Adding a LED Light Bar and Amber LED Fog Light Behind The Grill Of a 2021 Ram 2500 Tradesman – Stealth Lighting On a Budget

In September 2021, I bought my first new truck – a 2021 Ram 2500 Tradesman. Something about it being straight forward without a ton of bells and whistles appealed to me and I managed to buy it – I’ll be making payments for four more years 🙂 At any rate, there were a number of things I did to customize it more to my needs – one area was lighting. For whatever reason, Dodge went cheap and used halogen bulbs and they were anemic.

The first thing I did was to buy a set of Lasfit LED replacement bulbs and upgraded the high beams. Wow – what a difference. I considered doing the low beams too but changed my mind. First, I could not get my hands into the low beam housings to make the swap without taking more of the truck apart. Second, after seeing how bright the high beams were, I was worried about blinding oncoming drivers so I just settled and left the low beams alone. I don’t really regret it – when I am on country roads at night and turn on the high beams, wow – there’s a HUGE difference.

Until you drive rural farm roads at night or go off-road, you don’t really appreciate having good lights. The new high beams were good but I wanted even better – I really wanted a light bar but I wanted it without making a ton of alterations to the truck. My 2500 has a cap and no roll bar or headache bar to mount on so that left the bumper, the A-frame or some form of roof mount. I did some thinking and decided to go with a non-traditional approach – I would mount the light bar behind the lower grill and add a yellow light bar for fog and snow below it angled downwards.

Legal Disclaimer: The LED light bars are rated for off-road use only. Be considerate and don’t blind other drivers. Not to mention you would likely get a ticket operating these on public roads.

What LEDs To Use

Okay, I am short on funds right now and needed good enough parts. I’ve had pretty good luck with Nilight LED bars that you can get really good pricing on from Amazon plus they also have wiring harnesses with relays that you can use.

I wanted to fill the lower bracket from left to right so that meant about a 26″ light bar. To project the light both far and wide, I bought a triple row unit that combines flood and spot lighting.

For the amber LED, the biggest they had was 20″. I didn’t really want massive light from it because it is for snow and rain. In case you didn’t know, amber/yellow lighting is preferred for fog lights because that wavelength of light does a better job penetrating and letting you see objects in those conditions.

We were in the Smoky Mountains near Wears Valley between Pigeon Forge and Townsend a few years back trying to get to a cabin during heavy rain at night. Our old Highlander had so-so white fog lights that were better than nothing but I became a believer after that. Tons of white light just bounces back at you in rain, fog and snow. Go with amber lights.

In terms of the wiring harnesses, I bought two 14 gauge Nilight sets. I planned to remove their switch and plug into the Ram upfitter switches. The upfitter switches are an option and a truck is prewired with a number of access ports to let you plug in things like lights, pumps, etc. If your truck doesn’t have upfitter switches then just run their switches into your cab and mount them on the dash. I’ve used 3-4 Nilight light bars and switches over the years and none have failed on me – they look good too because they light up when turned on.

When it comes to wiring lights, I prefer to use relays when possible. This allows you to use a switch with fairly low amperage that then powers the relay and closes the switch that then feeds current from the battery through a thicker gauge wire. This avoids choking the power running too thin long wire to the switch and back. When your lights are properly powered, they will produce their maximum light is what it boils down to.

Designing the Bracket

Sticking with not wanting to alter the truck, I wanted to bolt the lights to a bracket and then the bracket to the truck. Since the truck was relatively new and not rusted like crazing, I had tons of potential bolts to use – I could have secured the bracket to the bolts of the tow hooks for example. What really caught my eye was the subframe for my Western Pro Plow 2. I’m a big Western plow fan – my dad had one when I was growing up and while I’ve had others – notably a Meyer and a SuperPlow – I still liked Westerns.

To mount the plow, Western creates bolt on sub frames that will connect to a given truck and then there are receivers that the plow connects to. Part of the sub frame is a 2″ x 1/4″ thick cross member that is secured by four bolts – two on each side. That was perfect. The inside bolts were on about 20″ centers. I would connect the bracket to that and go up with a cross member and a top shelf of angled steel. The material would be 1/4″ hot rolled mild steel – why? Because I didn’t want the bracket to bend or stress crack over time from the wind hitting the lights. On one hand, I figured the aerodynamics around the truck would stop some of the air flow but on the other, I’d seen guys in the past run big old school KC Daylighters on cheap light bars and they broke. So, yeah, I overbuilt the heck out of it.

I credit junior high shop class and the instructor, Mr. Tack, with teaching me the benefit of sketching a layout before starting work. Over the years, I’ve learned to sketch, mock up, and test fit before finalizing stuff. With that in mind, I sketched the bracket with pin and paper – young people will certainly think this is from the stone age but it works for me.

This super low-tech sketch was me thinking through what I wanted to do. It all began with knowing the grill’s hole was 26″, the distance between hole centers of the Western plow sub-frame was 20″ and I had to cut a upright pieces about 9″ tall.
I figured out the vertical by clamping a steel square rule to the plow’s sub-frame and then ran a piece of steel through the grill to measure the height where the two met.

Before You Start!

When it comes to lighting in general, trust but verify. Before you do anything else, take the lights out of the boxes and connect them direct tot he battery to make sure they work.

Each light bar has a short lead. You need to either touch them directly to the battery and make sure the bar turns on or use some short jumper cables. I clipped the negative to the battery and bridged the positive to the battery using a remote starter switch that I had handy. Really, you can use just about any short length of wire to make the connections and make sure they turn on – quick and dirty is all you need.

Fabricating the Bracket

With the design roughed out, the next step was to begin cutting out the pieces of steel. Over the years, I’ve learned that I am better off to work on a section at a time vs. cutting everything at once. This way, if I make a mistake or need to adjust the design, it’s easier. I tend to find design mistakes earlier on this way.

