Any Vintage Bench Rest Shooters... I need Some Unertl Education...

  • Last Post 20 April 2020
Magnum Wheel Man posted this 19 September 2008

So I got talked into shooting the '06 with the 15X Unertl scope on it... & I spent the whole afternoon educating myself...   I guess they put those turrets inside caps now for a reason... I know anyone that touched this rifle over the years, has turned the knobs...   I started at 100 yards, & couldn't hit a 55 gallon barrel in 5 shots, ( one to the center, & one in each corner of my 14” X 28” targets...     hmmm...moved to 50 yards... 1st 2 shots not on the barrel...   ergggg... moved to 25 yards... ... did finally at least hit the barrel...   so I moved to 50 ft, & finally worked the scope to put a hole in the dot...   ... then I worked my way back out to finally 200 yards ( I'd hoped to start at 100, then 200, & finish at 300 yards )...     ... I finally shot a 5 shot group at 200 yards ( wish I'd stopped at a 3 shot group, as the 1st 3 were in about 1” )... 4th & 5th got ugly, but then I realized I had shot 28 rounds of 30-06 off the bench, in a sporter weight rifle, before begining my 5 shot 200 yard group...   This gun was my father in laws, & I've, until now been intimidated about breaking the scope, so it's gone unshot for at least 10 years...   anyway... anyone regularly shoot with a Unertl ???   any special maintenance needed ???   I think my “clicks” seem to be 1 MOA... seems like a lot ???   can the turrets be reset to zero, or do I really need to write down the settings for each distance ??? so I know were to go back to for my normal zero ???   anyway... good thing I started with the 150 grain bullets... I'll be taking it back out tomorrow with 165's & 180's... here's a couple pics of my rig... taken from the bench of my range...

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
RicinYakima posted this 20 September 2008


I used a Unertl for 5 years of BR50 22 competition, and they can be tricky.

  1. make sure the bases are down tight and no wobble

  2. make sure the rings are centered in the cuts on the bases and just finger tight

  3. the tube has to be clean and lightly oiled.

  4. loosen up the spring so it just barely touched the front ring or loose and pull the scope back after each shot

  5. clicks value depends upon the distance between bases and vintage of the scope

  6. make sure the spring and plunger is clean on the rear ring.

  7. PM me for more if you need it.



Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
  • M3 Mitch
BruceV posted this 20 September 2008

Your Father-in-law built a beautiful rifle.  The Unertl may be an old design but on that rifle you have a classic rig!  Check the mounts and make sure everything is tight.  Follow Ric's suggestions and you should get really good results out of your rifle.  Sincerely.  Bruce.

Attached Files

Magnum Wheel Man posted this 20 September 2008

Thanks for the comments guys....

I'm pretty much a rookie with these scopes, or any external adjust scopes for that matter...

I plan on putting one on my Roller project, so I wanted to get familiar with this one... ( my other is a 20X on a similar 98 Mauser in 25-06 )

from my understanding ( all I've seen, & of the 2 Unertls I own ), the bases seem to be 7” - 8” apart... moving the bases further apart will make the click shift smaller ???

do target shooters spread the bases to as far apart as the scope / gun allow ???

can the turrets be reset to zero, or do I really need to write down the settings for each distance ??? so I know were to go back to for my normal zero ???

If the Unertls don't allow resetting the turrets to zero, do any of the other similar scopes ( Lyman, Weavers ) ???

another pic from yesterday

Attached Files

billwnr posted this 20 September 2008

I'm not an Unertl fan.  I had a 15x ultra varmint that I bought in 1967.   I had it on a .22-250 and thought the world of my best group of .625 until I threw a 3x9 Leupold on the rifle so I could varmint hunt with it.  The Leupold at 9x shot lots smaller groups.  

I think Unertls are very hard to adjust the parallex out of. (personal opinion probably not held by others)   Another person who didn't hold the same opinion as mine chose to buy it from me 3 years ago.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Magnum Wheel Man posted this 20 September 2008

Thanks for the comments...

a bit more frustration today...

