Browsing for some scope mounts for your rifle? You must be getting thrilled to test them out on the field.
When I learned there was more than one type of mount, I had to try them out!
I know you’re having a hard time choosing the best rifle mount, so today, I will talk about the several types available to you!
Let’s discover which mount is right for you.
- What is a Scope Mount?
- Different Types of Rifle Scope Mounts
- Factors to Consider When Buying Scope Mounts
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Scope Mount?
Simply put, a scope mount attaches your rifle scope to your rifle! They are usually made of two main parts: scope rings and the rifle base.
Some manufacturers incorporate the two into one whole scope mount instead of having them come separately.
Different Types of Rifle Scope Mounts
1. Weaver Scope Mounts
History and Evolution
A Weaver-style scope mount was widely famous during the 1900s. In its original system, it used two-piece Weaver rails.
Although eventually, they noticed there was a problem with this mounting system because the rifle scopes were non-aligned, having two separate bases.
They decided to modify it and eventually produced another Weaver-style rail.
I can vouch that a one-piece rail that now shows RELIABLE CONSISTENCY in alignment with the rifle scopes.
Weaver scope mounts are usually made of steel or aluminum.
The surface area has a flat design so it shows an even level from the scope’s view.
It has a repeating horizontal recoil grooves design – a BIG trademark of a Weaver and Picatinny railing.
These Weaver-style bases also offer several recoil slots that are cut into 7/8th and are .180″ wide.
They are a perfect fit for any Weaver-style rings.
Who It’s For
The two-piece Weaver style is still available; however, it’s not that popular among short-range rifle shooters since they don’t need a wider mount for their rifle scopes.
Personally, I like using Weavers for my long-range shooting activities.
Multiple pieces are only great for rifles with bigger and more powerful scopes.
The only downside to these Weaver-style bases is that they don’t have consistent dimensions.
Apart from that, I couldn’t really use any other accessories aside from the Weaver-style rings.
2. Picatinny Scope Mount
History and Evolution
Picatinny rails are actually very similar to Weaver. Back in the 1980s, another company attempted to copy its characteristics for military use.
And they didn’t fail with that.
The main difference between Weaver and Picatinny rail is that Picatinny has square-bottomed slots while Weaver has rounded slots.
Picatinny rails are also .206″ wide — they are much wider than Weaver-style rails.
I find that they are also MORE CONSISTENT when it comes to spacing.
With this, any Weaver mounts can fit into Picatinny rails, however, vice-versa won’t be possible because the Weaver railing types don’t have consistent dimensions.
If you are using two pieces of rings, you can use the extension base to adjust them however you like until you are satisfied with their placement.
Who It’s For
The GREATEST feature of a Picatinny rail is that it allows you to easily adjust your scope mount until you get the optimal range.
Also, with Picatinny rail, I can use a 20 MOA base when going for long-range shooting.
There is a downside to using the Picatinny scope mount — it is a single-piece mount.
A one-piece Picatinny mount IS NOT as flexible as Weaver rings or any rings in general.
If you want to adjust the position of your scope, you will need to adjust the whole scope mount and move it throughout the Picatinny mounting system.
3. Leupold Mounts
Built with Strike-forged steel, Leupold rifle scope mounts are designed to deliver rock-solid performance.
They will LAST LONG in your hands as long as you treat them with proper care!
Who It’s For
Leupold rifle scope mounts are also known as “Redfield” and “Burris.”
They are popular among hunters and long-range shooters for being so reliable regarding STABILITY.
I love that Leupold rifle mounts offer me a lot of windage adjustment, so it can get pretty handy at times.
As long as you can bear spending a little bit of time tweaking your mount, then you are good!
Their scope mount base usually comes in one or two pieces.
The difficult part in using Leupold bases is for you to remove your scope, you will need to remove the top half of the scope rings.
A scope ring tool and screwdriver handle are necessary in order to separate the two. It will require a press fit.
When I was new to shooting, I found this process quite complicated, so other beginners may have trouble with it as well.
4. Dovetail Mount
The dovetail mount is known for having inverted trapezoid cross-sections. Weaver and Picatinny actually have the same design as well.
The ‘dovetail’ term has been derived from the shape it forms on the groove; it is literally similar to a dove’s tail!
Who It’s For
I can recommend the dovetail to anyone!
With this type of mounting system, you can easily change Dovetail rings without affecting the base itself.
Once you install your new rings into the Dovetail slot, you get great stability because of the locking mechanism it offers.
Dovetail rings can perfectly fit into the base if turned at a 90-degree angle. However, you might need to use tools as well.
That’s the downside with the Dovetail mount.
However, dovetails are stable enough as it is, so you won’t have to worry about unsteady rings anyway.
5. Offset Mount
The scope base is directly connected to the upper receiver.
With an offset mount, it is possible to place your scope FARTHER than what your gun’s relief offers.
This mount offers more space at the rear end. This design allowed me to attach iron sights as well.
All offset mounts come in one or two pieces as well. In two-piece bases, each of the rifle scope rings will have its own offset rifle scope mount.
I prefer a two-piece scope mount with two-piece scope rings because it offers more flexibility.
I can move both mounts separately to my liking.
Who It’s For
An offset mount is specially designed to avoid short eye relief.
Being too close to the scope might cause an injury to our eyes due to uncontrollable recoil.
This is better for people who plan on using iron sights. If you’re looking for something simple, then this might not be for you.
6. One-Piece Mounts
One-piece mounts are more like the general term for a rifle scope mount.
A Picatinny, Weaver, or any system, in general, can have a one-piece type of rifle scope mount.
2 scope rings can be on a single base of a scope mount.
With this, you WON’T HAVE AN ISSUE with alignment because the scope rings are already aligned in default.
