Best Torque Wrench for Mounting Rifle Scopes
Find the Best Torque Wrench for Mounting your Rifle Scopes! Suggestions and Recommendations!
After months of research and sleepless nights lusting over your next new rifle scope, it’s finally arrived. So, now comes the challenge of mounting it on your rifle. While carefully reading through the Owner’s Manual you realize that you might not be able to complete the procedure today like you had planned.
The manual gives you specific torque values in inch lbs. for the scope screws but you don’t happen to own a torque wrench. Or, you don’t have a torque wrench specifically designed for mounting a rifle scope.
Guessing at how much to torque the screws can cause serious damage to your new scope. A less serious outcome would be to strip the threads in your scope ring. Or, break off a screw which can be a real chore to remove.
In my humble opinion, mounting a rifle scope is a procedure that is best left to a licensed gunsmith or armor. However, if you are determined to take on the task yourself you want use the best torque wrench you can afford that is designed for scope mounting.
Why you Should Use a Torque Wrench
Do I really Need to Use a Torque Wrench to Mount my Scope?
If you’re like a lot of shooters you may have never mounted your own scope before and you question whether or not you really need a torque wrench to get the job done. You may have mounted a scope or two and never had a problem that you’re aware of. The fact is you might get lucky and get the job done just fine without a torque wrench – but I wouldn’t risk it, and here’s why:
- An incorrectly mounted scope can void the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Even Rifle calibers with a mild amount of recoil can cause an incorrectly mounted scope to shift. With a 6.5 Creedmoor there are sufficient inertial forces at work to cause the scope to slide forward if insufficient torque is applied to the scope rings. This condition could cause you to miss that prize buck and likely damage your new scope.
- Law enforcement departments mandate that their SWAT snipers have the torque of their scope screws checked periodically by a licensed or credentialed armorer. They can’t risk failure in a life and death situation. In fact, those armors have their torque wrenches calibrated periodically for liability purposes.
- Some scope rings are made from aluminum and the threads are easily stripped with too much torque.
- With steel scope rings there’s the possibility of breaking off one of the screws in the ring. That in itself could ruin your day as well as an expensive ring.
- Rifle scope bodies are made from aluminum – usually 6061 grade. In order to keep the weight down they are machined with very thin walls, just thick enough to withstand the forces associated with normal use. If too much torque is applied to the scope ring screws there is a good possibility of deforming the aluminum walls and severely damaging the scope – especially with rings that have (6) screws each.
So I would reconsider if you are contemplating installing your scope without a good quality torque wrench especially suited for rifle scope installation. It’s not worth the risk of damaging a $1000+ precision rifle scope for the sake of saving a few bucks.
What are the Best Torque Wrenches for Mounting a Rifle Scope?
As a toolmaker with more decades of experience than I care to mention I’ve learned a few things about torque wrenches. I have used them countless times in my work as well as for mounting my rifle scopes, I have even had the occasion to design and make several for specialty applications. So this background gives me a pretty good perspective of what to look for when selecting a torque wrench.
I have reviewed each of the following Rifle Scope Torque Wrenches listed below. Each one will enable you to do a professional mounting job if used correctly.
I have always made it a practice to buy the best tool I can afford. If you are a hunter and only shoot occasionally you can definitely get by with one of the lower priced tools. However, if you are involved in precision long range rifle competition I highly recommend that you don’t compromise on a torque wrench. You probably already have thousands invested in your rifle and scope – don’t let a few bucks be the weak link to achieving optimum performance.
Capri Tools CP21075 Certified Limiting Torque Driver Set
The Capri Tools CP21075 is an excellent choice for the serious firearm owner! It has a range of 10-50 inch lbs. which is ideal for most scope rings. This is a very accurate tool with internationally recognized calibration certificate included: +/-6% – DIN ISO 6789 & ASME B107.300-2010.
This torque driver comes with a T Handle for greater flexibility. It comes with 20 bits to handle just about any scope mounting job you might have.
The Capri CP21075 is a safe design because it makes an audible Click when you have reached the set value and It slips so you don’t go beyond, potentially causing damage.
Watch This Cool Demo VIDEO!
This is a high quality tool you can use with confidence and will last for many years with proper care.
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Fix It Sticks All-in-One Torque Driver Kit
The Fix It Sticks All-in-One Torque Driver Kit was introduced at the 2019 Shot Show and is designed specifically for scope mounting and maintenance.
There are several features I really like about this product. The main feature is it covers the full range of torque values typically recommended by rifle scope and scope ring manufactures. Another feature is its compact design makes it perfect to carry along to the range just in case you need to make an adjustment. The actual driver is detachable from the T-Handle making it a smaller package.
The Torque Driver has a scale clearly marked from 16 Inch lb.’s all the way up to 65 Inch lb.’s in increments of 10.
Check Out this Cool VIDEO
One of the big differences in the Fix It Sticks All-in-One Torque Driver Kit compared to other torque drivers is there are No Pre-Set Torque Settings. The user must watch the hash marks as torque is being applied until the desired value is reached. There is no fail safe that disengages the driver when the desired value is reached. Also, there is no audible click to alert you.
