|Gerry sighting-in for elk season 9/29/10|
Ask 3 people what you need to mount a scope and you'll get at least 3 answers. This is my take on it; others may disagree.
Dunk the scope in hot water and see if any bubbles come up. If not, it's waterproof. Sigh with relief.
If you buy a decent quality gun and decent quality mounts, they probably will be aligned, so you won't need a lapping rod. Alignment rods are sort of fun, but align them both ways, point to point and butt to butt. A torque wrench is nice (I bought a Weaver one on sale), but if you just turn the scope screws tight with no more than thumb and finger, you don't really need one. If you do decide you can't live w/o one, do find out what torque the manufacturer of that mount recommends.
I don't own a collimator, as most of my rifles are bolt actions (and I'm cheap). My procedure is to center the reticule (very imp if a used scope; new Leupolds are typically centered*). If you cut V notches in a cardboard carton, place the rifle in them, and remove the bolt, you can boresight the target. Adjust the elevation and windage until the crosshairs are on target. Test fire. Holding the rifle steady and aiming at the bullseye again, move crosshairs until they are on the bullet hole. Test fire again. You should be close to point of aim. Tweak until you're happy. This will work with a No. 1: just be sure to have the rifle high enough that you can drop the lever to see through the bore. I often start at 50 yards to get on paper, then move to 100.
*Centering: Turn a knob all the way until it stops. Now turn it back all the way, counting the number of clicks. Take half that number and turn it back; it's centered. Now do the same for the other knob.
As you're hunting, not trying for a benchrest record, there's no particular reason to try various brands of ammo. Sight in the Federals and use them. If you can get a 1.5" group at 100 yards, you should be fine. Start with a clean dry barrel. Some barrels throw the first shot from a clean barrel, then group nicely; if you have one of those, hunt with a fouled barrel. Keep a journal each time you test or shoot for practice: temp., wind, ammo, group sizes, etc.
And remember, this is supposed to be fun.
Gerry and I are off to fish the N. Platte and the Bighorn for a week.