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How Tight Should Scope Rings Be : A Definitive Guide

How Tight Should Scope Rings Be
Written by Dan Goldsmith
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Many of us perceive that scope is just a piece of the objective lens with a few mechanical parts. But no! This can’t be further from the truth.

It’s worth mentioning that the proper mounting of a rifle scope bears great significance in ensuring accurate shooting.

The scope should be tightened enough so the parts can’t be loose when the rifle recoils. But not too tight, which crushes the body tube of the scope or gets impinged on internal components.

So, how tight should scope rings be exactly?

In a quick and obvious answer: The standard torque specs for mounting the rifle scope is between 15-18 inch lbs, that’s 1.7 to 2-newton meters.

It depends on the mounting scope that you’re using. For Nexus riflescopes, 15-25 inch lbs or 1.7 to 2.8 newton meters is the ideal range to mount the scope.

Still, need clarification? Go through our explanation to see why.

How Tight Should Scope Rings Be?

How Tight Should Scope Rings Be

As mentioned above, the ring screws should be tightened up to 15-in/lbs with a torque wrench and shouldn’t exceed 18 in/lbs.

You need to keep in mind of even gap on the side-to-side and front-to-back of the ring if you are torquing the horizontally split rings.

But if you’re mounting vertically-split rings, there will be nothing wrong with fully tightening one side of the ring.

Mounting ring screws with the appropriate tightening force (torque) is the key factor in the riflescope for ensuring optimal stability and reliability.

The manufacturers recommend the correct torque values needed to apply for screw tightening without affecting the performance. You can use a torque driver wrench to apply the specific amount of pressure required.

As per the manufacturer’s recommendation, 15-18in/lbs is the standard value for tightening the ring screws on the riflescope.

However, it mostly varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. For instance:

Badger 15 in/lbs or 1.69 Nm
Leupold 15 in/lbs or 1.69 Nm
Warne 25 in/lbs or 2.82 Nm
Vortex  20 in/lbs or 2.26 Nm

Nevertheless, it is quite essential to maintain this level, as over-tightening may lead to defection and other performance issues on the scope.

If there is a larger gap on both sides, it will hamper the rifle’s stability. Always it’s wise to go through scope rings reviews before purchasing.

How to Torque The Scope Rings Properly?

How to Torque The Scope Rings Properly

Properly mounting scope is essential for maintaining accuracy. If you need to know how to mount your scope in your rifle, follow our quick step-by-step guide below:

Step 1: For the first step, you’ll have to gather some essential tools. Here is the complete checklist of tools and components you’ll need to tighten your scopes properly:

  • A torque wrench set.
  • Handful tools to tighten the screws.
  • Appropriate degreasing agent or gun oil to degrease the rings, bases, screws, and mounting holes in the firearm’s receiver.

Step 2: Before starting, make sure that the firearm is unloaded and installed on the appropriate base. Also, ensure that the scope and mounting hardware are compatible with each other.

Step 3: Now, you’ll have to seat the scope mount on the rifle’s receiver. Most rifle receivers have a pre-installed integral base as part of the rifle.

Make sure the gun is clear at the bottom of the base and the top of the receiver.

Step 4: Remove the plug screws from the scope rings. Then apply a very thin coat layer on the base mounting screws and the holes of the receiver. It will help to prevent the surfaces from rusting.

Step 5: Once the screws holes and scope are degreased, it is time to secure the screws through the scope cap and into the rifle. Finger-tight the screws and check to determine whether the scope is adjusted correctly and on the level.

Step 6:

When done, take a torque wrench, pull, and turn it out until it reaches the 20-22 inch round. This is the pressure you’ll apply to the screws.

Now tighten the screws with this wrench. Make sure you are giving consistent pressure in all screws, and it is not exceeding 25 in/lbs as it may strip the thread or break the screws.

You will hear an audible click sound from the wrench indicating that the screws are mounted correctly.

Step 7: Now, remove the top of the rings and set the scope in the ring bottoms. Same as before, attach the bottom of the scope rings and tighten the screws.

Step 8: Once the scope is mounted, visually inspect the attachment between the rings and the scope’s main tube. This’ll ensure the correct alignment of the scope and the rings.

Step 9: Lastly, set the magnetic bubble level on a flat part of the rifle and level it. When done, hang a plumb bob and start rotating the scope with the bob.

Once that is done, tighten the screws slightly and evenly using the torque wrench until they reach 18 inch-lbs of torque.

Why Using The Correct Ring Torque Important?

Torque is basically the equivalent of linear force that measures the force around an axis and the surroundings. The term is quite important in mounting the screws on the rifle scope.

While torqueing the base, rings, and others using an adjustable torque, a specific amount from the manufactures recommendation is followed. Neither should it be over-tightened, not too loose, which doesn’t ensure the proper fittings.

When we over-tighten the rings, it could squeeze the internal parts together, which can damage the scope at a point.

Or, the screws may strip, making it harder to move fluently. Also, it becomes too difficult for the parallax to turn forwards and backward.

On the other hand, if you are keeping the screws too loose; chances are the scope will slip in the rings when the rifle recoils or if something gets bumped.

Also, the parallax or the erector gimbal will shift from side to side, which affects the rifle’s performance for the most part.

That’s why manufacturers always prescribe specific torque specs for each scope. For the vast majority of situations, 15-inch pounds is going to be more than enough, depending on which mount you are using.

In Closing!

Mounting a scope is quite a challenging technical task, as precision gets the highest priority in terms of accurate shooting.

Most of the hunters find themselves having difficulties while mounting the scope and get stuck on how tight should scope rings be!

I hope this information proves to be helpful for those looking for guidance. Thanks for reading this far.

About the author

Dan Goldsmith

Hi, this is Dan. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 30+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed.

My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

Whenever I am able to catch a moment of free time, you will find me enjoying my family or heading to the range on my motorcycle. I have enjoyed shooting sports ever since my dad introduced them to me as a child.

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman who lives his life to the fullest. I hope you will benefit from my efforts to create valuable resources on this website. Happy reading!

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