One-piece scope mounts can also have a single scope ring, but one-piece mounts won’t be as reliable because they are not balanced.
The middle part of your scope will be the only one that’s locked.
The rear and front end won’t have any support, so don’t be surprised if you see it being so unsteady most of the time.
However, they can be a bit more expensive and heavier compared to two-piece scope rings on a two-piece scope mount.
I found this to be a hassle when loading the chamber, especially when using bolt-action rifles, even semi-automatic rifles, actually.
Not to mention, when misfeeding or malfunction occurs on semi-autos, it may be more difficult to clean because the single base blocks the ejection port.
You will need to remove the rifle scope mount first in order to attend to the chamber issues of your rifle.
7. Two-Piece Scope Rings
This is the exact OPPOSITE of the single-base scope mount. Most of the two-piece scope rings have their own base and are standalone.
Who It’s For
With two rings, your scope will be MORE STABLE because it has a base support on both ends.
If you equip it with your bolt action rifles, it won’t obstruct the ejection port anymore since it’s much smaller compared to one-piece scope mounts.
They are also more flexible since you can move them around separately. And most of all, two-piece scope rings are cheaper.
The problem with this mount is the scope alignment.
Since both of your rings don’t have one single scope base, they are not on the same level. You will need to align them manually on the rail base.
8. Integral Mounts
An integral mounting system offers a two-in-one kind of rifle equipment.
The rings are already integrated with the mount itself, meaning you won’t need to buy separate accessories.
You can directly attach the scopes to the mount, while the mount can be installed to the railing system directly as well.
Who It’s For
This is a pretty great and convenient rifle mount equipment because it is EASY TO INSTALL.
It allows me to easily change scopes on the spot if I’m in a hurry!
Just an important reminder that not all rifles are compatible with this scope mount system, especially the AR15 types.
Although they are most common among bolt-action types of rifle. The reason for this is that it actually depends on the manufacturers.
Some manufacturers specifically build rifles that come with this type of scope mount system.
Make sure your rifle is compatible with this mount unless you have the cash to burn.
9. Quick Release/Detach Mounts
This rifle mount features a push-button detaching system.
I found this system SUPER USEFUL as it allows me to quickly change my scope in just a short period of time. It’s been a timesaver!
Who It’s For
This type of mount is very convenient to use at shooting sports and competitions or any events that require frequent scope changing for different scenarios.
For instance, immediate switching from short-range to long-range – a great choice for professionals.
Since it’s designed for quick switches, it might not be worth it for those with only one scope.
Factors to Consider When Buying Scope Mounts
When choosing a rifle mount, make sure to know the objective bell diameter of your scope because this is where you will base your scope’s ring height.
Ring heights usually come in three sizes: low, medium, and high.
To know which ring is the RIGHT FIT for your scope, you will need to calculate height-wise half of your objective bell diameter.
Minimum clearance just above the barrel is the typical choice of many.
This is vital if you want your riflescope to work properly and accurately.
Most long-range shooters prefer having minimum height because it is easier to zero their target when their rifle scope is almost aligned to the barrel.
But some prefer having a little higher ring placement because they don’t like the feeling of the rifle’s buttstock pressing on their face.
In the end, it depends on your preference. Choose the height you are comfortable with the most.
You can check out our guide on how to measure scope height to help you out!
Scope Tube Size
When it comes to scopes, it’s not just the height you need to take into account.
Knowing the size of the scope’s tube is also essential. When browsing for a ring, make sure it fits your scope.
You don’t have to worry as much about the dimensions because they usually only come in two sizes: 1″ and 30mm.
Some types of rifle scope mounts will not be compatible with some rifles.
Find a mount that is the right size and fits nicely on the rifle of your choice.
If your rifle uses a Weaver base, stick with a Weaver (or Picatinny) mount. If you have a dovetail base, no other mount will work except dovetails.
Additionally, stick with the same brand for your space rings and base to prevent compatibility issues.
Cost and Use
Lastly, of course, different mounts will come at varying prices, depending on their brand, size, use, etc.
Whether you choose an expensive one or an affordable one, you must consider what kind of shooting activity you will do. Different shooting activities require different mounts.
For example, shooting professionally will require a higher-quality mount, which will probably come at a higher price.
Canted mounts work best for bullet drop compensation.
Additionally, consider the material of your mount; if you don’t mind a little extra weight, a steel mount should do the trick.
Otherwise, if weight is an issue for you, a lightweight aluminum mount should suffice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Picatinny and Weaver Interchangeable?
No, they are not interchangeable.
It is not ideal to interchange the two mounts because of their differing sizes and specifications.
For starters, Picatinny mounts are wider while Weavers are narrower.
Additionally, you can mount a Weaver on a Picatinny base, but NOT the other way around, as the slots are too narrow.
Are Rifle Scope Mounts Universal?
Yes and no. Some mounts are universal for rifles with Weaver or Picatinny rails.
However, other manufacturers have their own requirements and specifications to match the riflescope with the mount.
Double-check your scopes and mount’s specifications to see which are compatible.
What is the Difference Between Picatinny and Weaver Mounts?
The main difference between Weaver and Picatinny mounts is their size.
Picatinny mounts are wider and are compatible with Picatinny accessories and some Weaver mounts.
Weaver mounts are narrower but are not compatible with Picatinny bases.
There are actually lots of types of rifle scope mounts, but these are the most common among all — especially Weaver and Picatinny rail. If you have modern rifles, they’re the best pick for you.
Check out this guide to learn how to properly mount of rifle scope!
That’s all! We hope you’ve learned a lot about the different types of rifle scope mounts! If you’re not sure how to disassemble your scope, we have a handy guide for that!
FINAL TIP: If you’re new to shooting, you can learn follow our guide on how to use a rifle scope to help you get started!