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Scope base Lapping and Reaming

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 08:45
saitotiktmdog View Drop Down
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Not too long ago I came across an article by Larry Willis about the proper way to mount a scope. I had never seen the tools he was using and had never considered reaming my scope rings.  My opinion on the matter is depending on the scope rings etc this may or may not be necessary. I have a set of scope rings that do not fit well on my scope. Instead of buying the 100 plus dollar scope reamer I am using a metal file with a rounded profile. I am taking my time and checking fitment with the scope frequently. In addition to the file I am using sand paper. Once I get it close I will mount the rings to the gun and check overall alignment. I am even considering enlarging the rings enough so that I could wrap the scope with say some blacke electrical tape where the rings go and then clamping over the tape as a reducer per say. I worked on them some last night and so far results are good. The rings originally would not allow the scope to drop all the way in adn would bind on the half corners. 
 
Also I would like to get other opinions on reaming/lapping. I did some searching on here and could not find much about this topic so I thought I would start a thread. www.larrywillis.com/mountingascope.html
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 09:00
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Sounds like a lot of work, when scope rings can be had for such good prices these days. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 12:22
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I would never trust filing on a ring. Any imperfections will damage the tube and very likely destroy the scope. Of course when the scope gets messed up it will make good foder for KBs Lott. Excellent

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 13:20
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Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

I would never trust filing on a ring. Any imperfections will damage the tube and very likely destroy the scope. Of course when the scope gets messed up it will make good foder for KBs Lott. Excellent

It is essentially the same thing as lapping/reaming only done the old fashioned way. I am cleaning up the imperfections with fine sandpaper. NOt doing anything would esentially let the rings deform the tube slightly so it will definitely be better than doing nothing. Probably not the best way but the cheaper way. Its definitly not worth it to me to spend over 100 dollars on a reamer. If it doesn't work out I can always get new mounts. Besides the scope is an old bushnell banner that i just got back on repair and it is already marked up. A few small scratches on an old scope no biggie, deformed/crushed tube, no good. The rings were probably part of the problem in the first place. NOt anymore.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 13:27
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First off I Use an allignement tool to make sure the gun was taped in aligement with front & rear sight,then I proceed with the lapping tool & I clear about 85/90% of the high spots off.Usually it's about 40-50 strokes,using a #20 grit!
 
I've used all kinds of rings[Talley's Burris ,Loupey's,T/C]just about everything out there & including Rock River,AR15 & GGG to name a few.Point is'they all had high spots that had to be honed.
 
Why spend the big bucks on those well made rings & ass u me they are straight? The process takes all of 10 mins & can make a world of difference in the accuracy of a scope.
 
They cost about $40 for each size & if I can do it,it just about idot proof,just go slow ,consistant strokes & check about every 15 strokes on the amount of high spots removed.
 
Also remember to use a long lasting rust resistant oil on your rings when done,don't worry about the paint you have removed as no one can see the bottom bald spot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 13:36
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Thing about lapping is the bar is long enough to engage both rings at the same time so they are done evenly.  By doing each ring differently you will never get them the exact same.  Which will cause them to be on slightly different planes.  Then when you tighten down your scope since they are on different planes it will put a bind on your scope tube.  Which can cause scope failure.

I know you think what you are going is going to help, but I assure you it is doing more damage than good.  There is a reason the Kokopelli and WHeeler accuracy kits come with alignment bars.  You need them to check and make sure the changes you are making on your rings is allowing them to stay in the same plane.

In all honestly lapping a reaming is a thing of the past with good modern rings and bases.  Good quality equipment is is machined to very good tollerances.  If you bed your base properly )as it is typically the receiver that it out of whack on the rifle) then your rings with line up perfectly.

If your rings would not let your scope fall into them, then they are either to small for the scope you have or they are bad rings.  The imprefections he is talking about is not just little rough spots you might create, but possibly actually more than likely the out of round that you are making your rings.  Which in turn when you tighten your scope down with possibly force your scope tube out of round also.  And if you make them to large then your scope will slip during recoil.

Proper good mounts are as important for accuracy as the rifle and scope are.  Your scope needs to be fitted squarely, torqued properly, have full contact with all parts of the rings, and not slip to be working properly.  Any of those problems can lead to accuracy problems or possible scope failure. 

You will be much better off just buying a new set of rings. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 13:41
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Originally posted by stickbow46 stickbow46 wrote:

 
I've used all kinds of rings[Talley's Burris ,Loupey's,T/C]just about everything out there & including Rock River,AR15 & GGG to name a few.Point is'they all had high spots that had to be honed.
 
Why spend the big bucks on those well made rings & ass u me they are straight? The process takes all of 10 mins & can make a world of difference in the accuracy of a scope.


