Scope mounts

Types of Rifle Scope Mounts: 12 Most Useful Ones

Once you’ve found the best rifle scope, you’re one step closer to getting the most from your sport shooting or hunting hobby.

However, you’re not done yet. You still need to find the correct mounting system for your scope.

The mount is just as important as your rifle scope, and, at times, it can be as pricey.

There are many types of rifle scope mounts, and today, we’ll discuss some of them so you can find exactly what you need.

The Different Parts of a Scope Mount

Before we proceed to the different types of rifle scope mounts, let us quickly discuss the parts of a scope mount.

In general, a scope mount has two major components: the base and scope rings.

Base

This is the part of the mounting that attaches directly to the rifle or firearm.

The base comes with pre-drilled holes and screws to hold the firearm securely.

Mounting bases come in either a one-piece or two-piece construction.

While the choice depends on your personal preference, you also want to make sure it fits your firearm.

Scope Rings

“Rings” is a general term used to describe the actual attachments that secure the scope to the rifle.

Some scope rings attach to the scope directly, while other models will need a special mount to affix to the firearm.

Types of Rifle Scope Mounts

The 12 most useful rifle scope mounts that you need to learn about are as follows:

1. Single Mount

The first and simplest type of rifle scope mount is called a single-piece mount.

It is made up of a single base and two scope rings.

One-piece mounts are among the most popular mounting systems used for rifle scopes.

They eliminate the need for aligning the scope, which makes them easy to set up and use.

With their one-piece construction, they are very robust and rigid.

Single-piece mounts are widely used for high-recoil calibers, but they are heavy due to the complete assembly.

Some models may require the use of a rail base as well.

2. Weaver Scope Mount

This type of mount comes with one or two-piece rails either made of steel or aluminum.

It features numerous slots cut across the length of the rail along with recessed screw holes.

The slots hold the scope rings and provide many mounting places.

Weave mounts are the most commonly used mounts for rifles.

They are great for shooters who want a very low-profile mount.

The biggest advantage of a weaver scope mount is they attach to weaver rings very easily.

You can take off and re-attach your rifle without a significant loss of zero.

This makes it easy to remove the scope, carry it in a bag, and use the same scope on different rifles.

The downside of Weaver-style mounts is that the widths of slots vary in many models.

3. Picatinny Scope Mount

The Picatinny scope mount addresses the problem of a weaver-style mount.

It’s originally based on a weaver design, but the Picatinny is built to exact specifications and tolerances, so you can use them as a universal mount.

This time-tested design features a wider rail and a slightly deeper slot compared to the weaver-style mount.

Many shooters prefer using a Picatinny base because it provides more flexibility.

For example, if you are using two-piece sets and still don’t get your desired eye relief level, you can use the extension base to spread out the rings even further and move your scope to a different slot at any time.

4. Dovetail Scope Mount

This mount is shaped like a dovetail, hence, its name.

Its major advantage is changing the rifle scope is a lot easier since it will slide on and off.

It also comes with a locking mechanism to hold the scope in place.

This mount is paired with dovetail rings, which are also called tip-off rings.

5. Leupold STD Scope Mount

This mounting system has a front ring that twist-locks into a place and a rear ring found between the two windage screws.

It’s designed this way so that you can adjust the rear to the left or right.

The Leupold STD Scope mount is specifically manufactured to fit individual rifles.

Leupold-style bases are an alternative to non-weaver bases.

They typically come in one- or two-piece assembly and are considered sturdy, reliable, and trouble-free.

Leupold mounts have a front ring with a protruding, beveled metal that sticks out under the ring.

Once in place, the ring is turned into a tip-off slot to tighten it.

6. Integral Mount

An integral mount has the rings and the base integrated into a single piece, which is then mounted directly to the rifle.

Since the mount already comes with rings, there’s no need to buy accessories separately.

Just an important reminder that an integral mount doesn’t work with all rifles because the gun must be built with mounts for them.

Some rifle manufacturers make models that are only compatible with this type of mounting system.

That said, an integral mount is best suited to use with one scope and a particular rifle.

7. Quick-Release Mount

This rifle scope mount features a push-button detaching system that lets you change your scope quickly and conveniently.

For this reason, this scope mount is widely used for shooting sports and competitions.

It’s also a good choice for shooting at varying distances or scenarios.

