February 21st, 2021

Erratic POI? Check Your Scope — But It Could Be a Loose Barrel

loose barrel vortex scope optics point of impact change fix

Are you seeing unpredictable changes in Point of Impact on your target? Think you may have a scope issue? Well maybe not — when was the last time you checked your BARREL?

Yes scopes do fail, and scope bases/rings do get loose. But sometimes problems with erratic POI shifts are caused by a LOOSE BARREL. This issue came up recently in our Shooter’s Forum. One member complained that his zero was shifting from day to day — by as much as two inches at 100 yards. He was convinced he had a scope problem, based on erratic POI:

“I think my scope loses 1 to 3 MOA per day. When I shot my rifle Monday it was dead on. On Tuesday it was 1″ low. Then on Wednesday it was 1 or 2″ lower. I don’t get it. — the elevation knob never touched. Scope will track and return to zero that day perfect. Yes EVERYTHING has been checked, nothing loose. What is the chance the erector tube spring has gone south? For the record this is a Vortex GE. Never had a bad scope, but this has me wondering”. — LB

On Forum member told LB to send the scope right back to the manufacturer. Two other members suggested mounting the scope on a different rifle to test. Good advice. That’s generally a smart strategy before you conclude a scope has gone bad…

Could Problem Be the Scope Base?
Two Forum members, ExPiper and Dickn52, suggested checking the scope base, recounting their past experiences with troublesome bases. This was intelligent — anyone with a POI problem should check all the optics attachments:

“Went crazy one day chasing my impacts on a 100-yard target. Shots would group fine for three then go nuts for 4-5. I cranked and un-cranked for about an hour. Then I reached up and the base wobbled on the rifle. Removed scope, tightened base screws and back in business.” — Dickn52

“Years ago I had a problem [where] shots were climbing with almost every shot. I was blaming the scope. However, when removing the scope I noticed that the 20 MOA base was cracked and getting wider with every shot. Needless to say I replaced the base and the problem was solved. — ExPiper

Eureka Moment — The problem was the BARREL, not the Scope

There were many helpful suggestions, but member PirateAmmo steered LB to the real problem — a loose BARREL: “We had a problem on a home-built AR-platform rifle once, barrel was loose a tad…”

Member Snert chimed in: “Yep — I had a PPC that suddenly went 19″ low. Picked up gun off bench by barrel and felt a wiggle. I tightened the barrel and the POI went 19 inches up”.

Problem Solved — Barrel Tightened up and POI Back to Normal
The gentleman with the POI problem took the advice of PirateAmmo and checked his barrel. BINGO! Low and behold, the barrel WAS loose.

LB posted: “Barrel loose by about 2%, checked it twice before and didn’t find it the first two times”.

After LB re-tightened his barrel, his rifle started shooting normally again. No more shooting low by 1-2 inches. Problem solved. The fix didn’t cost a penny and now LB doesn’t have to send a perfectly good optic back to the manufacturer.

Lesson learned? Check ALL the variables before you assume a scope has gone bad. Along with the barrel, also check your action screw tension, and of course the scope base and rings.

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September 4th, 2020

Optics INFO: Mounting a Scope on Your Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season commences soon in many states. That means it’s time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. If you have a new optic, you’ll want to get it mounted correctly on your current rig. And if you have a new hunting rifle, you’ll need to mount the properly rings and install the riflescope so that you have the correct eye relief.

A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position, and it should be leveled correctly. This video shows a simple, quick method to mount a scope. The method assumes that the reticle (cross-hairs) are square without the turret. You’ll want to confirm that with a plumb line hanging straight down, a procedure you can do indoors.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 11th, 2019

Mounting a Scope Properly on Your Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season is right around the corner. That means its time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. If you have a new optic, you’ll want to get it mounted correctly on your current rig. And if you have a new hunting rifle, you’ll need to mount the properly rings and install the riflescope so that you have the correct eye relief.

A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position, and it should be leveled correctly. This video shows a simple, quick method to mount a scope. The method assumes that the reticle (cross-hairs) are square without the turret. You’ll want to confirm that with a plumb line hanging straight down, a procedure you can do indoors.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 13th, 2014

$25.00 Gun Tool Combines 18 Specialized Tools in One Gadget

Avid Design sells a unique multi-tool designed expressly for rifles and shotguns. The $24.99 Gun Tool combines 18 of the most commonly used long gun tools in a compact package. The Gun Tool boasts three Torx wrenches (T20; T15; T10), two Allen hex drives (3/32″; 5/32″), and four screwdriver blades (1/8″ flat; 3/16″ flat; Phillips 1 & 2). In addition, there is a magnetic 3/16″ driver, a pin punch, and a stainless claw blade useful for opening shipping boxes or trimming target backers.