More than likely the high spots you think you are seeing is because the receiver of your gun is not square.  I used to think just like you, thinking you need to lap away at those rings.  Then I learned that most receivers are in fact out or square.  So then you bed your base with devcon and make sure it is prefectly square.  Then suddenly all those rings that seemed out of whack now align perfectly with each other.  All those rings I lapped suddenly do not work anymore because I lapped angles in them.

I have bedding several bases now and every time with the brand new quality rings I am buying they align perfectly.  Don't be confused that it is the mounting hardware.  Most cases they are going to be great if you buy quality parts.  There is a good reason most ring companies void the warranty if you lap their rings.  It ruins them and makes them larger than they should be.  Fix the actual problem which is the receiver, don't try putting a bandaid on the mounting hardware. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 14:26
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The rings are 30mm rings and the scope is a 30mm scope so the rings are not too small for the scope. It is possible that the scope is out of round a bit but I just got it back from bushnell repaired so I think the scope will still work fine, especially on my 17hmr.  Manufacturing tolerances vary between parts. When you have three separate entities (assuming you are not using rings with built in bases but it still applies there just not as much) it is likely that there will not be perfect alignment simply because the holes in you gun for the scope rail might be off a thousanth, as well as the hole in the rail, or whatever. Anyway the point is to get those three things to line up perfectly with no deviation is neary impossible. Just because you cant tell with the naked eye does not mean its not off. There will be some deviation. Just look at a bolted joint dva. There is an allowable amount of variance which is caled the manufacturing tolerances. Anyways not trying to get anybody riled up here. I still think I will proceed with what I am doing.
 
In addition there were plenty of quality parts made by hand back in the day using files and other hand finishing tools etc to get the best fit and finish during final assembly. Not to mention back in the day before factory machinery. Some very fine accurate guns have been made that have been filed on or who knows what else. Even today Many a time I have seen video in firearm assembly plants where someone is using file to make sure two parts fit together better. It just takes time and patience. Someone along the way just came up with the tools to make it faster and easier. IE scope lapping and reaming tools.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 14:32
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I totally agree with you in that both rings must have the lapping bar touch them together,I use a Robert Hart 14" bar[same Bob Hart of barrel fame]He makes one of the best scope rings around & he recommends lapping his own rings.
 
His shop is only 12mls from where I live so any gun work I need riifle I need to have done that  the place I go too. 
 
I was a tool & die man for 6 years & I totaly agree with Lappinng to remove high points!FYI the only perfect flat suface was done by hand using prussian blue ink,3 flat steel surface plates & a triangular shaped file with no teeth on it!
 
I thank you for your feed back & very knowledgable input.I agree with some of your points,but I still remain firm in that no one makes the perfect fit rings,just my 2cents
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 14:53
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Originally posted by stickbow46 stickbow46 wrote:

I totally agree with you in that both rings must have the lapping bar touch them together,I use a Robert Hart 14" bar[same Bob Hart of barrel fame]He makes one of the best scope rings around & he recommends lapping his own rings.
 
His shop is only 12mls from where I live so any gun work I need riifle I need to have done that  the place I go too. 
 
I was a tool & die man for 6 years & I totaly agree with Lappinng to remove high points!FYI the only perfect flat suface was done by hand using prussian blue ink,3 flat steel surface plates & a triangular shaped file with no teeth on it!
 
I thank you for your feed back & very knowledgable input.I agree with some of your points,but I still remain firm in that no one makes the perfect fit rings,just my 2cents
I agree as well.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 15:27
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Here is some info from Glen Seekins on the subject.  I have talked to him on the phone about this as well.  He does not believe in lapping bars for the most part. 

Quote I don't own a lapping bar anymore if that helps your decision. Im not going to recommend either way because there is always an exception and sometimes things happen. your mileage may vary

Rings being in line "perfectly" will never happen, even if you lap them unless you have a machine lap/ream them and they start considerably undersized. The pressure and stroke you put on the lapping bar will take away material un evenly. Lapping makes the rings larger by some amount so your scope tube will have LESS contact because the rings are now grossly large. The rings are made .003" larger than your scope tube. If you lapp the anodizing off, that's .002" per surface so .004 more diameter.