I cut two 9″ pieces of the 2″x1//4″ bar stock and clamped them to the frame. Note they are not in the final position. I planned to pull the inside set of bolts, drill holes in the bar stock and mount them there. What this let me do was to test if I had the height right.
With the uprights clamped in place, I then cut the 2″x1/4″ angle iron to a length of 22″. I did 22 because I wanted plenty of material surrounding the bolt holes that I would drill but also had to be mindful that I would clear the outer bolts of the sub-frame’s cross member. I then set the LED light bar on this, took a step back and looked to see if I had it right and thought it looked good enough to proceed. Note, this puts the LED light bar close to the top of the bumper hole’s top edge.
Armed with the dimensions confirmed, I then cut out the horizontal cross member that would hold the amber fog light. This is my SWAG Offroad table holding a Milwaukee Portaband. I use this all of the time for cutting steel and composites in my small shop.
This is the mocked up bracket. I confirmed the dimensions one more time. Note, I planned it this way because with the cross member to the back, it will be sitting just fraction of an inch above the plow sub-frame’s cross member. I wanted the fog lights to be low . I debated about using a piece of angle iron for that lower portion but at some point design overkill isn’t worth it. Also, I welded the bracket together. If you prefer, you could bolt them together also.
Part of the mockup was to check the lights. Note, I did not drill the mounting holes until after welding in case I wanted to adjust something.
I did remember to take a quick photo while cleaning up the steel prior to welding. Note, if you want good welds, sand, grind or abrasive blast down to the shiny silver steel. The grey coating on the metal is known as mill slag which will contaminate your welds and the brown is rust which will do the same. I didn’t bother getting all of the steel equally clean. I did make a quick pass through everything so the paint would have a good surface to adhere to but I really focused my cleaning on where the welds would be.

Welding the Bracket

I used my Miller Millermatic 211 MIG running 75/25 shielding gas and .030 wire. I set the thickness to 1/4″ and let the machine figure things out. I bought this machine years ago and it really does a great job for me – most of my work is light fabrication anyways with thicknesses usually at or under 3/8″ thick and relatively short weld times.

This past summer I bought a new Antra welding helmet with a large view port. I had an older Antra helmet that I bought in 2014 that still works it just looks very used. The cool skull graphics and larger viewing area tipped me to buying a new one. I like Antra helmets – not only do they work well but they also come with spare lens protectors.
I did some quick tack welds with my Miler MIG. The purpose of small welds like these is to get the assembly basically held together so things don’t move plus you can take and confirm the fitment one more time — which is what I did. If a mistake was made or something shifted, you could grind the small tack weld off. The photo doesn’t show to but I clamped everything together very securely to make sure things didn’t move. It really pays off to make sure everything is laid out tight and clamped together before you weld. I’ve had stuff get messed up so many times over the years that I am now very careful.
With everything confirmed, I proceeded to weld the joints front and back. Note, do a small bead and then move to another area to weld so you don’t cause the bracket to get too hot and warp. None of these beads were done all at once. The discolorations reflect the welding on the other side.
Before painting, I drilled the various mounting holes I needed for the LEDs. Note, not all have the same number of mounts – the 20″ light bar and two and the 26″ light bar had three. You can slide them all around to get the angles you want. Be sure to use cutting fluid to making cutting easier – your bits will last longer.
I like to drill the holes slightly oversized so I can wiggle the bolts around a bit if needed. I’ll own the mistake this photo shows — I forgot to drill the third hole in the middle. I fixed that later. By the way, the cross-member bolts are quite large. I used a Silver & Deming reduced shank 5/8″ bit. When bits are that big, using a drill press really helps.
The front of the bracket has four coats of black Rustoleum all in one and the back has three. It’s impossible to stop rust in Michigan due to our salting roads in the winter but we can at least try and delay it. Yeah, still no third hole on the top yet. I don’t think I have a photo of the bracket before mounting the lights with the third hole. For all of the holes, try and make sure they are true to one another and horizontally parallel .
Before mounting the lights, I did test mount the bracket just to make sure. One interesting thing surfaced – when the tech installed the plow sub-frame, he did not true the left side. The right side is properly parallel to the ground. The left side’s bracket is clocked up a degree or two. If you look at the cross member where it bolts together you can see the left side is not true. I plan to find out what they did wrong and fix it but didn’t do so when I installed the lights.

By the way, this was not light by any means. The bracket weighed just under 12.5 pounds prior to the lights.

Mounting the Light Bars

With the bracket completed, next up was to mount the light bars. I wanted to do that and then install the whole assembly into the truck vs. installing the bracket and trying to install everything in an awkward position under the truck.

Here are the lights in their mounts. As you can see, the third bolt on the top is now in place. I did put a couple of coats of black paint in the new hole to slow down the rust. The top white LED is pointing straight ahead. The amber light is angled down as far as the bracket allows. I could have filed the slots a tad and been able to angle it down another degree or two but it turned out to be enough to keep the amber light out of the eyes of oncoming traffic.
Here’s a rear view where you can see Nilight’s brackets better. Each one has a slight arc and you have quite a bit of adjustment.

Wiring Up The Lights

As mentioned my plan was to use the upfitter switches and I did. If you do not plan to, then use the Nilight switch. I am going to detail what I did with the upfitter wiring. Why use the upfitter switches? Personally, I think it makes for a very clean look. You have the nice integrated switches in the dash and then RAM also did the wiring out to a number of different terminal locations for you hook up accessories.

These are the upfitter switches. If you do not see something like this in your truck then you do not have that option package and can just go ahead with using a separate switch – such as the one that comes with Nilight’s wiring harness. My plan was to use Aux 1 for the 20″ amber fog light and Aux 2 for the 26″ white LED bar.
In addition to the switches you should have a bag of wires and a brief guide in a plastic bag. My bag was under my back bench when I bought the truck. You need the wiring in this kit. There are aftermarket wiring kits if you lost your’s but bottom line is that you need the wiring.

If you need more information about the upfitter wiring – click here for the official RAM page for commercial body builders (their choice of words not mine). The next photo actually shows what you need to do for the simple LED addition we are doing.

