Scope Mounting for Accuracy

A well-mounted optic maximizes precision potential of the scope and the firearm it’s mounted to. Here’s how to do it right.

by David Manney

I started gathering information and writing this article just before hunting season here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin in 2017. Then life threw me a curve ball and kept me out of my gunsmith shop for a few years. At that time there was a rush for everyone to get their gun fixed or cleaned from last season. Missed shots was a big complaint for the year, along with the number of botched scope mountings that seemed unusually high also. I have long lost count of the mis-mounted or ruined scopes that have come through the shop over the years. I’ve also never understood why someone would buy an expensive gun (i.e., Browning BAR) only to mount upon it an inexpensive scope (Tasco) with even cheaper rings (no-name generic). Too many gun owners will not learn how to properly mount an optic, refuse to pay a gunsmith to do it for them, use cheap scopes and rings, and then wonder why this combination doesn’t perform very well. It’s a good reason why “bad” guns get sold off after a hunt.

As an example of the poor setups that have been in my shop, one shot six feet to the left and four feet low, and had no adjustment left in the scope. To be this far off, 0.01” of alignment error at the gun is 1 MOA , so to be six feet off at 100 yards is 0.72” of rifle-to-optic misalignment, enough to be easy to see how off center the scope was to the barrel while looking down at the gun from above. Another case, a nice Nikon scope was ruined by misaligned rings that dented the barrel and broke the internal windage parts so that the reticle flopped back and forth. Nikon was nice enough to rebuild the scope for free.

Most problems with a scope holding point of aim can be tracked back to a…

Read more in the March 2020 issue.

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