Should scope rings be lapped? There may be small imperfections between the scope and the scope rings. These small gaps between the scope tube and the scope rings may result in inaccurate aiming, problems even after you have zeroed the scope, recoil damage to the scope, and reduced lifespan of the scope.
Read the article to learn how to lap the scope rings to allow perfect fitting of the scope tube, the tools you need, and why is it necessary.
The How And Why Of Scope – Ring Lapping
Even with precise machine cutting, there are some imperfections left in the manufacturing of the rings of the scope. This may not be very common but most experienced and trained shooter love to customize their scope fittings to make sure that they are secure. And the best way is by lapping the rings!
Manufacturing precision can have its limitations. And to remove such imperfections the surface of the rings have to be made smooth through the lapping process.
List of Rifle Components to Check
It is important to check the rifle components that the scope is fixed on, such as:
- Rifle Receiver
- Ring Screws
Note: Additionally, it is also important to make sure the set of rings is properly aligned with each other and the scope mounts.
What Is Lapping?
Lapping is a process that smoothens or evens the surface. The word “sanding” is used incorrectly with it as it does not define the whole process.
The scope rings hold the scope in place on the weapon. But, sometimes the fitting does not hold it in place firmly. So, some adjustment needs to be made to make it more secure. Hence, the lapping is done to guarantee that.
Why Lap The Rings?
Here are some reasons why it is important to lap the rings of a scope:
- Ensures the scope tube is secured on the scope mounts on the rifle.
- Provides extra cushioning between the scope and the rifle.
- Increases the longevity of the scope and its rings.
- Allows for greater accuracy when aiming and shooting.
- Helps to improve the optics of the scope by reducing distortions.
Quick Guide To Lap Scope Rings
- Attach the scope rings to the scope base and fasten them firmly with screws.
- Spread a thin layer of lapping paste on the inner surfaces of the scope rings.
- Carefully align the scope mounts on a vise and tighten it down.
- Fix the lapping bar to the scope base and move it in a circular motion, gradually increasing the pressure until the steel rings are level.
- When the vertically split rings are even, remove the steel lapping bar and clean off the excess compound.
- Repeat this process for the other scope rings to ensure proper alignment.
Is Lapping Scope Rings Necessary – Explained
Lapping scope rings is an important step for those who want to enhance their precision shooting experience, as lapping helps keep the scope securely and evenly mounted on the firearm.
By lapping scope rings you can:
- Reduce distortions.
- Provide cushioning to the aluminum scope and the firearm.
- Increases longevity of the riflescope.
- Reduces wear and tear between the surfaces.
- Enables optimal shooting experiences every time.
- Increases the accuracy of the firearm.
- The scope doesn’t move while windage adjustments.
Tools Needed to Lap Your Scope Rings on Scope Body
There are multiple tools that you may need during the lapping process. Here is a list of the ones you will require:
- Screwdriver or an Allan key for the scope rings.
- Lapping Paste (commonly 220 grit is used).
- Scope ring lapping kit bar (you will need this for the 1-inch or 30mm scope tube size).
- Tiptop Gun Vice or any other type of vice to hold the weapon securely.
- Extra screws (optional).
- Cleaning cloth.
How to Use a Scope Lapping Kit
A lapping kit makes the whole process much easier and you need the basic knowledge to use it. To lap rings of the riflescope you need to:
- Position the scope onto the rifle and secure the holding rings.
- Place the rifle in a gun work vice.
- Remove the scope and top cover ring.
- Apply lapping compound to the bottom and top scope rings.
- Secure the scope lapping tool to the rings and gently screw down the two top scope rings.
- Move the scope-lapping tool back and forth in a gentle twisting motion.
- Gradually increase pressure on the scope lapping tool by screwing the top scope rings down.
- After 15 minutes, remove the two top scope rings and check for a contact of at least 3/4 between the lapping tool and the scope rings.
- You may repeat the steps if the polished area is less than 3/4.
Problems You Can Have Without Lapping Your Scope Rings
If you haven’t lapped the back-and-forth ring set of the scope then mounting the scope tube will result in various problems while shooting the firearm. Problems You Can Have Without Lapping Your Scope Rings may be as follows:
1. Poor Alignment
Without lapping the scope rings, it is difficult to make sure that they are securely and accurately aligned with each other and the rifle. This can lead to misfires or inaccuracies when aiming.
If the scope rings are not lapped properly, this could result in distortions in the optics of the scope, which can lead to poor accuracy when shooting.
3. Uncomfortable Fit
Without lapping the scope rings, it can be difficult to achieve a comfortable fit between the scope and the rifle. This can cause disturbance to the shooters and affect their accuracy.
Low Budget vs High-End Scope Rings for the Scope Tube
Low-budget and high-end scope rings have a huge difference. You will notice it firsthand after just a couple of shooting experiences. Let us discuss this in terms of quality and lapping!
Low Budget Scope Rings
High-End Scope Rings
They are typically made from inferior materials that provide less stability
These scope rings are made from higher-grade materials to provide a more secure fit to the scope and rifle
Low Budget scope rings may be more difficult to lap properly, as their low-grade materials can lead to inconsistent grinding and polishing results
This type of scope ring is specifically made for easy lapping, allowing for a quicker and smoother procedure
What You’ll Need for Lapping – Additional Info
The easiest way to lap a scope ring is by using a basic lapping kit. These are made for firearm users that have less expertise with customized lapping work. With minimum effort, you can achieve a smooth and reliable fitting of the scope on the rings.
For expert gunsmiths or firearm owners, a much refined and perfect finish is their preference while they lap the scope rings. You may require lapping tools (check the tools needed section above) to complete the lapping.
