How To Lap Scope Rings – what You Need To Know

How To Lap Scope Rings
Alfred Mendoza

Lapping scope rings protects the scope tube from damage, eliminates stress, and improves accuracy. However, getting a professional gunsmith to do this tedious job could cost you quite a few bucks. But why choose a more expensive option when you can do it yourself? Let my team show you how to lap scope rings. 

Grab your lapping tools, read this comprehensive how-to guide, and let’s get started.

Most people like to check the connection of their riflescopes to the firearm. Most unstable scope bases lead to disastrous incidents and affect the optics’ degree of accuracy in every shot. To help you avoid this from happening , here are seven simple steps on how to lap scope rings:

1.    Gather the Tools You Need  

The first step you need to do is gather the tools you need for lapping. You will need a high-quality scope ring lapping tool set that you can easily buy for this procedure. You’ll also need an Allen key, which your scope’s manufacturer usually provides. 

You’ll also need paper towels, a high-quality scope aligning rod, marking pens for labeling every ring section needed, some aluminum oxide lapping compound, and screwdrivers.


2.    Position & Mount the Scope 

The next step would be positioning and mounting the scope. Attach or screw the bottom lap rings using the screwdriver. Before doing this, ensure that each ring is perfectly straight on the base. Don’t fix them yet. Leave a little bit of room for the alignment needed. Get your lapping kits, then place them in the bolt action rifle scope rings to ensure that the rings are perfectly held.

3.    Check Stability & Alignment

This is the crucial part. Do not start the sanding and grinding process without checking the stability and alignment of the scope rings with each other. You can use a rifle scopes ring alignment rod for assurance. 

After checking the alignment issues, position the rifle scopes rings on the scope mounts. Ensure that the alignment bar goes well into the rings. Their tips should not touch, but they must be close with each other. Lastly, screw the top rings after securing their position into the bar.


4.    Mark the Rings & Apply Lapping Cream 

Get one marking pen and number or mark the rings on either the left side for the right side or back and forth. Please do not mix up the rings, as they must be put back in the same position. When the rings are finally properly mounted in a stable location atop the rifle’s mounting system, secure one solid grip to steady it.  

And then, remove the lapping bar. Get your lapping cream or compound from your lapping kit. Gently apply a considerable amount of the lapping cream inside the lower portion and some on the upper parts of the rifle scope rings.

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5.    Insert & Move the Lapping Bar

Now, get the lapping bar and place it inside the rifle scope rings. Make sure to put the upper rifle scope rings on and tighten them. Be sure not to tighten the rings too much as it may damage the rifle scope tube. Next, push the lapping bar forward without making it stick all the way out.  

And then, pull it backward. Continue doing these steps to remove any imperfections or some burs from the ring surface. One of the reasons why shooters do the lapping process is to loosen up the rings and probably take a song or two on the radio to finish.

lapping bar

6.    Tighten the Scope Rings 

Use the lapping bar twice on the scope rings to smoothen them. After finally getting the perfect smoothness you desire and loosening the scope rings, you will need to tighten them down enough to hold a solid grip on the lapping bar. And then, take off the scope rings completely. Once again, feel the rings with your fingers to check their smoothness.

7.    Mount the Scope

Once you have finally achieved the smoothness of the rings you desired, it is now ready to be mounted onto your scope body. Carefully place the scope into the scope rings. Attach the upper scope rings and tighten them alternately, depending on the manufacturer’s prescribed tightness.  

Before completely locking the scope rings, you may want to check if the scope is at its proper distance from your face. Level the scope ring to ensure it is properly flattened out. Next, zero your scope.

Now, you’re all set for your next hunting experience.

scope mount

Additional Tips:

Here are some additional tips that you may do to perform one perfect lapping procedure:  

  • Use paper towels to clean off the ring before running it clean with water.
  • It is always best to completely clean the scope rings from extra lapping creams after completing the lapping rings procedure.
  • Do not ever rush cleaning your scope rings after finishing the procedure as it may lead to other unforeseen problems.
  • Align your scope rings securely and adequately, or it may lead to the distortion of your rifle scope.
  • Measure the scope ring’s height to adjust and ensure its compatibility with the scope’s rings and lens.
  • Use the scope lapping kit once in a while to check the scope ring’s stability regularly.
  • Use a light grease, not a silicon carbide, to coat your lapping tools before wrapping them in a clean cloth and putting them in a dry place for safekeeping.

Lapping Scope Rings - The Complete Lowdown

Lapping is a final abrasive finishing operation that produces extreme dimensional accuracy, corrects minor imperfections, refines ring surface finish, and produces a close fit between mating ring surfaces. [1]

This process may sound like a tedious job at first. But it should be normal as everything that we do the first time is always a pain. You may have some minimal and incidental mistakes in cleaning the scope rings before starting the procedure. 

However, you have to keep in mind that gunsmithing is a precise art. Therefore, you always need to carefully follow the steps given above to ensure perfectly lapped scope rings. Perform this process as accurately as possible to ensure your scope’s safety and get better performance and accuracy.



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