We are using two of the 12 AWG wires – the color code for Aux 1 is Pink with a dark blue line abbreviated PK/DB. The Aux 2 is Pink with a dark green line abbreviated PK/DG.
See the funny looking grey connector with the green plugs on the left side of the fuse box? That is the upfitter terminals for Aux ports 1 through 4. Aux 1 is top left. Aux 2 is bottom left. Aux 3 is top right and Aux 4 is bottom right. Now there is another grey connector block under that which we do not need.
To keep things somewhat modular, I went with spade bits. I like the ones with shrink tubing so you can better connect them to the insulation on the wire. Certainly, you could use other types of connectors or even just solder the various ends together if you wanted to.
With the male spade fitting installed, I then went ahead and mounted the light bar assembly under the truck and tightened down the bolts. I put a cardboard box there because if I dropped the assembly I didn’t want to trash the paint. Thankfully, I didn’t drop it but I have fumbled stuff in the past hence the relatively soft landing zone.
Peeking up from ground level this is how things looked. I did not pull the protective lens cover film off until it was time to test the lights.
The white LED is located back from the grill. LEDs can get surprisingly hot and I didn’t want to melt the plastic. I may be losing some of the projected light being set back like that but the end result is still remarkable and I don’t have to worry about melting the grill if the truck is standing still with the LED on.
The green rubber plugs are pulled out using needle nose pliers. As you can wee, we have the pink & blue wire in the Aux 1 port and the pink and green wire in Aux 2.
Even when it comes to the upfitter switches and wiring, I wanted to make sure they worked. I turned on Aux 1 and got over 12 volts and when I turned it off, no volts. Same with Aux 2. We are using power from the Aux switches to switch relays on or off. Relays have a very low current draw so I don’t need to worry about blowing fuses relating to the upfitter wiring.
This is the modular swith portion of the Nilight wiring harness, Red is positive, Black is negative and White is switch circuit for the relay. In other words, positive comes in on red, when the switch turns on, power then goes through the white circuit, the relay switches and then the larger/heavier 14 gauge wires carry the current from the battery to each light bar. You will connect the white wire of the wiring harness to the relevant Aux pigtail lead. As mentioned, I used spade connectors but you can solder them if you wish, You will not use/need the red or black so make sure they are cut back and protected to prevent any surprises.
I trimmed the switch wire back and then zip tied everything in place so it wasn’t flopping around. One thing I did was to wrap yellow electrical tape at the base of the fog light relay so I would rapidly know which of the two it was and I wrapped white electrical tape at the base of the relay for the white 26″ bar. You want them secure so the wires don’t flex around unnecessarily and break down over time.

Testing and Results

I turned the switches on and confirmed the lights work then I waited for it to get dark. The following photos are of a tree line about 40 yards from the front of the truck plus are straight out of the camera – no color changing, sharpening, etc.

Low beam – these are the stock halogens.
High beams – Lasfit LED upgrade
High beams and new Nilight 20″ yellow fog light bar turned on.
High beam, yellow fog and 26″ light bar all on. What you can’t see in this photo is that peripheral light increased dramatically. If you were on a trail and wanting to see a deer or something coming in from the side, it’s a definite improvement. Just to be clear though, this is not street legal.

Here’s a video of the testing:

This really helps you see the results.
Here’s looking at the truck with low beams on and the yellow LED bar. I really like how it lights the road up directly in front of the truck. You can see the clocking issue I mentioned because the amber light bar is slightly lower on the right than on the left.
Oh man, do not run that 26″ bar on the road. It is like looking at a camera flash going off continuously. It’s incredibly bright and will blind anyone looking at it. It took a few minutes for my vision to come back after quickly snapping this photo.
From a distance you really don’t see the lights blatantly there – you have to look for them.
You get in closer and you can see them but you have to be looking for them.


I like how things turned out. I’ve been using the set up for about a month now and am very happy. I’ll post updates down the road. Lighting may look daunting but it is actually quite straight forward.

I hope this helps you out!

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Brownells Coupon Codes!

I got an email from Brownells today that for a limited time (they didn’t say how long) these coupons will get you discounts based on the dollar amount of your order:

  • Save $10 on $125 orders. Code: Email10
  • Save $25 on $250 orders. Code: Email25
  • Save $40 on $400 orders. Code: Email40
  • Save $60 on $600 orders. Code: Email60

They have some really good deals as well:

They have a lot of sales going on – here’s their sales page. The above coupons also apply to their regular non-sale items as well.

Hope this helps!

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

S2Delta 2-Point Modular Slings Are Good To Go

A good sling for a rifle is really worth it if you plan on carrying them around much. The challenge can be finding one that is quality made that doesnb’t break the bank in terms of cost. Over the past few years, I’ve found a vendor that makes their slings in the USA and does a really nice job – that group is S2Delta.

S2Delta was founded by two Marine Recon vets in Albuquerque, NM, that offers a variety of accessories includling slings, rifle rests and patches. It also looks like they are working on bringing a Remington 700 short action rifle chassis to market as well. My experience with them focuses on their two point modular slings. Let’s review a few things first.

What do they mean by 1-point vs. 2-point slings?

When you see companies refer to a sling being one or two-point, they are referring to the number of places the sling attaches to the weapon. A one-point sling connects only at one point and exactly where depends on the length of the weapon and the preferences of the operator. For example, a relatively short AR may be attached at the end of the buttstock and swung up into position as needed. I’ve also seen guys run connectors along the stock on purpose built end plates just in front of the castle nut.

A two-point slings connects to the weapon and two points – at forward and rear positions usually. I’ve seen guys run their forward position way out at the end of their handguard or even the front sight. The rear tends to be towards the rear of the stock.

Personally, I tend to run two point slings given how I like to distribute the weight of the weapon and how I swing it up into firing position. If I have something relatively small and light, I might run a one point sling but again, this really depends on what you prefer and you learn this over time.

What is a modular sling?

A sling has to connect to the weapon somehow. These days it might be strapped, clipped, a “mash hook”, snap gate D-ring or some form of quick detach (QD) swivel. Instead of dedicating one sling per method, a modular approach became popular that allows you to take a base sling and then pick the connector of your choice to use at one or both ends. You could also start one way and then change just the end vs. the whole sling.

This helps settle the debate of “what connector is best?” Instead, you let your needs dictate what to use. For example, with MP5s I would use HK hooks. With ARs and AKs with modern furniture, I tend to run QD swivels. Again, it’s up to you and what your weapon can support.

What makes a sling “good”?

Ah yes, the quality section. Years ago, I wanted to carry slings forRonin’s Grips and bought a bunch of import samples and all of them were junk meaning they were made from questionable materials and methods. It dawned on me that bringing another sling to market without a differentiator was pointless so I dropped the idea.

