How to Choose Mounts For Your Rifle Scope and Rifle

After selling rifle scopes on eBay for 6 years I can say with absolute certainty that the one area that confuses prospective new scope owners more than any is the choice of scope mounts. The good news is that unless your rifle is an unusual or vintage type then choosing the right scope mounts is simple. In this article you’ll learn how to quickly determine what type you need.

So the, you have a new rifle and want to get a nice telescopic rifle scope to help you shoot better? And make it look very cool too 🙂

Selecting a rifle scope can be a tricky process in itself and I won’t cover it in this article except briefly now: If you are shooting in normal dawn to dusk type light at ranges no more than say 300 yards/metres then get a 3-9×40 or similar variable magnification scope. 3-9 = it ranges between 3 and 9x magnification and the 40 bit means it has a 40mm wide lens at the end. This is a very good general purpose combination and there are options for most budgets from cheap to military.

Now what you need in order to fix the scope to the rifle are mounts. This should not be tricky but to save time, hassle and cost in returning incorrect mounts to the seller it’s good to get it right first time.

There are 2 things you need to know:

1) What mounts are need for your scope in terms of (a) height and (b) ring diameter.

2) What type of rifles scope receiver grooves you have.

In many cases you may find scope and mount packages sold together, in these cases you can be sure that they will be correct for the scope but you still need to be sure that they will be OK for your rifle before you go ahead. If not then you’ll need to ask the seller if they can swap for another type.

What mounts are need for your scope

Scope mounts come in 3 main heights. By height I mean how high they will lift the scope off the rifle. There are 3 main heights:

Low – For scopes with upto 32mm lenses
Medium – For scopes with upto 42mm lenses
High – For scopes with 40-56mm lenses

There are also such things as ultra high but you’re unlikely to need those unless you have a specialized requirement.

The size of lens rule is a good general guide but also bring your rifle into consideration. If it has say a bolt action then it’s best to go for a high mount even with a smaller lens scope.

Scope Tube Diameter is the second consideration when matching mounts to scope.

Most scopes have a 25mm (1 inch) body tube and you’ll find that most mounts are for these scopes. If not then they will specify that they are for a different diameter body – you’ll find some with 30mm tubes. So be sure you know what your scopes body tube diameter is the choose your mounts to match.

What type of rifles scope receiver grooves you have

By this I mean the place where the scope mounts will attach on top of the rifle.

Commonly referred to as the scope base or rail, grooves or receiver.

There are 2 main types: Standard and Weaver (also often called Picatinny or Tactical)

In turn mounts are commonly referred to as Standard or Weaver mounts.

Standard –

2 grooved lines running front to back along the top of the rifle body
 Between 9 and 13mm apart.

Weaver/Picatinny/Tactical –

The grooves are 20-22mm apart
The base is often more of a solid block design with horizontal “slats” across it (some mounts have arrestor blocks in their bases that give an extra degree of lock by mating with these grooves)

Standard bases are as the name suggests very common. They are the standard these days for air rifle and paintball guns and many lower powered pistols.

Weaver bases are to be found on higher power higher recoil rifles, especially military, hunting and shotguns. They are also found on many airsoft rifles where the replication is very accurate.

Your mount choice factors combine then…Examples

Your have an air rifle with a standard base and are getting a 3-9×40 scope with a 25mm tube = Standard Medium or High mounts.

Hunting rifle with 20mm weaver base  and you’re getting a 6-24×50 scope with 30mm tube = High 30mm Weaver mounts.

1 or 2 piece?

This is a further division, I add this for completeness. If you’re new then I’d say go for 2 piece as your first type.

1 piece is where the whole mount body is a single molded unit. This type is very strong and solid but may not be an option if you have a bolt action or top magazine rifle.

2 piece – Simply 2 mounts that you position on the rifle base rail. Not quite the rigidity of the 1 piece but more flexible in terms of positioning and ability to “work around” obstructions. Cheaper too.

I hope this article helps you make the right choice. Once you break it down into steps making the right rifle scope mount choice is not hard and will let you zero your new cool looking rifle scope as quickly as possible!