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Warne rings dented my Swarovski. I swear I'm not a monkey.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by GJgo, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    Let me start by saying :cuss: .

    So I recently broke down my elk rifle to do some winter work & cleaning, and much to my dismay there is a small impression in the upper portion of the tube, both front & rear, where the top of the Warne rings drew in. The scope is a Swarovski 3-10. Now, I turn wrenches for a living & I'm pretty confident that I didn't "overtighten" it. (...but no, I didn't use a torque wrench.) Looking at the Warne design I'm wondering if there's just too much mechanical advantage in the top of this setup. Anyone else seen a similar issue?


    One thing I did notice, according to my calipers the tube on the Swaro is a little smaller than the tube on my Zeiss that also uses the same rings on another rifle. Thus, as you can see in the photo above the tops of the rings are drawn in closer together than on the Zeiss, which kind of draws the "circle" into a "pinch" when you tighten the screws as the two faces go out of square. That pinch is exactly what the dent looks like, right there on the top of the tube.

    I inspected inside of the tube with a flashlight & it looks like there is a corrugated sleeve in there which shows none of this, so I'm thinking this is just on the outer tube & hopefully it hasn't affected the scope. The glass looks fine so far as I can tell, and there aren't any accuracy issues that I've seen when shooting. If someone knows more about scope guts please chime in, do I need to send this thing back to the factory for repair or just mount it back up & let it ride? The scope has been mounted like this for a few years now & in that time has put plenty of game in the freezer as it sat.

    I'll get a photo & measurement of the dent later & add it. IIRC it's just a couple thousandths.
  2. juk

    juk Well-Known Member

    I don't know about the dented scope, but that is some gorgeous country!

    Sorry I'm not any more useful. Just had to comment.
  3. Silverado6x6

    Silverado6x6 Well-Known Member

    You are probably smarter than what another guy tried to do, it was trying to wrench down a 30mm tube with 1" rings.
  4. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Well-Known Member

    You pull your scopes from the rings in order to clean?
  5. blakec3686

    blakec3686 Well-Known Member

    Hey GJ my dad has the same scope setup with warne rings and same prob...I asked him about it and he said and I quote "been like that since I got it" and that's got to be at least 7 years I think, maby less or more im not sure but what I do know is dad takes elk and deer every year ...like clockwork ..I turn a wrench for a living too (kenworth truck mechanic) I wouldn't worry about it to be honest.
  6. hoghunting

    hoghunting Well-Known Member

    I've used the Warne rings on a few Burris 30mm and Leupold 1" tubes and haven't had any problems - no dents or wrinkles on any of them.
  7. cacoltguy

    cacoltguy Well-Known Member

    "according to my calipers the tube on the Swaro is a little smaller than the tube on my Zeiss that also uses the same rings on another rifle."

    This is why I lap the rings on all of my scopes prior to mounting. I'm not sure if you did or not, but your measurement differences show why it is a good idea to do so. Marks or dents on the scope are usually a result of a slight misalignment somewhere in the setup. Expecting a receiver, base, rings and scope (made by 2-4 different manufacturers) to all be built to the exact same specs and tolerances is asking a lot. Its not necessarily a fault of any of the makers of your components, just the fact that they are made in different places, by different people and with different machines. Even the slightest of differences between the four parts will cause the scope rings to be imperfectly aligned and true to each other. This causes uneven pressure on the scope inside the rings and depending on how bad it is, can leave ugly marks or dents.

    Bedding the scope base to the receiver also helps. Many stock rifles (Remingtons are notorious for this) have slight differences in the height of the front of the receiver compared to the back side. This causes torquing and slight flexing of the scope base which in turn causes the rings to be misaligned.

    The best way to find out if your scope rings are out of whack would be to get a scope lapping kit. (I use the one made by Wheeler Engineering) Put the alignment bars in there and see what it shows you. I'm willing to bet they don't line up on your setup. Also, when you mount the scope, tighten the rings in a criss-cross/alternating manner. You want the scope to take the pressure evenly as you tighten any screws. Cranking down on one side and then the other induces torque and flex on the setup.

    Although I'm no expert on scope construction I'd assume yours is mechanically ok (unless you seriously over-torqued the rings) It's a cosmetic issue, but any uneven pressure inside the rings can cause loss of accuracy and zero over time. Uneven contact surface between the rings and scope results in pressure points which can cause the scope to slip and move in the rings. (The amount of slippage and time it takes to happen is dependent on the recoil of the load you shoot and the degree of the misalignment.) For hunting purposes at reasonable ranges it may never make a noticeable difference, at long range precision style shooting it could.

