How to Choose and Install Mounts, Rings and Bases

Buying a great set of scope mounts, scope rings and bases for your rifle scopes is an investment you will not regret. Even the best scope and weapon combined can offer a faulty result if the bases and mounts holding them together are not fitting well. Cheap scope mounts and scope rings can ruin a good hunt, by wasting your time or injuring animals aimlessly. Often you won’t realize how badly a cheap, wrongly installed scope mount can affect your performance until it is too late. So make sure you know what you are buying when you go to get your Scope mounts, rings and bases.

Below are a few explanations about various parts needed to install a scope onto a weapon:

Bases are strong metal platforms on which the scope rings are adjusted. These platforms are adjusted onto the weapon receiver with screws while the scope rings are adjusted onto the base either with screws, dovetails or clamps. Some weapons already have their bases installed on their receivers.

Scope Rings are circular clamps whose inner diameter must match the outer diameter of the scope that has to fit in them. The most typical diameters of the inner rings are 1 inch or 30mm. You have to choose the height of the rings according to the type of the scope you use, which means it has to be ideal for the eye relief, ocular belt size, barrel contour, bolt lift etc

Extension Rings are scope rings used for short scopes because they allows for a shorter mounting distance between rings. These are great if you need to adjust eye relief or for short scopes on long rifles.

Tipoff Rings, .22 Rings and 3/8” Dovetail Rings are scope rings that clamp onto the grooves of a receiver or base. These receiver have those grooves already on them or the bases places on the receivers are grooved themselves because of lack of metal on the receiver.

Weaver Style Bases are inexpensive scope bases, sometimes made of steel, which are 7/8” wide and can be placed on most weapons. The slots found running crossways on the base are called recoil slots and are usually .180’ wide. Weaver style bases might differ slightly depending on which manufacturer made them.

Weaver Style Rings are scope rings made either from aluminum or steel and clam well onto 7/8’ bases, like the Weaver Style Bases. These rings have a recoil lug beneath them which fits perfectly into the recoil slots on a weaver style base. This ensures that the scope won’t move forwards or backwards because of the recoil from a shot.

Quick Detachable/ Quick Release Rings and scope rings that have a lever, which allows you to quickly remove the scope whenever you need to, when you press it. This allows for quick scope inspection or cleaning when needed.

Picatinny 1913 are scope rings and bases that are very similar to Weaver style rings with the big difference that their recoil lugs and grooves are larger. These grooves and lugs are .206” in comparison to the .180” of the Weaver type. This allows Weaver type rings to be placed into Picatinny bases, but not the opposite. This is why sometimes Weaver styles bases and rings are called Weaver/Picatinny rings and bases. Picatinny was created for the US military standardization of 1913.

Leupold Style bases are a very popular type of bases by which many non-Weaver style bases are measured by. They are made from strong materials, have sleek designs and are usually made from steel. Often they come in two pieces. Like with the Weaver style systems, Leupold style bases can differ depending on the manufacturer that makes them. Leupold style rings are hard to detach and you are forced to take the top half of the rings off to get your scope out of them. With special tools you can place the bottom half of the ring into the base, which is impossible to do by hand since it is done with larger amounts of pressure. The rear ring is place on top of the base with screws. These screws tie into another, squeezing the ring into place.

Dual Dovetails is a system very like the Leupold styles mentioned above, with the one difference that both front and rear rings have to be pressure fitted. This does not allow as much flexibility, but is more secure.

Mounts are systems of bases and rings in one piece of accessory. They usually do not need any fuss to attach to the weapon and are just as easily removed when needed. Handguns and Longguns might utilize these mounts to become better weapon used for greater distance shooting. They are also used on plenty of modern guns including shotguns.

STANAG are standardized bases and rings approved and used by NATO.
Ring height is an important factor when adjusting your weapon. Usually the scope is fitted as closely to the barrel as possible. But some scopes like the 50mm scopes need to be placed high on the barrel. Sometimes rings are placed high so that there is room for the scope caps. 42-45mm scopes use medium height rings and 40mm scopes usually use low rings. Flattop rifles need very high rings to allow for a proper cheek weld.
As you can see there is plenty to think about when you choose the proper scope rings and scope mounts for your weapon. One is certain, if you buy rings, bases and scope mounts of high quality you will certainly enjoy them and your scope-weapon combination much more!