When it comes to building yourself a first-class long range shooting setup, the item on the top of your list would always have to be a high quality, wide range magnification riflescope preferably of the 50mm objective lens diameter category, such as ZeroTech’s Trace Advanced models. But if you need your scope to unleash its full potential, you’ll need to mount it properly on your rifle so you can achieve consistency between shots without needing to repeatedly adjust the mount.
In our previous articles, we’ve covered the use of an anti-cant device to make sure your riflescope is on the level, and a step-by-step guide to correctly mounting your riflescope. There is one other key element when it comes to scope mounting, and that’s the actual mounts used. It may be a daunting task to pick the right type of mount required for your riflescope, but in truth it usually comes down to the specific type of firearm you intend to mount your scope to. This article will take you through the basics of scope mounts, and how to determine the proper height of your scope ring.
Scope Mount Basics
There are a wide variety of scope mounts available on the market, with many of them manufactured specifically for the type of firearm you’re using. The Warne Scope Selector has an excellent database to assist you in finding the right scope ring and base combination for your riflescope, as well as scope mounts for specialized rifles. Before picking a scope mount at leisure, a common term you need to identify, especially if you are a beginner or amateur shooter building your first shooting setup is the scope base.
The scope base is what holds the ring mounts to your rifle and allows you to mount your riflescope. If you examine your rifle, there are pre-drilled and tapped grooves on the receiver which are made for the installation of a base or a scope rail. These bases are usually designed according to your rifle model, and are fit with screws into these grooves to then hold the rings. They can have both one and two-piece designs.
You can either use a predesigned base, a one-piece scope mount, or a Picatinny rail as your scope base of choice. A Picatinny rail functions the same way as a standard scope base, except it allows multiple optics such as scopes with rings and night vision accessories to be fit into the grooves spaced evenly along its length.
The scope rings are what hold the riflescope in place and are recommended to be sourced from the same manufacturer as the scope base you’re using, and sized for the same rifle, for a safe and secure fit. Of course, you need to select your scope ring based on the objective lens diameter of your riflescope, after which you clamp them to the scope base or rail either horizontally or vertically depending on the manufacturer.
Determining the Scope Ring Height
The height of the scope ring indicates how far the scope will sit above the bore of the rifle, which is important to ensure the scope is within level of your cheek when you bring your gun to your shoulder, without having to move your head too much to get a clear picture. These are determined by the diameter of the riflescope (the outside coverings included), not just the objective lens.
Generally, most traditional rifle stocks do not have adjustable cheek pieces (situated slightly below the rifle action or the barrel’s axis) and the scope can be mounted at a lower height in relation to the barrel aids; a heavier barrel will require a slightly higher scope mount. Always make sure you leave a small gap between the front objective lens and the barrel when you mount. If your rifle has an adjustable cheek piece (generally found in sniper or military grade rifles), or you are simply unsure about the height, then a higher scope mount can be done.
To correctly measure the scope ring height you need, you need three basic measurements from your scope on hand (all in inches):
- Rail height: The height of the top of your scope base or rail from the top of the barrel.
- Ring height: The height of the centerline of your scope ring to the top of the rail
- The bell diameter of the riflescope.
With these measurements, the formula needed to calculate the correct height is:
(rail height + ring height) – (bell diameter x 0.5)
For a 50mm riflescope such as the ZeroTech Trace Advanced, with a 30mm tube length, a good height would come to around 0.300 inches.
As we have illustrated in our previous articles, mounting your scope properly can be done yourself at home as long as you have all basic preparations covered. Correct scope mounting can help you maximize the performance of a high-quality, robust engineered riflescope such as the ZeroTech range. With your riflescope precise and secure, you’re ready to conquer the hunting range with consistency and without worry.