    Just my thoughts and limited experience with scopes.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  8. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member


    My first thought was that the rings are mis-aligned. There are a number of tools from Brownells to help align the rings and for lapping. Guess I'd check that first.
  9. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    I have four sets of 30mm Warne QD's. both steel and aluminum. All four have been checked on a 30mm lapping rod and found to be round and no burrs. When the screws are tightened to spec I well have a gap between the rings halves at the top (about .040). From the pic it appears your rings are pulled together tight.

    This is the most common torque spec you well find.

    Scope ring screws (Aluminum Rings) 10-15 inch-lbs "MAX"

    Scope ring screws (Steel Rings) 15-20 inch-lbs "MAX"
  10. WVRJ

    WVRJ Well-Known Member

    I did the same thing on a 12X Leupold,and it actually broke the crosshair.I heard a tiny tink sound as I was tightening the top ring screws.It was my fault,the Warne mounts don't need the screws tightened like other mounts.The screws are threaded coarser than other mounts and that gives even less mechanical advantage when tightening them.Use a torque driver and threadlocker.I torqued mine to 15 in-lbs after I got the scope back and didn't have any problem.Self employed wrench turner here,Snap-On makes a nice little screwdriver that goes from 0-50 in-lbs.
  11. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    I would lap the rings now "just to be sure", put it back together and not worry about it.

  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Definitely look to be over tightened from the picture, got a feeler gauge handy? Warne rings are some of the most consistent sub-$100 choices around and what I chose to replace Leupold rings on a recent project.

    I would also agree that no tear down short of replacement should include removal of the scope from its rings.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  13. taliv

    taliv Moderator


  14. R H Clark

    R H Clark Well-Known Member

    I don't like the work to lap rings so I use the kind with the plastic inserts(Burris,Optilock).On cheaper rigs I have used electrical tape inside the rings and am careful that I don't overtighten
  15. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the responses. About 4 hours after I took that pic I bagged a small but nice satellite bull. :)

    The work I did led me to pull the scope. I picked up a stainless blackening gel kit from Caswell plating. I wanted to darken the barrel to make the rig a little more low profile when I'm stalking. I intentionally only did one coat so it looked a little splotchy, came out just how I wanted.


    When I put this base on I glass bedded it so it sits perfectly level. Every rifle I own that I've put a rail on needed glass bedding to make the rail dead nuts level. Go figure. I agree about production tolerance stacking.

    I'm now considering lapping the rings, I think it's a good idea all things considered. One of the selling points of the Warne rings is that you don't have to lap them, but seeing this maybe not. On my Zeiss rig the tube measures as I recall 1.004". The Swaro tube measures .998". On the Zeiss setup, eyeballing it, I probably do have around a .040" top ring gap where the Swaro pulled in pretty tight. Of course, in hindsight some of that was the crushing.

    There is no deformation on the sides or the bottom of the scope tube, only on the top. I measured the tube & it pulled it down ~.006". Not ideal, but I don't *think* any real damage was done.

  16. Jackal

    Jackal Well-Known Member

    Honestly, don't worry about it. The only thing ring marks hurt is the resale value.
  17. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Actually there are several problems that can manifest themselves later on. Severe damage could affect internals, especially tracking but the biggest potential with the location on your tube would be to the internal finish. Better quality scopes are internally coated to prevent light from reflecting and if crushed externally, can damage that coating (usually black paint) causing flaking. Those flakes look horrible when they find their way to your scope's lenses. Don't ask how I know. As every firing subjects the scope to recoil, every shot offers the potential for damage to manifest itself.
  18. dubya450

    dubya450 Well-Known Member

    Talleys have done that to one of my Trijicons and 2 Leopold's. I don't think it affects anything but resale value.
  19. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Talley makes some of the best rings on the planet bar none. What is unfortunate is that they are a proprietary system and rely on hit-and-miss tolerances from the firearms they are mounted to.

    I guess I'm a KISS kinda guy (or suffer from abject laziness) in that whenever possible I prefer a one piece 1913 rail of good quality bedded to the rifle. That minimizes the chance of alignment errors immensely and I trust enough in the rings I select to skip the lapping process. I am however a big proponent of torque wrenches for tightening.

    I recall a thread perhaps a year ago involving a Savage Weather Warrior whose dimensions had changed without any notification to support manufacturers that displayed pictures of bases cranked down and bowed by misalignment. Several other owners chimed in with "fixes" including bedding, shims and Bondo. A rifle such as this combined with any set of rings from $3 to $300 would have produced poor results no matter the cost.
  20. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    For the record, that wasn't a "change in dimensions", it was a bad batch of receivers that were the wrong dimensions. Savage has never intentionally made a rifle like the one in that thread, though some have sneaked out over the years.

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