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How to Mount a Rifle Scope – 6 Easy Steps for Maximum Accuracy

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So you recently purchased a new rifle scope for your Varmint Rifle or maybe you got one for your muzzleloader, either way, to make the most of it, the first step is to mount it correctly.

But mounting a scope on a rifle isn’t like 1,2,3 and voila, there are plenty of things you need to take care of. For example, the scope rings, adjusting the eye relief, the mount, screws, etc. 

And since you want to aim accurately hundreds of yards away, getting everything aligned properly with your rifle is a must.

Thankfully, in this detailed guide, we go step by step so you never go wrong with mounting a rifle scope again. Plus, there are a few handy tips to help as well, so Don’t Miss Out.

How to Mount a Rifle Scope the right way

Step 1: Clean your gun

Clean your gun

We’ll start with the prep. The first thing you want to do is clean the top half of your rifle where you would be mounting the scope. Make sure you remove any dirt, grime, or oil as it can prevent the scope base from sitting tightly on the rifle. Any degreaser should do the trick. If you have regularly cleaned your rifle, a simple wipe with a damp cloth should also be enough.

Another area you want to degrease is the screw holes which you can easily access by removing the screws on top of the receiver. Just make sure you have a screwdriver that matches the screw size so you do not end up spoiling the receiver with scratches and dents.

Step 2: Level the scope

Level the scope

Once you have cleaned the scope to look spanking clean, the next step would be to secure it using a vice. Just make sure you are also focusing on leveling it side by side using a short level, which is something you’ll find in almost every tool kit. Put the level over the receiver and within minutes, your scope will be both secure and level.

Step 3: Mounting the base

Mounting the base

Hang on, don’t start attaching stuff just yet. To make sure all the attaching and screwing is smooth, I’d recommend greasing the important areas with some gun oil. The Hoppe’s cleaning kit is ideal for it. It comes with both a cleaner and lubricator and thus will step 1 to 3 a breeze.

Plus, this increases the durability of the scope as it keeps away rust 

In case you hunt every week, your rifle and scope are about to come under a lot of stress due to recoil which can, in turn, loosen the screws. That’s where a thread locker can come in handy as it ensures no screw budges an inch even after months or years of abuse.

When getting a thread locker, always opt for a removable one. That is because if you opt for a permanent one, you’ll have to heat them to about 500-degrees Fahrenheit to just loosen them. That means you will have to take your rifle and scope to a professional gunsmith to have it detached because if you haven’t worked with such high-temperature tools before, you are likely to melt a chunk off your rifle. You’ll also want to stay away from Red Loctite as the wetness from it can result in over-tightening the screws since you could be torquing it at a higher pressure.

You only need to use a dab of thread locker to get the job done, plus, ensure none of the screws protrude out and impair your view. Just run your hands around the screws and nuts to know which ones are protruding out and tighten/replace them if needed.

Step 4: Attach the rings and test it

Attach the rings and test it

Now that your scope is secure, it is time to attach the rings. But before you do so, I’d suggest neatly placing all the ring parts and screws on the side so you do not end up dropping and losing them as they are crucial to securing the rings.

Start with the bottom half, test it and then move on to the remainder of the ring. I use Picatinny rails, and I am sure you do as well. In this case, you’d want to place the rings as close as you can to the rail and then tighten the screws. This provides the scope better stability and thus won’t wobble and loosen due to recoil.

Now that the bottom part is locked and loaded, attach the remaining parts of the rings. A few things to keep in mind here are that you should make sure the rings are well-distanced from the turrets and objective bell so neither interferes with each other’s movements (because out in the wild, every second counts).

Once you have tried and tested all adjustments and ensured they are well-space, tighten the screws a little but don’t use the thread locker just yet because you want to set the eye relief first.

Step 5: Adjusting the eye relief

Adjusting the eye relief

Don’t you just hate it when you look through the eye relief only to notice the annoying dark halo? Well, this happens when you do not set the eye relief properly making this one of the most important steps for accurate aim and clear visuals so take your time to get it right.

This requires constant testing, so pick your rifle up from the table and aim as if you were out hunting. You want to find a position where you aren’t relying on the optics to set your head. Once you have shouldered the rifle correctly, open both your eyes so you can adjust the eye relief correctly. 

The eye relief can be moved either forward or backward on the action based on your comfort. As long as your field of view is uninterrupted, you are good to go.

Once the eye-relief is set, you can go ahead and further tighten the screws from the previous step and also applying the same thread locker to hold them in place irrespective of the recoil

In case you are wondering, I usually go with the Vibra-TITE VC-3 Threadmate. Not only is it effective but costs less than $25. You get about 30 ml, and the best part here is the brush cap and makes applying it a breeze and prevents excessive application, so if you want to remove it, you don’t need professional help or have to spend hours trying to melt it.

Remember, the goal is to prevent the dark halo, and feel free to adjust the eye relief till it doesn’t completely go away.

Step 6: Leveling the scope

Leveling the scope

The last step before you go and shoot a few bottles and later nail a few deers is leveling the scope. Here’s how it is done.

Once again, your rifle needs to be secured on the floor or on a table (preferably the floor as that’s where you’d be placing the scope when in action). Now, place the leveler on top of the middle turret and adjust the reticle till it doesn’t become parallel to the bore.

This is another step that is important for accuracy, especially when you aim 600 to 700 yards away. That is because getting this step right will ensure you get the correct windage and elevation estimations. Once you are done, go around checking all the nuts and bolts once again.

Please avoid over tightening any of these screws. Also, do check the manual of the scope once. That is because some scope manufacturers detail out specifications for the screw tightness. So please follow that and do not use a thread locker if advised against it. While it does help, it isn’t a must and over tightness can also negatively impact the performance of the scope.

Remember, getting the right adjustment can take a few runs. So you can always come back and apply the thread locker after the first few days of usage. 

Ocular Focus and Sighting: What you need to know

You want sharp, clear visuals irrespective of the light, so you can go hunting even at dusk and dawn, right? Well, that’s where ocular focus comes into play and has to be dialed correctly. 

If you notice some blurring on the reticle, do not ignore it. While you may not see it as a major cause for concern just yet, it sure will tire your eyes out as you sit there scoping through it for hours.

Thankfully, the adjustment takes only a couple of minutes and you don’t need to screw or unscrew anything. The only thing that needs to be adjusted is the diopter. But to give it the best chance at clarity, I would suggest you first point the rifle against a contrasting background. In the wild, a green bushy area is your best bet, or a white wall would be great as well.

Is the reticle clear? What are you waiting for then? If you haven’t used a thread locker, you can use the scope right away but if you have, leave it overnight so it dries well and doesn’t run all over the scope or loosen after just a few uses.


Voila, that’s all you need to know about how to mount a scope. Yes, some of the steps might vary based on the brand and model of the scope, plus, the rifle you are using but the basics remain the same.

Mounting the scope isn’t too hard, and as you turn into a professional, it won’t take you more than a few minutes.

In case you ran into trouble and cannot figure out what is going wrong, feel free to drop your questions below in the comments and I‘ll get back to you with a detailed solution within 24 hours. Feel free to share photos or a video as well for details.

You can also let me know in case I have missed out on any steps and help make this a more comprehensive guide for any newbie looking for help with mounting scopes.

Till then, happy hunting.

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About Author

James Towndrow, a NRA-certified Firearms Instructor. During a career of 18 years had won several shooting competition including major leagues. Taking all those experience down the road, is now a successful Shooting Instructor in Texas, US.