Everyone at the range owns a scope of some kind. With that in mind we have put together a collection of videos that might help some of you in selecting the right product, and making sure it works properly. Most of the scope issues we have seen at the range don't have anything to do with the scope itself, but more with picking the right scope rings and how the scope was mounted.
Gun Cant - Why You Need to Get This Right
This is an extraordinary photo of an actual target, shot at just 50 yards, that shows the effect of gun cant: your rifle shooting on an angle. In one group you see where the rifle shoots when the scope is level to the ground, and then when the same setup is at a 20 degree angle to the ground. Imagine how far off centre you would be at 300 yards! The point is to have your rifle shooting level to the ground (assuming that is how you zeroed your rifle) all the time.
Choosing a Scope
Picatinny Rails, Weaver Rails, What’s The Difference?
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between all those different rails is? Here is an excellent article form Brownells that breaks it down for you ..
Sometimes you get what you pay for. This is very true when it comes to scope rings. What is the point in buying a top of the line Nightforce Competition Scope for $3,000 and trying to save money by purchasing $30 scope rings? In Canada scope rings can go anywhere form $20/pair to $600/pair. A good pair of rings will have near full contact with your base, allow you to torque the bolts to a desired amount, and be perfectly aligned with each other. This will help you to achieve repeatable shots every time.
Rings generally fall into three catagories: mass produced (usually in the $15 to $100 a pair range), high tolerance, precise machining ($80 to $160 a pair), and matched rings ($160 and up). There are alot of really good manufacturers and you can do your research to figure out which is best for you. Designwise I would suggest you avoid rings that have bolts on one side with a spring clamp that holds the scope in place and rings where the top half attaches at an angle. These sorts of designs have proved problematic in the past, either not holding zero in the first case, or marking the scope in the second case.
The better functioning rings allow you to torque the bottom half of the ring to the scope base seperately from the top. Usually the base cross bolt is torqued around 50 ft lbs, while the top of the ring is torqued around 20 ft lbs. Examples of this style are Vortex Tactical, Burris XTR Signature, and Nightforce.
In Canada we have two manufacturers that make world class rings that are very affordable. In Calgary, Alberta Tactical makes matched rings in the $165 to $220 range. These rings are created from a single piece of metal to provide extact alignment and sold as a mated pair. MDT in Chilliwack BC make incredible rings in the $90 to $200 range that have a solid design and incredibly high machining tolerances. Their Premier scope rings at $90/pr represent some of the best value rings in Canada.
Included here is a very simple way that you can mount your scope in a very effective way.
More Advanced: How to Bed a Scope Rail
For those that are interested in a trying a more advanced method, some shooters bed their scope rail. Most people don't need to worry about this but it's included for your interest.
Sighting In Your Scope
Making a Balistic Chart
Once you get your scope zeroed at 100 yards (or meters), consider creating a ballistic chart for your ammunition. If you are using factory ammunition, go to their website and find the ballistic calulator, or a table related to that ammunition. This will give you your scope's elevation settings at various distances.
Products Used in These Videos or worth considering
ATRS Matched Rings (very high end rings, matched as a pair, made in Calgary, Canada)
MDT Scope Rings (very good quality rings, made in Canada, very well priced)
Wheeler Fat Wrench (for properly adjusting the tension on your scope rings and crossbolt)
JB Weld (for bedding you scope base and rings)
Plumb Bob (to make sure your rifle and scope are aligned with gravity)
Acetone (cleaning up your JB Weld excess)
Red Star Targets (quality targets made in Calgary, sold in blulk)
Redfield Targets (cheaper targets, but lots of them)