How to Mount a Rifle Scope

Hunters and sportsmen alike can benefit from a rifle scope. These are magnifying devices that you mount to the top of your gun for better shooting accuracy. If you are new to rifles and scopes here are some general instructions on how to mount a rifle scope.


Your first step will be to choose the appropriate scope for your gun. The best rifle scopes will be ones that do not overpower your weapon. Each gun has a maximum distance they can reach and the scope should not magnify beyond that point. You can get specifications for many hunting scopes online.

Mounting Equipment

Scopes are not just slapped on a gun you need the proper mounting equipment in the form of a base plate and rings. Each base plate is particular to specific guns and the rings are specific to your base plate, scope tube diameter and front objective. Make sure you have purchased the best rifle scopes and mounting equipment.

Step by Step Instructions

1. Safety- When mounting your rifle scopes you should always put safety first. Start by ensuring the gun is on safety, keep your fingers away from the trigger and make sure the gun is not loaded. Now you can safely place your weapon in a gun vice to securely hold it while you attach the scope. If you do not have a vice, sand bags are a good alternative.

2. Remove Plug Screws- Most new rifles have plug screws in place and you will need to remove them before placing your scope plates or base. After you remove these screws, you might want to clean the area with a degreaser and then coat with a good rust inhibitor.

3. Instructions- Each scope mount will come with their own specific instructions. You should place your base plate on the rifle according to these instructions. Scope mounts are so varied there are no one size fits all instructions for their installation. For extra security you can add thread locking compound to the base screws, this will keep them from backing out over time. Before you tighten the base down according to specs, it is a good idea to use a specially designed level to ensure your mount is place correctly.

4. Rings- Next attach your front and rear scope rings, again according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you are fortunate enough to have alignment bars for properly setting your rings you will place the alignment bars into your rings until they almost touch in the middle. When your rings are appropriately aligned, the points on the bars will be aligned vertically and horizontally. If the alignment is not spot on you can adjust the front ring with the windage screw.

5. Tighten- Scope mount kits will come with specific torque specifications, torque each screw for the base plate.

6. Remove the ring caps, keeping them together and do not reverse their order. Place your scope in the rings with the elevation turret on top and the windage turret on the right hand side of the gun.

7. Level- With the scope in place it is a good idea to use a small specially made level. Place the level on the front site and level the gun in the vice. Next place another small level on the top turret of the scope and turn the scope until it is level as well. Your crosshairs should now be perfectly level also.

8. View- Pick your gun up out of the vice to check your field of vision through the scope. You should quickly be able to see the full field of view without moving your head much. You may need to move in or out a bit, but not much. If your field of view is not good, slide the scope back or forward until it is. Tighten your scope rings down by turning each screw slightly then moving to the next. Do not tighten one screw all the way down and then move on as this can damage your scope.

9. Sight In- You are now ready to take your gun out and sight it in on the range. Some people will have their guns professionally bore sighted while others prefer to use targets and shooting.