Ok, so what you want to look for is the use of wide heavy duty nylon straps, reliable connectors and slides, plus good stitching in a nutshell. So let’s look at each of these points.

Let’s start with the connectors that attach the sling to the weapon – the cheap no-name or import airsoft-grade slings have connectors of real bad quality. I’ve seen hooks snap, QD swivels jam or disintegrate… I dropped an AR on concrete once when the QD failed for example. The connector is very important.

By the way, remember the Die Hard movie scene withere Bruce Willis’ character is dangling from an HK strap? That was a pretty cool memorable movie scene but I wouldn’t say it should set expectations in reality.

These days, I tend to prefer the QD swivels as most of my rifles have them so I can move a sling around quickly if I need to. Also, if I am cleaning, working on the weapon or even firing from the bench, it’s super easy to disconnect the sling and set it to the side.

This is an S2Delta sling with one of their supplied QD swivels that is installed in the handguard of a 16″ AR. Note the beefy stitching and the clips they are using to secure the modular end to the sling.
Here’s one of the S2Delta supplied quick disconnect swivels

For the straps, I prefer nylon and you need them to be at least 1″ to 1.25″ wide to fit swivels, etc. When you get up to the area that will be on your portion, look for 1.5-2″ or even having padding. If you are wearing body armor, the weight is distributed. If you aren’t then the weight of your weapon will only be distributed by the area of the sling that is in contact with how you have it slung on your body. A weapon can get uncomfortable surprisingly fast if the weight isn’t distributed. For heavier long range rifles, I will either get a sling with a pad or buy a pad to help spread out the load.

S2Delta modular sling on DMR with a 20″ Ballistic Advantage barrell, Magpul PRS Lite stock and Vortex Diamondback scope. Note the ample 2″ wide portion of the sling for the shoulder.

Another thing to consider are the slides, D-rings and other strap management parts – cheap ones tend to be thin and flimsy while the quality parts tend to be beefy and a reinforced plastic.

Last but not least, look at the stitching. Edges should be double stitiched and ends box stitched (think of a rectangular box with an X stitched inside extending to each corner.

Solid stitching for sure.
Another up close shot of the stitching.

The end of the day, the sling is only as strong as its weakest component.

Oh – I should mention length. For two point slings look for at least 50-55″. To short and you will not be able to carry the rifle in a patrol postion perpendicular to your body. A rifle over your shoulder may take too long to deply depending on what your use is.

By the way, before you take that comment to be purely tactical. A charter captain I met this summer in Alaska told me the story of his good friend who was nearly killed by a brown bear. The friend had the rifle on his back and couldn’t deploy it hast enough when the brown bear did a surprise charge from the brush. He would have bled to death from the mauling excepthe got real lucky that there just happened to be a helicopter nearby that could medevac him out. The friend still hunts but carries a .44 magnum in a Kenai-style chest holster and has his rifle much more accessible.


I am now using four of their two-point modular slings on a variety of AR configurations ranging from a 16″ defensive carbine up to a 24″ Criterion varmint barreled custom Aero designated marksman’s rifle with a Vortex PST Gen II scope that weighs quite a bit. The first time I tried one was back in 2019.

The S2Delta slings are made in the USA from good materials and I have not had any problems so far. You get a very good level of quality at an affordable price is what it boils down to.

If you are looking for a good two point rifle sling that you can count on, check out S2Delta. They offer a variety of colors and connection methods. Plus, they use Amazon to handle their sales and shipping so it makes things easy.

I hope this helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Kentuckiana Gun Works – Enhanced Reliability Oil

So I stopped in to talk to Scott Igert, my good friend who owns Michigan Gun Exchange, a few weeks back. Scott told me about a new gun oil that he had samples of that the maker had handed him directly and that I ought to take a look at it. I kind of groaned because everyone and their brother claims to have the best gun oil. Some have ok oil and some don’t (remember the canola oil mess some years back?) but nobody has THE best oil.

Many times the oils they are selling you are an existing product that has been put into tiny containers with some really splashy marketing and packaging. For example, if you find a red colored weapon oil that feels, smells and is colored red like ATF, then it is probably some variant of automatic transmission fluid – Dexron, ATF, etc. If it’s colored blue and smells and feels like hydraulic fluid then that might well be what it is. Now I am not saying all products are that way but a lot are.

So, somewhat warily, I took the sample bottle home with me. It had to wait a bit until I could get around to focusing on it. The product is “Enhanced Reliability Oil” From Kentuckiana Gun Works (KGW).

In looking at the oil, it was yellow-ish with a hint of red. It’s a blend of something – but not something right out of a bottle. I felt it and it had a nice 30 weight-ish feel to it. It wasn’t really thin but it was slippery.

The smell was that of a petroleum oil but nothing uniquely stood out.

Did I taste it … no, I have standards to uphold at least while I am sober.

Okay, those quick observations may sound ridiculous to you – well, the taste part was a joke – but many products you can kind of group by color, feel and smell. This one I couldn’t because the color was unique plus it felt like a decent lubricant so I decided to dig a bit more.

I took a few drops of some common lubricants and put them on a piece of white printer paper. Left is the KGW product, then Super Lube, them CLP, followed by Mobile 1 5w-30 synthetic engine oil and finally Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 5w-30. Super lube is clear – it just turned the paper black. KGW has a slight red hue and then the others are different yellows. The CLP soaked in the fastest by the way reflecting how thin it is.

Did Some Digging

I visited their website and also did some searching. KGW is a new firm so there really isn’t much info out there which meant I needed to reach out to Kohl Oettle, the owner of KGW who developed the oil. Scott had his contact info so we traded some emails.

Kohl was a tanker in the Marine Corp Reserve for six years and had developed a dislike for CLP as a lubricant – CLP stands for Cleaner Lubricant Protector just in case you didn’t know. Kohl pointed out, “We used CLP on everything, m4, m16, 240, m2, m48 etc, and in every application it burned off and ran off so quickly that I developed a real hate for all types of CLP. I wanted something that was thicker, handled heat better, and just lasted longer. “

That resonated with me because CLP is just way too thin for me. When I have big clunking parts, I need a thicker lubricant such as as oil or a grease to have reliable lubrication especially during break in. I still use CLP as a cleaner once in a while but I haven’t used it as a lubricant for probably 16 years — tt dawned on me that I started working on AKs around 2006 and CLP was just too thin to use as an assembly lube on those rifles so it’s been more like 16 years.

