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Mounting and adjusting a rifle scope

September 16, 2022

by Max Richardson.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the necessary steps you need to take to properly install your scope on your firearm. You’ll learn which mount to choose, how to attach the scope to it, and finally, we’ll tell you what you need to do to shoot accurately. Proper sight installation is essential for accurate shots and preventing damage to your equipment, so read the post below carefully and take notes.

Types of scope mounts

To mount a spotting scope, a component called a “mount” is required. Some scopes have a mount included, but most do not. The most common type are mounts, which are used to mount a spotting scope on a standard 11mm-wide dovetail sight rail.

Currently, there are several design variations:

Two-piece mount – consists of two rings divided horizontally. Each ring is separately screwed to the rail – these are the cheapest and most popular mounts.

One-piece mounting – the lower halves of the rings and the base screwed to the rail form an integral whole (they are made of one piece of metal).

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Preparation of the rifle/carbine for mounting the scope

For a new scope mounting, an essential step is to clean the barrel/receiver and after that, to apply some oil.  The oil helps to remove anything left from the cleaning as well as it displaces moisture.

It is also suggested to check the barrel’s horizontal and vertical clearances and level them.¬†¬ Failure to ensure proper clearances can cause you headaches down the road.¬†¬

In addition, tighten all screws securing the mount to the receiver or barrel.¬† But don’t overtighten.¬† (We recommend Loc-Tite or a similar product).¬†¬

For more information on selecting sights, mounts and more, visit www.opticsbible.com.

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Select a scope¬

Find a scope and a mount that fits comfortably on your rifle.¬† You don’t want one that impedes the operation of the bolt or otherwise loading and unloading of your firearm.¬† ¬†¬

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Selecting a mount

After selecting a suitable scope, choose a mount for it.  The amount should provide a firm grip along the entire length of the rail. In the case of one-piece mounts, it should not protrude beyond the milled grooves.

The most common type are mounts that are used to mount the scope on a standard dovetail sight rail.

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Cleaning and degreasing.

Again, don’t forget to clean and degrease where you mount the scope.¬† Add some lubricant, too, to protect the metal.

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Mounting.

First, if your scope came with a mount, take the scope off the mount.¬† There are almost certainly mounting screws or mounting holes on most rifles specifically for installing scope mounts.¬† Remove the screws, and use the screws that came with the mount to secure the mount to the firearm.¬†¬

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Installing the scope.

After attaching the mount, “mount” your riflescope on it using the scope rings which secure the riflescope to the base/mount.¬† You can make adjustments in the position of the scope forwards and backwards as well as rotating it left and right.¬

Place it an optimal distance from your eye and align the level of the scope so that the crosshairs are exactly vertical and horizontal.

After doing this, tighten the mounting clamps with optimal force, preferably alternating screws a quarter or half-turn at a time as you approach “tight.”¬† Again, we recommend Loc-Tite and don’t over-tighten and break a screw.

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Setting the point of impact

1) Use good ammo.¬†¬

2) Preparation of the stand. On one side, set up a target suitable for shooting with optics. On the shooter’s side, prepare the shooting position. The stand should ensure that the shooter can freely support the carbine. For this purpose, it is recommended to use a shooting pad on which the shooter can rest the carbine in such a way that the vibration of the hands or other factors do not affect the floating of the crosshairs.

3) Scope alignment. Zeroing should be carried out at a fixed distance, such as 25 meters.  Before taking test shots, set the parallax if the scope has one, and zoom to the appropriate value. The crosshairs and the image in the scope at the set distance should be clean and clear.

4) Test shooting. It is suggested to shoot at least 5 test shots before applying corrections.  After that, the center of a nice group should be determined.

5) Making corrections.¬

(Hint:¬† To do this well with a minimal number of shots fired, you’ll need good fundamentals of marksmanship.¬† Take an Appleseed class…)

Vertical and horizontal corrections should be made according to the following rule:

– hit too high – turn the top knob in the “DOWN” direction (the hit point is lowered),

– hit too low – turn the top knob in the “UP” direction (raises the hit point),

– hit too far to the right – turn the side knob in the “LEFT” direction (moves the hit point to the left),

– hit too far to the left – turn the side knob in the “RIGHT” direction (moves the hit point to the right).

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Most rifle scopes will be 1/4 MOA or 1/2 MOA adjustments.¬† One minute of angle is roughly 1″ at 100 yards, or 1/4″ at 25 yards.¬† So a 1/4MOA-adjustment scope will need four of those 1/4-MOA clicks to equal a 1 MOA change.¬

So if you’re 3.5″ low and 5″ right at 25 yards, you’ll need to move UP how many clicks for a 1/4 MOA adjustment scope?¬† Let’s do the math:¬† 3.5″ = 14 minutes of angle.¬† And if you need 4 clicks for each minute, you would need:¬† 56 clicks UP.

For 5″ right, you would need 20MOA or 80 clicks LEFT on the scope.¬† Go slowly and count carefully.

Once completed, try another five-shot group while exercising good fundamentals and you should be very close to dead center on your point of aim.¬† ¬†At 25 yards, if you have good fundamentals, you should be able to keep all of your shots in a 1″ to 2″ group.¬† If you’re making a ragged one-hole group, you know you have good fundamentals and are a “Rifleman.”

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