How To Mount A Scope On A Lever Action Rifle

I love lever action rifles! It is just so satisfying working that lever, and I feel that it makes for a more steady hold on your firearm. If you are like me, you may want to do a number of shooting or hunting activities with these sweet rifles, and adding a scope onto the gun may be high on your rifle accessory priority list. Because of the design, wouldn’t it be more difficult to mount a scope? Not necessarily. Follow along with this guide and I will show you step-by-step how to mount a scope on a lever action rifle. 

how to mount a scope on a lever action rifle

items needed for this tutorial

Lever Action Rifle – Your lever action rifle. Keep in mind that the brand and design of rifle is important. Marlins, for example, eject out the side of the receiver, while Winchesters eject out the top. This will determine the type of base mount you need and how you will install it. 

Scope – Any scope of your choice. Usually, with a lever action, you would want to stick with a lower powered scope, like a 1-4x variable or even a 1.5x or 2x fixed power. True 1x would be a bad thing to have either. The reason is that these rifles do not shoot the same as a bolt action or tactical AR type rifle. You may want to have both eyes open when you shoot. 

Scope Base Mount And Rings – This will be determined by the type of mount positioning you need. It’s not a bad idea to have a solid style mount that is inclusive of the scope rings. It would make things easier. 

Rifle Rest – Just to keep your rifle steady and in place as you work

Correct Wrenches Or Tools – Generally you’re talking Allen Wrenches, but occasionally you will find that you need to use a Philips-head screwdriver and Hex wrenches. Another thing you may need is an offset hammer spur to screw onto your hammer, but this also will depend on the design of your rifle. 

How To Mount A Scope On A Lever Action Rifle

If you have a top-ejecting lever action rifle like a Winchester, then you will want to purchase a mounting base designed specifically for a side-mount. This way it stays out of the way of your ejection port. 

If you have a side-ejecting rifle like a Marlin, then you can use a regular top-mount base. This is where you will need the offset hammer spur, however. For this guide, we are going to use the Marlin lever action rifle and focus on the top-mount. 

Step 1 – Secure The Rifle

Secure the rifle in the rifle rest and make sure it’s not going to move around on you as you work.

Step 2 – Drop The Front Sight

Drop the front sight all the way down against the rifle barrel. This should be sufficiently out of the way where you won’t have to worry about removing it. 

Step 3 – Install The Offset Hammer Spur

Screw in the off-set hammer spur. When the scope is in place, you may not be able to cock the hammer back as it will be directly under the scope over-hang. This offset will allow you to cock the hammer back without scope interference. 

Step 4 – Install The Base Mount

Remove the screws on top of the receiver. This is where you install the base mount. Simply screw it down into place using the existing screw holes. Many times, the scope mount will come with all that you need to install it, including the screws and Allen wrenches. Make sure it is good and tight. 

Step 5 – Scope And Check

It may be a good idea to install a base mount inclusive with scope rings, but otherwise, install your scope rings and scope onto the base. Double check that your scope is in proper position and does not touch the hammer or the front sight.

Now you have scoped your lever action rifle! All that’s left for you to do is go sight it in. 

Common Questions

Why would I have to side-mount my scope? – If your rifle is a Winchester or other type that ejects out the top of the receiver, then you would want a side-mounted scope to ensure that there is no interference of the ejection port. Interference would cause damage to both your rifle and scope and cause the rifle to just not function properly. If you can’t eject the casing, the game is called. It makes no sense. 

What if my scope touches my front sight? – You would either have to remove the front sight completely or try a different scope. You would not want to damage your rifle or scope, so just be sure that everything is mounted properly and nothing is colliding with anything else. 

Could I use a larger, higher powered scope? – Whichever scope you use, you want to make sure it both physically fits on the rifle and is an appropriately powered scope for your rifle, which is mostly based on caliber. 

Would I need the off-set hammer spur even with a top-ejecting receiver? – Probably not. The off-set hammer spur is to give you clearance to use to hammer with a scope mounted directly over the top of the receiver. If the rifle is a top-ejecting type, then you would need to use a side-mounted scope and would not need the extra clearance that the off-set spur provides. 


You now know how to mount a scope on a lever action rifle. It’s not a difficult task, just important to know which way you will have to mount it on there. Even a side mount isn’t necessarily a bad or difficult thing, just a little bit different than what most people are used to. As long as you know your rifle and what you need for proper clearance, follow these steps and you will be well on your way to having a perfectly mounted scope on your lever action rifle. Happy shooting!

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy our review on long eye relief scopes.

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