This means that if you are not paying attention you could exceed the recommended torque value and damage your scope or break off a screw. So, if you use this tool its important to filter out any distractions so you don’t make a serious mistake.
As far as accuracy goes, it is dependent upon the user’s ability to consistently torque each screw until the hash marks line up exactly the same for each screw.
Although the values indicated on the barrel of the driver are in 10 Inch lb.’s increments, you can torque a screw to any value in between. For example, if you wanted to torque a screw to, say to 20 inch lb.’s you would turn the driver until the hash mark lines up exactly between the 15 and 25 etched on the driver.
The Fix It Sticks All-in-One Torque Driver Kit is a precision set of tools designed especially for shooters.
Next to a good gun vise, this tool is probably one of the most worthwhile investments a serious shooter can make. If you are like I am and constantly changing out scopes you will love this tool.
Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit
The Vortex Torque Wrench Kit is very similar in design and appearance to the Capri CP21075. It also has a torque range of 10-50 inch lbs. One of the differences is it includes bits specifically to fit rifle scope screw sizes.
Included: 3/16″ Hex bit – fits Vortex Bobro mounts, 2.5mm Hex bit – Fits Razor Red Dot, 3mm HEx bit – Fits Hunter rings, CM-202 and CM-203, T15 Torx bit – Fits Viper rings and Tactical rings.
Other Bits included in kit: T25 Torx bit – Fits PMR rings, 1/2″ Socket – Fits Tactical rings, 10mm Wide Screwdriver bit – Fits Hunter and Viper clamp bolt, 1/4″ Socket adaptor.
The ½” socket with the ¼” adapter will fit most scope ring Cross Bolts, although most of them call for a higher torque value than the 50 inch lb. maximum.
Although the listing does not mention any certification of accuracy, it does include one. It shows the ISO testing standard number, test date, readings, and also notes the serial number of the wrench.
By my math the test results works out to only 5.5% deviation from set point. That’s better than some of the other tools I reviewed.
The Vortex Optics Torque Wrench is a precision high quality torque driver designed specifically for mounting rifle scopes. I consider it a good value at the current price point which is significantly lower than the Capri CP21075.
Watch this Brief but Helpful Instructional VIDEO!
If you’re familiar with the quality of Vortex scopes then you know you can trust the quality of the Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit.
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KAIFNT K551 Digital Torque Screwdriver/Wrench Set, 5 to 85 in. lbs.
For those of you shooters who prefer digital tools the KAIFNT K551 Digital Torque Screwdriver/Wrench Set is a great choice for installing a rifle scope.
Two huge benefits of this tool is it will give you torque readings from 5 to 85 inch lbs. with +/- 2% accuracy. That makes the KAIFNT K551 the most accurate torque driver wrench available.
Another benefit that I feel that’s important is it gives an audible buzz when you have reached your desired torque setting. This unit even has a memory so you won’t have to re-set it if you take a break from working on your scope and rifle.
And, just in case you encounter a left-handed screw this torque driver is Dual-directional. The back-lit LCD Display lets you see the exact torque value at any given time when tightening a fastener.
Included with the K551 Torque Screwdriver/Wrench: 75mm Extension; (4) Pc. Torx Bits T15, T20, T25, T30, (6) Pc. Metric Hex Bits 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6mm; (2) Pc. Slot Bits 3/16, 1/4″; (2) Pc. Phillips Bits #1, #2; (2) Batteries, Plastic Storage Case, and a Certificate of Calibration.
Unfortunately, the set doesn’t include a 1/4″ Hex Socket Drive Adapter which you will need for a 1/2″ Socket to tighten your scope ring cross bolts. For less than $15 bucks you can pick the Wheeler Add-On 20 Piece Hex Bit Set (Above) which has both thee Adapter and a 1/2″ Socket w/ 1/4″ drive.
KAIFNT K551 Digital Torque Screwdriver/Wrench Set is a very nice product to add to your gun maintenance tools. Undoubtedly, you will find other uses for it also.
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Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench
The Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench makes a whole lot of sense for the average shooter. This torque driver is specifically designed for firearms. One of the most important features to consider is the wider torque range from 10 in. lbs. up to 65 in. lbs. That will not only take care of your scope ring screws, but also the cross bolts which usually require 50 to 65 in. lbs. torque. This can also accommodate your receiver bolts.
The Wheeler Torque Wrench operates a little differently than the Capri or the Vortex. You can preset the torque value and it does give an audible click when it is reached. It slips so you won’t over-tighten.
It delivers good accuracy although not as good as the Capri or the Vortex. The increments are in increments of 5 inch lbs. whereas the Capri and Vortex tools are in increments of 1 inch lbs.
The lower price on this tool is definitely an enticing factor. If used correctly, according to instructions, this tool will fulfill the needs for most applications.
Check Out this Brief VIDEO!
If you’re into precision long range shooting I would encourage you to go with the Capri or Vortex.
