Mounting a Scope On A Shovel

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It may sound a little counterintuitive or wild at first, but putting a scope on your shovel can turn it into an even more useful tool than it would have been alone.

No, you’re not usually going to need a lot of extra magnification or help to aim your shovel when you are digging in the garden.

However, you may be using your shovel to dig for a cache, are metal detecting, or choose to attach a scope to your survival shovel; then this is the guide for you.

Table of Contents

Why Put a Scope on a Shovel?

Many people like to have an extra set of optics on their trenching shovel when they go out metal detecting or caching. The attached scope helps to spot new locations to dig and explore.

Those who metal detect especially love having a decent set of optics attached to their shovel as this improves their field of vision when they are “beeping” an area of ground, giving them a chance to laser in on the target area and improve their odds of success.

Preppers, survivalists, outdoors people, and adventurers of all kinds would benefit from attaching a scope to their survival shovel.

Having a backup set of optics mounted directly to a tool that has a solid and sturdy base will dramatically increase the utility of that shovel in a big way, all without adding a lot of extra weight, a lot of extra bulk, or taking up any extra room.

When using the survival shovel for hammering and sawing, it is evident that the scope would be in jeopardy of being damaged. 

However, when camp is set up, the scope attached to the shovel would be great at scouting the area for wildlife, paths, or water sources, and the shovel would be a valuable and secure tripod for the scope.

Some people have even mounted a flashlight or a night vision set of optics to their shovel, improving their survival shovel’s utility in lowlight situations.

The Best Types of Scopes to Mount

There are two types of scopes that you’ll want to consider mounting to your shovel, a hunting scope, and a tactical scope.

Hunting scopes are usually best left for those that intend on using a survival shovel or an entrenching tool to take advantage of the long-range specific optics unique to hunting scopes to spot things way off in the distance.

Tactical scopes aren’t as focused on boosting magnification. They provide you with a better field of view and allow for a greater degree of adjustment/elevation than a hunting scope. The broader field of view helps you get a better feel for the lay of the land.

Overall, tactical scopes are generally almost always the better choice to attach to your shovel. It’s not all that often you’ll need a 40x hunting scope to see what you are digging, after all!

How to Mount Your Scope to a Shovel

After choosing your new scope for your shovel, you’ll need to find a way to mount it.

Mounting hardware is mainly designed with rifles in mind, though you can sometimes find mounting brackets and scope rings that will fit around your shovel.

Finding mounting hardware for your shovel is easier if you’re using a smaller trenching tool or spade-style shovel that has a thinner handle closer to the diameter of a rifle barrel.

You will need to also consider whether you want to go with a permanent or removable mounting system. This choice will be influenced by how and where you will use the scope and how often you will be using the shovel/scope combination.

For example, let’s say that you want to go with a removable tactical red dot or reflex sight attached to a survival shovel. Most of these types of scopes attach via a universal rail mounting system engineered with firearms in mind.

You can almost always find a rail system that you can pick up relatively inexpensively and directly mount to your shovel handle, allowing you to attach or remove the optics as needed while still creating a solid mounting position.

Suppose you want to attach a larger scope to a larger shovel permanently.

In that case, you’re going to need to get a little bit crafty with the mounting hardware, potentially redesigning the hardware brackets themselves with cutting tools to modify the traditional permanent mounting brackets for the shovel.

Yes, that’s a bit more work and more effort, but you’re unlikely to find permanent mounting systems built with shovels in mind for any optics on the market right now.

Be sure to use secure the mounting the hardware tightly and use plenty of thread locker glue. 

Mount the scope in a place where it will not hinder your ability to use the shovel as a shovel – or the scope as a scope!

Overall, it is a better choice to utilize a permanent natural style mount.

Either a Picatinny or Weaver base is a better alternative then using a detachable mount on your scope to get the best of all worlds.

The Picatinny and Weaver base are rail systems designed for rifles to mount scopes and other accessories. 

Once the rail has been mounted onto the shovel, you can utilize a Picatinny angle ring to secure your scope to the shovel.

Rail and Ring Resource

Shovel Zone has included a few rails and rings below for your consideration in mounting your scope.  

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