Pick the Right Rifle Scope Rings: How to Get the Most From Your Gun
So, you bought the best rifle for the money along with the highest-quality glass that fit your budget. But what about the pesky little scope rings that join the two together? Have you really given any thought to your rifle’s scope rings?
Though this only scratches the surface, here’s why you need to take a good look at your optics mount, which is an often overlooked yet hugely important player in your happiness with your firearm’s success downrange.
How to Choose the Right Rings
Believe it or not, color is not the proper way to select the ideal scope rings. Sure, that silver-tone scope looks good with silver rings, and that gloss-black optic looks great with matching gloss-black rings. But at the end of the day, always opt for quality first. Selecting your preferred mounting system comes first. Do you prefer Weaver-style bases and rings or Leupold-style rings that twist into position? There are thousands of opinions on which is best, but at the end of the day, it’s a personal preference often dictated by the application.
Once the style has been selected, find the correct height for your setup. That means choosing rings that are high enough to both accommodate your optic’s objective lens diameter and clear the bolt’s throw. Yet, it also needs to be as low as possible to maintain a neutral neck and eye alignment position. Shooters should be able to close their eyes, cheek the gun naturally, and open up their eyes to look clearly through the scope.
Further, the rings must be suited to the firearm’s mounting system. That means you need Weaver for a Weaver-style base and the same for Leupold-style mounts or others like Ruger and CZ rifles that require their own. More on that below. Some shorter-tubed optics may require offset rings, while old-school hunters may opt for see-through or tip-off mounts. Dangerous game hunters and those who may need their iron sights sometimes choose quality quick-detachable rings.
Check and Recheck
Whether you buy a brand-new scoped combination rifle or put together your own, we advocate double-checking the rings and bases for things like quality, flaws, and proper torque. You never want to be wondering about your rig as that trophy buck steps into view or as you pull the trigger on a competition-winning target.
Knowing your rig means a detailed familiarization with its most basic components and testing them at length on the range before the hunt or competition. Sadly, buyers cannot assume a new scoped combo is properly mounted and boresighted from the factory. Likewise, not all local gun shops are created equal when it comes to mounting optics.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request certain rings be used. Otherwise, the cheapest is often the default. Acquiring the basic tools and learning to attach your own is a worthwhile skill.
This is not to say inexpensive rings and bases are bad. In fact, we’ve harvested many game animals with some of the most basic equipment. However, it’s always important to pay attention to such things. Are your rings proper for your chosen setup? Sometimes see-thru rings – while nice for allowing use of the rifle’s iron sights – put the shooter in very awkward, uncomfortable shooting positions when trying to cheek a rig with an abnormally high mount.
Other times, some cheapo aluminum or alloy rings may not hold fast. That’s especially true on harder recoiling and dangerous game rifles and handguns. It’s even more common for inexpensive components to have screws snapped, rounded off, or stripped. But make no mistake – regardless of ring and base selections – proper torque as measured with correct quality tools is of the utmost importance. Buying expensive gear and implementing it incorrectly will not save you in the field.
It may be hard to believe, but the rabbit hole of scope rings is actually a deep and winding one. Consider gunmakers like Ruger and CZ, which each use their own integral and proprietary ring system. While 1-inch and 30mm scope tubes are the most common, there are also rings for 34mm tubes. It’s crucial to know what you need before beginning
What do we look for? Quality rings in quality materials. You probably don’t want the cheapest, but you also likely don’t need the most expensive. We look to names like Talley, Leupold, Burris, Warne, and the upper echelon of Weaver. Other companies involved with firearms and accessories offer solid choices – Seekins Precision and Geissele Automatics, for instance.
Some newer rifles were initially intended to be used with “rings” that are actually a combination ring/base in one. Our Talley Henry mounts are one such example, as are Browning’s X-Bolt and Winchester’s XPR integrated scope mount systems.
Rings We Dig
Weaver Six Hole Tactical: Though Tactical is in the name, these are all-around quality rings. There are six no-strip, Torx-head screws per ring. They are made in the USA from aircraft-grade aluminum with a skeletonized design to reduce weight. We’ve grabbed these in both 1-inch and 30mm options.
Leupold: While Leupold’s Rifleman line is the most affordable – and perfectly serviceable above other budget options – whenever possible, we advise stepping it up a notch. The company’s Mark V and Backcountry rings are well-built choices for hunters and shooters.
Talley Lightweight Alloy Mounts: Talley is known for specializing in quality, American-made mounting solutions. This particular design makes a true one-piece with the ring and base partnered together. Find one that matches your rifle, and you’re golden. Talley is commonly used on Henry Repeating Arms rifles but builds for everything from Mausers to Weatherbys.
One Piece/Tactical: The most common with modern sporting rifles, these quality one-piece mounts can make all the difference between success and frustration. Check out Leupold’s Mark AR, Burris P.E.P.R., and American Defense.