I just picked up a new, used rifle the other day. I was at a popular sporting goods retailer in our region and there was a very, very clean Weatherby Vanguard in .300 WSM with a Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x BDC scope for a steal of a deal. It was marked down $100 from an already-decent price, so it had to come home with me.
Now, perhaps since I am not the trusting type, I did not just bring the rifle home and put it in my safe to be pulled out five days before a hunt. After once watching a sales associate at the same chain of stores once begin mounting a scope with the turrets turned 90 degrees before he was corrected, I always assume that whoever previously mounted a scope on a rifle with which I am unfamiliar did not know what he or she was doing.
My new rifle confirmed that fact. I noticed when I was buying it that the only flaw was a mark on the front ring, extending to a scratch on the base. Since it had Leupold rings on it, I assumed that the previous owner had trouble turning the front ring into the base. (Tip on installing Leupold mounting systems: get a 1″ piece of steel or aluminum round bar, or at the very least a dowel. Screw the ring down tight on it and use it to turn the front ring into the base. It’s what the pros do.)
Of course, I didn’t stop there. I dismounted the entire ring/base assembly and I found something interesting. The front screw on the rear base was completely stripped and not holding the front of the base down to the gun at all. The culprit? The previous owner had used the wrong screws in the wrong places. In this particular installation, two longer screws are used in the front base, and two shorter screws are used in the rear base. He had used a long screw in the front of the rear base and probably gorilla-cranked it when it stopped turning, thus stripping all of the threads off and creating a situation where I doubt the rifle shot very well. Luckily my gun parts box produced the proper Torx head screw and the problem was quickly remedied.
Among other things, the illustrious previous owner had also used red Loctite on all of the screws (always use blue) and had also mounted the scope extremely far back on the gun for my liking, especially on a harder-recoiling rifle.
I think out there somewhere is a man with a black eye who is running around telling all of his friends that Weatherby Vanguards don’t shoot worth a darn, who is out about four hundred bucks because he paid way too much for the gun that he screwed up and took a bath on trading in on a horribly over-priced model from a different manufacturer. I hope he’s not too bitter that I’m working up a really good 1/2 moa load for his gun and that I bought it for about half the price he probably paid for the package.