How to mount a scope on a rifle without a rail?

How To Mount A Scope On A Rifle Without A Rail? – Professional Guide

Most modern rifles let you put a scope on as those are pre-drilled with rails. On the other hand, an older rifle doesn’t have this feature, and of course, that isn’t all. Also, an older version often falls short and needs several changes to work like a new one. But where’s the solution? How can you mount a scope on a rifle without a rail?

Well, to make your reading a lot easier, we’ve provided a step-by-step guideline on mounting a scope without a rail. So without wasting any time, let’s dig into it.

Before starting, it’s important to know that you must need a rail. Without a rail, it’s not possible to put on a scope. And to install a rail, you have to drill and tap the receiver.

Necessary tools Needed For The Process

  • A Rifle

Of course, you’ll need a rifle, also search on google to know more about its features. For example, I have the Cooey model 39 that doesn’t support a scope. For which, I went to a gunsmith to drill and tap the receiver. A good gunsmith can take up to $160 ($40 per hole) for that, or you can do it yourself.

  • A scope

Next, find a scope that works and suits your rifle. If you don’t feel like using a scope, you have to learn how to use the sights. Finding the right scope for an older rifle sounds easier than it actually is, especially for an older rifle. For that, you can take suggestions from a well-known gunsmith.

  • Mounting Rings and Rail

The most important things that you need to have. Don’t judge this content by the title. Mounting rings and rail are necessary elements to put your scope on. Various rails are available on the market, but you should take help from a gunsmith to find a rail that suits your rifle.

  • Hire a gunsmith or do it by yourself

As I said before, it won’t cost you much to drill and tap the receiver. Also, you don’t want to mess up everything, right? That’s why it’s better to find the right gunsmith to get the job done.

Firstly, you have to install a base plate. For this, the gunsmith will drill and tap the receiver. After installing the base plate and rail, now it’s time to mount a scope. One has to be careful while drilling holes, or else the base plate will be off-center, and the shooting won’t be accurate. Commonly it will need 4 holes for a Cooey model 39. Exact measurements and proper drilling will let you mount a scope on correctly.

  • Boresighter

Boresighter is to check the accuracy and to ensure everything lines up straight. Moreover, it is to check whether or not the scope is pointing in the right direction.

6 Easy Steps To Mount A Scope On A Rifle Without A Rail

  • Let the gunsmith handle everything (Step 1)

First of all, It’s essential to install a scope base and rail. Without those, there’s no other way to put on a scope. To put on a scope and rail, the gunsmith would have to do some drilling. So it does take some time and patience to drill in a small receiver to get the job done correctly.

  • Drilling and tapping the receiver (Step 2)

First and foremost, securing the receiver in a drill and tap fixture is essential. After that, You need a special jig on top of your receiver to create perfect holes. The special jig contains pre-drilled holes to make the drilling more accurate.

Some older rifles can have pre-drilled holes. If so, you can skip the process. But your gunsmith will know it better if you need any changes in the holes or not.

Here’s a video from MidwayUSA to help you with the process

  • Installing the Base Plate (Step 3)

Now, It’s time to install the base plate. This process is to attach the rail to the receiver. If you want to have a more permanent attachment, put on some thread-freezing compound like Loctite to help you with the process. Also, some Loctite prevents moisture from getting under the mount.

 A  gunsmith should follow the step before screwing the base plate.

  • Rail (Step 4)

The most common rail that a gunsmith use is a Picatinny rail. But it totally depends on you that what you want to have. Patience is a must while doing this kind of task.

  • Put on the scope rings and scope (Step 5)

After placing the rail, you can set the scope as well as the scope rings. Now you got a scope! The next step is to use a borsighter to make sure everything lines up straight.

  • A laser Boresighter (Step 6)

A laser bore sighter is to test the scope to tell if it’s working or not. It is to check as well as improve the visual accuracy of your scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to drill the rifle to have a scope?

Answer: Of course, you will need to drill the rifle. Without drilling, there’s no way around it. To mount a scope, you need a rail, and to install a rail, you must drill the receiver.

2. How much will it cost to drill and tap?

Answer: You can hire a gunsmith at a fixed price or an hourly rate. Sometimes the fee depends on the model of your gun. For example, I spent almost $100 to drill and tap ($40 per hole), and it was a cooey model 39. Also, it depends on what you want to do with that rifle and what rail you want to use. Different gunsmiths have different rates to offer. It would be wise to find a better gunsmith instead of thinking about the price.

It can take up to 2 hours to install everything successfully.

3. What do you mean by drilling and tapping?

Answer: Drilling is important to attach a base plate to put the scope on. It means to make a new way for the screws, and tapping is for fitting the screws. Some old rifles are pre-drilled but don’t contain a base plate when others need to be drilled to install a new one. I mentioned earlier that a special jig makes the drilling more accurate. It comes with pre-drilled holes, so you have to have that. That’s all about drilling and tapping. Another good piece of advice is to take some break after drilling each hole.

4. How to adjust eye relief after mounting a new scope?

Answer: It will help if you place the scope as close as possible to save your eye from recoil. Place the scope about an inch forward from where you think it should stay.

Final Words

From the above discussion, it answers the step by step process you need to follow to mount a scope on a rifle without a rail. We recommend hiring a good gunsmith for this project. If you plan to do it by yourself, it requires a lot of patience and hard work. But it can be pretty easy if you follow all the instructions mentioned above. Otherwise, you can give instructions to your gunsmith by following this article.

Finally, you can take it out and practice with a new scope on an older rifle. For a newbie, it will take time to master aiming with a new gun. If you feel that drilling holes will make your antique rifle look bad, learn to use the sight.

Have any thoughts or suggestions? Let me know in the comments.

About the Author Steve

I'm Steve & I've been handling firearms and hunting most of my life. I'm passionate about sharing what I've learnt with anyone who is interested, from beginners to seasoned marksmen and hunters. Riflescopely helps me do just that!

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