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Weaver Gunsmithing Torque Wrench for Scopes
The Weaver Gunsmithing Torque Wrench is a very popular tool. It’s similar to the Wheeler the way it’s designed. It has a torque range of 15 to 80 in. lbs. which is sufficient to handle just about any operation you might encounter on your rifle. It includes 5 flat bits and 2 T15 and 3 hex bits 7/64 1/8 5/32.
This tool is adequate to handle scope mounting jobs for most applications. It’s just fine for mounting the lower priced scope for hunting. However I wouldn’t recommend it for use on a more expensive scope. It just lacks the precision and overall quality to do a top notch installation. At its price point I believe the Wheeler Torque Wrench offers a better value for this type of tool.
TorQ-Armour Miniature Torque Limiter Socket (5 inch lbs. up to 65 inch lbs.)
A lot of professional gunsmiths and armors prefer to use the TorQ-Armour Miniature Torque Limiter Sockets. These are pre-set to a (1) torque value and highly accurate. One of the advantages is it allows the armor to keep track of every adjustment which can be certified in case of legal issues.
It would be expensive to own the full range of sizes that are available but just two are all you need for most scope mounting jobs.
Many scope ring manufactures recommend 65 in. lbs. of torque for the Cross Bolts. The small screws for installing the scope ring halves usually requires a torque value of 10 to 25 inch lbs. which are also available.
This tool snaps on to any ¼” driver and will accept any ¼” bit. These tools are very accurate and well-made.
Available in Sizes: 5 inch lbs., 10 inch lbs., 15 inch lbs., 25 inch lbs., 35 inch lbs., 45 inch lbs., 55 inch lbs., and 65 inch lbs.
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How Does a Rifle Scope Torque Wrench Work?
The torque wrenches typically used by armors and gunsmiths for mounting rifle scopes typically look like a Nut Driver. However, in this case, the tool is usually designed to accept ¼” hex bits that allow you to choose from a variety of different sized bits.
Some scope torque wrenches contain a compression spring and a threaded shaft and sleeve assembly that has a spring-loaded steel ball bearing. The ball bearing aligns with a hole in the sleeve. When enough torque is applied to the tool the shaft rotates. When the pre-set torque value is reached, the compressed ball bearing is released from the shaft, free to turn within the sleeve. Some are available with only one torque value and some are adjustable within a range of torque values. This design is generally more expensive but is typically the most accurate.
NEVER Leave your Torque Wrench on High Setting
Leaving your torque wrench in a HIGH SETTING for long periods of time can damage the mechanism. Springs can become fatigued and the wrench can lose its accuracy. This could result in damage to smaller screws and tapped holes and defeat the benefit of a torque wrench. To maintain the accuracy of your torque wrench always return it to the LOWEST Setting.
Some Scope Torque Wrenches have a spring-loaded threaded shaft within a threaded sleeve. An indicator arm moves along a slot as torque is applied until the indicator arm lines up with a hash mark. The hash mark represents a given torque value. This design is generally the least expensive and although not quite as accurate, it will get the job done.
Also SEE: Best Gun Cleaning Supplies
Contents at a Glance
- 1 Find the Best Torque Wrench for Mounting your Rifle Scopes! Suggestions and Recommendations!
- 2 What are the Best Torque Wrenches for Mounting a Rifle Scope?
- 2.1 My Recommendations
- 2.2 Capri Tools CP21075 Certified Limiting Torque Driver Set
- 2.3 Fix It Sticks All-in-One Torque Driver Kit
- 2.4 Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit
- 2.5 KAIFNT K551 Digital Torque Screwdriver/Wrench Set, 5 to 85 in. lbs.
- 2.6 Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench
- 2.7 Weaver Gunsmithing Torque Wrench for Scopes
- 2.8 TorQ-Armour Miniature Torque Limiter Socket (5 inch lbs. up to 65 inch lbs.)
- 2.9 How Does a Rifle Scope Torque Wrench Work?
- 2.10 NEVER Leave your Torque Wrench on High Setting
2 thoughts on “Best Torque Wrench for Mounting Rifle Scopes”
Curious as to why you wouldn’t recommend to make the Tekton style of wrench for the ring screws? Their model TRQ21101 (10-150 in lbs) seems to work fine for me, but I am wondering what I am missing. Could you please elaborate?
Thanks for the great write up!
Good question Alex! There’s nothing wrong with a Tekton style torque wrench for installing and servicing a rifle scope mount. However, even though the 1/4″ drive model adjusts down to 20 inch lbs. and is accurate to within +/- 4% its difficult to get the same consistent feel when torquing something as small as a #6 or #8 screw. Even with good mechanical skills, its difficult to be consistent with a leverage-type tool like the Tekton. That’s why the vast majority of torque wrenches that adjust to that light inch lb. range are designed as a Driver for a better feel. A better choice for a torque wrench that covers the high and low inch lb. range required for most rifle scope mounting would be the New METAKOO Torque Screwdriver that ranges 15 to 75 Inch Pounds in 1 Increment. I’ll be getting one for my next scope mounting project. Hope this helps!