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New member needs help selecting base and rings for a Leupold VX-6 scope

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by bertschb, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    I'm a new member here and don't know much about mounting a scope to a rifle. I plan to buy a Leupold VX-6 3-18 50mm scope for my pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 in .264 Win Mag. I'd like to stick with Leupold for the rings and base. Can anybody recommend which base and rings you'd get for this setup?

    As long as I'm asking for help....
    I'd like to re-stock this rifle with a fancy grade walnut stock. Can anybody recommend a shop that could do this in the Hillsboro/Portland (or Bend) area?

    Sorry for the newb questions. Any help is really appreciated!

    -Brian
     
  2. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Ah um might try calling Leupolds 1-800 toll free Technical Support line. I know several folks who work on that team and they are amazingly helpful and knowledgeable. That is why they are there. They will know exactly what you need.
     
  3. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    It's funny, I never considered that. I usually know waaaaay more about the products I'm buying than the people who sell them (and no, that's not saying much) and don't bother asking. Plus, it usually takes 30 minutes and 5 forwards just to speak to a human who has heard of their product. But, in this case I think you're right on. Leupold is supposed to have great support so I'll test that out.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  4. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I have an original new in box Leupold one piece base for a model 70. Marked "Std 70 A"
    Says it will fit all Winchester Model 70's above serial # 66,350, not including .300 & .375 H&H magnums.
    I also have the 1" rings in gloss & matte finishes.
    I bought a large tackle box of scope rings, bases, screws, tools and other related items that came from GI Joes when they closed.
    If interested, you can have them cheap.

    eBay has a couple of nice stocks up for bid.
     
  5. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I contacted Leupold and I'm waiting to hear back from them about part numbers I'll need. I do know the scope I want has a 30mm tube. I'll check eBay for stocks.
     
  6. Old as Dirt

    Old as Dirt Pacific NW Active Member

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    Standard Leupold bases and medium height dovetail 30mm rings work well on a "VX-R" 3 x 9 x 40mm scope.. be sure to leave enough room for a set of "flip up caps"(Leupold Alumina's are nice) you'll want.. so in your case, "titsonritz" sees the solution.. possibly the "high" rings with a 50mm optic w/covers.. just try to keep it as low as possible, although the 30mm models offer much more range of adjustment.. Congrats.. nice optics!
     
  7. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Howdy Brian,

    I will congratulate you on the rifle: and offer this story of my very first deer (illegally killed): Winnemucca, Nevada, 1963. I am "hunting" deer with my father, but my sole purpose is bird-dog. We are in the willow-breaks of the Humbolt River. My job is to get in the dry drainages (in the willows) and as my father directed, "act like an idiot". (I believe he evaluated this as a job commensurate with my previously demonstrated abilities). He would be on the open hay-fields outside the riverbed, slightly ahead of my progress, awaiting any flushed deer. (This was not unusual: I was his bird dog for Chukar as well. He was poor, could not afford a real dog for bird hunting.)

    At some point, we were together, crossing a barbed-wire fence. I crossed first. He handed over the fence his brand new M70 Featherweight .264 Magnum. I held the wire for him as I held his gun. ( I had no gun of my own.) Three things happened simultaneously: I took my eyes off him and saw a deer, he got hung in the barbed wire (perhaps as a result of my taking my eyes off him). I said, Dad! There's a deer! He resisted saying, " HOLD THE DAMNED WIRE UP BOY!" (as he had every right to), but said instead, "SHOOT IT!"

    I was 8, and very small. I'd seen that gun shoot. I knew it was VERY loud and VERY powerful. (No one back then wore ear protection when targeting deer rifles, let alone kids.) I'd heard my Dad and friends laugh about its horrendous recoil (compared to their customary .30-30's and such). I was terrified. But I'd done stuff before when terrified when Dad said to do it (with horses and such). So, I raised the gun, found the Humbolt Whitetail in the scope, and squeezed the trigger just like I did on my Winchester 67A .22 for cottontails.

    I don't remember or even think I felt the gun go off. I did manage to not drop it. Next thing I knew, Dad gotout of the fence with a ripped shirt, grabbed the gun and ran to the deer with me behind. He forgot his gun. I ran with it.

