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Scope ring lapping 101

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BrainOnSigs, Feb 2, 2007.

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  1. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    I've had a few e-mails asking me for info on how to lap
    scope rings....so I thought I would share this. This was
    what I was taught by a very experienced shooter. It's
    free advice so take as such....... :)

    To assure alignment...which in turn protects your scope.
    ....I always lap my rings.

    If you buy a rifle and it comes with Leupold bases and
    you are using Leupold rings....here is some more free advice.

    Spend the $7-$10 and buy a Leupold ring wrench.

    Before starting any of this, I make sure that the bases are secure,
    and will torque them.

    I suggest installing the rear bottom ring first. I apply some
    Break-Free to the base and ring bottom, where they engage, and wipe off
    excess with a rag. I then position the rear bottom ring so that it is
    centered and aligned (as best I can). Tighten the two screws, being
    careful to keep the bottom ring aligned. Take your time. And, tighten
    it. I don't use a torque wrench for this. I make them tight. You don't
    want the rear ring to budge. I know that it is designed for windage
    adjustment, but it's best to do that via the scope. (I wish that there
    were Leupold Dual Dovetail bases available for Cooper Arms rifles).

    Now, do the same with the front bottom ring, in terms of applying
    Break-Free to both ring and base. The ring will be perpendicular. The
    Leupold ring wrench has an opening that will fit the ring. Actually, it
    is designed to handle both one-inch and 30mm rings. You need to put the
    rifle in a rest or vice so that it will not move.

    Back to the front ring. I use the wrench to turn the front ring 90
    degrees. It is tight. And, you may need to do a bit of minor
    back-and-forth to get the front ring aligned. To check alignment, I use
    the lapping kit's 30mm steel rod (my scope is 30mm). I lay it on
    each of the ring bottoms, and move it right up to the other ring
    bottom. You may find that the rear ring bottom may need adjustment
    after you get the front one aligned. Take your time with this step,
    because the better you have them aligned, the better you'll be able to
    lap the ring bottoms.

    The ring lapping procedure.

    You don't need much lapping compound. I use a Q-tip to get a little
    bit, place it on a folded paper towel, then put a couple drops of
    Break-Free on it. I use the same Q-tip to apply the mixture to the
    surface of the bottom rings that engage the scope tube. A very thin
    later is all that is needed. I then attach the handle to the lapping
    rod. Placing the lapping tool on the rings, I apply back-and-forth
    motions, making sure that the rings are always being engaged by the
    tool. I also rotate the tool as I am doing this. After 5 or 10 minutes,
    I use a rag to wipe off the engagement surface of the rings, to see the
    lapping effect, which is a smoothing. The black will become smooth and
    silver. It does not all need to be silver. Ideally, the wear (lapping
    effect) will be uniform. If it's not completely uniform, it's not a
    problem. You're still aligning the rings.

    I sometimes apply more lapping compound, and repeat the process, until
    I see the effect I desire. At no point during this procedure should you
    adjust or otherwise disturb the alignment of either ring. Doing so will
    negate any lapping done up to that point.

    I use MPro-7 (or other cleaner) to remove the lapping compound, which
    turns grey. I take the time to make sure that all is removed, and then
    I dry the surfaces. Before mounting the scope, I apply a thin layer of
    Break-Free to the engagement surfaces, then wipe off excess with a rag.

    You sould be good to go. If you ever remove your scope it will have zero
    marks on it. As long as you don't move the lower rings you can always put
    a scope back on and it will be automatically aligned.
     
  2. CDignition

    CDignition Member

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    OR you could just buy Matched Badger rings on a Badger base, and no lapping needed..:)
     
  3. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    I'll leave that for you tactical guys with picatinny rails.......this is for hunting rifles like my Coopers. :)

    BTW: What is the cost of a matched Badger set?
     
  4. C123K_Loadmaster

    C123K_Loadmaster Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Messages:
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    Thanks for the excellent write up. Here is a link that provides pictures of the process.

    http://www.centerfirecentral.com/lapping.html

    Personally I have had a matched set of Badger Ordnance rings that I mounted on a picatinny rail that did not need to be lapped. Later I decided to mount another matched set of Badger Ordnance rings that were lower on the same picatinny rail and they were in serious need of lapping. So far my experience is that 50% of the time matched Badger Ordnance rings need to be lapped when mounted on the same picatinny rail.
     
  5. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    Thanks C123K_Loadmaster for the supplemental picture link. Good stuff!
     
  6. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Neither here nor there
    Or

    How about a 1" hand reamer?
     
  7. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    I have to question the use of any oil on rings, it's the last thing you want unless you want your scope to move. The best thing to do is to remove all oil from the rings with an alcohol wipe or some brake parts cleaner. I would also clean the threads on the scope base, rings, screws and receiver to ensure they don't come loose and you get proper torque on them.
     
  8. Dannyboy

    Dannyboy Member

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    Way too much.
     
  9. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Neither here nor there
  10. CDignition

    CDignition Member

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    Location:
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    Go here to see what happens to a scope/mount under High Speed filming...

    Now this IS a 50, it still happens with all recoiling rifles...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5pVya7eask

    This is pretty much why, if you have good rings, it is a moot point...If you have cheap turn in rings, or cheapie Wal Mart rings, I guess Lapping will help some.

    Badger setups can be $2/300 bux depending on what u buy...I have $2500 into my USO, so this is chump change ..;)
     
  11. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    SIGH......apparently you all missed the part about free advice.

    I have tens of thousands of rounds at the range and in the field shooting at varmints, larger game and paper. My hunting rifles are all made by Cooper Arms of Montana. My scope choices are all Leupold VX-IIIs. I can shoot sub 1/4" groups with my Coopers.

    The light (very, very light) coating is to prevent any rust on the steel rings once the finish is lapped off. I used the correct tools to mount and torque my scope rings.

    I have never had any issues with the Leupold bases (that come on Coopers) and Leupold rings.

    This advice was imparted to me by guys with years of experience that flat out shoot and hunt with the best of them.

    My apologizes to anyone who assumed that I was saying that my ring installion and lapping procedure is the best and only one on the planet........

    :rolleyes:
     
  12. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    BrainOnSigs,


    I think you did a damn good job on the instructions.

    About the only way I differ on your procedure is, well, my own hick way of keeping the rings straight when putting them on.


    I use a 1" wooden dowel. you can also use this to keep the rear windage adjusting base straight, as well...don't cut the dowel short! I have one in my gun cabinet that is 4 foot long...that way you can use it to check to see if its true to the gun barrel. I have used it on 5 diffrent rifles and have never had an issue. :)

    Again, though...damn good write-up!

    D
     
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