So I asked Kohl what set his oil apart from the tons of other products on the market. He responded, “It’s not trying to do everything. It wasn’t designed to be a cleaner. It’s a damn good oil and protector, without all the cleaners that make so many others thin, and less heat tolerant. I do have a very small amount of carbon deposit reducers in my oil, but just enough help control the carbon buildup and thus make the bolt reciprocate much easier. It’s not nearly enough to be used as a cleaner, and that’s on purpose. “

For the last seven years, Kohl has worked in industrial maintenance working on a variety of machines ranging from food processing to automotive parts manufacturing. As part of this, he learned that one of the most effective means of keeping a machine running reliably was to use the proper oil and grease.

What I found especially interesting was that Kohl tinkered with the the blend until he achieved the viscosity and lubrication he wanted through trial and error. He primarily had the AR-15 and similar rifles in mind when he was designing it but it will work on other pistols, rifles and shotguns as well. By the way, I mentioned earlier I thought it was about 30 weight – Kohl told me it’s a tad thicker than that.

When he was ready, he took to shooting classes and and shot thousands of rounds through a variety of weapons. He also sent out samples to people and a local gun store helped him sell his oil and collect feedback for 18 months. He took this feedback and further refined his product.

I respected what he did. Both Scott and I started our respective businesses and learned over time the same way Kohl has done.

Assembly Lube Testing

I used the KGW Enhanced Reliability Oil as an assembly lube for the fire control group, bolt catch, bolt, and bolt carrier. I grease the takedown pins so not there.
I ensured there was a thin film on both the top/front of the hammer as well as the bolt carrier.

My testing has been limited so far but I will update this post after my first range trip. I recently built two AR rifles and used Kohl’s oil as an assembly lube. I could tell everything was moving very easily. In this regard it worked great. Time is a challenge these days and I hope to get these rifles to the range in the next 3-4 weeks but didn’t want to hold up getting the word out there.

You can buy the oil direct from KGW’s website or you may find it at your local gun store as their business expands.

By the way, I don’t make any money off this post and Kohl didn’t ask me to. I just know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur trying to start a small business – I figured helping Kohl was the least I could do after all the folks who helped me.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

PSA AR Build Kits Are Affordable and Fun To Build

I’ve pointed thius out before – I really enjoy building firearms. I don’t have the hardcore machinist skills to build one from scratch – I wish I could though – but I do enjoy assembling and tinkering plus I don’t mind some fitting / fabricating. With this in mind, I have a lot of fun building ARs from PSA kits because they are affordable, reliable and accurate. I’m not going to waste time with the whole manufacturing tiering or the rediculous “poor” labels – that’s all they are. Now, if you are in the military and you need special weapons, you aren’t reading this post – it’s that simple. If you are like most folks and want to build an AR that you can enjoy with friends and family, then read on.

Founded in 2008

For those of you who do not know Palmetto State Armory (PSA) – they have been around since 2008. It was founded by Josiah McCallum after his Iraq deployment and he started it in his garage. To put it mildly, he has been growing PSA ever since into the powerhouse it is today. Folks, PSA has a ton of offerings now – ARs, AKs, pistols, ammo, parts … the list goes on and on. One thing you will notice is that they are constantly learning and evolving.

I’ve Only Had One Problem

So, I bought and built my first PSA AR many years back – I looked at my order history and it looks like it was 2014. In all the years, I can only remember one problem – they forgot to include the disconnector. I contacted customer service and had one a few days later. That was probably a year or two after my first one and I’ve not had a problem since. You’ll notice now they bag their parts by grouping so this probably helps with quality control considerably.

Have I ever had a part fail? No – not that I recall. I normally will put a few hundred rounds through a build, eventually get bored of it and have my FFL, Michigan Gun Exchange, sell it to fund another project. So all I can tell you is that my experience with their AR kits has been very favorable and have no reservations telling someone to use them – especially if they want to start and learn.

What options do they have?

Whew – they have tons and tons of kits and parts you can choose from. Different barrel lengths, handguards, furniture, triggers, and so forth. You can buy a kit with everything except for a stripped lower receiver or you can buy assemblies such as a build kit for a stripped lower to then use with whatever upper receiver you want.

The point is that they have something for everyone and if you are patient and watch their Daily Deals (you can sign up for their emails) then you can get a great deal. For example, the kit I built this time is their “PSA 16″ 5.56 NATO 1:7 MIDLENGTH NITRIDE 13.5″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK MOE EPT RIFLE KIT W/ MBUS SIGHT SET” – which means in has a 16″ barrel that is chambered for 5.56 NATO with a 1:7 twist and black nitried finish, has a 13.5″ M-LOK handguard, comes with Magpul MOE grip and buttstock, their enhanced polished trigger (EPT) fire control group and has a set of Magpul BackUp Iron Sights (BUIS). Yeah, they pack a lot into that description. The kit comes with everything you need except for a stripped lower receiver (I used an Anderson I already happened to have) and the best part was that it was only $479.99 vs. the list of $799.99.

This is PSA’s Model 516446780 parts kit that comes with everything you need except for a stripped mil-spec lower receiver.

Serves as a foundation

The AR parts are all Mil-Spec – what this means is that rifles that use parts built to the original military specification dimensions can use other parts. For example, I prefer the Magpul ACS stocks – they just feel better to me. Because the PSA buffer tube is Mil-Spec, that meant I coul easily replace the MOE buttstock that came with the kit with an ACS.

My point is that a PSA kit can serve as a foundation that you can very readily build on. Down, the road if you want to change out barrels, triggers, uppers, etc. you can easily do so. If something has a problem and you need to replace, again, there will not be a problem finding parts.

By the way, I would recommend a spare parts kit regardless of brand AR you are using – they are usually relatively inexpensive and include wear items, such as the firing pin, plus parts that get lost – for example, the takedown detents.