    50 years later (just like you), finally, I now am the owner of a .264. Mine is a Remington 700 Classic. Like you, I need to learn. I know something about guns and scopes and such. I know very little about .264's. Maybe we can learn together about this very special caliber.

    I would congratulate you on a fine scope (because it is), but I would ask and challenge your choice for 50mm. I have very close contacts in the Leupold factory, and I can tell you that they only got into the 50mm craze because they had to. To be very brief and kind, the benefits of that objective are subjective. If you are not a Georgia beanfield hunter, or a Norwegian dusk-dark moose hunter, there is very little gained on this continent. The sacrifice is in elevating your cheek above the comb, which, with magnum calibers and recoil (in my opinion, ANY recoil), becomes accentuated. This is beside considerations for the natural position of the head and eye on the comb of the stock for good sight picture.

    Here is the acid test: With your eyes closed, mount the rifle as if getting ready to fire at a trophy animal running at 70 yards. Open your eyes. With a 50mm scope (or a 40mm mounted too high), I will be willing to bet your eye is below where it needs to be to access the proper (and instant) field of view in your scope. This is only the FIRST detriment: your comfortable, natural shooting position has to be compromised for scope field of view. The SECOND detriment is that once that compromise is made (lifting your cheek above the comb for proper field of view), delivered and felt recoil is logarithmically magnified into your face. CRITICAL in a magnum caliber. Two Strikes. We all know what happens at strike three. I prefer going to the plate with all advantages toward a hit at the first swing.

    I look forward to your reply to my input here, I do not want to denigrate your choice of optics (because I don't know if they were by choice). I do want to recommend (to everyone) that you choose and mount optics according to natural instinct and comfortable position as opposed to dubious optical benefit. My recently purchased choice for my .264? Leupold VXI, 4x-12x. Simple, Stupid, Superb. I know this bulletproof scope will deliver what I demand in the field. Mounted on Low rings, when I open my eyes after a "blind throw up", I see the world.

    I also was very pleased to see your exploration of aftermarket stocks for your fine barreled action. I am engaged in much the same exploration for a vintage Model 70 in .225: I must preserve the original stock unaltered, but know that the gun might shoot better in a glass-bedded stock of other manufacture.

    We also share the new exploration into loading for the .264. After 50 years, its about time for me, and I welcome a partner in the science.
     
  8. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    Great post Spitpatch! Loved your story!

    Although I don't know much about scope bases and rings, I've actually been using guns and hunting for quite a while. I do my own reloading but that's about where my expertise ends - actually I'm no expert at that either. I wouldn't even try replacing a stock. Anyway, the reason I'm looking for a 50mm scope is I once owned one. It was a Vari-X III 3.5x10. Now this isn't saying much, but it was by far the best scope I ever owned. It was also the only 50mm scope I've owned. The eye relief (probably not the correct term here) was soooooooooo much better than any scope I've ever used that I told myself I would never get another 40mm scope. It seemed no matter how I looked through that scope I could see everything, not just a tiny circle in the middle. It was very forgiving of head position (side to side, up and down). It was awesome!!!

    My problem is I don't know if the forgiving nature of that 50mm scope was due to it being 50mm or if it was just that particular scope design or how it was mounted. What I do know is all the other 40mm scopes I look through have a VERY narrow window of where you can look through them and see something and even then, the sight picture seems very small. I just hate seeing a teeeny circle of the image.

    Now this is where my inexperience comes into play- it could be how all the scopes I've looked through were mounted. They may have been too far back or forward. Since I'm not an expert on optics, I'm choosing a new 50mm scope because of my past experience. It has nothing to do with low light performance and everything to do with seeing a huge image in the rear objective along with a very forgiving window of where I can put my head in relation to the scope. I want this new scope to work like my last 50mm scope.

