How to Mount a Rifle Scope The Right Way

You can have the best rifle, best scope, and most expensive match ammo available, but if your optic isn’t mounted correctly, it's all for naught.

It doesn’t matter how good your glass is if it isn’t mounted properly. Most folks look to the pros when it comes time to affix glass to action, but it’s easier than you may think to do it yourself.

You’ll need a few tools to get the job done right, but luckily they don’t represent a huge cash outlay and are a good investment if you plan on owning more than one scoped firearm. All the tools combined will set you back a little more than most gunsmiths charge for the operation, so if you mount more than a couple of scopes, they will pay for themselves.

Perhaps the most useful tool you can buy for any gunsmithing or maintenance operation is a gun vise of some sort. Here I'm using the Tipton Best Gun Vise which goes for less than $70 on Amazon and can be used for long guns or handguns.

Specialty gunsmithing screwdrivers feature hollow grounds that won't damage or strip out screws, and are a worthwhile addition to any workbench.

Something to regulate the amount of torque being placed on the fasteners is necessary, and can come in the form of torque limiters or adjustable screwdrivers. If you want to know more about torque limiting tools for gunsmithing, go here.

If you're using dovetail rings, a dowel of similar diameter to the scope is useful to rotate them—don't ever use the scope to torque the rings into place.

A bubble level ensures everything is lined up as it should be. A cleaner should be used to strip all the mounting components of grease that can cause fasteners to slip later, and blue thread locker should be employed to keep everything as tight as it should be.

The final step, as you will see, is using a laser boresighter to adjust the windage and elevation on the newly mounted scope. This does not mean the gun will be on-target when you take it to the range, but it should at least be on paper, so you can fine tune your scope adjustments without starting at 25 yards or closer.

It’s rewarding to work on your own guns, so follow the steps in this video to install your next scope.

PRO TIP: When sighting in your scope at the range, don't forget to bring your bubble level. Use it to make sure your zero targets are level when you staple them to the target board. If the target isn't level, your MOA or MIL adjustments on your perfectly leveled scope won't be exact.