March 7th, 2015

Gunsmithing: Installing a Picatinny Rail

In the video below, Forum Member Thomas Haugland (from Norway) shows how to install a Picatinny-type rail on a Sako action. Every stage of the process is illustrated — removing the barrel from the action, drilling/tapping the action, aligning/attaching the rail, and finally mounting the scope and test-firing the rifle. Note that the action is removed using a large adjustable-end wrench with brass disks to protect the finish. This is possible because this particular Sako action has a flat bottom and top. With a different action you’ll want to use a custom action wrench.

In the video, Thomas and his assistant actually fabricate the rail from scratch. That’s probably beyond the ability of most do-it-yourselfers. You can purchase precisely machined Picatinnny rails from Seekins Precision and other sources instead. Still, it is interesting to see the milling of the rail. Note that, before screwing the rail to the top of the action, Thomas applies a marine epoxy (timeline 3:18). This effectively beds the rail to the top of the action and provides a more secure installation.

You can find more interesting gunsmithing, hunting, and long-range shooting videos on Thomas Haugland’s YouTube Channel.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
February 27th, 2014

Hot Promo: Buy a Nikon Scope, Get FREE AR Scope Mount

Nikon has just announced its Mount ‘Em Up Promotion, which runs now through March 31, 2014. Here’s how it works: If you buy a qualifying Nikon scope, you can get a free scope mount worth up to one hundred bucks. Get an AR-specific Nikon scope mount with purchase of select M-223, P-223 or P-300 BLK AR riflescopes. “Year after year the Mount ‘Em Up promotion continues to be a favorite among our customers,” said Nikon General Manager Jon Allen. For more info, visit

Spot On Nikon ballistics scope optics

FREE M-223 XR mount ($99.95 value)
with these NIKON riflescopes:

Product # and Model
16300 1-4×20 M-223 Point Blank
16301 1-4×20 M-223 BDC 600
16302 2-8×32 M-223 Nikoplex
16303 2-8×32 M-223 BDC 600
16304 3-12×42 M-223 Nikoplex
16305 3-12×42 M-223 BDC 6000

FREE P-Series Mount ($49.95 value)
with these NIKON riflescopes:

Product # Model
8496 3×32 P-223 BDC Carbine
8497 3-9×40 P-223 BDC 600
6797 2-7×32 P-300 BLK BDC Supersub

Like all Nikon riflescopes, every model featured in the Mount ‘Em Up promotion is optimized for use with Spot On™ Ballistic Match Technology. This provides users with exact aiming points on the BDC reticle for any load or ammunition at a specified range. Get free Spot On ballistics solutions online at You can also order Spot On Custom turrets calibrated by Nikon for your load.

Spot On Nikon ballistics scope optics

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
February 13th, 2011

Precision Scope Rails for Savage Actions from Bench-Source

Bench-Source, founded by David Dorris, President of Vertex Mfg. Corp., and benchrest shooter Darrell Jones, is now producing precision scope-mounting bases for the Savage round-top Target Action. CNC-machined to exact tolerances from 7075-T6 aircraft aluminum, these bases are extremely light (under two ounces) yet strong. Both Picatinny-style bases and Davidson dovetail bases are offered with either zero taper (flat) or with +20 MOA of built-in elevation. Bench-Source rails also feature precision-cut reliefs to match the loading ports on the Savage Target Actions.

Bench-source scope rails

Bench-source scope rails

The Picatinny (Weaver) base costs $84.95 (either flat or +20 MOA) while the Davidson dovetail base is just $69.95 (either flat or +20 MOA). This is a good price considering the quality of the materials and machining. (The 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum is three times as expensive as the aluminum alloy used by some other rail-makers.) Either style base is available with either a “luster” or polished finish. The price includes a Torx wrench and mounting screws. Field TestedBench-source scope rails Savage Picatinny RailTechnical Specifications
The Picatinny M1913-A Mounting Rail features 14 symmetrically spaced cross-slots. The base is long enough to mount any popular scope. The Picatinny base is approximately .610″ tall. Parallelism deviates less than .002″ between the dovetail clamping area and top of the receiver after mounting. The screws used are #6-48 x 3/8″ long and holes are drilled and counter-bored to the correct depths. This ensures that users will not damage their barrel threads or encounter interference with the locking lugs when closing the bolt.

The Davidson 1/2″ x 60º Mounting Rail dovetail is parallel over its entire length. The rail is held to very tight tolerances to minimize windage correction (at different ring positions). The Davidson rail should self-center on your action when installed per the included instructions. Both ends of the mount are chamfered slightly on a 30° angle to let the sharp corners of the mating rings align themselves without binding. The 60º dovetails are machined +/- .001″ and measured over two optimum-diameter pins to minimize over-clamping of your rings.

For more information, visit or phone: (662) 895-0803.

Permalink New Product, Optics 5 Comments »
October 9th, 2010

Ivey Externally-Adjusting Scope Mounts for Ultra-Long Range Shooting

Stephen Ivey has engineered a set of gimbaled scope rings allowing up to 150 Minutes of Angle (MOA) of elevation. These rings have precision hinge pins front and rear allowing the entire scope to be tilted by a micrometer-controlled cam in the rear. This allows the scope to tilt upwards (in the rear) with the front ring as the axis while both rings remain parallel to prevent scope binding. The rear ring tilts to match the front while a cam pushes it up. Ivey also makes tilting +150 MOA Picatinny riser rails.

