Scope Do’s and Dont’s

Here are a few tips for you to get the best setup for your new or old scope when fitting it to your rifle.

A well set up scope will give you a better chance of success in your hunting endeavours whilst a badly set up optic can be a source of failure and frustration.

The bulk of our warranty claims over the years, in our experience, have been with scope adjustments being wound to the extremes for some reason by a curious owner usually because of an issue with mounting that didn’t have the scope near the centre of its adjustment leaving no room in the adjustment to correct this fault.    

Firstly, take the beautiful new scope out of its box and inspect its lovely bright, crisp optics and wonder at the modern technology that allows these instruments to exist. I will now provide a tip provided by our good friend and self taught stockmaker, scope repairer and restorer Ken Davis who does all the warranty repairs for Arctic Fox in amongst the rest of his day to day work.

 His suggestion is to optically centre your crosshairs before you mount the scope. How do you achieve this you ask? One doesn’t need any fancy instruments in order to do this, in fact all you need is a cardboard box of the appropriate size which is determined by the tube of the scope. What you need is a box where the mounting section of the scope tube sits on the two sides of the box then you cut a “V” notch in each side of the box so that the scope sits comfortably in these notches. Take your adjustment caps off and place the box on an appropriate bench or table so that you can look through the scope. Pick a suitable object to look at and then slowly rotate the scope while watching the crosshairs. More than likely the crosshairs will travel in a circle around the object. The idea now is to adjust the scope so that the crosshairs stay centered on the object as you fully rotate the scope. The scope is then optically centered with full adjustment available in all directions. 

It’s now time to mount the scope in whatever mounts you have chosen. I won’t go into detail about scope mounting as I’ll leave that to another blog. I get the bases and rings on the rifle and then drop the scope on to the rings to determine correct eye relief. Personally I then wrap the tube where it contacts the ring with at least one layer of simple sticky tape. This prevents the telltale ring mounting marks you see so often on second hand scopes.

 Now is the time to fit the top half of the rings and tighten. Don’t overdo it, 25 inch pounds is a good torque if you have the appropriate torque wrench. Once everything is tightened to your satisfaction it is time to boresight your scope. Our Arctic Fox green laser bore sighter is a handy product for this job. Then use your windage adjustment on the scope for minor adjustments to bring it into perfect alignment. If your elevation is out by a small amount just use your elevation adjustment on your scope to centre. If the adjustment is significant we can correct this by placing shims made from aluminium beer or coke cans in the lower halves of the rings to get as close to centre as possible. Drink the contents before cutting your shims or it gets messy. Shims in the rear ring to lower the crosshairs and in the bottom of the front ring to bring them up.

 You are now ready to fire the rifle to begin zeroing. The zero should be fairly close but may still be way out. Don’t get disheartened, manufacturing variables may take a hand in this and there are rifles out there that do not have the barrel screwed into the receiver squarely believe it or not. That’s all for now regarding mounting.

 The advice I always give new shooters is to treat your outfit like an instrument not a tool. If you throw your rifle into the back of the ute from fifteen metres then I suggest you find another hobby or change your behaviour and your rig will perform to your expectations.

 The next time you’re in a camera or optical supply shop take the time to purchase one of the brushes available specifically for lens cleaning. These incorporate a bellows so that air can be blown on the lenses to dislodge loose particles and dust so it doesn’t get ground into the lens. Also, buy some lens cleaning tissues and liquid lens cleaning solution. The use of these products will lengthen the life of your scope and keep the image crystal clear. Using the bottom of your sweat encrusted singlet that has been hovering around your crotch for the last three days is not really an option.

 Using scope covers on your scope and only removing it when you are shooting is also a good practice.

 So there you are. A number of simple steps to maintain the integrity and efficiency of your scope.

Happy hunting!