintage rifles. Take care.
     
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  11. sakojim

    sakojim Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree Sean. IMHO- Sako VINTAGE rifles are of exceptional quality and accuracy for a production firearm and therefore deserve to be mated with Sako mounts and good optics to achieve the maximum potential when properly used. I appreciate the simple fact that not all folks can afford the expense of proper equipment so they do the best they can with what they can afford. I appreciate this forum and its members that attempt to help the less fortunate who are trying to get by as best they can. Having been there and and done that, now that I am able to appreciate quality, I try to help those learning of the quality potential of Sako equipment. It does give more for less investment than most custom equipment any day of the week. Thanks to all of the Sako enthusiasts that donate their valuable information to the members of this forum. Sakojim.
     
  12. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    A while back I started a thread entitled...…..

    Mounting a scope without damaging the scope tube or rifle

    Suggest you folks take a look at it as I think it covers how to mount a scope to ensure that the tube is one the centerline.

    I've use this method with Sako, Leupold and other mounting systems and have never had a problem with the windage adjustment.

    Have fun and remember....don't fix it if it ain't broke!

    rick
     
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  13. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Sakojim, I fully agree in general with your assessment of Sako quality. However, there are reasons apart from economy for departing from Sako scope mounts--two of which that come to mind right away: (1) the current Sako Optilock mounts are too high for many scope applications, and (2) they are heavier than necessary.

    As for (1), I'm planning to mount a 1"-tube Swarovski scope with an objective-bell diameter of 1.65". Extra Low Sako Optilocks will put the center line of the scope at 1.12" above the top of the receiver, far more than needed unless using a scope with a huge objective bell. Using the Sako ring mounts, instead, still puts the center line of a 1" scope 1.06" above the top of the receiver, again much more clearance than needed with most scopes. I prefer to mount the scopes on my hunting rifles as low as possible, and, for this reason, the Leupold Sako 1" low ring mounts work much better, putting the center line of the scope .76" above the top of the receiver, still providing enough clearance for the objective bell and putting the scope about 3/8" lower than where it would have to be with extra-low Optilocks.

    As for (2), I've weighed some Sako mounts. The Extra Low 1" Optilocks (bases and rings) weigh in at around 7.5 oz. The old-style, or vintage, Sako 1" medium mounts weigh about 5.5 oz., and the Leupold Sako 1" low ring mounts come in at about 3.5 oz. All three of these are all-steel. There's just no reason to go with the Optilocks' additional 4 oz. on a hunting rifle since I believe that all of these mounts have been shown to provide sure and reliable scope attachment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  14. sakojim

    sakojim Well-Known Member

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    South Pender. I can understand your frustrations. I seem to remember another thread on here that was similar. As I recall they tried shimming the mounts. Don't remember if that worked or not but in any event, if you can get the scope aligned it seems to me that you will still need to ream the rings to get proper alignment of the tube. Hope you find the answer. Sakojim.
     
  15. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    Sakojim, I'm not frustrated, just curious!;) I've lapped scope rings in the past, but have mixed feelings about the practice. I have the Wheeler scope mounting kit, and use it to check alignment. If alignment is good, I generally don't lap the rings, but if things are out of whack, I do. Just important not to remove too much metal from the inside of the rings.
     
  16. dgeesaman

    dgeesaman Well-Known Member

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    I experienced serious problems with windage using two different sets of new Optilock tapered based and rings on A1 6PPCs.

    Long story short, you can adjust windage by engaging one side of the taper on the dovetail and clamping the other side against the hold down clip. It gives some adjustment but moves the mount forward and has to compromise strength somewhat. That particular base and action combination was minutes off on windage no matter how I adjusted it. Those rifles are now set up well using Redfield taper dovetail bases and Burris Signature Leupold style rings. Very little windage adjustment was required. The Optilocks are in a box, safe from mankind.
     
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