How to Mount a Telescope onto Your Rifle

By Henri Montandon

[DISCLAIMER: This is a humorous story. It is not really intended
to instruct you how to mount a scope onto your rifle.]

1. Pick your favorite rifle. Picking your favorite will insure that you are really careful, or, that the process will make you really crazy.

2. Spend hours, days, and weeks, thinking and reading about different telescopes. Everyone you talk to gives you different advice, so you stop talking to people about the subject.

3. The first thing you learn is that no one calls his rifle's telescopic sight a telescope. The usual term is "scope."

4. After the scope arrives, you find out it does not come with a mount. Mounts are sold separately. This is one of those things which, since "everyone" knows it, no one has told you.

5. Spend hours, days, and weeks, thinking and reading about different scope mounts. Everyone you talk to gives you different advice, so you stop talking to people about the subject.

6. After a cursory reading of the tattered instructions that come with the scope mount, you attempt to follow Step One in the instructions. Step one reads, "Remove the clipper strip guide from the dovetail groove." 

7. You have no idea what any of this means. You buy an Owner's Guide  to your rifle.

8. The Owner's Guide  does not tell you what the clipper strip guide is. You buy the shop manual for your rifle.

9. The shop manual has a section entitled, "How to Mount a Scope on Your Rifle." Step One is, "Remove the clipper strip guide from the dovetail groove."

10. You read the entire shop manual. Tucked away in a section which seems to have nothing to do with clipper strip guides is a description of the clipper strip guide, with a diagram!

11. The shop manual insists that you should not use a carpenter's hammer when trying to remove anything from your rifle that must be removed by tapping. You send for a real gunsmith's hammer.

12. Using your real gunsmith's hammer, you tap on the side of the clipper strip guide. It does not budge.

13. You spend hours thinking about the clipper strip guide.

14. You carefully inspect the clipper strip guide. You notice that on its front face there is an angled hole drilled into it. By shining a light into the hole, you are able to discover that the hole goes through the clipper strip guide and also through the dove tail groove cut on the top of your rifle's receiver.

15. Since you can see through the hole, you assume that there is no screw or pin holding the clipper strip guide in place in the dove tail groove. Bad assumption!

16. You buy some special gunk that is supposed to free up metal things that have stuck (seized) against other metal things. You apply gobs of it around the dovetail in the dove tail groove.

17. You tap on the side of the clipper strip guide, using your gunsmith's hammer. It does not budge.

18. You call up the company that sent you the scope mount. You actually get to talk to the fellow who designed the mount. He listens to your problem. Then he gives you a lengthy talk on how to remove the clipper strip guide. Unfortunately, most of what he says makes no sense what so ever.

19. You now have two choices: A) Admit you do not know what he is talking about, in which case he will curtly tell you to take your problem to a gunsmith, or B) try to copy down some of what he is saying, in the hope that you will figure it out later.

20. You choose option B.

21. While studying your notes, you find the terms pin and punch are used frequently.

22. You send for a set of punches.

23. When the punches arrive, you try them out. Only the very narrowest one will fit easily into the hole on the clipper strip guide.

24. You put more of the special gunk into the hole. You put the punch into the hole. You tap on the punch with your gunsmith's hammer. It does not budge.

25. In disgust, you get a carpenter's hammer. You pound on the punch using this hammer. The punch bends.

26. You get the next biggest punch, and fit this into the hole in the stripper clip guide. It's a tight fit, but you figure you can pound it in with the carpenter's hammer.

27. You do pound it in with the carpenter's hammer.

28. You look at the other end of the hole, and you see something protruding from the hole. By careful deduction, you realize it is either: A) the pin, or B) the end of the punch.

29. You try removing the punch from the hole in the stripper clip guide. It won't budge.

30. You try everything you can think of to get the punch out of the hole.

31. As you are wrestling with it using your vice-grip pliers, it snaps off.

32. You buy another punch and try to remove the stuck punch end. It still won't budge.

33. You try to drill out the stuck punch end. The drill makes no impression on the stuck punch end steel.

34. You contemplate the meaning of "case hardened steel."

35. You spend hours thinking about the stuck punch end.

36. You recall a passage in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The author is describing how he broke off a punch trying to remove a pin from his motorcycle's engine. How in an instant a $6000 motorcycle became a piece of worthless junk.

37. You field strip the rifle, so that you can get a better look at the receiver and the stuck punch end. As you are doing this, you find a little piece of metal lying loose in the stock hollow. It's the pin.

38. You notice that the pin has a hole through it lengthwise, which explains why you could see straight through the hole in the clipper strip guide. You later learn that this is called a roll pin.

39. You take the receiver and barrel, with the stuck punch end, to the corner gas station. You wrap the whole thing in cloth, with only the section showing where the broken punch end is.

40. On the way to the gas station you wonder if the mechanic will call the police, when he realizes it is a gun part you are bringing in. (This is California.)

41. The mechanic tells you that you need a machine shop.

42. You go to the machine shop in town. It is one that specializes in high end racing engines.

43. You talk to the hundred-year-old man in the machine shop.

44. He glances at the stuck punch end, and tells you the entire history of what you have done to it to try to remove it.

45. He says he will try to get it out, but he doubts if he can.

46. You tell him to take his time. You tell him you are grateful he is willing to try to solve your little problem. You apologize for being so stupid. He says he will call you.

47. You leave feeling hopeful. Obviously the hundred-year-old man knows what he is doing, since he told you he probably couldn't do it.

48. You lay awake all night worrying about whether he can remove the stuck punch end, and what it will cost you if he does.

49. The next morning, the hundred year old man calls to say he has removed the stuck punch end. He charges $20.

50. You tap the clipper strip guide with your gunsmith's hammer. It slides out easily!

51. You fit the dovetail on the scope mount into the dove tail groove on your rifle. It slides in easily. You tighten it down.

52. You adjust the side bolt and the forward bolt. The scope mount is now in place.

53. Suddenly, you are faced with a hard, cruel fact. You have no way to attach the scope to the scope mount.

54. You do some more reading, and discover that you need scope rings. Scope rings are sold separately. This is another one of those things which, since "everyone" knows it, no one has told you.

55. You mount the scope rings onto the scope mount.

56. You place the scope in the scope rings and tighten them.

57. You look through the scope. Something doesn't look right.

58. The world looks tilted. Up, down, sideways or twisted, you can't really tell.

59. You spend hours thinking about scope, scope rings, scope mount and rifle.

60. Everyone you talk to gives you different advice, so you stop talking to people about the subject.

61. You see an ad for something called the Precision Three Axis Scope
Leveler. It promises to "quickly & easily remove guess work." You are
sick of guesswork. You need hope. You buy it.

62. You place your rifle with the scope mount, rings and scope in your aiming stand. You position the Precision Three Axis Scope Leveler according to instructions. You adjust the scope.

63. You take your newly scoped rifle to the range. You zero the scope. You are now shooting 2 MOA groups. Before, shooting with the iron sights that came on the rifle, you were shooting 2 MOA groups. O joy!

64. You count as a victory what may only be catastrophe postponed.




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Copyright 2003 by Henri Montandon. All rights reserved.



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