A quick comment on the EPT triggers

The PSA EPT triggers are a decent. I recently did a test on a number of triggers and a Mil-Spec Aero brand trigger had an average pull of 6 pounds 12.4oz. The PSA EPT had an average pull of 6 pounds 12.3oz and that was with both lubricated by oil. So, not a huge benefit but I do like them – just don’t expect a world of difference is my point.

If you really want a remarkable trigger, buy the PSA 2-stage trigger that has an average pull of 4 pounds 9.5 oz when lubed. It’s a must-have upgrade for only $64.99 and yes, you can always change to it later.

How do you assemble these kits?

Really, the only thing you need to assemble is the lower. PSA has already done the upper and headspaced it just to be safe. In theory, Mil-Spec barrels going into Mil-Spec uppers should not need headspacing but the reality is that you better check it just to be safe and PSA does.

I did a whole series of posts back in 2017 about building AR lowers – click here for a list that will open in a new browser tab.

The reference source I used to learn how to assemble AR lowers way back when is the guide on There are now tons of videos out there as well and you can learn a great deal by investing a little time to watch them. For example, here is one from PSA and here is one from Midway USA.

This is my latest 16″ PSA AR build. It has a MOE stock, Magpul BUIS and a Vortex Optics UH-1 sight.

Recommended Tools

Over the years, I have bought and tried quite a few tools but there are just a few that have stood the test of time that I still use. I figured it might help you to have a list so you can consider whether you want to pick them up or not.

  • Trigger Guard Jig – there are a ton of ways to do the trigger guard roll pin but a tool makes it really simple and reduces the odds of marring the finish or snapping an ear off the receiver.
  • Magazine Catch Punches – folks, Wheeler and others make long roll pin punches that have a vinyl coating to help install the mag catch. They are totally worth it. No more tearing up your finish or having to apply duct tape – these tools help you get it right the first time.
  • Front Pivot Pin Detent Jig – installing front pivot pin’s detent and spring is next to impossible without the right tools. Wheeler and others make a very simple pin set to help you save your sanity.
  • Trigger slave pin – greatly simplifies installation of the assembled trigger, disconnector and spring assembly. We make one 🙂
  • Magpul Castle Nut Wrench – I have used a wide variety of tools over the years ranging from the old GI tool to bizarre looking combination wrenches. If you want a solid tool that will hold up over time, the Magpul wrench is the way to go.
  • Gunsmith Punch Set – there are tons of makers. Basically you want a wide range of punches and roll pin punches. I have a mix of punches from Tekton, Weaver and Wheeler plus ones that I have no idea where they came from.
  • Non-Marring Hammer – You’ll need a small hammer from time to time that will not tear up your finish – I use Vaughan hammers.
  • Automatic Punch – I have a tremor so my hands shake. To stake the rear castle nut, I just use a good General brand automatic punch. It’s not as deep/good of a stake as a hammer driven punch but I do the automatic punch repeatedly to deform the surface and lock the nut.
  • Magpul BEV-Block – If you plan to install barrel nuts or muzzle devices, you will need a really secure means to hold the barrel and receiver securely. DO NOT use the blocks that just use the pivot and rear pin holes your you are apt to bend them. I did that once. Get a BEV block. It’s way, way easier and does a great job.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for something fun to do and there are tons and tons of tutorials out there – build an AR. The PSA kits are reliable and very affordable with different options to suit your tastes.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

Will Ammunition Prices Keep Dropping?

The short answer is “yes” and I think the forecast bears some explaining. First, there was massive demand due to civil unrest and Biden winning the presidency making people fearful of more gun control via regulations and executive orders. Second, there was a general concern about COVID and self-defense due to various “defund the police” movements at the same time that crime was increasing due to liberal policies reducing prosecution and incarceration. These factors all pushed existing gun owners to buy both more firearms and ammunition while at the same time creating a very definite increase in new first-time gun owners. In short, this all put demand for ammunition through the roof.

Why did prices increase?

While demand was increasing, factories, suppliers and distribution firms were all sorely short-staffed due to COVID. Making this even worse was the government paying people to stay home which continues to affect staffing levels – a lot of people simply do not want to work. The politically correct term many use is “we are having supply chain issues” meaning the vendor you want to buy from is having a hard time finding raw materials or components causing delayed shipments, higher prices and general uncertainty about what will happen next.

If we look at these two forces coming togeter – increasing demand and shrinking supply, prices went up and availability went down. For a brief while, you could not even find 9×19/9mm Luger FMJ range ammo unless you were willing to pay $0.40/round or more of sites like Gunbroker.

Why are prices going down?

Now over the past year, what has happened? Prices for 9mm ammo have steadily gone down and now dipped well below $.030/round and will continue downwards. Now why can I say that? We’re going to look at factors influencing demand and supply at this point.

Demand Side Factors

These are things that happened to influence whether people buy ammo or not:

First, inflation – the increase in prices you pay – is hitting everyone hard. People are making hard decisions about whether to buy ammo, food, gas, fix something at home, repair the car … in these scenarios, ammo is often put on hold because you can’t drive or eat a case of ammo. This is causing demand to go down.

Second, panic buying is dropping. Gun owners can only panic buy for so long and then they either run out of money to spend or they feel they have enough / are safe enough and then stop. Again, this causes demand to go down.

Third, all things being equal, if ammo costs you a fortune, are you going to frivolously go and shoot tons of ammo at the range or are you going to conserve it a bit more? Or to put it differently, are you going to waste a case of ammo that cost you $300-400 just to have fun or will you maybe shoot a bit less and save the rest for another day? A lot of folks will respond with the latter and not shoot more than is necessary. Again, this causes demand to go down.

Supply Side Factors

Now let’s look at the supply side – what influences groups to sell ammo:

First, the major US ammo makers are running their plants non-stop trying to make ammo. For example, Vista Outdoor, the holding company who owns CCI, Federal and Speer bought the Remington ammunition plant and brought it back online and has it up to speed now. Why are these groups doing this? Well, they exist to make a profit and when prices are high, they can afford to invest to do just that – to make money. This is also why Palmetto State Armory has spent over $100 million to bring their AAC ammo plant on-line – to make money. So what does all of this do – these producer actions increase the supply of ammo in the market.