The local gunshop or gunsmith product supply is the best place to acquire the tools you will need for the alignment of the scope. Here are some of the tools needed for the alignment of scope during the lapping procedure:
- Spirit level
- A carpenter’s square
- An adjustable wrench
- Set of Allen keys
- Bubble level
- Gauge block
- A precision ruler
Another way to make things easy you may need the scope base centering system. This setup is a sequence of machined alignment tools that will be parallel to each other on the jig mount.
You may notice the cylinder, which is also called the lapping rod, and they are screwed a bit further toward each other. The pointed tips need to point perfectly toward each other between the vertically split rings.
If there is any difference in the pointed tips then it means that the alignment is not perfect. The scope bases need to be perfectly aligned.
Note: Check the bases for drill holes in the receiver rings that may not be aligned with the assembly.
The polishing procedure during the lapping involves applying a fine-grit sandpaper or lapping compound to the inner surfaces of the scope rings. This is done using the lapping tool, which is then moved back and forth in a circular motion, gradually increasing the pressure until the rings are even.
- Lapping Compound
- Fine Grit Sandpaper
- Lapping Tool
- Polishing Wheel
- Rifle Vise
- Soft Cloth or Rag
3. Final Check
The final process of scope ring lapping involves cleaning off the excess abrasive compound and checking for even contact between the lapping tool and the scope rings. If there is less than 3/4 contact, the process should be repeated until the desired contact is achieved.
Note: If you are using the lapping system, it will allow 80% to 90% of the scope ring surface to the rifle scope and ensure increased performance.
Finally, the scope rings should be securely mounted on the scope base and checked for perfect alignment and accuracy before use.
Caution! If you feel even a slight resistance while installing the rifle scope or you notice any uneven or high spots then the process needs to be redone to correct it.
How Much Difference Does it Make?
Lapping the scope can make a huge difference in the overall performance of the rifle. Once you have lapped the scope rings you may notice this during a shooting experience and compare the results before and after. Here are some areas of improvement that scope lapping improves!
- Accuracy: Lapping the scope rings helps to ensure that the scope is securely mounted to the rifle, allowing for greater accuracy when aiming and shooting.
- Optics: The process eliminates distortions in the optics of the scope, leading to a clearer view of the target.
- Comfort: By providing extra cushioning between the scope and the rifle, lapping reduces felt recoil and increases comfort for the shooter.
- Durability: Lapping the scope rings increases the longevity of both the scope and its rings, reducing wear and tear on both.
Lapping the scope rings can prove to be a game-changer for most shooters. Securing the scope of the rifle, avoiding scratches on the scope body and rings, extending the lifespan of the scope, enabling greater precision while shooting, and fixing alignment problems can be done by lapping. Note: For more details refer to the info above!
Recommended Lapping Instructions for Scope Rings
These helpful instructions make ensure an error-free and easy procedure for you and result in impressive results. Learn more now!
1. Make use of the Lapping Alignment Tool!
If the conical tips look perfectly set, there may be no need for adjusting; however, to guarantee optimal accuracy, it is best to take the time to deburr the rings through lapping.
2. The Scope Rings
The alignment procedure must always be done on the bottom half of the horizontally split rings.
3. Mounting the Scope Base and Horizontally Split Rings
You need to apply the correct torque amount of pressure on the torque wrench to install the scope safely. Mount the scope base on the lower half of the bottom rings.
Note: Be sure to properly mount the firearm on the vise.
4. Cling Wrap the firearm
If you do not want too much material from lapping to get inside the firearm then wrapping it is the best option. Cover the receiver, screw holes for the tube, and other small openings with tape.
5. Applying the Compound
Apply a thin layer of lapping compound to the interior of the mounting area on the bottom of the ring.
6. Alignment Procedure
The lapping bar needs to be moved back and forth while rotating it at the same time to properly align the front and rear rings.
7. Cleaning the Lapping Bar
The bar eventually becomes dirty with lapping compound. Once the procedure is finished, be sure to thoroughly wipe off the compound to ensure a clean finish.
8. Ensuring Quality Finish
After wiping off the lapping compound, the lower part of the ring will have a slight roughness. Clean off all remaining compounds and apply some more to the inside of the upper half. Lap the ring in your hand lightly.
9. Final Touches
Wipe off the compound and install the scope with care. Use a torque wrench to ensure the correct torque value.
Should Scope Rings Be Lapped – FAQ
What is the purpose of lapping scope rings?
The purpose of lapping scope rings is to ensure a secure fitting of the scope body in the rings and provide a fitting that won’t shift when fired.
Do Vortex rings need to be lapped?
Yes! It is recommended to lap your Vortex rings. It ensures a secure connection between the scope tube and the rings, as well as provides a smoother surface finish.
Can you lap scope rings too much?
Yes! You can lap scope rings too much without any problems. If the scope is lapped too much, it will reduce the tension between the scope and the rings.
Do you need to lap Talley one piece rings?
Highly recommended, you need to lap Talley one-piece rings if they are not an exact fit with your scope.
How many inch pounds should scope rings be tightened?
It is recommended to tighten scope rings to 25-30 inch pounds. This amount of tension is required to keep the scope tube secured.
Properly aligned scope rings ensure that the maximum ring surface area contact with the rifle scope. Improved accuracy, and safety of scope during high-level recoil, reduces scratches on the rings and scope, and reduces distortions while aiming down the sights.
Most scope rings promise accurate results but only high-quality rings will ensure that perfection is achieved after fitting the scope on the weapon. Still, perfectly straight-scope bases are very rare.
Only lapping of the scope rings using tools or lapping kits will perfectly align the rings with ease. Did you use a lapping kit or tools for lapping the scope? Which method was best? Share your comments now!