Wayne’s Picks

Wayne’s Picks

van Zwoll, Wayne

Favorite mounts? I’ll confess to a fonc ness for early Redfields and the similar Tildens, as both are very trim. The front rings had four screws, the slender rear rings just two. The first vertically split Redfields did not have split bottoms; you had to disassemble the scope to slip he rings onto the tube. Many scopes then had straight front ends and removable eyepieces, but even a front bell didn’t stop shooters who, armed with screwdrivers, removed the turrets and slipped both rings on from the rear. Modern, sealed tubes aren’t so accommodating. Among recent mounts, I favor Conetrols, because the vertically split rings are svelte and finely machined with contoured caps. Not the easiest rings to install, they’re mighty handsome. I have ’em on a couple of Springfields in .30-’06 Improved, and on a Model 70 in .30-338 by Rick Freudenberg.

Leupold’s STD and Dual Dovetail mounts are sturdy, good-looking and easy to put together. The STD comes in super-low configuration. Dave Talley and Gary Turner supply Talley mounts to firms like Swarovksi, Weatherby and Dakota, and now turn out carriage-class rings for rimfire rifles. You won’t find any more precisely machined mounts than Talleys. The vertically split ring design gives a custom touch to any rifle.

Whatever your preference, the key to a secure mount is time and a well-lit space. Mounting your scope is hardly a job for commercial breaks in television football or a chore to squeeze in aftei Letterman.

Think. Work deliberately. No, I donl’t slather screws in compounds that seize them forever to the rifle or other mount parts. And I don’t use a torque indicator on screws. No need. The only mount failures I’ve had in 35 years of shooting resulted from negligence. I didn’t secure the clamp screws on that borrowed .416. A handful of heavy scopes on hard-kicking rifles pulled the rear ring base from the windage screws of Redfield-style mounts-windage screws I’d failed to center in the ring cuts or to cinch tight.

I’ve never missed an animal `because of equipment problems, though I’ve missed lots of animals. An embarrassi ng number were too easy to miss. Alas, the notion that scopes and mounts send our bullets astray is a fairy tale. Telling it often doesn’t make it true.

-WAYNE VAN ZWOLL

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Sep 2004

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