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Install the rings:.
• Do not put the rings on the scope and use the scope as a wrench—this can damage the scope. Either use a proper tool or the tool provided by the manufacturer of the rings for that purpose.
• Next, especially if you are using two-piece bases, you have to make sure the rings are true and parallel. They do make precision expensive tools, but you could make do by installing the bottom of the rings and then setting the scope in them. You should be able to see if the rings are true and parallel and then adjust them. If the rings are cocked, or not parallel, when you tighten the rings you will kink the scope tube and damage the scope.
• Now, install the scope, clamping it in the rings.
Why does no-one ever comment on the difference between 26mm and 1" size tubes? Do one inch scope rings fit the 26mm tubes? All European tubes seem to me to be 26mm; they don't deal in inches over there unless all their stock is directed towards the English and American markets. Surely not and they can't have different machines churning out different scopes, some only .6 of a millimetre different in size?