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Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Thursday, February 28, 2019
Load ’em up
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Riton Optics: The Right Stuff


Got a screw loose?
Time to check your firearm


Now is the time to address some kinds of things on hunting rifle rigs that otherwise could snatch failure from success the next time they are pressed into action. I’m talking about loose screws.


For bolt-action rifles, critical screws are those that hold the action to the stock and those that hold the scope base to the rings and those that hold the two halves of the rings together. Loose screws in any of those places can spell disaster. And the scary thing is that they don’t have to be so loose as to rattle or even feel loose.


comus_tightenscrews
TIGHTEN SCREWS ON mounts for success. Having loose screws in the scope mounting system can guarantee failure at the moment of truth. Even a slightly loose mount can result in problems. Here, a torque wrench is used to tighten screws on a ring holding a Riton scope. Usually, tightening to 22 inch/pounds seems to work well.


A tiny fraction of an inch difference at the action easily can mean several inches or more of variation at distance. Literally, that can be the difference between a hit and a miss, or even worse, between a clean kill shot and an ugly gut shot.


Part of the equation is eliminated on rifles that have bases that are integral to the receiver itself. Anymore most AR rifles and many bolt-action rifles have integral bases, which means the base won’t ever loosen.


For rifles that do not have integral bases, there usually are two small screws (typically 6-48) that attach each of the two bases to the receiver. These are small screws and the hunter is asking a lot from them. Not only do they need to hold the base snugly to the receiver, but they also have to absorb the repeated recoil of the rifle being shot. If the scope is heavy, those forces can be enough to break the screws, or loosen them.


There are cures for those problems, but there is not room here to discuss them in detail. Using bigger screws is one fix, while using bases that also include some kind of lateral stop is another – or both. For this discussion, just make certain that the screws holding the bases to the receiver are tight.


The screws that hold the halves of the rings together also are critical, because if they are loose, the scope can move forward or backward in the rings, or in extreme cases the scope can jiggle loosely in the rings. In the former, eye relief changes and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see through the scope properly. Or, if it jiggles, the point of impact can change dramatically from shot to shot.


Finally, the screws that hold the action to the stock also must be tight, or the point of impact of the bullet can be erratically unpredictable.


As is apparent, the fix for these kinds of problems can be both quick and easy. That is why it is all the more important to pay attention and keep things tight. And, remember that anytime anything is changed on a rifle rig, it is necessary to take it back to the range and verify the zero. Usually, any such changes as those mentioned above will change the point of impact, even if slightly.


By confirming the zero after everything is tight, the shooter is ready to go afield. And, by tightening everything and confirming zero now, it affords more time between then and the next hunt to practice. That’s the best of all worlds.


* * *


Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.


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