Browsing for some scope mounts for your rifle? You must be getting thrilled to test them out at the field.
We know you’re having a hard time choosing the best rifle mount, so today, we’re going to talk about the several types available to you!
Let’s discover which mount is right for you.
- Different Types of Rifle Scope Mounts
- Factors to Consider When Buying Scope Mounts
Different Types of Rifle Scope Mounts
1. Weaver Scope Mounts
History and Evolution
A Weaver-style scope mount was widely famous during the 1900s.
On 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 nonaligned having two separate bases.
So, they decided to modify it and eventually produced another Weaver-style rail— 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. And 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.
Multiple pieces are only great for rifles with bigger and powerful scopes.
The only downside to these Weaver-style bases is that they don’t have consistent dimensions. Your rifles will most likely not going to be able to use any accessories aside from 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. And 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 placing.
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, you will be able to use a 20 MOA base when going for long-range shooting.
Now, there is a downside to using 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 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 scope mounts are also known as “Redfield” and “Burris”. They are popular among hunters and long-range shooters for being so reliable when it comes to STABILITY.
Leupold rifle mounts offer you 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. Those who are new to the shooting world might take this as a complicated method and we can’t blame you for that. It is true after all.
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
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 Dovetail mount. Though it doesn’t seem to be much of a hassle to perform anyway since, in the end, you are not going to worry about having unsteady Dovetail rings anymore.
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 —with this design, you are able to attach iron sights if you want to.
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.
In this case, it is preferable to use a two-piece scope mount with two-piece scope rings because it offers more flexibility. You can move both mounts separately as you like.
Who It’s For
An offset mount is specially designed for avoiding short eye relief because as we all know, 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.
Also, you may find this a hassle when loading the chamber, especially if you are using bolt-action rifles. Even in semi-automatic rifles, actually.
When misfeeding or malfunction occurs in your semi-autos, you may find it difficult to clean them because the single base blocks the ejection port.
You will need to remove the riflescope 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 — they 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 manually align them 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. This means 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. So if you are in a hurry, you will be able to easily change scopes on the spot.
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. It allows you to quickly change your scope in just a short period of time.
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 the best choice 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, high.
To know which ring is the RIGHT FIT for your scope, you will need to calculate half of your objective bell diameter, height-wise. 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.
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.
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.
That’s all. We hope you’ve learned a lot about the different types of rifle scope mounts.
CHANGELOG: September 16, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links