    Having said that, if I can find a 40mm scope that will perform the same way, I'd jump all over it for the exact reasons you listed. I do NOT like the high mount required for a 50mm scope. For me the main drawback is it messes up the drop of the bullet at various ranges. I don't know all the technical terms but the lower the scope is mounted in relation to the barrel, the better. The bullet still shoots just as flat but the point where the bullet crosses the (whatever the correct term is) is different. I'm not explaining this very well but I think folks will know what I mean.

    As for your comment about how it will be less natural to draw a rifle up to shoot because the scope is mounted higher - again, you're right. But, I've only shot one deer while it was running and that was my first deer. That was 40 years ago when I was 11 years old. My uncle gave me an old iron sighted 30-06. He had me shoot a couple rounds through it to see how I'd do. It was the first gun I'd shot! The next morning we went hunting. I saw a deer running through a clearing and took aim and pulled the trigger. I'm not even sure if I was looking for horns. It ended up being a 4 point! I've never shot a running deer since. I now wait for them to stop and turn around and look back at me. I always have time to mount the rifle. I also notice I never really hear the gun or feel the recoil when I shoot a deer. When I sight magnum rifles in I always use a strap-on recoil pad because I'm a weenie so it won't matter if the gun recoils more because of the scope height. I don't feel any recoil anyway.

    I really do appreciate your feedback. My dad died when I was 9 so I've pretty much had to teach myself everything to do with guns (and all other "guy" things for that matter). Based on what you've said, I'm going to go check how all my scopes are mounted and I'm also going to look through them all at various magnifications to see how they look. The only problem is I don't have a 50mm scope to compare them to.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply and for the great story. Oh, BTW, I sent Leupold an email last Monday. No reply. I also was given the name of a local gunsmith to contact about replacing the stock. I sent him an email last Monday. No reply. This is why forums like this, and people like you, are so helpful. Businesses don't seem to care about customers any more.

    Time to go reload some more .264 Magnums to see what load is most accurate in that rifle!
     
  9. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Your 50mm experience with "more favorable" eye relief is very most probably related to your suspicion: That scope just happened to be mounted correctly for distance from your eye. The larger objective should have no bearing on eye relief. I, like you, resist any shooting at running game if that is possible. My scenario was described in order to diagnose what is instantly and instinctively comfortable for you, and you hit directly on another crucial factor that will be exposed with the "blind throw up" scenario: eye relief.

    When mounting a scope on a rifle, the general rule of thumb (for me) is that for a non-recoiling gun (rimfires, .223's, etc.), the eyepiece of the scope should line up with the tip of the pistol grip when viewed from the side. On a recoiling gun, the eyepiece should be about 1/2" to 1" ahead of the tip of the pistol grip. ( "Weatherby eyebrows" are quite fashionable, but the surgical procedure to obtain one is dubiously worth the admiration gained.) These are only STARTING POINTS during the mounting procedure. We all know that pistol grip designs vary, shooter techniques vary (my father always threw his cheek far forward on the comb and therefore his scopes were always mounted further forward than I liked), and eye relief in scopes vary. Cheaper scopes very often have unforgiving eye relief. Variable power scopes will be less forgiving for eye relief at the higher power setting: ALWAYS test eye relief at the high power setting for proper scope mounting.

    When you finish running around in circles for a good .264 load, let me know. Might save me a lot of work!:thumbup:

    Oh, one more thing: since you have a Winchester Model 70 .264, I find it necessary to ask if you have stumbled upon a small matter known as "dual-diameter" bullets?

    If not, and with the gun you have, it would behoove you to look into it. I can supply what I know if you come up empty-handed. An interesting piece of rifle marketing history (peculiar to the Winchester .264) that may help you in your loading efforts.
     
  10. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    OK, I checked out the three scopes I have. One is a Leupold Vari-X II 4x12x40 that I bought many years ago. The other two are scopes I inherited (along with the rifles). One is a Redfield 3x9 the other is a Nikon Monarch 3x9.

    Here's what I learned. When I mount the rifles, all the scopes are too far forward. My eyeball (not forehead) is about 5 1/2" from the scope. I need to move it to about 3" from the scopes in order to see the full view in the scope. This is with the magnification set to max. The big problem is all these scopes were mounted to within about 1/8" of the maximum rearward position in the scope mount. There's no way to move them further back. That made me think I must have stocks with long draws so I measured them. All of them were about 13 1/2" from the trigger which I understand is pretty normal.

