Mounting a scope to your rifle can significantly increase your accuracy and your hunting or tactical abilities. However, using a scope mount can seem a little daunting if you don’t already know what you’re doing. Let’s go over everything you need to know about mounting in a brief guide.
A Quick Guide to Scope Mounts
Main Mounting Components
Firstly, there are three main mounting components that you need to mount any optic to your weapon.
Bases are the components that attach straight to the firearm through screws or other attaching tools.
They’re the “base” that will support the rings and the scope itself. Bases are attached to various holes that are drilled and tapped into the firearm.
In most cases, firearms come with base holes already drilled into their tops. You’ll only rarely need to drill these out yourselves.
Some rifles also come with bases attached to their receivers. Others you may need to buy separately.
Rings attached to the bases or to the rails (described below). The rings hold the scope or other optic above the bore of your firearm and differ based on height.
In this sense, height describes how high the rings can hold the optic above the bore. Ring height can go from low to extra high; medium is the most common pick.
Ring width is talking about the diameter of the scope tube. This means that you need to pair your optic with rings that are big enough to hold them securely.
Of course, the last main component is the scope itself. Take a look at the scope’s diameter and make sure that it is paired properly with the width of your rings.
What About Rails?
There are two styles of rails: Weaver and Picatinny. Rails actually replace the base on top of a rifle, acting as the base itself.
Rails are essentially easy mounting solutions that let you slide and secure various optics or other attachments onto the top of a weapon without having to go through the more in-depth screwing process with different bases.
Rail systems are always better if you plan to swap out attachments or accessories relatively frequently.
Weaver and Picatinny rails work with different types of scopes, rings, or open optics. So you should always double-check to make sure that your chosen optic works with a rail that your rifle already has before buying.
Putting It All Together
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If you’re using a base-and-ring system instead of a rail system, you first attach the base for your optic to the receiver of your rifle. These are screwed into the holes that are drilled into the receiver itself.
Next, install your rings onto the base. These can also usually be screwed in and tightened from the side with a hex tool. Keep in mind that only certain rings match with certain types of bases.
The open or “top” of the rings should still be open and allow you to place your scope within their grasp. You can then tighten the rings over the top of the optic and secure everything correctly.
Mounting a scope using a rail system is pretty similar but without the base step. You still mount the rings directly to the rail, then attach the scope to the rings before they are fully closed or screwed shut.
Regardless of the process you use, you should always avoid fully tightening any scope, ring, or base component all the way until the scope is fully mounted and everything is relatively secure.
Then procedurally and progressively tighten everything by screwing things shut evenly, piece by piece.
This is the best way to ensure that you screw in everything correctly without over-tightening one area as opposed to another.
Do you have other tips on how to attach scope mounts? Let us know in the comments section!