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How to Mount a Scope on a Shotgun: 4 Easy Steps

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man using shot gun

We’ve all been there: You get a new scope in the mail and are ready to head out to the range. The only problem is that you don’t know how to mount that shiny new scope onto your existing weapon.

While you can pony up the extra money to have a gunsmith install it for you, the truth is that with a little patience and know-how, you can save yourself a few bucks. This is where we come in with this comprehensive guide.

We walk you through everything that you need to know to mount your new scope and save yourself some cash and frustration in the process.

Before You Start

The last thing that you want is to get halfway through the installation process and realize that you’re missing something. Ensure that you have the right scope and mount for your shotgun and all the right tools that you need to complete the job.

Verify Fitment

It doesn’t matter how much patience you have or what tools you own. Nothing will work if you’re not sure what type of mount your shotgun has. Verify that that scope you have is compatible with your shotgun mount. If it’s not, you’ll need to pick out a new scope.

a shotgun

Image Credit: Matthew Koczwara, Shutterstock

What You’ll Need

Once you have the right scope for your shotgun, you can move on to gathering the necessary supplies and tools. Below is a comprehensive list that covers everything that you need to mount your scope. Don’t skip parts or try to make the wrong tool work — that’s a great way to strip screws and create even more frustration.

  • Loctite, medium strength
  • Torx bit screwdriver set
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Oil/rust preventative

scope crosshairs divider 1

How to Mount a Scope on a Shotgun

Once you’ve verified that you have the right amount and all the necessary tools, you’re ready to start mounting your new scope. Make sure to take your time and don’t skip steps. Having extra patience is the key to avoiding unnecessary frustration and setbacks.

Mount the Base: Use Loctite

Before you can install anything else, you need to install the base of your scope. You usually want to mount your scope as low as possible on the shotgun without allowing the objective bell to contact the barrel.

This is the most important step of the process, and if you’re not sure where you should mount the base, ask an experienced shooter. When you identify where you should be mounting the scope, apply a thread locker like Loctite to help keep everything in place.

Without Loctite, everything will start to back out over time, and the more times you hit the range, the faster this will occur. However, you want to stick with medium-strength Loctite. Otherwise, if you ever need to remove the base, you might end up stripping the screws.

Finally, before mounting the base, wipe everything clean with the microfiber cloth, and apply a thin layer of the oil/rust preventative. This ensures that you won’t accidentally scratch your shotgun with dirt and debris. The last thing you want is for your new scope and shotgun to start to deteriorate due to improper installation.

man using shot gun

Image Credit: Pixabay

Attach the Scope and Align the Reticle

Once you’ve installed the base, it’s time to attach the scope and align the reticle. Start by attaching the top of the rings to the bottom half of the rings and tightening them down just a bit. You don’t want a snug fit, because you’re going to be rotating the scope next.

Once you’ve mounted the scope, level your shotgun and adjust the reticle until it’s completely horizontal and vertical on your shotgun. Once it is, go ahead and tighten the top rings.

You can apply a small amount of Loctite on the screws to keep everything in place. Just make sure that you get everything lined up the right way and nothing gets knocked out of alignment while the Loctite dries!

Adjust for Eye Relief

Whatever you do, don’t skip this step. You need to align your scope for proper eye relief. The key is to find a location where you can easily see through the scope but have plenty of space to avoid smacking yourself in the face when you pull the trigger. Play it safe with the recoil measurement, and add an extra inch or two; you can always bring it closer later.

Sight Your Scope

Once you’ve mounted your scope, you still need to sight it in. While some people recommend using a borescope, we recommend manually sighting it in at the range. This is the best way to sight your scope because you won’t have to run mathematical calculations to adjust for bullet drop.

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Things to Check at the Range

If you do everything the right way, you shouldn’t run into any problems when you get to the range, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a few extra seconds to make sure.

After you’ve fired a few rounds, look at the mounting screws and ensure that everything is staying where it should. If it is, you’re good to go!

When you mount your scope on a shotgun yourself, you not only save a few bucks, but you also get a perfect fitment just for you. So, when you head out to the range or on your next hunt, you’ll have a perfectly mounted shotgun scope — and you’ll hit your target every time!


Featured Image Credit: Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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