Picking the Best AR 10 Scope Mounts
The AR 10 Rifle is a great intermediate to long-range rifle. However, even if you have the best scope in the world if it is not securely mounted to the rifle it will not be accurate. There are so many different scope mounts available it can be hard to choose.
In this article, I review the 4 best AR 10 scope mounts and why you should use them. Our review is based on our testing on our own AR 10 Rifle.
Leupold Mark AR Series Mount
In My opinion, this is the best scope mount for the AR 10 platform. It is specifically designed to be mounted to the Picatinny rail on the AR 10 rifle. Mounts are available in varying ring sizes. Sizes range from 1″, 30mm, 34 mm, and 35 mm sizes. This allows the mounting system to be used with a variety of scopes. The Mark AR series mounts feature 5 Torx head screws that secure the mount to the rifle. This makes it ideal for heavy recoil rifles using larger calibers.
The mount is built from lightweight Aircraft Grade Aluminum and weighs in at 6.2 ounces. It also has an anodized black finish to further protect and strengthen the mount. This mount also features a 3 bar Recoil lug system built into the bottom of the mount. These three bars lock into the Picatinny rail and further help to prevent the mount from moving under heavy recoil and bolt cycling.
Leupold has been making scopes and scope mounts for over 100 year’s and their quality and fit has always been excellent. To back this up they offer a lifetime warranty on these scope mounts.
Leupold Mark 4 Scope Mount
The Mark 4 series of scopes are similar to the Mark AR series in that they have a cantilever design that puts the scope in the ideal mounting position for a AR 10 Rifle. However, this model only uses a two-bolt clamping system to secure it to the Picatinny rail on the rifle. It also lacks the extra recoil lugs of the Mark AR mount.
It does, however, offer up a couple of advantages. Firstly, its two-bolt mounting system makes it faster to remove and install on the rifle. The other big advantage of this mount is that the threads that are used to retain the scope mounting rings have steel inserts for threads. The cross mount bolts and nuts are also made from steel. What this means is that when tightening the base to the rifle and the rings to the scope the bolts are not wearing on the soft aluminum. This makes for a more consistent torque value and less chance of a thread being stripped out or failing in service.
The mark 4 series mounts are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and this mount weighs in at 7.8 ounces. This scope mount is also available in a 20 MOA inclination to maximize the scope’s usable elevation adjustments. As with the Mark AR mount, the Mark 4 series of mounts also come with a lifetime warranty.
Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Scope Mount
Aero Precision is known for there high quality and well-finished AR 10 and AR 15 rifles. This scope mount is no different from their rifles. The scope mount is made from 6061 T6 aluminum and weighs in at a very light 3.36 ounces
The cantilevered design works to locate the rifle scope in the ideal place for the AR 10 rifle. The scope mount is designed to specifically mount to the 1913 Picatinny rail system. It also includes a cross-slot keyway to improve the way recoil is transmitted through the scope mount to the rifle.
The one downside of this scope mount is the side-mounted scope rings. The rings have a pivot system at the top of the ring. They are then secured to the mount by tightening two Torx head screws at the bottom of the ring. When tightening the scope rings the scope will have a tendency to rotate in the mount. Making it hard to correctly level the scope.
The ultra-light scope mounts are available in anodized black or Cerakote FDE. They come in a variety of scope ring sizes ranging from 1”, 30 mm, and 34 mm sizes.
Vortex Optics Pro Extended Viper Cantilever Riflescope
Vortex optics is a relatively new company known for there affordable optics products. So, it makes sense that they would offer up a mounting system for their scopes. The biggest difference with their scope mount is that unlike their scopes that are made in China the scope mount is made here in the USA.
Once again this is a cantilevered design of scope mount. This will position the scope up and forward so that it is comfortable to use. The scope mount is made from 6061 T6 Aluminum and weighs in at 6.94 ounces. The vortex mounts are available in several ring sizes ranging from 1″, 30mm, and 34 mm sizes.
Vortex also offers a lifetime warranty on the mount. The biggest drawback of this mount is that it is priced a little higher than the other mounting systems.
Picking the Best AR 10 scope mount
The design of the AR 10 rifle is so different when it comes to the sighting plane of the rifle. Both the AR 10 and AR 15 models are built with the barrel, bolt, and buttstock being in a perfectly straight line. This makes for a very controllable rifle when used in fully automatic mode or when using larger recoiling calibers. However, it makes it very hard to correctly sight along the top of the barrel.
Standard bolt action rifles like the Remington 700 will typically have a stock that will drop down below the centerline of the rifle. This makes it easier for us to sight along the top of the rifle barrel.
Cantilever Scope mounts
So, I am sure that you noticed that all of our best AR 10 scope mounts are a cantilever levered design. This is so that the scope can be raised high enough to make it comfortable to use while maintaining a stable and strong platform to retain the scope. The cantilevered design also allows for the mount to be pushed rearward while still positioning the scope forward. This helps to maintain the correct eye relief with the optic.
Cantilevered scopes also tend to be stronger due to their one-piece design. They also offer a much larger mounting area along the Picatinny rail. This makes them ideally suited for a rifle that will see severe duty and conditions.
Using individual scope rings
Individual scope rings can be used on the AR 10 and AR 15 rifles. However, in my experience I found them to be not as reliable or as sturdy as the one-piece scope mounts. There is a large selection of individual scope rings available and come in many different designs and height specifications. I find that these are more suited to traditional bolt action rifles.
Cantilevered scope mounts can also be used on bolt action rifles. The one main point to be aware of is that the mount does not block or restrict the ejection area of the rifle. Cantilevered scope mounts are designed to be used mainly on a AR 10 or AR 15 rifle. They will often have more material along the length of the mount.
This material can interfere with some bolt action rifles with shell ejection. Leupold does make some cantilevered scope mounts specifically for bolt action rifles. In these mounts, they have thinned the area of the mount that will be positioned above the ejection port.
Low priced AR 10 Scope mounts
Lately, there has been a lot of very low-priced cantilevered scope mounts hitting the market. Most of these mounts are made overseas. And all of them have some pretty questionable quality issues. All the mounts that I have chosen for our Best AR 10 scope mounts are made in the USA and backed by lifetime guarantees. All of them rate between 4.7 to 5 stars and when reading the 1-star reviews most are related to a shipping issue or packaging issue and not a quality issue.
When it comes down to machining aluminum parts, a precision part will cost more to make. It takes better tooling and better operators to produce quality parts time and time again. A scope mount that costs $20 to $28 is just not going to have the repeatability and reliability of a quality part.
Remember you can have the best scope in the world but if you have a poor fitting mount or a scope mount that moves every time you fire a shot, you will never be an accurate shooter.
Stay safe and shoot often