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Scope alignment rods make installing scopes easier.

Scope Alignment Rods Make Installing Scopes Easier

Perfect scope alignment is probably one of the most neglected procedures in gunsmithing. Fortunately, experienced gunsmiths aren't guilty of neglecting this particular procedure. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the blame has to be placed on the do-it-yourself, cut-rate hopefuls -- those individual gunowners, who are just trying to save a buck. Of course, this too varies tremendously, ranging all the way from real gun folks who are doing as well as some gunsmiths, all the way down to the good guys who are trying so hard, but are barely sling-shot specialists.

And, unfortunately, a few sporting goods store clerks, with limited experience, fall into this later category. Why just the other day, a customer of mine, who had visited a gunsmith's shop in Spokane, Washington, was informed (by one of their clerks) that the .280 Remington, the .30-06 and the .270 were of identical headspace. (The .270 and .30-06 are, but the .280 is longer.) This particular customer knew better. (And he also knows better than to visit that shop again.)

How many of you are losing great customers via ignorance on the part of your employees or yourself? Remember, none of us are ever to old to learn.

Within the scope alignment problem, there are endless areas of gun knowledge that are skimpy and incorrect. It should be easy to see that, in all likelihood, a large percentage of the scopes mounted are suffering from some type of incorrect mechanical treatment, and misalignment, causing strain that will cause the best barrel-and-action combination in the world to perform poorly.

The average hunter might never know the difference; however, endless shooters can not keep their shots on a 14-inch target at 100 yards, off-hand (the usual hunting position). This is all the more reason that an accurate rifle and scope are important. (With the human error factor, they don't need more mechanical error.) Then the shooter can perhaps determine if a miss was his fault or that of the equipment.

To help gunsmiths install scopes without strain, Brownell now offers scope alignment rods. (This set-up is invaluable to anyone who intends to do scope installation.)

The unit consists of two 1-inch by 4-1/2-inch aluminum rods, pointed to 60 degrees. These can be cinched up in the scope rings, with the points facing each other over the center of the action. This should be done as soon as the scope bases and rings are mounted. Clamp one rod in each scope ring, as you would the scope.

If via the windage adjustment and/or ring position, depending on the type of scope mounts, the rod points are not aligned, in spite of normal adjustments, you have a scope strain problem. Mechanical adjustment via steel shimming or grinding is required. This becomes so sensitive that the rear or front, or the left or right side, of the scope bases might need slight alteration. When those two center points of the scope alignment rods mate perfectly, you have the ring alignment for a strain-free scope installation.

These rods were originally designed by Mike Dellinger. He deserves credit for them. If time is pressing, you can get a set from Brownell's.

I was prompted to experiment with a 1-inch heavy, yellow, plastic rod, file handle stock from Brownell's. I lathe-cut a 60 degree taper on the ends of two hunks of this and it came out perfect. The plastic was light-weight and cut smoothly. Aluminum or steel of 1-inch diameter can also be used. The availability of the finished product through Brownell's is a perfect set-up for scope mounting dealers, who are not equipped with the total amount of tools gunsmiths possess.

Mini-Mauser Re-Barrelling

Interarms' Mark X Mini-Mauser actions have a 22 x 1.5 mm thread, approximately .866" x 16.75 t.p.i. We who have older gunsmiths' lathes, such as the Sheldon XL-56, are in a temporary head-against-the-wall situation. There are surely machine shop tool and die makers who can make the gear box conversions, by sacrificing some of the seldom used threads. At the moment, most of us are not aware of their names and addresses. Information would be appreciated.

In the meantime, David Kaiser, technical supervisor for Brownell's, Inc., provided this information:

"Check out the gear box chart on your lathe. If you can get a feed of .0591" to .0597", you can cut the thread needed for the mini-Mauser. Try this on a piece of cold-rolled, first, rather than a barrel. The technique would involve using the feed rather than the threading dial.

"The barrel shank size of 22 x 1.5mm equates to about .866 x 16.75 t.p.i. Set you gear box on the closest feed to .0591", and use the "ON-OFF" reversing switches to thread your barrel. Engage the feed with the threading dial, at for instance, 1 or 4, and do not disengage the feed until the job is done.

"Feed in the cutter as in the normal threading job, but when you get to the end of the threaded section of the shank, quickly back off the tool, as you shut off the lathe. Without disengaging the feed lever, reverse the engine, and run the tool back to the starting point. Get the engine back into forward and re-set the tool for the next pass. Keep going like this until the threads are formed to the point that the barrel will fit the action. As you won't be able to cut a perfectly fitting metric thread, you will have to slightly compromise on the thread fit...with a looser fit than if you did have metric capability."

Interarms Responds

Roy Melcher, director, Technical Services, Interarms, states: "The reason they choose a 22 x 1.5mm thread is that this is a standard metric thread, whereas the thread used on the large Mark X is a throw-back to the original Mauser, and is a special thread, requiring special tooling, which is already in place for the production of the large Mark X."

I know of one gunsmith in particular who can do this work, and I'm sure there are others. His name is Mitch Schultz, and his shop is known as Gunsmithing, Ltd., located at 57 Unquowa Road, Fairfield, CT 06430.

For additional information there is also a company called Metric & Multi Standard Components Corp., which provides metric taps, dies and metric screws, fasteners or different sorts. They carry a catalog item: a die for the 22 x 1.5mm. Their 800 number (in Texas) is 1-800-527-5177.

PHOTO : These scope alignment rods were lathe-cut from 1-inch plastic rods. Perfect 60 degree point mating assures strain-free scope installation.
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Author:Schumaker, William
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Apr 1, 1989
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