Electrical Tape...is this a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by LocoGringo, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I've got a new scope to mount and I'm thinking about lining the inside of the rings with electrical tape rather than lapping the rings. Here's my thinking...the tape is basically a type of rubber, but very thin. By correctly torquing the rings on the scope (I believe it's 18-20 in/lbs), the tape will be "compacted" providing solid contact all the way around as lapping would, provide good "traction" between the rings and the scope body and will also provide a non-marring surface between the rings and scope. I haven't heard or seen anyone do this, so this may be a completely stupid idea. The rings will be attached to a picitinny base on a .308 AR that I use for precision shooting.

    So, is this a dumb idea, an interesting idea, or might it actually work?
     
  2. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Location:
    Where Else! TEXAS
    Quality rings don't need to be lapped. If you're worried about leaving ring marks on the scope, then I'd suggest buying some higher quality rings or at least buy some Burris Signature Zee rings if you are on the budget side of things.
     
  3. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
    9,994
    For years, I have either lined scope rings with electrical tape or put a wrap around the scope tube. Never had a problem.
     
    mokin, wbm, Dibbs and 3 others like this.
  4. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2021
    Messages:
    458
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    JMHO-
    Every scope I mount on everything I have
    gets degreased with an acetone rag and
    the mounting surface of the base gets
    loctite, and the screws get loctite.
    The ring mounting surface touching the
    base gets loctite. The bottom inside of
    the rings get loctite, the scope laid in
    place and the top half of the ring gets
    loctite and set down on the scope and
    snugged with the screws that are coated
    with loctite. It doesn't even come close to
    hardening in the time it takes to align the
    reticle properly and adjust the eye relief.
    After everything is copacetic, it gets
    tightened to where it needs to be and is
    set aside for a day or three.
    Another JMHO-
    If I had any true practical reliable way to tell for sure that I would never ever have to remove a scope for any reason, I'd use JB Weld or something similar or stronger if I could find it
     
  5. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    9,139
    Location:
    London (ex SA)
    I have done exactly what the OP suggests on several rifles and crossbows. I've never had a problem.
    I'm also a big fan of Signature Zee rings for circumstances where you need a significant offset between the ring centers.
     
    wbm, ColtPythonElite and LocoGringo like this.
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,283
    Location:
    SW MO
    Had a stainless .30-06 Rem 700 with matching scope and rings. After ten years of field use the patina changed and ring marks on the scope body were the least of the finish issues. What was a somewhat bright barrel finish aged and darkened more than I expected, but it was welcome. The scope got electrical tape attached to it for a makeshift cover in the field, and after I removed it because of brush damage I found the electrical tape had marked the finish in the scope with blacker stripes. Goes to the adhesive itself not being compatible with the scope finish.

    So, there is that - the glue may be more of a problem than the tape. YMMV.
     
    Dibbs likes this.
  7. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm thinking about attaching the tape to the rings rather than the scope so that the non-adhesive side of the tape is touching the scope. I see your point about the possibility of the finish being different where the tape touches the scope body. This scope is graphite gray rather than black, so the difference MAY be less.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    9,930
    Let’s talk about what is to be gained versus what can be the downside.

    1) Proper rings grip the scope effectively, so adding something between the rings and scope won’t particularly increase grip.

    2) Improperly done, overlapping tails can create high points which can buckle or distort the tube.

    3) Improperly done inside well fit rings, any tape adds dimension where none was meant to fit, again adding pressure points, distorting the scope tube.

    4) The idea that the tape will flow only to the low points and will be compressed out of the high points, stress relieving the contacts is delusional - the high pressure points will remain pressure points, and the low points will remain low compression points.

    5) Given the incorrect material, the adhesive and tape itself could become effectively mechanical lubrication between the scope and rings - insert banana peel meme

    6) Adhesives and plasticizers in the tape may degrade over time, either dimensionally changing or chemically interacting with the scope or ring finish

    So for me, tape in the rings is a 4 letter word. No benefit, and potential downside... no go.
     
  9. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,694
    I have done this to mount flashlights into "scope" rings or larger diameter light mounts. But doing so for a scope? Nah. Sure it is an option. But it isn't a good one.
     
  10. JDeere

    JDeere Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2020
    Messages:
    513
    OP I have done it the way you are thinking for years and never had an issue. I have removed scopes after years of being mounted this way and never had any marks at all. Scopes always held zero perfectly and I don't use cheap rings.
     
    LocoGringo, Dibbs and ColtPythonElite like this.
  11. PoPo22

    PoPo22 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Texas
    As long as you do not overlap the tape to create "high spots" and torq it down properly, I don't see an issue. With modern rings I don't really see it as being necessary.
     
