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Thread: Installing a scope - DIY or gunsmith?

  1. #1

    Installing a scope - DIY or gunsmith?

    I've got a rifle which I need to fit a scope to, I've got the (one piece Redfield) mount fitted, and I've just ordered a set of rings to fit my scope.

    Is it worth taking it to the gunsmith for fitting? Or should I just fit it myself? Is a lapping tool likely to be necessary?


  2. #2
    I made a real cock up of the first scope I fitted myself which was over 20 years ago. Not knowing how to get it level, how tight to do the studs up and how far to set it on the gun. I have had mates strip threads. I also never fully understood the value of windage screws and although it shot well at 100yds at 200yds it was 2inches to the left, confused me for a long time. My question would be how much do you know, if you get a gunsmith to do it make sue he knows what he is dong. There are a lot out there who would be better off staring in an old John Wayne movie.

  3. #3
    I've had scopes fitted by gunshop owners who have left screws loose, and others who have done an excellent job. What I would say, is if you are going to do it yourself, BE PATIENT.
    I have fitted several now, and if you take your time to check and double check everything before finally tightening the screws, you should be fine. I have a scope to fit to my new CZ, so I might try to write down the steps I take, as I do it, and post them here. A good gunsmith (in my humble opinion) has taken over an hour to fit a scope to one of my rifles, while I watched. Don't expect to do it any quicker than that.


  4. #4
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire
    As has been said, be patient, I have also had scopes fitted to new rifles, gone to pice up the package and thought "Great", went to zero, accompanied by the shooting tennant and been somewhat embarraced to find the screws loose.

    I fit my own now, and I thread lock each screw for added piece of mind.

    Position and hold must be firm enough to support the firearm
    The firearm must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort
    Sight alignment (aiming) must be correct
    The shot must be released and followed through without disturbing the position

  5. #5
    Do it yourself but research how to do it properly first! You need to be there anyway to set correct eye relief etc..
    I consider fairly essential to know how to adjust and maintain my rifle anyway so that I can effectively carry out any 'through life' maintainance that may be required. It will save you some dosh too!

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Ronin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Lancs / Cumbria Border
    You may encounter problems if your rings are the "twist in" type, if, the rings are not aligned, you could mark the scope.

    Similarly, if the bases are not aligned with a straight edge, they could cause the same problem.

    In reality, fitting bases and rings on items that they are designed for, is nothing more than a simple DIY task, read instructions, go carefully, go slowly and you shouldnt get it wrong.

    Tighten any allen screws with the short side of the wrench.....

    Unless of course u have an INCH pound wrench.

    Make sure everything is alignedand all screws are in the bases before tightening them up.

    Fit the lower half of the rings, set the scope in them and ajust for eye relief / cant.

    Fit ring tops and screws and finger tighten equally.

    Check scope again for cant and eye relief.

    Tighten each screw equally.

    Check again eye releif and cant - final tighten of all screws.

    Range for zero.

  7. #7
    I have had it done by top rifle smiths and I have done loads my self without doubt the top smiths with all the kit will make more of a science of it but you can do it your self with no tools relatively easily.

    Place the scope where you think looks right mount the scope with the top of the mounts loose
    Close your eyes and mount your head to the scope
    Open your eyes and move your head to get the correct eye relief
    If you had to go forward push scope back and visa versa.
    Do this until when you open your eye the scope eye relief is correct.
    Set the rifle up to sit level and then rotate the scope until the verticle post on the scope is just that
    Use something that is perpendicular to the rest on the rifle
    To get this spot on use a spirit level and a plumb line
    If you know you don’t cant the rifle and you have a good eye for it you can do this without any aids
    Apply loctite to the screws and tighten them all up so that the gap on both sides is the same
    Tighten up diagonally like you would a cylinder head use the same force on each screw
    Again a known force one finger at the end at an Allen key can do this or if you are clumsy use a torque wrench.
    If this little lot fills you with dread get down to your local rifle smith
    Chances are your average shotgun smith will not even do it as well as described above!!


  8. #8
    When you are certain the scope is as it should be for yourself, dab a little clear nail varnish on the set screws, it's cleaner than using a compound on the screws while building things up, this is a good indicator showing everything has remained where it should.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  9. #9
    Account Suspended
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    United Kingdom
    Good quality bases and rings of the right size make scope fitting a piece of cake. Just make sure everything is aligned and don't over tighten. No need for a torque wrench. Just use a bit of finesse.

    If you need to make up shims, in order to get the elevation you need. You can make them from coke cans.

  10. #10
    I'd go for fitting my myself.
    Ive had a scope set up by a gun smith and it was canted over to the right by quite a margin.
    Done several now for myself and friends with good success.
    I wouldn't use Coke can aluminium for shims because of the marks it leaves on the body, just my opinion. In the past Ive used camera film negatives cut to size.
    Do as Dave above says and you wont go far wrong.
    Bore sight the scope after setting up and adjust the elevation and windage to get an approximate zero before setting the zero properly.

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