    I then looked through my Leupold catalog and looked at the measurements for tube lengths for various scopes and they are all pretty similar to the scopes I already have. So now I really don't know what to do. Moving my head forward to get the correct sight picture is very awkward and unnatural. I think I need a scope mount that allows the scope to be mounted further than "normal" rearward but when I look at the Leupold catalog, it appears they don't even sell a standard base for my rifle. Since Leupold won't answer my email I can't get any help from them and the typical gun dealers (Sportsman's Warehouse, etc.) don't know anything.

    I must have a really weird body shape. I'm 6' 4". Maybe that's part of my problem. I dunno. Very depressing. I just want a new scope!!! How hard can this be????

    I have not heard of dual diameter bullets! I'll look into that. I've only loaded two bullets for that rifle so far. A 129g Hornady SST and a Nosler 130g AccuBond. So far the rifle prefers the Nosler bullets. The only thing that's a little tricky with the load I'm working on is the Nosler bullets are blems that I got from the factory store in Bend. They look perfect to me so I'm not sure why they are blems but I hope they don't shoot much different than the twice as expensive retail bullets.

    Time for more research to figure out why my eyeball is 5 1/2" from the scope...
     
  11. Old as Dirt

    Old as Dirt Pacific NW Active Member

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    Eye Relief for the VX-6 is said to be 3.8" Sounds like you need to find a solution to make up 1 3/4"..



    Leupold 2-Piece Standard Scope Base Winchester 70 Reversible Front

    •Pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 with serial number above 66,360. All calibers except 300 and 375 H & H Magnum.

    I have these same bases on my .308 caliber Tikka T-3 Lite.. along with a set of "Medium" height 30mm rings mounting a VX-R 40mm CDS firedot scope and they are worth the price.. don't forget a dab of blue Loctite for the base hardware..

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/497292/leupold-30mm-standard-rings-matte-medium

    It is entirely possible that if you have an early production gun that it left the factory without pre drilled mounting holes. In which case a gunsmith or machinist at some time drilled and tapped the receiver and it would possibly need to have a custom base made to account for the custom drill and tap. Save yourself some headache and have the holes measured. Standard hole spacing should be .860" for both front and rear if they are factory drilled and tapped..
     
  12. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    Thanks guys for the great feedback. Very helpful!!

    Old as Dirt-
    I'm glad you mentioned the eye relief for the VX-6. I wasn't sure what that measurement meant when looking at all the specs in the Leupold brochure but now it all makes sense. It's interesting that the eye relief for the VX-6 is the same at high and low magnification. I didn't see any other scopes in their catalog that did that. Not sure if it's a typo or what.

    My rifle was made in 1960. I measured the mounting holes and spacing was right around .860" as you mentioned. I'm going to try to find a front base that allows the front ring to be mounted further back in the base. I still find it very odd that all four of my center fire scoped rifles have their scopes mounted almost or all the way back in the rings and the scopes are still not far enough back- for me. I only mounted one of those scopes, the rest were rifles I inherited. All of them are 1.75" inches too far forward for me with no way to move them further back.

    If only I could find a reputable gunsmith near Sunriver or Hillsboro who could look at my rifle and how I raise the gun to my shoulder and could recommend a solution. Time to research base/ring combinations to see which of them might allow me to mount the scope further back than what is apparently "normal"
     
  13. Old as Dirt

    Old as Dirt Pacific NW Active Member

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    These standard bases for your rifle has the option of installing the front or rear mount in reverse.. allowing you to set the scope in the rings further back by installing the front one reversed.. the rear ring would be all the way forward on the 30mm tube and might just get you there.. mine is further forward.. as it has an eye relief of 4.2"-3.7" and try to avoid "Weatherby eyebrows" at all costs.. :winkkiss: LOP is 13 1/2" and I like to pull it in tight..

    CDS firedot resize.jpg
     
  14. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    Holy cow! That's it. I just looked at the bases that are on the gun now and there is no adjustment for the front base. But, the bases you pointed me to look like they'll work great. OK, that mystery is solved! Now I can mount the scope further back and get the eye relief adjusted properly. Thank you!!!
     