    ColtPythonElite likes this.
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    69,263
    Location:
    Alabama
    Is why I have never tried it, gotta be better materials for shimming. Rather buy better rings.
     
  13. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,000
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    I would think the aluminum duck tape would allow a more solid mount, just a thought I've never tried it.
     
  14. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    9,930
    Quality scope rings grip just fine with no tricks. If a shooter insists on any trick: Epoxy bedding is the only thing I’ll ever put inside rings ever again.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  15. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    591
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Thank you for all of your opinions and experiences. I am using rings with 6 torx screws per ring rather than a standard 4, so they are wide and they were originally holding a different scope that had been cerakoted. There were no marks on the original scope but I did notice that it looked like the scope had moved a bit from the original position (front to back). I'm sure it's possible the cerakoting may have acted as a lubricant and I also know I didn't use a torque wrench to tighten the rings around the scope (I didn't have one at the time). I now have the FAT wrench and can torque everything down to spec. There was some dust that had accumulated on the scope body that I assume was some cerakoting that had worn. The outside of the rings have been cerakoted and I bought the rings so long ago, I don't remember the brand, but I do know that the rings are high quality. The rings are even wider than the tape.

    I've got to confess that I've done this once before on a 3-gun rifle (5.56 AR) that recoils like a .22 and not had any issues. The tape has been inside of the rings since late 2016. There's been no indication of a problem but of course there's also been VERY little recoil although high usage. I haven't removed the scope to see if there is any degradation and the mount is a 1-piece mount rather than a pair of rings. I'm inclined to give it a try on this precision rig. I don't see any downside since everything will be torqued down properly and I seriously doubt damage will occur as a result of lining the rings with electrical tape. I definitely won't be overlapping the ends of the tape.

    @Varminterror and @Walkalong I appreciate your thoughtful analysis and thank you for your opinions even though I'm going contrary to them.
     
  16. shooter1niner

    shooter1niner Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    rural upstate NY
    I only use blue or purple (low strength) Loctite on base screws. No tape or ring liner. Been doing ok so far...
     
  17. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    28,497
    i could maybe see the thin white tape you seal threads on pipes with, on $30 scope on a minute of pie plate 30-30
    but electrical tape on a precision rifle? no way
     
    Skylerbone likes this.
  18. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Messages:
    496
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    When installing high quality rings and scope the only thing I use is the little rubber bands used for braces. After double checking for proper fit I thoroughly clean everything and only use the rubber bands to create enough friction to prevent movement. I also use a torque driver to properly torque each screw following the manufacturers recommendation.
    (Not an original idea, I read it on the internet back in the 1960's!) :)

    Smiles,
     
  19. oldfortyfiveauto

    oldfortyfiveauto Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    442
    I use Loctite on the base screws. Nothing on the ring screws but the proper torque. My preferred rings are the Zee rings. Never lapped any rings. Have never had a scope come loose or move in 40 years.
     
  20. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    9,930
    There’s a saying about taking a mule to a swimming pool... or something like that...
     
    Skylerbone and LocoGringo like this.
  21. lightman

    lightman Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,536
    Location:
    england,ar
    I would skip using the tape. When I mount a scope I degrease the scope base screws and the holes in the action and use a small drop of blue Locktite on the threads. I also very carefully run a tap through the action holes. This cleans out a lot of gunk and crud. An old time Gunsmith suggested this to me years ago.

    I also lightly lap every pair of rings that I mount. I know that opinions about lapping rings are about like opinions on die brands or bore cleaners but I do it.

    I also use a torque wrench and tighten all of the screws to their recommended torque.

    My tap, lapping bar and compound and lug cleaning tools all came from Brownells. Taps by nature are fragile and this small tap would be really easy to break so if you choose to do this be very careful. I use a cheap keyless chuck for a cordless drill to help me hold the tap.
     
    Walkalong likes this.
  22. scratcherky

    scratcherky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    The Bluegrass State
    On all my rifles, I use a single layer of electrical tape sticky side down on the bottom ring half only and I have never had a scope slip on me. The only exception to this is when I am using Burris signature zee rings with the inserts. Also I never use vertical split rings.
     
  23. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    2,941
    Location:
    Kansas
    Ever seen a piece of black electrical tape deteriorate, detach, or get slimy? that's a hard no for me.
     
  24. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2020
    Messages:
    1,558
    No need to risk damaging the threads like that. A pipe’s cleaner or Q’s tip will do the job well.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice