Editor’s Note: Here’s a few cheap and easy ideas from our resident “fix it for less” expert, Andy Merciers. As always, follow your firearm’s instruction manual and we’re not responsible for what you do, so be safe out there.
Have you ever purchased a new riflescope and ordered Butler Creek flip open scope caps at the same time that turned out to fit a little loose? Despite Butler Creek making the caps in 56 sizes, you will occasionally run into scopes that don’t quite fit right. While a rare event this does occur. Butler creek manufactures the caps with some pliability allowing them to stretch several hundredths. The less common problem is having caps that are too big. About 20 years ago I go the idea for a quick and easy fix for this problem. A couple of wraps of plain white Teflon plumbers tape can fix the wiggle. A few thousandths are usually all it takes. The good thing is that this type of tape has no sticky film and leaves no nasty residue on the scope and best of all it stays hidden under the edge of the scope cap.
Have you ever tried to set up a rifle as a dedicated long-range gun only to find that your scope ran out of elevation adjustment during set up? The easy answer is to put a shim in the scope ring to gain enough elevation to overcome the issue. Very few shooters have the brass shim material just lying around the house. The easy solution could be as close as your trash can or recycle bin. If you’re a cheapskate like me you can simply use a carefully sized piece of aluminum from a drink can. You will notice that soft drinks, beer, and energy drinks all come in cans with varying degrees of thickness in the aluminum itself. This is a good thing as it allows you to micrometer each type of material to determine which thickness is appropriate. There can be some trial and error in this process so be patient and think of the money you’re saving.
A childhood friend of mine enlisted in the Army after we graduated high school. He was a cavalry scout in the first Gulf War and was awarded a Bronze star. Years later he was telling me about the problems with sand storms and other issues involving keeping his M-16 fully operational in a harsh desert environment. That was the Army’s first real test in a desert setting so they were forced to improvise when dealing with conditions. One of the improvised tools was a simple piece of 550 para cord about 5 feet long. On one end of the para-cord, there were 6 knots tied about every 3 inches or so. He would then pull this contraption through the rifle’s barrel. What the knots did was to remove any sand buildup in the bore. What my friend did all those years ago was to create a crude sort of bore snake years before Hoppes ever introduced such a thing. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.
Have you ever been hunting and gotten annoyed with the racket your traditional steel sling swivels were making? The obvious solution for many folks is to simply replace the steel swivels with Quake or Butler creek polymer swivels. For the traditionalist who doesn’t like plastic, I have a solution. The heavy-duty produce rubber bands you see on broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts are perfect or silencing steel swivels. Wrap the rubber band around the swivel where it connects to the stud on the rifle, and you’ll need to either remove the sling or disconnect the swivel to do this. It works well if the rubber bands are the smaller diameter, but if you’ve only got the bigger diameter rubber bands, a doubling up can work too. The best thing is that they are free with your broccoli or lobster!
– Andy Merciers