All dressed up but nowhere to go

in The Pew: Guns & more2 months ago

I finally got the scope mounted the new rifle. This ended up being quite the adventure. If you remember from my previous post, this rifle requires some custom dovetail mounts.

First, I had ordered a scope mount before xmas. It arrived early, before Xmas and before I received the rifle. After anxiously waiting for the background check to get the rifle, I was all excited to put it together and test it out. Well, I couldn't find the mount! It apparently got thrown out with Xmas wrappings, or found legs in my garage.. So I ordered another one and had to wait a week for it to come in. Sako likes you to use their own proprietary Optilok mount and rings, but I wanted a picatinny rail.




One reason so I could easily switch scopes if desired, and the other reason was this rail has a 20 MOA cant/tilt to it. This one is custom made by Recknagel for the dovetail mount underneath, then the picatinny on top. I was a little concerned at first because the Sako mounts are designed to be a angled, friction fit, meaning that you just kind of tap them on, and expect the friction and recoil of the weapon to hold them. I wasn't sure I liked that. The Recknagel rail helped me feel much better when I realized that there were additional screws to hold down onto the mounts. Whew, I of course added a little blue locktite to the threads and dovetail, just to be sure.



What the 20 MOA tilt does is tilt the angle of the scope slightly to allow for more movement in the scope elevation dial to allow for dialing it up to longer ranges before running out of adjustment travel limits.

It did come in after the week, and I quickly attached it to the rifle. I then put the rings (which I had also pre-ordered) and mounted the scope in it. I was disappointed to find that the scope was WAY too high. Like the bottom of the scope was an inch and a half above the barrel. This put the center of scope to center of barrel measurement over 2 1/2 inches. Ouch. I couldn't even see through the scope at all with my cheek resting on the stock, or even the bottom of my chin!

(Scope way too high!)

I looked at raising the stock comb, there are a few decent aftermarket solutions out there. I ordered one, just in case. But a better solution is of course mount the scope properly, and then look to other options. I went back to ring searching. My typical scope ring choice for years has been Burris XTR rings because they have 6 locking screws per mount, and can be adjusted for specific MOA cant (tilt). These were not available anywhere I could find except in the "High" model that I already had. For those that are not familiar, there are typically four sized of scope rings, Low, Medium, High, and Extra High.

(Burris XTR Rings. Nice, but way too tall!)

I searched further, and ran across some Low and Medium rings made by Wheeler. Wheeler makes a lot of nice tools and other weapon accessories that I have, so I figured, why not give it a try. Well, I love these Wheeler rings. I have found a new favorite. Not only do they have the 6 locking screws I like, they also have a better angled mounting style, and this model even came with a nice flip up, flip down level built into the side of the rear ring. How handy! But another week of waiting for delivery.

(Wheeler Rings, with level, my new favorite!)


So the end result is that the scope is now mounted with the "Low" rings at a reasonable height. Now about 3/8" from the bottom of scope to barrel, I'd prefer just a hair lower at 1/4", but this will do. I can actually see through the scope now with a normal cheek weld on the stock without having to use a cheek riser. Of course as the world has a sense of humor, I just received the new scope ring last night, mounted it up this morning and the weather changed from the nice 50 degree (F) weather we had last weekend to now having a 3-4 inches of snow falling down... Arrrrggghhh!


No shooting targets for today, but I am looking forward to getting it out soon. I got the scope all leveled today using the nice Segway reticle leveler I reviewed in a previous post. I also got it bore-sighted. One of the things I love about bolt-actions is being able to actually bore-sight through the bore! I've always had better results with this method than using the lasers, collimators, or other methods.

Here's hoping for warm weather next weekend. Finally all together, all dressed up and nowhere to go!


5-25...What magnification do you use at 500, 750 and 1000m? (yards if that's easier) My long range scope is the Kahles 624i (6-24x56) but I find I only use 20+ when shooting past 1000m. I'm curious what you do? Many people think that more magnification is best but depending on optics quality it can mean the loss of clarity and also doesn't allow one to see much of what's going on around the POA.

It's situational of course, but am interested in what you do.

Well, all depends on how I'm shooting. This is one of the best qualities of a variable power scope, is the flexibility depending on environment or personal preference. This particular scope is really nice that it allows for a close focal distance, as well as long. This model Vortex actually will focus as close as 15 yards (13 meters). Many of my other high power scopes will only focus down to 25 yards (22 meters). This is handy because I can use the same scope on my pellet rifle and .22 as well as the mid-range .22-250 or longer range .338 Lapua Magnum. This Vortex even comes with an oh so handy lever attached to the zoom ring. It is much easier and faster to reach and zoom it up a few levels quickly if needed, and the lever also gives a good no eyes indication of where the zoom level is at without looking.

