Attaching scope to rifle a simple process

Rusty McDaniels, with Mossy Oak Productions, gets a rifle ready to go. (Kevin Tate)

Rusty McDaniels, with Mossy Oak Productions, gets a rifle ready to go. (Kevin Tate)

By Kevin Tate
Outdoors Writer

Undertaken with a dose of the do-it-yourself spirit and a few key tools, attaching a scope to a rifle can be a simple and satisfying task you can usually do on your own. It’s a process that can be covered in five easy steps.

Match rings, bases
Nearly all rifles arrive in the consumer’s hands pre-drilled and tapped to accept a scope mount, but the pattern of these drillings varies from one maker to another. Make sure the bases match the rifle you’re using and the rings accept the diameter of the scope you plan to mount. You’ll also need to determine the required height of the rings. Ideally, the scope should sit as low as possible without the objective end touching the barrel.

Attach the mounts
Mount the bases in place with the screws that come with them. Many shooters like to apply a thread locking compound like Loctite to the base mounting screws for a more permanent fit. Next, attach the rings to the bases. If your ring-base set require the rings to be rotated into place, do not use the scope for leverage.

Set eye relief
With the bases and bottom halves of the rings in place, lay the scope in place. Look through the scope and move it as far forward in the mount as function will allow.

Level the scope
Look through the scope and rotate it until the crosshairs are vertical and horizontal instead of canted one way or the other. With the rifle level and the crosshairs level, you’ll know the scope is level also. Once it’s in place, tighten the top half of the rings, tightening a turn or two at a time per screw so that all points are kept in a similar level of tension, until all are tight. A torque driver is very handy for this step.

Sight it in
Once the scope’s securely attached to the rifle, it’s time to sight it in. If the rifle is a bolt action model that allows the bolt to be removed, you can do this pretty simply by looking through the barrel at some distant object, then adjusting the scope to point at the same. Otherwise, a bore sighting laser that can be attached to the end of the barrel is a good, inexpensive option. This should get you ready to fine tune the scope at the firing range.