Second, not only did the bigger firms try to produce more but lots of smaller firms either started or are trying to scale up to to meet demand and make money. Some examples include Ammo Inc , Frontier, Gorilla and Sergeant Major. The result is an increase in the supply of ammo.

What else is going on? Well, importers are bringing in tons of ammo (literally). This includes established brands like Aguila, Eley, Fiocchi, IMI Systems, Lapua, MagTech, Norma, MEN, PMC, S&B, brands of ammo I have never heard of before such as Belom, DRZ, STV Scorpio and Turan. The increased prices created an opportunity that made it worth the time and investment needed for foreign suppliers to make and sell the ammo as well as for importers to bring it in by the container load and this all increases supply.

Fourth on the list, I notice vendors are finally advertising they have primers, powders and other reloading components back in stock. For ammo buyers who want to reload, or get back into reloading, they can which takes some buyers for finished ammo out of the market. This factor is both supply and demand related in a sense so I am just sticking it here.

The Result

In short, demand is contracting/decreasing and supply is expanding/increasing. When this happens, prices go down. To put it simply, you have more ammo chasing fewer buyers and so the sellers begin to compete on the basis of price – whether it is lowering the price of the ammo itself, throwing in free shipping or some per bundle “buy this ammo and get two free magazines” or even some combination.

As of my writing this post, I checked and the cheapest 9mm 115gr FMJ ammo in case quantity (meaning 1,000 rounds) is $0.24/round and the most expensive is $0.60/round — the $0.60 listing is from a single seller who appears to be premium pricing their Tula steel case. There’s quite a spectrum of prices for sure – quite a few sellers are offering sup $0.30 pricing. Far from its peak price but also far from it’s bottom before all of this happened.

By the way, due to its popularity, I have watched the pricing of 9mm FMJ case lots for a while now to judge how things are going. When you get into the unique wildcat calibers or obsolete/hard-to-find calibers they are different and my prediction doesn’t necessarily apply.

Government Regulation Risk

At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a huge risk of the government introducing regulations that impact the free market in terms of ammo. The ATF does have a new head and, in general, the current administration openly despises both gun owners and the firearms industry but they don’t have a ton of support for gun control at the moment. Granted they have more after all the public shootings as of late but hopefully it will not increase.

So this is my riskiest part of the prediction – at least through the mid-term elections the politicians and the bureaucrats they control are not going to want to rock the boat or they are apt to put some of the more conservative democrats from areas with large populations with firearms at risk of re-election. There are gun owners in all political parties at this point.


To sum it up, demand has shrunk and supply has increased. Vendors are starting to compete on the basis of price and this is driving down prices, at least for popular calibers, across the board.

We’ll see how my forecast holds up and I feel pretty confident about it.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Use a Wheeler Engineering Green Laser Bore Sight To Get Your Scope or Optic Range Ready

When you buy a scope/optic and mount it on your rifle or pistol, it may relatively be close to where the actual bullet will hit the target or it may be a mile off. This applies just as much to dot optics as well as scopes with magnification. First off, this is why you need to sight in any type of optic before you use it. Second, unless you want to waste a ton of ammo, this is why you want to bore sight an optic before you do the final adjustments.

“Bore Sighting” refers to looking down the bore, seeing the target and roughly dialing on the elevation and windage of the optic. This was never perfect but it at least got you on the paper at 25-50 yards you could then start dialing in the scope and backing up to whatever range you wanted to dial the scope in for. This method worked fine if you could actually remove the bolt and look down the scope, such as a bolt action rifle. It doesn’t work for semi-autos where you typically have a closed rear receiver and can’t look down the bore. It also doesn’t work for folks like me who can’t see the broad side of a bright red barn when trying to look down a bore.

The industry responded with all kinds of gizmos to help improve the process ranging from calibrated collimeters that let you roughly sight in by pointing at some target held up from the end of the barrel. That lasted for a few years until lasers started getting affordable and then models started popping up that either went in the muzzle with some form of collet to help center the shaft in the barrel or there were ones that approximated the shape of a given round and went in the chamber. The accuracy of either one greatly depended on the quality control of the manufacturer. In general, they worked and were really simple – put the laser in, turn it on and then dial in your scope to where the red dot was showing.

Pros: Simple, cheap, did the job Cons: acccuracy was highly dependent on how well the manufacturer made the unit, they are impacted by how well the inside of the muzzle device aligns with the barrel and the red laser faded out quickly in bright light and because they all use button cells of varying sizes the battery life might be short – especially the fake cartridge units. Note, a number of the muzzle end manufacturers do offer green lasers and that helps. Bottom line, they do the job and I do favor the muzzle end devices more provided they are from a quality manufacturer.

Then along came Wheeler Engineering with relatively large green laser unit with a strong magnet that sticks on the face of the muzzle (the end of the barrel). This got away from issues with the muzzle end units not centering and the frequent poor quality of the imported fake cartridge units. The green laser is powered by a relatively large CR123A battery that is the same used in many tactical lights. I should point out that they make a red laser version too but if I had to pick I would go with the green laser as your eye can see it easier and it reflects from further away.

This is the Wheeler laser bore sighter and it is the green laser unit. Note, I have a bettery in the unit and a spare Surefire CR123A in the holder. Steer clear of no-name cheap CR123A units as they have had issues in the past and caught fire, burst, etc.

I’ve used it for a few years now (I bought it in 2019) and have found two issues that affect it. First, the end of the barrel or your muzzle device (flash hider, muzzle brake, and so forth must be steel for the magnet to stick to it. By the way, I am not impressed by how aluminum muzzle devices hold up over time and just buy steel whenever I can.

The second shortcoming is that the manufacturer of the muzzle device and/or the barrel must have created a true end meaning the end of the barrel, the thread, the muzzle device – they must all result in an end of the barrel/muzzle device that is perpendicular to the barrel. The worst offenders in my experience are the muzzle devices because their positioning depends both on how well the threads were but on the barrel plus how well the device was made. Some combinations are better than others. If I were to make a generalization, unthreaded barrel muzzle faces from a quality manufacturer tend to be pretty true.

