Basically, scope ring lapping is what happens when you grind away the uneven surfaces that are on the inside of your scope rings. Doing so will lower the chances of the scope getting scraped or damaged. However, it will also create a greater contact surface as well which means that the scope will move less as a result.
The purpose of scope ring lapping is to make the rings as close or “true” to each other as possible. Even well manufactured rings may not be perfectly aligned which can result with vibration and even movement issues over time. The truth lies in the fact that the more pieces you add to something, the more things can go wrong. When it comes to scope rings, the better you can lap them, the tighter the grip they will have on your weapon.
The Importance of Scope Ring Lapping
The reasons you should perform scope ring lapping start with removing some of the stresses that can build up over time. Scope rings that still have kinks and other issues even though they may be small will grow to the point where you will have to make more frequent readjustments. When you consider that the scope itself is a finely tune instrument, any movement or imperfection can make it go off its target ever so slightly at first and then more pronounced later on.
When you consider that no matter how good your scope is, it will not perform to its fullest capabilities if the mounting torques the tube which results in binding up the internal structure in the rings themselves. When you consider all the stresses that occur when firing or carrying or even adjusting the weapon, the little imperfections present when the rings are not lapped will certainly add up over time.
In addition, the stresses which are placed on the tube will tend to degrade the overall performance of the optics as well. When the perfect alignment is now off because of the slight movement of the scope, then the elements will tend to work against its accuracy.
Is Lapping Really Necessary?
The truth is that despite all the warnings listed above, for those who rarely, if ever shoot their rifle beyond the 100 or even 200 yard ranges may not notice much of a difference when hunting or shooting at large targets. The amount that the scope is off will be slight enough that many will mistake it for wind or other factors.
However, if you are shooting at long ranges of up to 800 to 1,000 yards, then having the proper scope ring lapping is crucial to your accuracy. By removing any factor that is causing your scope to be off even in the slightest, you will increase your chances of hitting the target accurately. This means that to have scope ring lapping performed is vitally important for long range shooters.
In the end, the investment made to have this performed on your scope is small and requires a little effort, but the result is such that you will appreciate its value over time. This is especially true if you have made a major investment in your scope and rifle.