Stephen Ivey Rings

Ivey offers two scope-mounting products. First is the RT-150 Ring set (above). This has two, polished 30mm or 34mm 6061-T6 aluminum rings with bases to fit a Picatinny profile or mil-spec 1913 rail with standard 5mm cross slots at 10mm spacing. (Weaver installation requires extra cross-slots to be cut.) Total elevation is +150 MOA. The micrometer adjuster is graduated in true 1 MOA intervals, with 5 MOA of elevation change per rotation. This product costs $525.00 and requires at least 5-1/2″ length mounting base.

The newest product is the MSRR-150MOA Riser Rail, a pivoting 5.75″-long Picatinny-style rail that accepts Weaver-style clamping scope rings. This Adjusts from Zero to +150 MOA and raises the scope 1.45″ from the top of the action. The extra height provides clearance for large objectives when the unit is tilted for a full +150 MOA elevation. Cross slots are 5mm wide at 10mm (.394″) spacing. The $525.00 riser rail is made of 6061 T6 Aluminum hard-anodized black. Clamps are heat-treated steel. The micrometer thimble is marked for 1 MOA gradations, and provides 20 MOA per revolution.

Stephen Ivey Rings

The Ivey products are expensive, to be sure, but they are beautifully machined, and they offer unique capabilities for ultra-long-range shooters. With the +150 MOA units you have enough elevation to shoot at 2000+ yards! We like the idea of using the micrometer to dial within 1 MOA and then just using the scope turrets for fine-tuning. To learn more, visit the Ivey Shooting website, or call Stephen Ivey at (615) 896-9366, or email him at sales [at] .

Permalink New Product, Optics 7 Comments »
May 15th, 2010

NEW Professional Drill Jig for Mounting Optics Bases and Rails

Brownells has added a new Professional Drill Jig to its collection of gunsmithing tools. The $194.99 jig, made by B Square, aligns hole-spacing for popular scope bases on most popular military bolt action receivers. According to Brownells, this jig: “aligns mount hole-spacing for Weaver, Redfield and Buehler bases on all Springfields, U.S. Enfields (not SMLE), Japs, Mausers, Remington 30s and similar bolt actions.” Brownells says this unit saves time and eliminates tedious measuring as it “automatically locates holes in reference to recoil shoulder, and aligns and spaces holes vertically on the centerline of the receiver.”

Brownells Scope rail jig

Brownells’ Drill Jig features all-metal construction. The jig bars, base block and top piece are gold-anodized aluminum while the bore arbor and “V” bushings are blued steel. For the $194.99 price, the Pro Drill Jig includes two bars (Mauser and Spgfld/Enf/Jap,), complete mounting assembly, and an interchangeable No. 31 drill bushing.

Editor’s Comment: In the past, we haven’t been particularly impressed with B Square consumer products, particularly B Square rails and rings, but with CNC machining these days, the Professional Jig should be a quality tool. Remember that Brownells offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on everything it sells: “If you aren’t completely, 100% satisfied with any purchase you receive from Brownells, for any reason, at any time, return it for a full refund or exchange. No hassle, no problem.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
February 28th, 2009

TECH TIP: Picatinny vs. Weaver Rail Specifications

Readers often ask “What’s the difference between a Weaver scope rail and a Picatinny Rail?” The answer is not as simple as it seems. The dimensions of a Picatinny Rail should be consistent (from one rail-maker to another), since there IS a government spec. Conversely, there is some variance in “Weaver-style” rails. The width of the groove is the most important difference between Picatinny Rails and weaver rails. “Mil-spec” Picatinny rails will have a grove width of 0.206″ while Weaver rails typically have a narrower, 0.180″ groove width.

Brownell’s has a helpful GunTech Article that discusses the Picatinny Rail vs. Weaver Rail. That article explains:

“What are the differences between the ‘Picatinny’ and the ‘Weaver’ systems? The profile of the two systems is virtually identical. Depending on the quality of the machining done by the manufacturer, the two systems should be indistinguishable from the profile. The key difference lies in the placement of the recoil grooves and with width of the grooves. MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) grooves are .206″ wide and have a center-to-center width of .394”. The placement of these grooves has to be consistent in order for it to be a true ‘Picatinny’MIL-STD system. Weaver systems have a .180” width of recoil groove and are not necessarily consistent in a center-to-center measurement from one groove to the next.

In many instances, a Weaver system has a specific application that it is machined for, so interchangeability is not necessarily an issue. A MIL-STD-1913 system must adhere to the specifications listed above in order for it to be considered MIL-STD, since the military desires uniformity in the recoil grooves to allow for different systems to be mounted on the weapon with no concern for compatibility.

Now, what does this mean to you? Boiled down, it means that accessories designed for a Weaver system will, in most cases, fit on a ‘Picatinny’ system. The reverse, however, is probably not the case. Due to the larger recoil groove, ‘Picatinny’ accessories will not fit a Weaver system. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for a good rule-of-thumb, [full-width] ‘Picatinny’ won’t fit Weaver, but Weaver will fit ‘Picatinny’.”

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »