Best Torque Wrench for Gunsmithing and Scope Mounting

Back in August, I wrote about Wheeler’s F.A.T.  (Firearm Accurizing Torque) Wrench and how I would prefer the digital model to the analog manual control.  When I bought the F.A.T. Wrench, I wasn’t planning on using it for every optic or scope I have. I thought it would work well with the most common riflescopes, but I didn’t think it would replace most of my other wrenches. For this reason, I think the F.A.T. Wrench is the best torque wrench for riflescopes, crossbow scopes, shotgun, and handgun optics. 

When I first got the Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench I didn’t realize how easy the wrench is to use and adapt to different sized screws. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I was getting ready for archery season and started to install my scopes and optics on all my guns for the season. The interchange between different size screwdrivers is so easy and effortless that I spend a fraction of the time with individual Allen and torque wrenches. 

Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench

The Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench is a little more precise with the digital reading because you can set the exact number you want versus reading in every 5 increments of the manual model. However, you can be precise enough for any screw with some common sense and focus on how much you’re turning the base adjustment dial. I’ve explained all the stats and features of the F.A.T Wrench in a previous blog, so I’m not going to regurgitate the same info.

Wheeler’s F.A.T. Wrench (Firearm Accurizing Torque)

My goal today is to show all of our readers how easy it is to install scopes with different-sized scope rings, scope base mounts, and windage screws. I’m going to walk you through how I installed my scopes on my 30-06 Winchester Model 70 and my crossbow. I’m choosing my crossbow to compare because crossbow scopes are different than riflescopes and often have different-sized scope mounts, scope rings, and windage screws. 

How Do I Set the Correct Torque on My F.A.T. Wrench?

The manual does a great job of keeping things simple to understand and follow with the graphs and diagrams. Wheeler Engineering uses a simple chart to determine the level of torque for 11 different screw sizes. The chart below is the most important part of the manual to either just remember or keep in your carrying container as you put it away.

Nominal Screw SizesCommon Uses For ScrewsScrew diameter at ThreadLubricated Fastener Torque (in-lbs)

6-32 UNC

6-40 UNF

6-48 FINE

Scope Base Mounts0.131"- 0.138"18-20

8-32

8-36

8-40

Scope Rings0.157"-0.164"28-30

10-24

10-32

Windage Screws0.184"-0.19040-45

How Do I Install a Scope for  30-06 Rifle?

The first thing you need to do is to make sure the scope rings are the correct size for your scope. My scope and rings are made to fit the 30mm Cantilever scope mount, but Wheeler offers the 1" and 34mm for bigger scopes, as well. 

Winchester 30-06 Model 70

The most difficult part about installing scopes and tightening all of the screws is knowing the torque recommendations for each screw. I’m not a genius, so there is no way I can figure that out without help. For example, I’ve used many handheld torque wrenches that are awesome but always over-tighten a screw. Once you over-tighten a screw, you can break the housing of the scope mount and render the entire scope useless when the recoil hits it. This is why I will always use the F.A.T. Wrench when I’m installing scopes.

  1. Unscrew all of the screws on your scope mount. Place them together in a safe place (I place them into the carrying case of the F.A.T. Wrench).
  2. Attach the scope mount to the rail system and use the #10 screwdriver that fits into the screws on your scope mount, then set your torque on the wrench to 38-40 in-lbs.
  3. Place the scope in the grooves for the bottom scope ring and line up your eye relief to fit your preference (3.5-4.0").
  4. Place the top scope rings on the scope and make sure your scope is level throughout the whole installation (scope will move until it’s secured).
  5. I like to place the top rings on and loosely put the screw in to keep it steady while I set my eye relief.
  6. After your eye-relief is set and the scope is level, tighten the scope base screws with the torque set to 15-20.

ULTRA Scope Mounting Kit from Wheeler

$95.92
at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

How Do I Install a Scope for a Crossbow?

The best part about the Wheeler F.A.T. wrench is that it doesn’t matter what type of weapon you’re working on! The $47.00 F.A.T. Wrench set is equipped with screwdriver tips for every scope I’ve worked with. 

The only difference I’ve seen so far is I noticed that I use the smaller #6 screwdrivers more than I use the larger #10 screwdriver tips. You can use the F.A.T. Wrench interchangeably with every gun from a handgun red dot sight to a 6-24x riflescope on your 30-06. Follow the 6 guidelines I created along with the manual and you’ll be confident in your installation.

Where Can I Buy the Wheeler  F.A.T. Wrench?

The fact that you can get the manual F.A.T. Wrench for under $47.00 on Amazon is a steal of a price. Not only do you get 2-day free shipping but the taxes are generally cheaper as well. There are more companies that sell the F.A.T. Wrench, but the rest were more expensive and not worth the trouble for this product. 

 

Wheeler  F.A.T. Wrench Analog

$46.68
at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

What is a Cantilever Scope Mount?

A cantilever scope mount is designed to keep the scope stable and level by adding an anti-cant mechanism to the scope rings. An anti-cant mechanism isn’t something that is required to mount a scope, but it’s very helpful. For example, when you mount your scope into the scope rings, it’s very easy to misalign the reticles of the scope with the barrel of the gun. 

An anti-cant mechanism that’s been attached to the scope mount helps you quickly identify if the scope isn’t level. Having a 1-piece cantilever scope mount provides more stability because there are fewer moving parts and the recoil is distributed evenly. 

Wheeler Engineering Level for Riflescopes

Why Should I Buy the Wheeler 1- Piece Cantilever Scope Mount?

The reason the Wheeler 1-Piece Cantilever Scope Mount is so nice is the 6 screw design that provides more stability to absorb the recoil and stay completely still. The anti-cant mechanism saves you time in both installations and in zeroing your scope. For the most efficient use of your time and energy, the Wheeler 1-Piece Cantilever Scope Mount is great to use on your 30-06 hunting rifle. 

The Wheeler 1-Piece Cantilever Scope Mount works perfectly with the F.A.T. Wrench because there are 6  scope ring screws that can be tightened perfectly with no changes made to the wrench. This saves an incredible amount of time to switch between scopes or reposition your scope after a drop or bumpy drive in the backwoods.

Wheeler Green Laser Bore Sighter

If you asked me what other tool should I use for sighting in my scopes, hands down it’s the green laser bore sighter from Wheeler. As we all know from previous blogs about green vs. red lasers, green lasers are easier to see in daylight.

If I didn’t just buy my first home, I would have bought the Professional Laser Bore Sighter without a second thought. The benefits far outweigh the cost even if you only use it a couple of times a year on your gun collection. As a writer, time is money and the more time I have to spend aligning my scopes to each gun is more time I don’t get to write. 

Is a Laser Bore Sighter For Everyone?

Absolutely not! if you only have one gun and you use it once or twice a year, it’s not going to make a huge difference in your life. Personally, I would install the 1-Piece Cantilever and save over $120. However, if you have pistols, rifles, shotguns, ARs, and run optics or scopes on them, the Professional Laser Bore Sighter will save you hours in installation and zeroing! 

wheeler gunsmith tools

How Does the Professional Bore Sighter Help?

The Wheeler Bore Sighter helps you mount your riflescopes by magnetically attaching them to the barrel muzzle of your gun. Unlike many other bore sighter tools, you don’t have to hold the tool while you’re trying to work on your scope. 

The whole point of a bore sighter is to get you on paper before you even touch your scope. You’re not going to be shooting sub-MOA with just a bore sighter, but it will save you bullets, time, and money by getting you 75% there from the start. Once I get on paper with my first 3 shots, I then dial in my elevation and windage to get to where I want to be. Using the Wheeler Green Laser Bore Sighter will give you the best chance to use it in the daytime and even in low-light if you’re zeroing in the AM or evening. 

Wheeler Green Laser Bore Sighter

$120.50
at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing


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