The best scope in the world is no good unless it’s mounted correctly so what’s it all about? There are two mounting options; fixed, and quick detachable (QD), this last is normally found on switch barrel/calibre rifles or where iron sights are also required. The basic setup is a pair of fixed, dovetail bases that screw to the top of the rifle’s receiver (bridges).

The rings (1” or 30mm diameter) hold the scope so providing the interface. They fit using a claw that clamps to the base. Rings are horizontally or vertically split so they can enclose the scope body tube and are fixed by opposed screws. A one-piece base (rail) can be substituted, which is more rigid and can be made to offer a degree of angle for longer range shooting if required, or extended for night vision optics.

Easy off

The QD systems can be general use or dedicated. The former consists of a standard ring with a thumb lever or catch giving the clamping effort rather than a screw, so easily removed when required. The latter are the most complex being a base that is designed to clamp to the specific rifle’s barrel or receiver with QD latches. On top of this, the rings are fitted or in the case of some European scopes a special fitting using small, multiple slots that engage with teeth in the underside of the scope’s body. Called a European Rail, it’s very strong but and unlike a round-bodied scope can only be used with this specialists mount. A sub-category is the adjustable mounts that allow you to move the scope/rings in a direction if, for example, you run out of adjustment when zeroing. Browning uses a new mount system called Nomad on which one you can mount all your scopes on one rifle and with an immediately perfect fit.


Set up

Mounting a scope is easy and requires few tools. Modern rifles receivers are drilled and tapped for bases and there are many commercial options for most makes of gun. With the right bases remove the blanking screws from the receiver and ensure the underside of the bases and the receiver are free from debris. Locate the bases and insert the screws and tighten them with the correct tool. You can use a thread locking compound but it’s not necessary!


Fit the rings to the scope body so they are a sliding fit then clamp them to the bases. We now require two things the scope’s reticle (cross hair) has to be level and the eye relief set. The latter is done by adopting a firing position and sliding the scope forward/back until you get a full sight picture with a comfortable head position. Then the scope is rotated until you get a level reticle, this can be done by eye or with a level bubble, which is more efficient. When tightening the rings do it in sequence and a bit at a time, this will reduce the body tube rolling in the rings, which can happen if you tighten one side fully then the other. If not upright at longer ranges your point of aim/impact will be slightly off, which is not good!