This is a quality Ballistic Advantage 20″ 5.56 DMR barrel. I’d expect its threads to be cut properly. The next variable would be how well the muzzle device engages the threads and how square the end of it is.
This is a IWI Galil Ace in .308. In a favorable nod to their manufacturing the factory barrel and brake yielded a remarkably close test pattern at 25 yards. I’m always amazed when boresighting is within inches and then going to range yields initial rounds within a6 inches of the expected center and this one did.
This is the strong magnet that secures the laser boresight to the end of the barrel or muzzle device. It’s also why either end would need to be steel for it to magnetically attach.
Here’s the unit secured to the end of a PSA barrel and PSA bird cage brake. It did the basic job of getting the rifle on paper with it’s Vortex UH-1 optic.
The power button is on top of the battery compartment and you can see the green laser hitting the off-white plastic cup. I like to sight in when the sun isn’t bright so I can get out 25-50 yards.

As with the other bore sighting devices, this unit will get you in the ballpark. Because of the factors above, you might be on the paper at 100 yards but you are better starting off at 50 and working things out from there.

By the way, one tip of any of them is to do your boresighting early in the morning or at dusk but not in the bright light of day. You can reach out 25-50+ yards and see the dot enough to do the initial sighting.

As a closing comment – none of them are perfect because they were all designed to be approximations. The final sighting must be done by you with the rounds you expect to use because a ton of variable will affect where you bullet actuall hits – your cheek weld, your trigger pull, factors with the bolt and barrel, how consistent the ammo is, the weight of the bullets, etc. My goal is to save some ammo and at least hit the target so I don’t have to shoot so many rounds to dial in the final settings and then begin working out firing solutions for different ranges.

In Conclusion

There actually isn’t a perfect solution – I mainly use the Wheeler Pro Green Laser Boresighter when I can but I still have a couple of good muzzle end units that I use when the muzzle device is aluminum. I know one unit is from LaserLyte and I really do not recall who the other is from. I do not use the dummy cartridge units after a few disappointing tries.

So, if you haven’t tried a Wheeler Pro boresighter and are in the market, I like mine.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How to level a scope reticle

First off, I better explain that a recticle is the formal name for the cross-hairs or series of fine lines that are inside a scope that you use to aim with. There are a ton of different ones out there and one thing you want to do is to get them level with the rifle.

Let’s start with why this matters

The reason for this doesn’t affect the old traditional cross-hair designs but it does the ones that have additional marks to help you better determine the range and the necessary hold based on Mil-Radians (Mils) or Minutes of Angle (MOA).

These are examples of reticles found in a very interesting post about the topic on Wikipedia.

If you search, there are tons and tons of posts about different types of reticles and how to use them. The important point I want to make is that for any of these more modern reticles with additional lines to help you accurately, the horizontal lines must be parallel with the rifle.

How do you level a reticle?

The first way is the old fashioned “eyeball” method. Hold the rifle and make sure the top of the receiver is as level as possible (meaning the rifle is not tilted left or right), look through the scope and adjust it in the rings until it is true to the top of the receiver and then start tightening down the rings while confirming nothing shifts. It’s not the most precise method but it does work, I’ve done a ton of rifles that way, but there is another approach using levels.

In it’s most form, you put a small level on the top rail or flat spot of your recever, tilt it until it is level and then put the level on the top turret and adjust the scope until it matches. Having something to hold the rifle in place while you work really helps as does having a second level so you can both confirm the receiver and scope are level as you work. You can often find single vial levels at hardware stores or through industrial supply houses. The one negative to this approach is that the levels can slide off if you don’t have things secure. I like to use a Tipton Pro Rifle Vise to hold the rifle in place while working.

Wheeler Engineering does offer a basic level set that works. I don’t use it though because it’s rear receiver piece has a magnet to secure it and that will not work in an AR or other weapon that is made from aluminum and not steel. For this reason, it wasn’t something I could use.

These days, when I have time and I want to try and get the scope as accurately positioned as I can on the first try, I use a Wheeler Engineering Profession Reticle Leveling System. It’s easy and fast.

First, you put the level on your receiver/rail and level the receiver. Then you put the clamp on the barrel and level it – I compare both the receiver and the barrel bubble levels before I move the receiver level to the top scope turret. Once the level is on the top turret, I adjust the scope until the bubbles match and it’s done. I’ve used this for a number of years now and am very happy with it.

The professional leveling system has two parts – the barrel clamp and the separate level you use on the receiver and then the scope turret. The two parts are made from aluminum and come in a nice protective case. If it weren’t for the case, mine would look much more beat up. Protecting the parts makes sense for another reason – you don’t want things to get bent, gouged, dented or whatever and then throw off the readings or mar the finish of your weapon.
The first thing you do is to use the small level (shown behind the backuop sight) to true the receiver. Then you adjust the barrel clamp until it is level also. Just visible under the handguard is the front of my Tipton vise.
After the barrel clamp has been levelled, you move the small level to the flat top turret and then rotate the scope however you need to get it flat also. Compare this level to the barrel clamp level to make sure they agree. The more care you take to get the bubbles centered and matching, the better.

I do use a Vortex torquing screw driver to tighten the scope ring screws and am careful to confirm the scopes levelling does not shift in the process. Vortex scopes say not to torque them past 18 inch/pounds (please note that is inch pounds and not foot pounds just to be very clear – you don’t want to damage your scope but at the same time, you do want it secure).

Again, with any of these methods, it really helps to secure the rifle in a vise where you can adjust and then secure the rifle so the top is horizontally true.

Yeah, this is my real work bench. It was worse than normal as I still had all of the packing from the scope,rings and upper on the bench. The Tipton gun vise has served me very well over the years. By the way, notice the level on the turret – you reall want that perpendicular to the rifle. In this photo it is slightly crooked and no longer perpendicular and risk the scope not bein accurately levelled to the rifle.


The Wheeler Engineering Professional Leveling System has served me well and I have used it on a number of projects over the years. I have no hesitations in recommending it to you as well.

Sabatti Urban Sniper with a Vortex PST scope.
Ruger RPR with Vortex PST optic sporting its sun shade.
IWI .308 Galil with a Vortex PST Gen 2 Scope.

I hope this post helps you out.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

When Strength and Quality Matter Most

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