Filing is even going to take more off and make them more uneven. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 15:49
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Thats why filed down the flats between halves to adjust accordingly. Anyways I am if anything just performing kind of an experiement here and will let you know how it turns out. If it fails miserably than so be it. The rings ar good and solid just poorly toleranced on the diamter between the two halves.  In my opinion the best way to go would actually be to use slightly oversized rings and get rubber or polyurethane reducers that reduce down to just less than scope diameter so there is some squish in the rubber or urethane so that you get 100 percent contanct due to the doformation of the rubber or urethane. If I happen to open the rings up too far I will see about using something like electrical tape as a shim between the scope and the rings. I am not saying that how you do things is wrong. I am just trying something to see what kind of results I can get. I will see what happens and report.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 15:51
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You should check out Burris Signature Zee rings.  They have the bushings just like you are talking about.  They are very popular rings.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 15:51
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This would also automatically correct mild misalignment issues.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2010 at 17:31
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I use Burris Signature rings on almost everything... Saves alot of hassle and I have never had scope problems due to mounting issues. I dont have ring marks when removing a scope either. I am in total agreement that most receivers are way out of wack which is what causes the problems in the first place. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2010 at 05:22
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The cheapest option is to let a machine shop turn you a 30mm bar. Probably $5. Wrap the sandpaper of correct grit around that and use it to lap rings. Make sure bar is long enough to span both rings. Again, just remove high spots. Then sand enough again to align rings without reducing 30mm diameter. If you are using split rings, then you can sand the contact points between the two halves to give enough space (2 thou or so), for tight clamping.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2010 at 06:25
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Unfortunately lapping is one of those topics like the proper way to break in a barrel.Again it comes down to lap or not to lap.I beleive in the old fashion way of coating a new barrel:Fire 1 round/clean[10x]Fire 2 rd sets clean & let the barrel cool etc.I don't beleive in lapping the barrel,go figure.Thanks for all the info guys.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2010 at 12:03
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I actually got some really good results. Scopelines up well, drops right in tightly to the lower halves when mounted to a scope rail. The top halves fit over tightly but not too tightly. No gaps etc. Clamped down firm with no issues. Anyway as far as I am concerned the experiment was a success. Lots of great info though. ONe of these days when I am rich and famous I may get the tools of the trade but for as little as I move scopes around in this situation I didn't see the harm. Now when I get my new vortex and new rings, if things dont jive I will get it done right. I got talley lightweight aluminum mounts in 30mm. The base is built in to the ring so I do not need a separate rail.  Should be a good setup.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2010 at 20:18
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Glad to hear all went well,nothing ventured ,nothing gained.I use Talley's all the time,very few high spots.Don't forget to use a little long lasting oil to help prevent rusting on the scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/19/2010 at 14:34
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I have used all types of rings, but have come to the integral Talley's you mention. Very simple, rock solid and less to go wrong. I switched from Leupold dual dove tails. I would say to LAP every Talley ring though as they will cause marks. 1 of the 2 issues I have with them 1) Marks due to roughness and 2) Finish is not nearly as good as the leupolds (maybe part of the reason for the roughness).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/19/2010 at 16:06
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TPS actually advertises "pre lapped" rings on their website. These rings just straight up ROCK and leave no ring marks and work 100% perfect on the 3 or 4 pair I've owned and several scopes mounted.

No lapping bar for me when I use TPS.
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Well part of lapping is to 1) smooth the ring out to keep from getting marks, and the other 2) is to help in slight (very slight) alignment and fit of the front and back rings ON your particular gun. Having the rings lapped while NOT on YOUR gun will address almost all of #1 but not all , but not #2. Still better than not lapping at all...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/19/2010 at 16:25
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

TPS actually advertises "pre lapped" rings on their website. These rings just straight up ROCK and leave no ring marks and work 100% perfect on the 3 or 4 pair I've owned and several scopes mounted.

No lapping bar for me when I use TPS.


That is if and only if your rifle receiver is straight or your base is bedded properly.  It does not matter how good your rings are if your base is not square.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/19/2010 at 16:28
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Originally posted by TheDuke TheDuke wrote:

Well part of lapping is to 1) smooth the ring out to keep from getting marks, and the other 2) is to help in slight (very slight) alignment and fit of the front and back rings ON your particular gun. Having the rings lapped while NOT on YOUR gun will address almost all of #1 but not all , but not #2. Still better than not lapping at all...
 
Well thats your opinion, Sir. If you want to go to those lengths, then be my guest. I probably won't though, but your opinion is duly noted and I fully understand.  
Typhoon in a tea cup, if you ask me. (shrug)
 
Also be advised that lapping on some rings (Badger for example) voids the warranty.  
 
Welcome to Optics Talk! 
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Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

TPS actually advertises "pre lapped" rings on their website. These rings just straight up ROCK and leave no ring marks and work 100% perfect on the 3 or 4 pair I've owned and several scopes mounted.

No lapping bar for me when I use TPS.


That is if and only if your rifle receiver is straight or your base is bedded properly.  It does not matter how good your rings are if your base is not square.
 
I understand that.   
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