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Preview – How To – Scope Mounting

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Photography by Iain Harrison

Make Your Gear Work for You, Not the Other Way Around

All too often, we get questions about the best way to set up a scope on a rifle. The cliché saying is, “My gunsmith set it up for me.” More often than not, this really means that the gunsmith set it up for himself — his eyes, his face, his body — which are probably not much like those of the end user. This results in the guy who’s actually footing the bill ending up struggling to conform to someone else’s settings. Your equipment should be set up so it works for you. You should never be “working for your tools.”

Your rifle and scope should be thought of as a tailored suit, with every adjustment resulting in more comfort and better fitment for the user. Below we present a simple process to achieve this without buying a lot of new gear. It can be used with brand-new equipment or to check a previously configured rifle. This technique is geared to the more prevalent tactical scopes — setups in which the bottom of the scope turrets are flat and the tactical rifles have a one-piece base or Picatinny rail. Most of this process, though, is universal.

Scope Mounting - LevelingScope Mounting - Adjusting Diopter

The Process
Most often the scope setup procedure takes place in the prone position, in order to isolate the user and system from the environment as much as possible. In order to achieve a proper scope/rifle interface, we must first be comfortable in this position.

Before beginning, if your rifle is new, loosely fit your scope and rings on the rifle. Snug them up by hand so everything can be adjusted, but there’s no danger of steel and glass falling off your gun — because that’s both embarrassing and frustrating. Dial the scope back to its lowest power setting. Set the target focus adjustment (if appropriate) to 100 yards or meters.

Scope Mounting - Tighten Rings to Proper Torque Spec

Step 1: Settle into a prone position with the mentality that you might have to stay there for the whole day. This will help you become relaxed on the ground and give you a benchmark to strive for when the procedure is complete. The more comfortable your interface with the rifle, the better your focus on the all-important fundamentals.

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