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Propellant Profiles
Rifle Magazine
May - June 2003
Volume 35, Number 3
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 207
On the cover...
The Winchester Model 73, Marlin Model 94 and Winchester Model 95 represent evolution of the lever-action rifle. The Remington Model 700 C-style is out of the Remington Custom Shop and features a Burris 3-9x scope. Rifle photo by Stan Trzoniec. Background
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Stoney Point Scope Aids

When mounting a telescopic sight on a rifle - or on a handgun or shotgun – it’s possible to do it improperly. Even when the bases fit the receiver and the rings fit the bases and the scope, it’s still possible to get it wrong. Some of this comes from simply not reading the instructions or not having the proper tools. Sometimes tightening the scope rings and then trying to make base adjustments can damage a scope, as can trying to make all the adjustments within the scope and ignoring the base adjustments. At other times, mounting a big, heavy scope on a hard-recoiling rifle will damage the scope, the rings and your noggin if the flying pieces come in contact with it.

Stoney Point Products (1822 N. Minnesota St., New Ulm MN 56073) has a series of tools that makes scope mounting and alignment a great deal easier than it used to be. Tom Peterson, Stoney Point’s owner, manager and resident genius, usually keeps me informed when he comes out with something new. Of late I’ve had some new scopes to mount on some new, or different, rifles, and as a result, I’ve had a chance to put several of Stoney Point’s new products through their paces.

The first of these products is Laser Magic. It’s an electronic bore sight, using a laser to emit a through-the-barrel red light. The Laser Magic kit consists of a laser tube that serves as a battery compartment and a laser receiver. This latter part looks and acts almost exactly like a bore guide that fits into the receiver of a bolt-action rifle and keeps cleaning rods from rubbing the sides of the bore. The laser tube fits into the back of    the laser receiver and is centered through the use of two eccentrics, plastic bushings with off-center holes. By turning the eccentrics, the laser tube is eventually centered, and the emitted light passes through the bore without reflecting off the sides. Laser Magic works with most any bolt action and the AR15/M16 rifle. Caliber range is said to be from .17 to .50, but when working with rifles of .27 caliber or larger, an accessory M-18 Muzzle Reducer is highly recommended.

We must begin with a place to work. The company strongly recommends that the distance between the muzzle and the surface on which the emitted light is reflected be either 25 or 12 1/2 yards. This is not always practical, but the advice is not without merit. Actually I’ve used the system indoors in as little as 25 feet with success. I also tried it at 12 1/2 feet once, and it was a dismal failure. The scope was no where near sighted in when I got to the range. The greater the distance, the better, out to the 25 yard limit. If used outdoors, you’ll probably have to find some shade for the reflective surface, or target, in order to be able to see the light. The rifle will also need to be secured so it doesn’t move during the process. This can be using a top-of-the-line cleaning cradle, a cardboard box with a couple of V notches cut in it or several sandbags. Outdoors, a shooting rest and sandbags work very well.

We must select the proper bases and rings, mount the bases on the receiver and the rings on the bases. Then remove the top rings, or otherwise loosen them to accept the scope and resecure the rings loosely. From here we want to be able to look through the scope without disturbing the rifle, turn the scope so the crosshairs are aligned vertically and horizontally and properly establish eye relief. Next we must determine where the crosshairs appear on our target or reflective surface in relation to the emitted laser light. The red dot will appear in line with the vertical crosshair if the horizontal, or windage adjustment, is correct. If it is not, we want to make the initial adjustments to the base or bases. Vertical adjustment is affected by choosing the proper height rings or shimming. Once these initial adjustments are made, the rings can be tightened and final testing and scope adjustments can be made at the range. I’ve used Stoney Point’s Laser Magic several times now, and it works quite well.

Another Stoney Point product is Laser Magic II. It is also a laser device and can be used in conjunction with, or separately from, Laser Magic. Laser Magic II fits into the rings, temporarily replacing the scope. It emits a circle-with-crosshairs light that is aligned with the Laser Magic dot or, if used separately, with what we can see by looking through the barrel. As before, the laser must be centered. This is accomplished by placing the Laser Magic II in a pair of enclosed V blocks and rotating it. When properly adjusted by turning an eccentric, the reflected cross hairs will appear to rotate on their center. The Laser Magic II body is an aluminum tube one inch in diameter. It is strong enough to be used to rotate “turn-in” rings into their bases and works better than the wooden dowel we’ve become accustomed to. Also included are adapters for use when working with 30mm rings. Once adjustment is ascertained, the Laser Magic II is removed, the scope is installed and off we go to the range for final adjustments.

With both the Laser Magic and Laser Magic II, when mounting a new scope we are, or should be, working with one that came from the factory with its reticle optically centered. That is, the amount of adjustment - up or down, left or right - is the same. The idea is to keep it that way, or as close as possible, making our course adjustments with the bases and our final, minor adjustments with the scope. With a used scope, the previously mentioned V blocks can be used to optically center it before mounting. Rotate the scope in the blocks, looking through the scope and making such adjustments as necessary until the crosshairs appear to rotate on their center.

When I first used Laser Magic, a friend was my guinea pig. We remounted a scope he had previously removed from one of his rifles. He would set the scope as he wanted it. I would shoulder the rifle and complain the scope was rotated off a tick to the right. The difference, of course, was the amount of cant we were imparting to the rifle as we held it. Stoney Point’s solution to this problem is its Sight Lines Lens. It is a piece of clear plastic with one engraved vertical line and several engraved horizontal lines. The lens mounts on the open bolt of a bolt-action rifle or on an installed Laser Magic. It is held against the back of the scope by a stretch cord and any crosshair misalignment is easily seen by looking through the lens and the scope at the same time. It will point out any rotational or horizontal error. The former is corrected by rotating the scope; the latter by adjusting the bases, if possible. It works fine but, I must admit, to my eyes the lens lines appeared quite blurry. The horizontal lines, by the way, serve to alert us to the height of the horizontal crosshair above the center of the bore. Computer ballistics programs require this dimension to accurately predict bullet path data.

Perhaps my favorite Stoney Point tool is Scope Scrooz. We’ve all used stock or action screws that were elongated, sometimes with T-handles, that didn’t require a screwdriver to assist us in stock or bedding work. These operate on the same principle. They are stainless steel, elongated with knurled tops and serve to temporarily hold scope rings together as we establish proper scope placement. They can also be used to hold “turn-in” rings together during installation or when lapping rings. Best of all, they save time and keep our permanent rings from being marred. Once everything is to our liking, we remove the Scope Scrooz and insert the permanent screws. Scope Scrooz are threaded 8x40, come four to a pack and are compatible with most ring sets. They are a marvelous idea.

A final Stoney Point scope related product is Target Knobs that “convert your hunting scope into a target, varmint or competition model.” We want our hunting scopes to have internal adjustments, safely protected by dust covers from the environment and the banging that most hunting rifles encounter. On the other hand, at the range, in competition or out after varmints, we often find external windage and elevation adjustment knobs to be desirable - even necessary, in some competitions. Target Knobs allow us to quickly change an internally adjustable scope to an externally adjustable one in seconds simply by replacing the dust covers with the knobs. They fit Leupold fixed, Vari-X II and Vari-X III models and can be purchased singly or in pairs. Instructions are easily followed and graduations are clearly marked for recording reticle changes. If our needs involve moving the scope from one rifle to another, well, all these other    products just made that a lot easier too.

Stoney Point, it seems to me, has produced a line of scope-related products that are truly useful to those of us who don’t mount scopes for a living, and perhaps even for those who do.

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