  15. Old as Dirt

    Old as Dirt Pacific NW Active Member

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    :thumbup:
     
  16. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    We're on our way, thanks to Well-Aged Soil, but here's the cherry on top: If your reversible front mount does not quite give you what you need, Leupold also sells what is called an "extension ring" set, that grants yet another half-inch of rearward positioning. One of my very favorite scopes is Leupold's 3x-9x Compact (they call it "ultralight" now). This little powerhouse very often requires the offset extension rings on the front to get the eyepiece where it needs to be.

    The good Redfield you have would be a fine, nearly "period correct" scope for your pre-64 '70. (Provided it is in similar condition to the rifle, passes a freezer fog-test, etc.).

    Stay tuned for info on "dual-diameter" bullets (Oh: don't waste too much time looking for them).
     
  17. Old as Dirt

    Old as Dirt Pacific NW Active Member

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  18. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Too bad there not in stock. Might try calling Warne Scope Mounts located in SW Tualatin.
    They give excellent advice and you can walk in and purchase right off the shelf.


    Warne Scope Mounts

    9500 SW Tualatin Road
    Tualatin, OR 97062
    1-800-683-5590
    503-657-5590
    Fax: 503-657-5695
     
  19. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The .264 and "dual-diameter bullets":

    When Winchester introduced the .264, the targeted competition was Weatherby (and the phenomenal velocities). Weatherby achieves this (in part), by a concept called "freebore". Freebore is really nothing more than a slightly longer throat in the chambering, allowing for some slight "bullet-jump" before the projectile engages the rifling. Current thought says this is detrimental to accuracy, but the fine Weatherby barrels put this concern to quick rest.

    Handloaders of the .264 realized very early-on that they were having great trouble matching claimed factory velocities in the .264, and even measured chronograph (chrono's weren't just available to any Tom, Dick or Harry then) velocities. What they were struggling against was Winchester's "long way around the barn" to get a little "freebore" in their guns without lengthening the throat of the chamber (I don't know if Weatherby had a patent on it or what, but Winchester avoided the modification to the guns.)

    Their solution was a bullet that was "dual-diameter": in other words, true .264 diameter (6.5mm), does not occur in these older Winchester bullets until slightly more rearward of the ogive: The bullets are actually .262 or .263 or so for a bit just behind the ogive. This achieves the similar effect to Weatherby freebore, and a corresponding increase in velocity.

    I stumbled on this bit of history while struggling a few years ago with a Ruger 50th Anniversary Stainless M77 in .264 (purchased for a girlfriend). Handloading, we just could not get the gun/cartridge to do much more than a very warm .270. (Which is what Jack O'Connor called the .264 to start with, but that is another story altogether.)

    A trip to the local smith (who is an old-school rifle builder) revealed the "Winchester Secret of the .264". Kind of a trek up the mountain to consult the Guru for hidden knowledge of the Universe, dontcha know. He whipped out his calipers, measured the magazine box length, proclaimed, "Lotsa room!", and suggested we allow him to extend the chamber throat a bit. We did, which allowed for seating bullets out a bit farther (minor increase in "case capacity", or allowance of some "freebore").

    All subsequent loads out of that gun easily matched the old Winchester velocities, and also matched Winchester's magazine-ad claims printed below a close-up photo of a Model 70 muzzle pointed right at you (big hooded front sight over a round-crowned blued barrel):

    "Winchester's Model 70 .264 Magnum: The Westerner. It makes a helluva noise, and packs a helluva wallop."
     
  20. bertschb

    bertschb Sunriver, OR New Member

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    Spitpatch - You are a gifted writer! Really enjoy reading your posts.

    One of the things I find interesting about firearms is all the cartridges that have been developed over the years and the history behind each of them. I think most people would be well served with just three or four cartridges but companies have introduced hundreds. I'm amazed Winchester would go to such lengths to make what really is such a minor improvement in performance. But, I'm glad they did because it just adds more interesting stories for us to read about!