Lapping, Reaming and Burris inserts


Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2002
Like Frank, I have Burris Signature rings on almost everything. I like them because they don't ruin the finish on my expensive scope. I have had several scopes scratched and dented by Leupold and Weaver rings.

I am getting a tapered bases (planned to get a NF 20 MOA) and had planned to go with Burris Rings, although I wasn't sure if they would be high enough. It sounds like they will be.

Now, I'm thinking I should perhaps go with Badgers. I read in another thread that they don't seem to marr the finish. Badger's web site says they don't need to be lapped because they are serialized and leave the factory without needing to be corrected if used on a straight base like their Badger base and I'm assuming NF, etc. I read here though that many of you are still lapping them. I also read here that NightForce has some kind of warranty requirement for lapping the tube??

Next, on to reaming. I have a set of Leupold Quick Release rings and bases on my .338 and my smith reamed them instead of lapping them. That is, he laid a reaming bar in the rings and screwed the tops down over top and turned the reaming bar inside the rings. He screwed the tops down progressively tight as he went. The ring halves touch together flat and I wondered if they held the tube down tight enough. This rifle never shot consistent groups and I wasn't happy with it. Then one day, the lever on the base at the rear went bad. You could spin it right aorund and it wouldn't stay tight. When I took it apart, I also notice that the inside of the silver rings were rusty (more so on the bottom) where the metal had been reamed away. The silver scope finish stained with a rust color. I called Leupold and they sent me one new rear base and two new ring bottoms only. I wasn't all that happy since I had lost my reaming job, but I threw it together and took it outside to shoot it. It shot way better than it ever had before. It now shoots real well, but I've always planned to take those rings and bases and chuck them in a ditch someday and replace them with Burris.

I guess I'm looking for advice on which base and rings combo to go with, and whether to ream, lap, or buy badgers and install them as is. I'm not concerned with cost. I want something that won't damage the finish on my scope and will perform.

Thanks guys.
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You can probably guess my opinion of Nightforce coupled with Burris.I'm putting the Leupold back on to the rifle untill I get new rings for the Nightforce.
I use Badger rings on both of long range guns, and trust me mine needed lapped. They are very good rings. I have a set of Burris rings on a 308 that I shoot to 700 yards with 10 MOA inserts in them,and truly haven't had any trouble with them. I just trust the Badgers.

Shoot Safe, Shoot Straight.......RiverRat

The Badger rings don't need to be lapped if you ensure the base isn't flexed when you mount it to the receiver. Having the base bedded to the receiver will ensure this.

The trouble is that receivers are hand finished, and the specs have changed a slight bit over the years. This small difference in the bridges may not even be noticeable, but then again it could be enough of a difference to enduce a little arc in the base, which would put a high spot in the inside edge of one of your lower ring halves.

Though I don't think it's necessary to lap Badgers, I do it to ensure I'm not getting any undue pressure on the scope tube.

As far as the reamer in the old rings. I don't see how those rings could have possibly have held the scope in place. I'd never do that to any of my rings.

I put Leopold QD rings on my NF and would get the Badger or NF ring if I could do it over. I ended up with the older ones that use the screw as the recoil lug unlike the new ones. I will upgrade them ASAP but for now they are working fine. I wanted more than two screws in them so that's why I never bought the Burris rings. Now that I see Frank having problems with his, I will watch the ones on my 416wby more closely for sure. It will get new Badgers down the road too.

Lap lowers only, no reason to ream, and it could be bad too.

[ 02-10-2003: Message edited by: Brent ]

If you take a set of badgers and remove the screws, then drop the ring cap onto the lower, the opening for the upper is wider than the opening of the lower. Like S1 has said, the gap between the rings is needed to ensure you're putting the same amount of pressure on the tube and the area holding the tube is round and not oblong.

If you ream the lower out to match the upper, I don't see how you could put enough torque on the cap to hold the scope. The cap would touch the lower half before it put enought pressure on the tube.

I may be looking at it wrong,, but I will keep the gap in all my rings.

Also, after I lap a set of rings I blue the clamping surfaces, and lightly oil them. I've haven't had a set rust yet, nor have I had a scope slip, and we shoot in everything except lightening. (save for that last one JOHN cancelled becuase it was 10F

All the times I never lapped rings I never had a problem. I like the Burris rings because I know there won't be no matter what angle they're at. No marring or scratching the tube either. I would be interested to know if anyone has had good luck with them using the NF scopes or an equivilent weight scope?
I have used the Burris insert rings with one Nightforce 5.5x22 - and that was on an AR-15. It worked like a champ on that rifle. No movement and nice round groups about .5 MOA...

I haven't tried the same on a hard-kicker, though...
I made my own bases for a set of Burrris ***-align rings. I just milled the dovetail off the bottom of the front ring and put in 2 8-32 screws up from the bottom in the base. The ring sits in a very shallow v-groove that is lateral accross the base. The fit is tight for the ring. The rear ring uses the windage screws and also sits in a shallow slot. As much as I like my Burris stuff, I can't say I like the base's with the twist in gizmos. They just stink. Mine was destroyed the first time I put them together. After that, I just made my own arrangement. I will say the top halves are hard to beat. If you use the optional offset ring kit, you can get 40 minutes of elevation out of em. That's more than a Signature 8-32x44 has elevation. If S1 is saying they make a set that goes on dovetails, get them and be done with it.

As for saving the finish, I have a 30mm 8-32 BD on my match gun and it's been off at least 20 times in the last year. It doesn't have a mark on it.

Your observations of rust on the rings is why I do not like lapping or reaming rings. If rings are already sized to fit the scope, any material removed only makes this "hole" bigger. This leads to less contact with the scope tube and movement.

If someone made undersize rings, then lapping would make a lot of sense. You would get an exact fit. Bedding scopes does not usually work as epoxy will move with repeated vibration and your scope will turn in the rings. Epoxy is also "soft".

Check to make sure that the bases are well aligned and adjust if necessary. If the bases are straight, so will the rings from a reputable manf. Certainly enough to not damage your scope and hold things firmly.

Personally, I love the Burris sig rings and use them whenever I have to shim a scope for more elevation. They are very strong and the inserts hold rock solid. They eliminate any alignment issues between rings and bases.

If lapping or reaming is what you choose, never let the two halves touch. This guarantees that you have no idea how much force is put on the scope to hold in place. The rings are now useless unless material can be removed so that there is a gap between the halves again.

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