Top Tools for Optics Mounting


It used to seem magical. I never really thought about how the scope got on the gun, it was just there and ready to shoot. I also took for granted the scope was level and everything would work as it should. Some of you may laugh in haughty derision, others may fondly remember when someone else did it, others yet might only look for gun packages with a mounted scope.

When I started mounting optics for my own guns, and changing them quite a bit for reviews, I realized I was missing quite a few tools that would make my life easier. Here are some tools I’ve found handy along the way:


Screwdriver and Tips

Most scope rings come with a small wrench but it’s often unwieldy. I much prefer using a separate screwdriver with interchangeable tips. My go-to is the Magna-Tip screwdriver set from Brownells. You can add an abundance of bits to your kit which all stays contained in a molded plastic box. The real reason I love this set is its compatibility with the Brownells Magna-Tip adjustable torque wrench.

Price Varies


Brownells Magna-Tip Adjustable Torque Wrench

Surprise! It’s item number two on my list. This wrench is adjustable from 15 to 70 in.-lbs. to the single in-lb. pound, unlike most torque wrenches which only adjust in increments of five in-lbs. It comes with six commonly needed bits but accepts all Brownells Magna-Tip bits. An ergonomic handle makes it easy to maneuver.

MSRP: $59.99

Tipton Best Gun Vise

This unit started out as a cleaning station for me, but has quickly assumed greater responsibilities. Holding a gun on a bench or propping it up against some ammo boxes is not going to cut it. You may get the scope mounted, but the chances of it being level and properly torqued are much slimmer. There are dozens of devices out there, but I appreciate the adjustability of Tipton’s Best Gun Vise. Small compartments in the base are good for screws, bits and other small objects. All individual components are adjustable to fit your rifle/shotgun.

MSRP: $119.99


Real Avid Level-Right® Pro

The Level-Right® Pro from Real Avid aligns the physical scope reticle to the horizontal gun plane using a rechargeable projector, levels, scope saddles and a grid. This sounds like a lot of pieces, but the parts are integrated. This system is the easiest and fastest I’ve used.

MSRP: $69.99


Bubble Levels

Simple bubble levels rely on the conception that scope turrets properly aligned with the receiver indicate a level reticle. It is possible for scope turrets to be level with the receiver and for a reticle to still be canted. Even so, some still prefer it as they’ve always used them and they are small and easy to transport.

MSRP: Varies by Brand

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel but having basic tools on hand makes mounting quicker and easier. Other times, technology makes a breakthrough worth breaking tradition for. The Level-Right® Pro is a great example of this.