1st the front mount came loose ( likely yesterday )... I had to “finger tighten twice today, so I “snugged” it with a screw driver, & it seemed to hold...

2nd, my rifle appearently doesn't like heavier bullets... 180 grainers seemed to group no better than 6” - 8” at 200 yards... I went back to the 165's & shot about a 3” group at 300 yards with the gun...

maybe time for  resto on that gun... a heavier faster twist barrel, a 6mm caliber, & a new scope conductive to 600 - 1000 yard shooting, then I could move the Unertl to my Reminton Roller project...

a couple pics of todays session...

Attached Files

Magnum Wheel Man posted this 20 September 2008


Attached Files

Magnum Wheel Man posted this 20 September 2008

one more

Attached Files

Reg Lingle posted this 20 September 2008

I still use one. For important mantanence, turn the scope so that each turret faces downwards and drip a little Shooters Choice into the threads for reliable “clicks". Keep the spring loose. And, when shooting return the scope to battery by using your finger on the front of the objective lens pulling or pushing, however you want to look at it, the scope to the rear. That way it will always stay on the “ways” and not wonder. Neat looking rifle! Keep shooting! Warmest, Reg

Attached Files

bfrshooter posted this 21 September 2008

I had one like that years ago and the only problem was it was not sealed. The crosswires would rust and that was UGLY. Little rust dots looked like basket balls through the lens. I had to keep sending for wire. It had little screws they wrapped around.

I tried spider web but it looked like telephone poles in the scope.

Attached Files

Dew posted this 16 January 2009

I have noticed that no one has said that when you adjust the objective (front) you must remember to tighten the ring back to hold the new adjustment. 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
buttstock posted this 20 June 2019


External mounts as Unertl / Lyman have front and rear mounts with 3-point contact on the scope tube (windage adjustment, elevation adjustment and spring loaded “support button.”

Make sure support button freely moves, so it can apply constant force shot-to-shoot  for consistent scope position. The support button has a spring to keep pressure on the tube to press against the W/E turrents adjustment buttons.  You may have to disassemble the mount (support button), and lubricate it so it can provide consistent force to the scope tube.

Secondly, if you have a recoil spring on the scope, loosen the stop collar and slide it  and the spring AWAY from the mount.  Savvy external scope shooters will manually pull back the scope tube after each shot to battery (starting point), instead of relying on the recoil spring to do it.  The recoil spring is not reliable to return the scope to battery (start point), increasing variability (less precision >> less accuracy).  Pulling the scope back manually assures the scope is returned to battery and ready for another shot- with less variability for better grouping. (this is potentially a small improvement in precision.  Your issue is more macro in nature.

Third, (as stated in earlier replies) make sure your mounts are positioned properly in the dovetail indent notches in the bases, and snugged down for no movement.

fourth:  verify your parallax settings at your shooting distance.  Your should be able to move your shooting eye left-right-up-down and not see any reticle movement on the intended aiming spot.  If you see reticle movement with head/eye movement, your parallax setting is off for that distance.  This invites larger groups/ less accuracy.  You may have to place a piece off adhesive tape on the objective (covering the yard indication, ie 50,100, 200 yards) and set your own parallax setting/yardage indicators.   I do know the  late Dwight Furrow, 5-time US National Benchrest champion (for score), told me about this.  He used steel tube Weaver 6x scopes (max magnification allowed) with internal w/e adjustments, and adjustable objective (“AO” ) for parallax adjustment.  He shot competition from 100-300 yards with Rem 788-actioned rigs.  His scopes all had white adhesive tape with his own yardage markings where he had 0 parallax (no reticle movement with regard to head/eye movement).  The factory-printed  yardage values on the objective were sometimes close, sometimes not.  His settings were dead on for each rifle/scope outfit. He eliminated variability to improve accuracy,  which is what champions do.  

