Are You Making These 3 Mistakes When Mounting Your Scope?

News & Tips: Are You Making These 3 Mistakes When Mounting Your Scope?...

I have attended the Thompson Long Range Shooting School in Utah. One of the many things that I learned is that proper rifle scope mounting is critical for long range shooting, and that I haven't been doing this exactly right all these years.

Rifle Scope Alignment

Leupold Dual Dovetail Mount Bases
Leupold Dual Dovetail Mount Bases

I usually use Leupold dual dovetail mount bases and a Leupold Ring Wrench to align my bottom rings. Then I just lay the scope into the bottom rings and slide it back and forth while rotating to make sure that the front and rear rings are aligned. Well, that's not good enough, and even slightly misaligned rings can dent the scope tube, distort the reticles and cause adjustment problems. Properly aligned rings create more surface contact with the tube to hold it securely during heavy recoil. The proper way is to use alignment bars, along with a lapping bar and lapping compound to fix minor misalignments.

Level Scope Crosshairs

Wheeler Engineering Scope Leveler
Wheeler Engineering Professional Scope
Mounting Kit offer all the necessary tools,
including a DVD, to properly mount your


The second thing I've been doing wrong is just eyeballing my crosshairs to ensure that they are level before tightening down the rings. The alignment of a scope's crosshairs relative to the axis of the rifle bore is very important, especially at long range, and doing so with the naked eye is far too imprecise. The proper way is to use a scope leveler like the Wheeler Engineering Scope Leveler or reticle levelling system. Mark Thompson, the instructor at the school, also uses a hanging plumb bob to confirm his scope is mounted level.

The Proper Torque for Your Scope Bases & Rings

The final thing I've been doing wrong is either over- or under-tightening the screws on my scope bases and rings, or at least tightening them unevenly. Too tight and you could damage your scope tube; too loose and you risk having the scope move during heavy recoil; and uneven tightness could cause a mix of these problems, along with reticle adjustment issues. The right way is to use an adjustable torque screwdriver and adjust everything to the scope mount manufacturer's specifications.

The good news is that you can get all the necessary tools in a handy professional scope mounting kit offered by Wheeler that even comes with an instructional DVD.

Although proper scope mounting is critical for long range shooting, its benefits apply to shooting at shorter ranges too.

Good hunting.



Hey, looking for some help. Lifelong hunter of 50 years. Last few seasons I have been "kissed" between the eyes with my rifle scope...and has caused serious concussion issues. I need to get a new setup and am looking for advice for scopes that provide the greatest eye relief for a deer rifle, possible using an extended stock, and would going to a synthetic stock or other recoil approaches be helpful?

Thank you for contacting Bass Pro Shops. I can empathize with you. I have been “snake-bit” before, but in my situation, I was not paying attention to the recoil. Without knowing your specific rifle, scope, or how the scope was mounted to the rifle; I would agree that you probably need a scope with as much eye relief as you can get. I would suggest going with the Oculus Pro Team HD Long Range Rifle Scopes here: These have an eye relief of 3.6” on the 4-16X scope and 3.9” on the 6-24X scope. Before tightening down the scope, check the eye relief with the scope set on the highest magnification as that is where your eye relief will be the shortest. Tighten it there, as when you adjust the magnification to a lower setting, your eye relief will be longer. I hope this information is helpful. You also may like to check in person at a local Bass Pro Shops or a local gun shop.”