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Rifle Screw Torque Settings Guidelines

I’ve had to reference back to these torque specifications a couple times, and thought it’d be helpful to post. It is a list of the recommended screw torque settings for most rifle parts, like action screw torque. These come from a lot of different sources (including manufacturers on the phone), but one great one is Brownell’s “Torque Specifications for Gunsmiths” Article.  As that article explains, these specs are subject to change as companies change their manufacturing processes, materials, and design.  However, many people believe consistent torque is at least as important as the actual number of inch/pounds (especially when talking about action screws).  Here is an excerpt from that article that illustrates another great point to keep in mind:

For the gunsmith a torque specification is more of a guideline than a rule.  Let’s consider the 15-17 in/lb specification offered by Leupold for their ring. Currently they’re using 8 x 40 torx head screws, applying 15-17 in/lbs would not cause the fastener to stretch and impart preload to the joint; but it will likely hold the scope tight enough to keep it from slipping and not damage the tube. However, if the front and/or rear ring was made out of spec, or if the height of the scope bases do not concur, or you are using an off brand scope, you may need to impart more torque to the ring screws to get them to hold the scope properly.

DescriptionRecommended Torque (in/lbs)
Scope Base To Action Screw Torque Setting

Screws that mount the rail to the action/receiver
 Scope Base Screws - Mount Rail To Action
  • Stiller Actions: 22-25
  • Nightforce: 25
  • Badger: 15-18
Scope Rings/Mount to Base Screw Torque Setting

Screws that attach the rings or mount to the rail on the action. Sometimes also referred to as crossbolt.
Scope Rings Screws To Base
  • Spuhr: 45
  • Nightforce: 68
  • Badger: 65
  • Leupold: 14
  • Warne: 25
Scope Ring Screw Torque Setting

Screws that tightens around the scope body (connecting the top half of the ring to the bottom half).
Scope Ring Screws
  • Spuhr: 15-25
  • Nightforce: 25
  • Leupold: 15-17
  • Badger: 15
  • Warne: 25
Stock Action Screw Torque Setting

Large screws that hold the stock to the action
Rifle Action Screws
  • Most bedded actions: 65
  • Remington: 45
  • Weatherby: 65
  • Winchester: 25
  • HS Precision: 45

Note: The mount shown in these photos is a Spuhr Ideal Scope Mount.

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. His engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and ability to present technical and complex information in a unbiased and straight-forward fashion has quickly caught the attention of the industry. For more info on Cal, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for the explanation of the importance of the torque on the precision screws. I will adjust my precision screws according to your numbers.

  2. Thankyou very much.

  3. Cal, A friend told me that you put an S&B on your latest rifle build. Even though it was not one of the 4 that tracked perfectly. Since I am looking at an S&B 5-25x 56 Police Marksman, I am interested in why you stuck with S&B?
    And do you like the MTC turret? Some say it is hard to go from a whole # to the next tenth without skipping one or two tenths due to the stiffness of the turret clicks. I spoke to the folks at the Winchester Va service center and they said if I did not like the MTC, they would remove that feature with a one day turn around. And BTW, thanks for all the awesome information you post 🙂

    • Hey, Cush. I do use a S&B 5-25, and I’m about to buy another one. The scope did finish #1 overall in my big scope field test, so I believe it is the best. It didn’t track perfectly, but it was near perfect. Being off by 0.1 mils at 15 and 20 mils is NOT that much. That is beyond the supersonic range of most cartridges I use, and doesn’t even apply (unless you’re really pushing a cartridge into extended long range). But if you know the amount of error your working with, you can always account for it. And it really isn’t much error. But you can’t make a scope have been clarity. You can’t fix that or correct for it. The S&B is still the king there, and it has all the features I want in a scope. So I still think it’s the best, and I’m about to vote again with my wallet!

      I HATE the MTC turret. It is hard to use, and that scenario you mentioned is 100% true. I wouldn’t pay $1000 for a S&B with MTC turrets. You should check out the post below and scroll down to the section where I talk about the S&B, and I go into a lot of detail on why I prefer the DT turret of the MTC or LT turrets. I’ve used them all (MTC, LT, DT) and I know what I prefer.

      Custom 6XC Precision Rifle Build (Has Details on S&B Turrets … this is the probably the rifle build your buddy talked about)

      Glad you’ve found my website helpful. Just trying to help guys like you out, so good to know I’m on the right track.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  4. Hi Cal, I was a little surprised not to see the specs for Seekins in your list so here’s the link.

    http://www.seekinsprecision.com/faqs.html

    Great site and keep up the good work.

    • Thanks, Steve. This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list. I was just trying to list what is common and what I personally have to reference frequently. I appreciate you sharing the link.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  5. Hey Cal, do you know if Spuhr has torque settings for the accessories that mount to their scope mounts? I haven’t been able to find these settings if they exist but figured you might know.

    • I don’t. I think they’re the same screws as what are used on the rings … so I’d expect them to be the same. Torque recommendations are usually based on what would keep the threads from failing, so if the material and threads are the same, I’d expect the torque recommendations to be the same. But, you might check with them to be sure.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Hey Cal,
        I contacted Spuhr and they confirmed your thoughts above, 15-25 is the setting for their accessory rails. Thanks!

      • Hey, thanks for coming back and letting me know. I appreciate it. That’s what I’ve been tweaking mine too, so good to know.

        Thanks,
        Cal