How to mount a riflescope

How to mount a riflescope

Follow this simple step-by-step suggestions on how to mount a rifle scope. 

Would you prefer to WATCH how to mount a scope? Then watch shooting expert Andrew Venables mount a scope.

  • Preparation

    Always check that the diameter of the riflescope body tube matches the diameter of the scope rings that you wish to use. Find out about the different parts of a riflescope here. Always purchase the best rings you can afford making sure that the base of the rings will fit your rifle. Learn about choosing the correct mounts here.

  1. Loosen the mount base screws

    And fit the mounts to the rifle base – do not completely tighten.

  • Mounting the Scope

    Remove the top clamps from the rings and lay the riflescope into the rings. The scope should be mounted as low as possible without touching the barrel, rear sight, or the receiver. Find out about the different parts of a riflescope here.

  • Reinstall the top clamps

    But do not tighten.

  • Eye Relief

    Before tightening the ring and base screws, look through the scope in your normal shooting position. Adjust the scope (forward or backward) until you find the furthest point forward (to ensure maximum eye relief) that allows you to see a full field of view.

  • Tighten the base screws

  • Vertically align the Reticle

    Rotate the scope in the mount rings until the reticle is vertically aligned with the gun and the elevation turret is on top. Alternately tighten the top clamp screws on each side. Be careful not to over tighten


  • When choosing mount position attempt to install the mounts so that they are near the middle of the scope tubes and not where the scope tube flares out.
  • Always ensure that the mount and rifle’s position do not obstruct the smooth working action of your bolt-action or impede any multi-shot magazine cartridge.
  • Tighten the top clamps on your mount rings so the gaps between the top and base parts of the mounts are even on both sides.
  • If you’ve purchased a scope with the mounts already fitted, then make sure to loosen the ring screws before installing the mounts on the rifle base.
  • If when mounted you find the scope’s initial aim to be far off zero, then start again from fresh. If you still have issues of alignment then consult the troubleshooting guide, or purchase a set of adjustable mounts.

Screw Tension

When tightening the ring and base screws on your mounts ensure all screws are tightened to an even torque setting. A “finger tight” torque setting can be achieved by tightening the screws fully with the long length of the supplied hex key, then by giving a quarter turn with the short length of the hex key.

For a more precise torque setting follow the guidance supplied with the mounts, or use the following amounts:

  • Ring cap screws should be set to 16 inch pounds (1.33 ft/lbs or 1.8 nm)
  • Base screws should be set to 30 inch pounds (2.5 ft/lbs or 3.4 nm)


  • Be sure that the firearm is not loaded. Always practice safe firearms handling.
  • When installing a riflescope to a rifle with high levels of recoil, always ensure that there is adequate eye relief. This will avoid eye injury.
  • Ensure metal flip-up covers are removed when using high recoiling rifles.

Please note that through guidance of this article Hawke Optics accept no liability for damaged riflescopes, mounts or equipment. These instructions are as a reference only.

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