Why align scope rings? A scope is made from a piece of pipe. Aluminum. All materials, including metal react to temperature. As the metal warms it expands as it cools it contracts. If the two scope rings are not aligned then the scope is held firmly in a bent position. When sighted in on a nice warm late summer day the zero is set. Then when the season progresses and the weather gets colder like when we traditionally go hunting, the scope is colder and the metal contracts, unbending. This movement translates into a zero shift. If the scope rings are aligned the metal expands and contracts in a straight line. The zero stays where it was set.
What importance does action bedding play? Moisture and temperature affect wood. Wood expands when it is warm and expands when it absorbs moisture. The wood will also contract as it cools and contracts when it dries out. If the action or the barrel has more pressure applied at one spot on one given day then that pressure will change as the weather changes. Once again the rifle will hit in a different place than previously.
Pillar bedding, glass bedding, barrel floating and custom inletting will lessen the effects of moisture and temperature on the wood to action and barrel contact.
So what is glass bedding and how does it help?
Glass is an abbreviation for fiberglass. Glass bedding is the process of lining the bedding with a fiberglass re-enforced epoxy. This strengthens the stock and prevents moisture from entering the wood of the stock. Because the bedding is form fitted to the action the chances of uneven pressure points on the barrel and action are reduced and theoretically eliminated.
MOA; What is it and how does it affect my shooting? Minute Of Angle. This is a measurement of a straight line as a fraction of a degree. 90 degrees and 45 degrees are terms we are familiar with. A minute is a 60th of 1 degree. Not that that really matters. How does this translate to affect us as target shooters and hunters? 1 MOA equals 1" @ 100 yards, 2" @ 200 yards. 3" @ 300 yards and so on. The ultimate target on big game is roughly 3 inches for a humane 1 shot kill, give or take depending on the actual animal. If at the range 'ol Betsy will shoot a 2" group at 100 yards. At 200 yards that translates to a 4" group. A cold wet snowy day. That zero can shift another 1/2" to 1" at 100 yards or 1" to 2" at 200 yards. Now the bullet can strike 2 1/2" to 3" at 100 yards from the line of sight. At 200 yards that translates into 5" to 6" from the line of sight. That 1/2 MOA difference in rifle accuracy can change the outcome of a day you waited all year for.
What is Point Blank Range? A quote from the Sierra Reloading Manual: is that range where a shooter can always hold directly on his target, with no compensation for drop, and expect a hit within the "vital zone"
What is Maximum Point Blank Range? Reference from the Sierra Reloading Manual: MPBR is the maximum range a firearm can be zeroed where the bullet will neither rise above or drop below the line of sight farther than 1/2 the "vital zone".
What is the vital zone? This is the area where an animal may be hit that is quickly fatal. On a deer sized animal that is considered 10 inches and on varmint size animals that is considered 4 inches.
Therefore; consider the bullet path for a big game rifle that must hit a 10 inch target for MPBR. The bullet must not arc higher than 5" above the line of site nor fall lower than 5" below the line of site. (for this discussion we will not include energy or effectiveness, just bullet path)
Example: A 100 gr bullet, 0.243" dia. ballistic coefficient 0.460, muzzle velocity 2950 fps, at 4000 ft above sea level, 10 F.
Zero at 303 yards.
MPBR 369 yards.
100 yds; 3.91" high
200 yds; 4.72" high
250 yds; 3.19" high
350 yds; 4.27" low
The above information is a very typical bullet flight path. Energy and bullet effectiveness come into affect when bullet diameter and weight are considered. But when considering zeroing a rifle, the above rifle will hit either 5" above or 5" below the line of site past 350 yards. Ol' Bernie always told us, "just put the damn cross hairs on the damn thing and shoot!" With a well tuned rifle sited in where you can trust it, you'll make the shot.
Why choose one kind of stock over the other?
Performance, comfort and familiarity are the points I look for when choosing a stock for myself, and those are what I recommend to look for.
Traditional wood stocks. Many of us like the feel of wood. It's what we grew up with. The size, feel, shape when we bring it into action is more natural. The draw back of a wood stock is wood is susceptible to moisture and temperature. Atmospheric conditions cause the wood to expand and contract. This movement causes bedding pressure changes and zero shift. Depending on the conditions you are using your rifle, this may be an issue.
Composite stocks. Performance wise these are unbeatable. The good ones anyway. The top name stocks by Lone Wolf, MacMillan, H-S Precision are impervious to all but the most severe conditions. They are stronger and stiffer than any wood or laminate. They come in cool or practical colors. The only drawback I have ever found is with a real good composite stock falls under the comfort category. They can be difficult to modify for size and shape for those of us under 8 feet tall. And if you are use to the feel of wood, they don't feel like wood. I find the hand grips too fat.
Laminates. I find this to be the perfect compromise between the hot rod composite stocks and the traditional wood stocks. Laminates are not as stiff as a good Kevlar reinforced composite stock, but far stiffer than wood. Laminates have the natural feel of wood because, well, they are wood. Laminates are not impervious to atmospheric conditions as a top of the line composite, but they'll stand more severe weather than I will. If it is so wet or cold that my laminate stock will be affected, I'm shivering too much to shoot anyway.
One of the most over looked accuracy issues we deal with is stocks. Launching a 100-215 gr projectile to 2.5X the speed of sound in 22"-26" creates a lot of violent vibration. Every part of that firearm moves when it is fired. A light weight cheap stock especially. We really see this on higher recoil rifles like 338's.
We had a '06 come in that the customer got for next to nothing because the orginal owner couldn't hit anything with it. The customer wanted to fully customize it, barrels, the works. First thing he saved up for was the stock, a trigger, decent scope rings aligned properly. Now he shoots consistent 0.5 MOA and less.
The platform that you launch from has to be stable.
Premium Scope Mounting:
Why hire us to mount a scope when you can get it mounted in 15 minutes at the big stores for free?
Scope rings are not round, nor do they line up with each other.
Your scope can be twisted and bent in the rings.
Your scope can be flattened to an egg shape.
What this means to you the shooter is your zero will shift as ambient temperature changes. Your scope will be damaged.
The internals will be shook loose by recoil.
What does bluing cost and what is bluing worth it? This is one of the most common questions we get. And it's the toughest to answer.
Our answer can't be black and white. We all have different budgets we live by and we all value items differently. We can tell you most of the restoration projects we undertake are firearms that have enormous sentimental value. Many are family heirlooms handed down from fathers and grandfathers. We can tell you that beat up rusted firearms aren't worth much on the resale market.
We can tell you anything clean and obviously well looked after attracts more buyers. Just like an auction, if more than one buyer is interested, the value increases. We can tell you we feel proud of our firearms and the appearance of them. So for the restoration projects we have undertaken, the cost was worth it.