How to Install and Sight In a Scope
Mounting a Scope
Scope mounting is a relatively mild task. A quick summary of steps goes like this, first you need to zero your scope, second would be to mount your base, third is mounting your rings, fourth you should set your scope in rings and ascertain everything is aligned correctly, and in closing, you should bore sight your gun. Now that is a very brief summary of the steps you should take, ensuing are detailed instructions, where I carefully explain each one of these steps.
How to Zero a Scope
Zeroing a scope is something that should and probably will already be done if you have a brand new scope. Factories usually make sure that all scopes are zeroed before the customer buys them. If not and you are not exactly sure where zero is on the turrets, then all you have to do is turn the turrets all the way in one direction. Once you reach that then count the number of clicks to reach the opposite direction, then you know how much total adjustment your scope has. Next to get it to zero you just need to turn it back half of the total number of clicks.
There you have it, your scope is now zeroed. This first step is not absolutely necessary in order to get your scope mounted, it will ensure that you get the complete adjustment out of the scope.
Mounting Scope Base
This step involves taking you scope base and carefully torquing the screws that hold it in the correct orientation. Various scope bases used on bolt action rifles utilize four bolt holes locked in place with small screws. The small screws is where the proper torque wrench comes in. It is also recommended to use either blue Loctite or clear fingernail polish on the screws to keep them from backing off. DO NOT USE RED LOCTITE. Most scope mount manufacturers recommend that you torque these screws down to 15 inch-pounds. Caution is commended here considering overtightening could cause screws to strip out.
Most semi-auto guns will require a different style of base, one that is either side mounts or claw mounts. If your gun is equipped with a Picatinny rail then you will not need to mount a base, as this will suffice in place of one.
Mounting Scope Rings
Scope rings are certainly important to get right. If the rings are misaligned you can cause the scope to lose adjustment or even damage your scope. To ensure correct installation, one will want to install lower half of rings, hand tightens screws, then lay scope in lower halves and visually check for proper alignment. The scope should stay in line with the barrel and not skew to one side or the other.
Once you are certain that the lower rings are properly aligned, you can take your torque wrench and tighten the screws to the recommended 15 In-lbs. If you do not have a torque wrench, then you want to stop when the screw feels tight and resist the urge to give it that extra little twist. Again be sure to use a small dose of blue Loctite or clear fingernail polish on the threads. This will guard against the screws backing out on there own, and you will still be able to break them loose later on if needed.
Once your rings are properly installed and torqued down, you should set your scope in the rings and install the top halves. Do not torque them down yet for the reason that you still need to set your eye relief and examine the crosshairs for appropriate alignment.
To check for applicable eye relief you need to pick up the weapon and hold it as if you were fixing to shoot it. If you can not properly see through the scope, then it needs to be altered. One should be able to raise and lower the weapon repeatedly without having to put THE head in an awkward position. It should feel comfortable and have a plain view of the entire reticle.
After proper eye relief is set, you should check the crosshairs of the scope to make certain they are parallel with the weapon. There are tools, such as scope reticle leveling systems to aid in this process and make it very simple to have perfect alignment. If a leveling system is unavailable to you, then you can pick up the weapon and look through the scope and if it looks out of alignment it probably is. Simply spin the scope until it is in the proper position and then you can carefully torque the screws for the top of the rings to 15 in-lbs.
Sighting in a Scope
A big question asked often is “How to sight in a scope?”. The easiest way to sight in scope is to use a boresighter to get your scope very close. Once you have boresighted, you can then take it to the range and proceed with firing your gun. Using the boresighter is not going to guarantee that everything is perfectly inline and you hit bulls-eye on your first shot, but it will get you on the paper so there is no time wasted shooting at closer distances trying to find where your bullet is going.
However if you are not equipped with a boresighter you can still get your scope sighted in very easily. It will cost you a few more rounds but it is still done efficiently. All you really need to do is to shoot first at a close target, see where your POI is, do the proper calculations for the distance, adjust then proceed again. That’s all there is to it.
That pretty much wraps it from start to finish on installing and sighting in a scope. Altogether the process should take around an hour or so. Depending on the level of expertise and if you have the proper tools to help on some of the steps. I do recommend taking your time on each step and doing it right, in the end, it will save you a lot of time and headache.
Thanks for listening and be sure to check back often for more!