The most unique feature of the Gun Tool is a stepped, multi-size choke-tube wrench that fits six shotgun bores from .410 all the way up to 10 gauge (see photo below right). For active shotgunners, that provides great versatility in a small package.

Praise from Respected Reviewers
In 2012, the NRA’s American Hunter magazine awarded The Gun Tool their Golden Bullseye award in the “Gear of the Year” category. The Gun Tool has also been awarded an outstanding 100% approval rating and a full endorsement by the North American Hunting Club.

Noted gun journalist Jim Shepard wrote: “I’ve been playing with ‘The Gun Tool’… and I’ve found it to be a pretty promising device that really should find a place in lots of range bags. If you’re a long gun shooter, it has something you’ll eventually need in the way of a tightening/loosening/adjusting tool.” Jim cautions that the claw blade does not lock into place.

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April 18th, 2014

Cool Integrated Optics Mount for under Ninety Bucks

AR skeletonized Warne AR MountHere’s a cool new optics mount at a very attractive price — just $87.95. Midsouth Shooter’s Supply is now featuring the Warne Skeletonized integrated scope mount for Picatinny Rails. This should work great on flat-top ARs. And for you fashionistas out there, the Warne mount is offered in four different colors: Matte Black, Dark Earth (tan), Ruby Red, and Bold Blue. Tactical shooters will probably pick black or tan sets, while image-conscious 3-Gun competitors might favor the Red or Blue versions.

These Warne integrated ring/mount sets are offered for 1″, 30mm, and 34mm rings. The 1″ and 30mm versions come in all four (4) colors and cost $87.95. The 34mm is offered in Matte Black only for $115.00. You may want to order soon. These are popular. The most popular colors (black and dark earth) could sell out quickly at this price.

AR skeletonized Warne AR Mount

AR skeletonized Warne AR Mount

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October 23rd, 2013

Burris Signature Zee Rings with Inserts Now In Stock

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Signature Zee Rings BurrisBurris Signature Rings in Stock Again
Because they allow you to mount a scope without markings, to “pre-load” elevation, and to correct for windage mis-alignment, Burris Signature Rings (with Pos-Align inserts) are extremely popular. So popular in fact that Signature Rings, particularly the “Zee” models for Weaver rails, have been hard to find. Well, Signature Ring fans can now celebrate. Burris has recently shipped large supplies of Signature Rings, including the hard-to-find 30mm High Zees, to vendors across the country. If you’ve been waiting on these unique, affordable ring sets, get your orders in now.

Records Have Been Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost less than $35.00 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. But consider this, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.359″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. Here’s a photo of Rodney showing the record-setting rifle, outfitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now Midsouth has a very complete selection of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models.

Midsouth Shooters Supply: Wide selection — 1″ and 30mm Signature Zee (including 1″ Nickel-finish), Universal, Dual Dovetail, and 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee.

Eabco.com: Signature Zee 1″ and 30mm, Medium and High, Weaver Base, starting at $37.00.

Bruno Shooters’ Supply: 1″ and 30mm Signature and Universal, 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee (Call for availability of sizes).

Signature Zee Rings Burris

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June 18th, 2012

Burris Signature Rings with Inserts Now Widely Available

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Signature Zee Rings BurrisBurris Signature Rings in Stock Again
Because they allow you to mount a scope without markings, to “pre-load” elevation, and to correct for windage mis-alignment, Burris Signature Rings are extremely popular. So popular in fact that Signature Posi-Align Rings, particularly the “Zee” models for Weaver rails, have been back-ordered for months. Well, Signature Ring fans can now celebrate. Burris has recently shipped large supplies of Signature Rings, including the hard-to-find 30mm High Zees, to vendors across the country. If you’ve been waiting on these unique, affordable ring sets, get your orders in now.

A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from all of the following vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one vendor to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. Inventories are subject to change on a daily basis. For example, Midsouth expects to get some more 30mm Signature Zee High rings in a couple days from now.

Bruno Shooters’ Supply: 1″ and 30mm Signature and Universal, 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee (Call for availability of sizes).

Eabco.com: Signature Zee 1″ and 30mm, Medium. (High — call for availability).

Midsouth Shooters Supply: Wide selection — 1″ and 30mm Signature Zee, Universal, Dual Dovetail, and 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee. (NOTE: 30mm Signature Zee High expected 6/19/2012.)

Sinclair International: 1″ and 30mm Signature Zee, Universal, and Dual Dovetail. (30mm High and Xtra-High Zees out of stock temporarily).

Signature Zee Rings Burris

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