I am not familiar with the AO set up on the Unertl, but there may be an extra step to consider.  I have an internal adjustment Lyman All-American Permacenter 8x with AO for parallax adjustment. The AO system on this vintage scope is different from more modern AO scopes.   Current AO scopes have a simple “ just twist the front objective yardage ring to the desired yardage mark”  system.  The Lyman AA AO system has both an AO ring, AND a objective locking ring (which actually is the part that moves the lens), perhaps like your Unertl.  Just adjusting the AO setting/ring without following it with the appropriate tightening of the locking DOES NOTHING for adjusting parallax.  See if your Unertl has a locking ring on the objective.  If so, you need to loosen it first, THEN twist the yardage ring, THEN twist the locking ring to set up the new parallax setting (which moves the lens position) which secures the setting.  

IIRC, with the locking ring loosened, if you twist the yardage-marked ring CCW (as viewed from the front) you will feel resistance of the lens moving forward (then when you tighten the locking ring, you DON’T feel lens resistance/ movement- as the yardage ring is “the lens pusher&rdquo.  The locking ring is just closing the distance and simply locking in the new lens position.

If, with loosened locking ring, you twist the yardage ring CW, you will not feel much resistance, as you are moving away/rearward from the lens.  This does not move the lens backward.  When you tighten the locking ring in this scenario, you WILL feel resistance (after you get to the starting point and come in contact with the lens/housing), as the LOCKING RING  is now “the lens pusher” . If you turned the yardage ring CW 1/4 revolution/rearward in the scenario, you will push the lens backwards (reposition it) 1/4 revolution with the locking ring until it is snug and locked against the yardage ring.  Both the yardage ring and the locking ring work together. Both push the lens, depending whether the lens is being repositioned forward or back in search of zero parallax at a given yardage. The yardage ring pushes the lens forward.  The locking ring pushes the lens rearward.  (Note: I may have the above CCW and CW reversed, but either way, the premise of one ring being “the lens pusher in one direction” depending on which way it is moving still applies.  I haven’t used that Lyman AA 8x AO scope in 15 years.)

By the way, these Lyman AA permacenter scopes have excellent lenses with very fine resolution- if you are looking for a scope.

Good luck.

Attached Files

lotech posted this 21 June 2019

I've used Unertls for years and continue to do so. I've never done a comprehensive check to determine if adjustments are repeatable. As  for the recoil springs, I've always found them to be reliable. I release the tension altogether after shooting. When preparing to shoot, I put just enough tension on a spring to return the scope to battery under recoil. This takes far less tension than many realize, even on a rifle with very light recoil, like a .22 rimfire. It takes a little experimentation to get it right the first time you try it, but you'll easily get the feel for this. 

I haven't verified this, but I'm pretty sure too much spring tension may cause accuracy problems and may be hard on scope parts, particularly on a rifle with anything heavier than light recoil. A Unertl "magnum clamp" will prove beneficial and may be necessary for any rifle with heavier recoil. 

I lightly oil the guide rib (that may not be the proper term) on all my Unertls. 

Attached Files

Tom Acheson posted this 21 June 2019

I just acquired a 24x Unertl and I’m totally new to this type of scope. So this subject is current and these posts are quite helpful.

Mine will be put on a Remington Rolling Block chambered in .38-55 and will be shooting Plain Base CB’s.

I need to find a way to print these posts.