If I'm doing benchrest or prone target shooting, I nearly always crank it up to 25x, even if only at 25 or 50 yards. I'll occasionally shoot at lower just for real-world practice. If actually hunting, I'll usually keep it at 5x unless I spot something further out, then zoom it in to 10-20x, depending on distance and size of target, and if I'm sitting with bipod/rest or standing with/without monopod/sticks. As you said, I like to leave room in case need a quick follow up or movement/running shot.

Yep, pretty much what I expected. I don't range-shoot with my rifles so never really use full magnification like you say - I'm always in the field where 10-20x works perfectly.

Vortex make pretty good scopes and I know many who have them. I'd say I would go that way if I was to set up a new gun for hunting as there's little reason for me to have two Kahles scopes (considering the cost) when a Vortex will work well. I can't fault the 624i though, it's spectacular. I've shot using most of the high-end scopes (one of my mates is a dealer) and the Kahles is as good as any. Of course there's features specific to certain ones that are nice, like your zoom-lever. On the 624i the parallax is on a dial directly beneath the elevation turret which I love as I roll through the parallax a lot looking for wind calls...Just one of those specific features I mentioned.

As always, thanks for your comment; Intelligent, real-world and specific.

Yes, right on the money as usual. "When" I win the lottery, I would have Kahles scopes on all. As it is, I try to outfit my numerous ~8 or so rifles with the best bang for the buck that I can, which for me is the Vortex. While maybe someday I'll own at least one Kahles on my fav, unless, scratch that, until that lotto ticket comes in, I'll have to survive on the Vortex. lol.

Yes, I'm so envious of the mighty "K" scopes! These will do the trick for most uses for now, and are as accurate as I am. These newer 56mm objective lenses are quite a difference btw. Some folks I've heard say not as good of glass as the Viper PST's, but from a human eye perspective certainly a step above the others in this price range.

To be honest it's probably very difficult for the layman to see the difference. I put my Kahles side by side with a Tangent Theta (Armament Technology) and there was little difference to be found from a purely optic perspective. Would there be that great a difference from a higher-end Vortex scope? I think not enough to warrant the huge additional cost. Most of those I shoot with use Nightforce of Vortex, some use Schmidt and Bender also...Leupold, Zeiss, Delta Optical, Burris, Swarovski Optik, Athlon Optics...They all make an appearance along with others but it's all about the Job at hand. Some are tougher than others for field or military use whilst at the range that's not so much of a concern. As long as they track well (when dialling) and the optics are reasonable they'll all be effective.

I love my Kahles, but at almost $5,000 I'd want to right? I was shooting Nightforce prior to that and loved that...To be honest I only changed over as my NF ATACR was second focal plane and I wanted first. I have a buy once, cry once ethos so went for the absolute best I could afford. I think I did ok...But then again, had I got Vortex I would not be complaining. Hard to beat a lifetime replacement warranty!

Big looking scope...must really bring things in close...

It's a 5-25 power with a 56mm objective. Yes, brings em in pretty close, and the 56mm objective let's in a lot more light than the smaller ones do. I was surprised at the difference over my other 50's.

Fine lookkng piece of hardware, I hope your weather cooperates!


Thanks, We're supposed to warm up a bit this week, but not sure I'll be able to squeeze it in. Probably next weekend may be just warm enough if I dress thick!

If not, come on up to Tulsa, the gun range gere has a heated building with slide up windows to shoot from. 25, 50, 100, and 200 yards...just outside the window, LOL!


Wow, that sure sounds nice! Ours has just a covered pole barn style with the front open. The back and sides help block a little wind, but that's about it.

Inside the shooting building:

Outside the shooting building:


It's a nice place to go shoot that is usually not very heavily populated. The membership is capped at 600, others usually not much competition but it does run their dues up. So come on down, LOL!


Very envious of that layout! Wow, that much space and only 600 members, very nice. My range has a large land with multiple ranges for pistol, blackpowder, competition, etc. but only one long distance out to 600 yards, and that's only about 8 benches. not the long line like you have there! I'll be sure to give you a shout if I ever make it out that far, but a little ways from Colorado!

I enjoy the open benches and I don't mind the increased cost of associate with it. The by-laws of the Club don't allow any more memberships to be sold; so it's not likely to get any more crowded. They have a lot of meats there at National levels that's why it's so big. But the bylaws require them to keep a number of the other ranges open even when they're having shooting competitions. I've never gone out there yet even when they had meets going on oh, and not been able to find a batch immediately. They also have a pretty massive skeet and trap field out there that stays pretty busy. All of the dirt that they dug out to make the bullet receiving berms, has been converted into two fishing ponds one is small for fingerlings and for kids to fish in and the other one is several Acres and that's pretty good fish in it. If the guys playground for sure, LOL! You get down this way holler at me, will go turn some money into noise. All the ranges are open to Black Powder as well as normal.

I'm trying to get our Aussie buddy to come up here and do some shooting. Now that's a trip!

That's my son shooting a k98.