Quick-detach scope mounts give you the flexibility to detach and attach an optic from your rifle without any tools and while retaining your zero.

8. Two-Piece Scope Rings

The exact opposite of a single-piece scope mount, the two-piece mount features base support on both ends.

Given that, if you attach it to your bolt action rifle, it won’t obstruct the ejection port anymore because it’s smaller than a single-piece mount.

Two-piece scope rings are very flexible and are generally cheaper than other mounts.

Two-piece mounts are perfect for shooters with big hands or those who wear gloves, or those who need unobstructed access to clear jams and reload cartridges, to name a few.

They are also lighter than one-piece mounts, but they are quite tricky to install because you have to make sure the rings are properly aligned.

9. Offset Mount

Offset mounts are mainly designed for AF rifles which typically don’t leave much room for larger scopes.

This mount allows you to install your scope far enough forward to get more space in the back.

It also leaves room for the iron sights as backups.

10. 20 MOA Scope Mount

This scope mount is canted down in the front toward the barrel, perfect for long-range scopes.

It allows more usable elevation adjustment since you are starting at a lower point.

For example, if you are zeroing at 100 yards, you have 20 inches of extra elevation to work with.

11. Scope Rings

Scope rings are smaller, lighter, and generally less expensive than one-piece mounts.

As the name suggests, two small rings are attached to your rifle to hold the scope in place.

They are a bit more challenging to attach. Once you do it correctly, though, scope rings provide more freedom and versatility of use.

For instance, you can use them to mount your scope for long-distance shooting since they can be canted.

12. Tip-Off Mounts

This type of mount is attached directly to the grooves built into a rifle.

Tip-off mounts were very popular before and are still used for 0.22 rifles.

They come in varying sizes and varieties and are well-suitable for medium-range shooting on a secondary rifle.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Rifle Scope Mount

Now that you know the different types of rifle scope mounts, you have a better idea of the mounting system for your weapon.

However, there are still a few things you have to consider to end up buying the right one.

Ring Height

When choosing an optic mount, you should always take into account the ring height.

It refers to the distance from the optic’s center to the scope tube’s thickest area.

Its diameter should be close to that of the objective lens, which is roughly 42mm.

You have to know your scope’s objective bell diameter, as it’s where you will base the ring height of your scope ring.

To determine the correct scope’s ring height size, divide your objective bell diameter in half, height-wise.

Most shooters prefer minimum clearance just about the barrel because it’s easier to zero their target.

Take note that when the ring height is too high, you will have an obstructed view of your target.

If it’s too low, it might settle onto the barrel of your firearm.

Scope Tube Size

Apart from the ring height, you should also take into account the tube size of your scope.

When browsing for a ring, make sure it fits your scope.

Scope rings usually come in two sizes, one inch and 30mm.

Compatibility

Again, not all scope mounts are compatible with rifle optics.

Choose the model that fits nicely with your optic and your weapon.

For example, if your scope uses dovetail slots, you will need to use dovetail rings.

If you’re using a Weaver-style base, you can pair it with either a Weaver-style ring or a Picatinny.

However, if you’re using a Picatinny mount, you can’t use the rings for a weaver mount.

It’s always a good idea to have a scope ring and base of the same brand so you won’t have any issue with size variations.

Cost and Use

Mounts widely vary in size, with some models being as expensive as rifle scopes.

When deciding between pricey and low-cost options, base your decision on how and how often you will use the product.

If you hunt professionally or regularly, you want a high-quality mounting system for maximum performance.

If you’ll shoot at very long ranges or 600 yards and beyond, you want canted mounts that build in some degree of bullet drop adjustment.

Lastly, scope rings and bases are either made of steel or aluminum, as we’ve mentioned earlier.

If weight is a big deal to you and your anticipated use is low to moderate, aluminum mounting systems will work just fine.

However, if you’re after long-term durability and don’t mind the added weight, it’s worth spending extra bucks for steel scope mounts.

The Right Rifle Scope Mount for Your Needs

Rifle scope mounts come in different types.

When browsing for a mounting system for your optic, it’s important to consider the specifics of your scope, particularly the ring height and tube size.

Needless to say, the rings should match the dimensions of your scope, with a minimum clearance for the objective lens over the barrel.

You should also consider the type and frequency of your shooting activities to end up choosing the right mount for your needs.

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