Attached Files

loophole posted this 21 June 2019

I have owned Unertle  scopes for years, and still prefer them over any other type.  I have a 15X ultra varminter that I had on a custom 220 swift and killed prairie dogs at 600 yards.  I now have it on a vintage Mod 7O and it shoots less than I" cast bullet groups even with my 72 year old eyes.  The spacing on the Unertle bases is 7.5" for quarter minute clicks.  There is another spacing for 50 yds on a smallbore rifle, but I don't remember what it is.  You used to see rear scope blocks with two cuts for the different spacing.  Unertle used two types of rings and bases--The original type with a different cut for the rings than the later Posi mounts.  They do not interchange well.  The higher power scopes are very sensitive to parallax, adjustable with two rings on the front--one to move the parallax and the other to lock the adjustment.  Any of my Urnetle scopes can put a shot at point of aim, then put another exactly I" to the right with 4 clicks right, then make a perfect box by using the external adjustment.  Unertle bases are difficult to keep tight if the screw holes are drilled or tapped crooked, and the rings easily loosen if the bases are not aligned with the bore. You may expect better accuracy on benchrest rifles with modern scopes, but on my 70's thru 90's varmint rifles nothing was better.

The reticles are prone to degrade and break, and I cannot use my 20x 1-1/2 scope on anything but a smallbore  rifle--the eye relief is too short to use it on a centerfire rifle.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Bud Hyett posted this 21 June 2019

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but Frank Elliot in Oregon makes a base for internal adjustment scopes that fits on external adjustment bases. The bases work well and are easy to remove. You can switch from internal to external scopes depending on the requirements of the match you are shooting.  

Shooting CBA, ASSRA, ISSA and other matches, there are traditional matches requiring external adjustment scopes. For the troubles enumerated above with external adjustment scopes, I prefer to use this mount and shoot internal adjustment scopes whenever the rules allow. This is an easy way to comply.  

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 23 June 2019

... a few years ago a friend loaned me his much beloved unertl to play with ... within minutes i had screwed up the front end to the point where we sent it to the factory to unravel.  maybe one of the last scopes re-assembled by john unertl himself.  in this case   I    was one of those that wondered WHAT happened ? 

yeah, i bot him a new rcbs mold for his 32-40, and i don't ask to play with his toys anymore.


Attached Files

ALYMAN#1 posted this 23 June 2019

I have been using Unertyl scopes for smallbore for several years - I have found that found I can remove the scope for open sight matches then go back to scope for any sight matches and usually be in the 9-10 ring on the first couple sighters.  If I can't find the first shot it is usually because I didn't return the scope to 50 yds after the 100 yd match and I can find it outside High on the black.  The Objective on the 2 Unertyls I use are dead on at 50 and 100 yard so I can just use the index.  For the spring I only use slight tension and don't worry about it for smallbore - I haven't tried them on higher recoiling rifles.  Lyman scopes I have do not track the objective parallax as closely as the the Unertyls I have.  I have never tried to reset the turret readings - don't believe that can be done but have never believed it was necessary for my uses.

All of the external adjust scopes I have have been used probably well before I got them and I have always been pleased with them.


Attached Files

Roundball posted this 23 June 2019

Start simple: I had been to the mountain with Unertl scopes. The art of installing Unertl bases is a dying art. Those things have to be right or you can never zero the scope. I had used two different Ultra Varmints that were installed by an old time gunsmith. No problems. I got another smaller Unertl10x on my old 700 VS. Same guy. No problems.

Attached Files

Wheel Weights posted this 18 April 2020

I have far too many of these classic scopes. They are great fun to mess around with but it's kinda like having a 1957 Fuel Injected Corvette compared to the 2020 Mid-engined one.

A modern top quality scope has better optics, is more durable, waterproof and far more options.

A minty 1" Unertl will cost you a grand. Lotsa modern scope are better for that price tag.

That said, my 722 244 still wears a Unertl.

Attached Files

beltfed posted this 20 April 2020

One thing that I think no one mentioned:

When you draw back the external adjust scope prior to the next shot,

you should also give the scope tube a "snug twist" either clockwise or counterclockwise.

This to take out any rotational play between the rail ant the notch in the front mount.

It is noted that I have slight rotational play in a couple of my exteral adjust scopes.

I believe I learned that way back from Boots Obermeyer when I was scoring for him

in a 4 gun 600. He was using a Lyman STS at the time.


Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett