Best Torque Wrench for Mounting Rifle Scopes


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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 an accurately calibrated torque wrench is important for mounting a rifle scope correctlyrealize 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.

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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?

My Recommendations

As a toolmaker with more decades of experience than I care to mention I happen to know a few things about torque wrenches. Not only have I used them countless times in my work as well as for mounting scopes, I have actually designed and made several. 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.

For your convenience and to save you time, I have arranged each of my Recommendations Side-by-Side so you can compare features, specs, and price. At the BOTTOM of each column you can CLICK to read a detailed description of each model. Or, you can simply SCROLL down to descriptions and skip the Comparison Table.

 
ModelCapri Tools 21075 Certified Torque Limiting DriverVortex Optics Torque Wrench Mounting KitWheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque WrenchWeaver Gunsmithing Torque WrenchNightforce Optics Scope Mounting Torque Wrench
Torque Range10 to 50 inch-pounds in 1 inch-pound10 in/lbs to 50 in/lbs.10 in/lbs to 65 in/lbs15 to 80 in. lbs.Pre-set to 68"/lbs.
Calibration CertificationYes: +/-6% - DIN ISO 6789 & ASME B107.300-2010Yes: Certificate included. Standard DIN-ISO 6789. +/- 5.5%No, ACCURACY: +/- 2 in/lbs up to 40 in/lbs; 40 – 65 is +/- 5%No, accuracy is +/-5%Yes
IncludedCase w/ 20 bits including torx, hex, phillips, and blade w/ T-Handle bar attachmentCase, 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 ringsCase, 10 bits (hex to square adapter, #10 flat blade, #32 flat blade, #11 flat blade, 5/32 hex, 7/64 hex, 3/32 hex, T20 torx, T15 torx and Leupold specialty flat blade), ¼” socketCase, 5 flat bits and 2 T15 and 3 hex bits 7/64 1/8 5/32Nightforce 68 inch/LB Torque Wrench A179 Only
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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. Only in this case, the tool is usually designed to accept ¼” hex bits that allow you to choose from a variety of sized bits to accommodate different size screws.

Some scope torque wrenches contain a compression spring and a threaded shaft and sleeve assembly that has a spring-loaded steel ball bearing that aligns with a hole in the sleeve. When torque is applied to the tool the shaft rotates when the pre-set torque value is reached, causing the ball bearing to compress and releasing the shaft 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.

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 representing a given torque value. This designs generally the less expensive and although not quite as accurate, it will get the job done.

Capri Tools CP21075 Certified Limiting Torque Driver Set

The Capri Tools CP21075 is an excellent choice! It has a range of 10-50 inch lbs. which is ideal for mostCapri Tools CP21075 Certified Limiting Torque Driver Set 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.

This is a high quality tool you can use with confidence.

Watch This Cool Demo VIDEO!

check price of the Capri Tools CP21075 Certified Limiting Torque Driver scope mounting Set at amazon

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Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit (Best Value) 

The Vortex Torque Wrench Kit is very similar in design and appearance to the Capri CP21075. It alsoVortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit 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.

Vortex Scope Torque Wrench Certificate of CalibrationAlthough 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 the best value at a price point significantly lower than the Capri CP21075.

Watch this Brief but Helpful Instructional VIDEO!

check price of Vortex Optics Torque Wrench Scope Mounting Kit at amazon
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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. If you’re into precision long range shooting I would encourage you to go with the Capri or Vortex.

Check Out this Brief VIDEO!

check price of Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench at amazon

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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’sWeaver Gunsmithing Torque Wrench for mounting scopes 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.

check price of Weaver Gunsmithing Torque Wrench at amazon

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TorQ-Armour Miniature Torque Limiter Socket (65 inch-lb)

Many scope ring manufactures recommend 65 in. lbs. of torque for the Cross Bolts. Several of theTorQ Armour Miniature Torque Limiter Socket Torque Wrench products designed for mounting rifle scopes do not offer that high a torque value. The TorQ-Armour Miniature Torque Limiter is available pre-set to 65 in. lbs. and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
This tool snaps on to any ¼” driver and will accept any ¼” bit. These tools are very accurate and well-made.

 

 

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Nightforce Optics Torque Wrench for Cross Bolts (68 inch lb.)

If you are mounting your new scope on a set of NightForce rings you probably have noticed that theyNightforce Optics Torque Wrench for scope Cross Bolts recommend 68 inch lbs. of torque for the cross bolts.

This proprietary T-Handle style wrench that is preset at 68 lbs. Its highly accurate and excellent quality, which it should be for the price. If you are a demanding shooter and knowing your NightForce cross bolts are torqued to their exact specs will help you sleep better at night, then this is your best choice.

However, if spending near $90 would keep you awake at night then here is another option. When you are torqueing in the range of 60 to 70 inch lbs. one or two lbs. either way is not going to make a whole lot of difference (I can hear the gasps now from all the precision long range shooters). For the size screw and recommended torque range a decent ¼” Drive Torque Wrench like the TEKTON 24320 will work just fine for half the price of the NightForce. NOTE: Never never never use this type of wrench for tightening your Scope Ring Screws!

check price of Nightforce Optics Torque Wrench for Cross Bolts at amazon
SEE: Best Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance Products

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