How To Properly Lap Scope Rings?

Lapping means sanding down the inner part of the scope rings so that the rings and the optic can come on surface-to-surface contact. Even though the scope rings today are made by using modern technology, you can still come across some scope rings that have uneven interiors.

Therefore, you need to lap those rings to prevent damage to your scope body. Plus, if the rings are uneven the scope won’t be in a perfect alignment with them. As a result, when you aim for long range precision shooting, it will cause missed shots on your target.

So, if possible take the help of an expert gunsmith to lap the rings. Because it lessens the hassle of doing it on your own and also saves a good amount of money. However, if you’re confident enough to do it by yourself, scroll down to learn the steps of lapping the scope rings.

Steps To Lap The Scope Rings

Before starting the lapping process, you will need to buy a lapping kit where all the necessary tools are included. The tools we have used here are from the “Wheeler Scope Mounting Kit Combo”. Since this kit provides every tool for lapping, it may come in handy for you as well.

Once you’ve got the tools, follow the process as described below:

Step 1: Place the rifle on the vise. Put the lower sides of the rings on the rail. Make sure the ring halves are positioned where you would like to place your scope. In this step slightly torque the screws so that they don’t fall off the rail.

Step 2: Now put the alignment bars on the lower sides of the rings. It will ensure whether your rings are perfectly aligned or not. Then the upper sides of the rings on them and slightly torque them. Here you will be required to do two things:

  • Check if the bar tips are nearly closed or not. In case the tips are touched or too far, you need to reposition the rings.
Bar Tips
  • After that remove the upper rings. But before doing so, mark them as left and right rings or forward/rear rings so that they don’t get mixed up.

Step 3: Once you have ensured the rings alignment, remove the alignment bars. Apply a good amount of lapping compound on both inner parts of the rings.

Step 4: Put the lapping bar on the rings. Don’t forget to securely bolt down the rings. However, we will suggest not to over-tighten the upper rings. Keep a minimum of space to slide the lapping bar back and forth.

The Lapping Bar on The Rings

Step 5: Then start moving the lapping bar back and forth. Continue to do so until the surfaces of both parts of the rings have reached good contact with the bar. If they have received around 70-80% of the contact, your scope ring lapping is done.

Step 6: Lastly, check the smoothness of the rings with your fingers. If they have your desired result, clean off the lapping compound from the rings. After that, you can start your scope mounting process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you lap Talley rings?

No, you should not. Since the Talley rings are made of steel, you are highly recommended not to lap them. Because these rings have vertical splits, if you lap the rings, the splits will be shaped into round.

Do scope rings affect accuracy?

The scope rings can greatly affect your shooting accuracy. Therefore, it is important that they come in the right size and construction to mount your scope. Since they work to hold off the scope on the rifle, it is crucial that the rings you’ve purchased are in the right diameter and well constructed.

Should scope rings have a gap from the scope?

It is better to keep a slight distance between the ring sides and the scope. This will prevent putting extra pressure on the scope. So, keep the same side to side gap in the rings, otherwise, it will damage the scope tube.


To sum up, the lapping steps are quite simple. But you need to have a bit of patience in the whole process. One thing to remember, not every scope ring needs lapping. You are suggested to lap the mounting rings when you see the uneven internal edges in the rings.

Especially if you’re doing long range precision shooting, it is a crucial thing you need to do for your scope rings. Otherwise, it can greatly impact your aiming accuracy. Lastly, we will say again, only take this project on your own when you’re sure you can do it alone. If you’re not completely confident, do seek help from an expert gunsmith.

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