Want to Make a Great Scope Fail? Don’t Do This …

By GunSpot
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Want to Make a Great Scope Fail? Don’t Do This …

April 2nd, 2022

7:18 runtime

Grant LaVelle, chief instructor at Maximum Life Expectancy in Missouri as well as GunSpot, teaches numerous distance-shooting classes. Grant taught marksmanship in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a SWAT sniper, and now he conveys this knowledge to his students.

Man showing proper torque of Badger Ordnance scope ring
A lot of people talk about scopes, but how often do you hear people talking about the equally important scope rings?

A common scenario he sees in these courses is people that come to his long-range classes having spread their money inefficiently amongst their gear. In these cases, he usually sees two types of students: student #1 will come in with a $2,500 to $3,500 great-shooting rifle with plenty of bells and whistles. Then on it, they will set a $200 scope and some $35 dollar rings.

Student #2 will come in with a nice rifle and a comparably nice scope with great target knobs and clear glass, and one that will hold zero exceptionally well. But for the mounting solution in between the excellent rifle and optic — their rail and scope rings — are just plain garbage.

Man properly mounting a scope on picatinny rail
When mounting your scope, make note of what Picatinny slot it sits in. This helps when you mount and re-mount scopes.

You can spend all the money in the world, do all the research and be the most skilled shooter in existence. But if you can’t hold things solid and consistently on your rifle, your results will always suffer. Grant preaches in all his classes the importance of going overkill on your mounting solutions. Your scope rings can make a good scope great, and likewise, a great scope bad. It’s all about holding our zero. If we can’t do that, then why even shoot, right?

The Solution

Grant swears up and down by Badger Ordnance scope rings. They offer reputable mounting solutions for optics, and it is important to note that almost all manufacturers have their products that vary in quality — and price points. Badger Ordnance has scope rings as low as about $40 and up to around $250.

Man showing torque specs on scope rings
The author uses a specific 65-lb. Seekonk wrench to tighten his scope rings to the exact setting that Badger Ordnance recommends.

Read, do some research and choose carefully. Something I have fallen victim to is seeing scope rings with a high-quality name and assuming they are rock-solid. It’s up to you what to pick, but if you choose to cheat yourself, you could cause yourself a lot of heartache.

Perhaps the best thing about scope rings is they are a reliable, long-term purchase. Quality ones are very unlikely to break, which means you can use them over and over again. You may drop scopes and break them, or your rifle may give out one day. But your rings can be a lifetime investment.

Proving It

To prove the importance of good-quality mounting equipment, we came up with a test to demonstrate what it can do — and a test we suspect will make traditional shooters pull their hair out. To watch our test, check out the video at the top of this page.

Man installing a scope on a Waypoint rifle
Badger Ordnance sells scope rings that are known for durability and reliability among precision shooters.

For our test, we have two scopes that are sighted in on our Model 2020 Waypoint. We have a Bushnell Match Pro and a Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS II. The idea is that you can swap scopes as much as you want and, as long as everything you have features good quality parts and gets replaced in the same spot, your zero will never be lost.

To start, we had the Match Pro mounted up and we took it off and put on the XRS II. It’s important to remember where the scope sat in the Picatinny rails also when mounting your scopes. Set them in the rails and then push them all the way forward in the slot.

After we tightened it down using our torque wrench to the specified setting indicated by Badger Ordnance, we fired a few shots. All of our shots ended up inside a 1” square at 100 yards, with all the shots practically being on top of one another. Next, we un-mounted the XRS II and put on the Match Pro, and fired a couple of shots. We noticed the same thing — we were able to put shots inside a 1” square at 100 yards.

Man testing a rifle scope
For this test, the author swapped scopes and shot at 100 yards on a 1-inch target. He had good results strongly suggesting that consistency matters.

Conclusion

Maybe you’re wondering why you would ever switch scopes like this, and therefore this test doesn’t matter to you. It’s true that you may never want to switch scopes. But, if the mounting solutions can keep zero after being completely moved and then put back on, won’t it be fine if your rifle gets dropped? As long as your scope will hold zero, this proves that your zero would be rock-solid.

Remember, when mounting your scopes, be sure to remember the slots they are mounted in and push them all the way to the front of the slots. Then, tighten the rings to the rail. If you can use a torque wrench to make sure your optic is torqued down the same amount, as we did, that is a great idea, too.

Don’t shortchange yourself. Ammo is expensive. Don’t spend hours throwing bullets downrange and then having to re-zero every time something is bumped. Travel with ease of mind knowing that your zero is safe if you are mounted up with some quality gear.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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GunSpot

GunSpot

GunSpot was created to be the one spot for everything gun-related. With us, you can buy or sell guns. We have everything from small-caliber pistols to belt-fed machine guns. And on the GunSpot Academy, you can find high-quality original content. In our content, you will see two faces regularly. Dylan Casey is a gun enthusiast with a digital media degree who is GunSpot's Creative Director. Then there is Chief Instructor Grant LaVelle, who has decades of experience training Marines, police officers and citizens alike. Grant served with and taught marksmanship for the United States Marine Corps. After his time with the Marines, Grant served as a SWAT sniper.

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