How to Choose a Scope Mount for a Rifle

How to Choose a Scope Mount for a Rifle

With the 6.5 Creedmoor becoming one of the hottest cartridges to come down the pike in years, shooters need to understand that this cartridge is not your daddy’s round.

It is a completely new bag of worms in ballistics science.

We must understand that using budget rings and bases when mounting glass on a Creedmoor rifle may reduce the real value of the downrange performance of this cartridge.

In other words, staying with high quality will pay off big time at some point down the trail.

Ruger chassis precision rifle weaver picatinny rail for mounting scopes
This Ruger chassis rifle illustrates the very workable, effective Weaver (or Picatinny) style rail that holds base rings in place when mounting a scope sight on the rifle.
The following information is directed at the 6.5 Creedmoor but it still applies to other hunting guns and even some air guns like the Benjamin Marauder!

Types of Mounts

Mounts for the bolt gun or autoloading rifle can be placed into two categories:

  • The first category is the two-piece mounts that include separate bases from the rings. In many cases, these are attached with screws directly to the rifle’s receiver.
  • The second category involves attaching the rifle scope using a single one-piece base and ring system often referred to as a “cantilever mount.”

This type mount is the king of the hill, even though it carries a much higher price tag than the two-piece bases and rings.

Cantilever mounts are stiffer than two separate rings and can push your scope forward, which is useful on some autoloading rifles[1].

Author at a long-range target with Ruger Hawkeye M-77 extreme distance shooting
Author at a long-range target with Ruger Hawkeye M-77 using one of the best long range scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor in a cantilever mount. This is one of the best mounts for accurate long range shooting and that includes the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Scope Mount Screws

With the ability of the 6.5 Creedmoor to act as both a big game hunting and a long-range shooting platform, the basic mounting system used with the rifle/cartridge becomes very important.

The two-piece bases and rings require far more screws than a one-piece system.

Since screws can break off, get loose and fall out, and loosen over long periods of use, the shooter is doubling the chance of sights failing when you need them the most.

Then you’ll be stuck hunting with your knife!

Because of this, I favor one-piece mounts when possible.

Base and Ring system used on the 6.5 Creedmoor two piece mount
A two-piece scope mount. This is a simple and very solid mounting system.

 

When working with screws, the use of a non-permanent thread cement is advised[2].

While the 6.5 Creedmoor is not a high recoil cartridge, keeping threads tight is necessary for accuracy. When using fewer screws, the chance of losing zero is reduced.

Budget or Expensive Scope Mounts?

Even though I have been indicating that one-piece mounts are the very best, many other mounting systems are available to the shooter.

When considering price, some of the budget systems are one timers.

When set in place everything works well for the first time.

If you remove them and reinstall them later, the screws are soft and don’t hold up and the claws that hold the base in place get chewed up.

6.5 Creedmoor rifle scope mounting on Browning A Bolt action rifle
Browning two-piece base and ring one unit rings for the Browning A Bolt rifle

 

Many low priced rings and mounts are made of soft metal such as poor-quality aluminum[3].

This metal cannot take the stress of the long haul when sending rounds down range.

Try a Scope Mount with Additional Screws

Tactical rifles such as the Ruger Precision model, for example, use six screw rings because of the rifle’s specialized use. This makes for a tough combat-style field system.

I run these setups on high recoil .338 Lapua and .50 BMG rifle scope setups with very good results.

Recoil here is so severe that I found one brand that lasted through only seven rounds put through a big .50 BMG.

Nevertheless, the mounts held up well.

If the six screw rings can handle the big .50 BMG, .300 Win Mag, .300 PRC, or .338 Lapua, they can take on anything in the 6.5 Creedmoor stable of cartridges.

6.5 Creedmoor with LPVO scope on cantilever QD mount
Another base/ring system used on the 6.5 Creedmoor that makes use of single one-piece set of bases and rings for accuracy.

 

Realizing I have been covering the base story to a maximum level here, the fact remains that when sights go down, many times the culprit is base failure.

Scope Mount Weight

There is a final category to be considered here, and that is the idea of “going right by going light.”

Mountain hunting for sheep or goats requires lightweight rifles because you’ll be hiking up mountains instead of sitting in a deer blind. The 6.5 Creedmoor fits this firearm profile to perfection.

Aero Precision Ultralight 30MM Scope Mount SPR for hunting rifles
Aero Precision makes high-quality ultralight cantilever scope mounts

My gun builder here in the South Dakota Black Hills DeadWood area is Satterlee Arms, LLC[4].

This company builds rifles from scratch made from pure titanium.

Yes, they take blocks of this very high grade, lightweight metal, and then cut a carbon copy of a perfect Mauser MARK V action to generate the perfect ultralight hunting rifle.

Here is a natural home for ultra lightweight but very strong bases and rings. This rifle builder can custom build them for his rifles or other mountain rifle systems.

Conclusion

Always remember that regardless of how you set up rings and bases for glass sights on your 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, the performance standard will correlate with the price you are willing to pay.

Resources

  1. http://www.opticstalk.com/cantilever-necessary-for-ar-mounting_topic35267.html
  2. http://forum.accurateshooter.com/threads/loctite-for-scope-rail-screws.3821737/
  3. https://forum.snipershide.com/threads/aluminum-vs-steel-scope-mounts.34525/
  4. https://satterleearmsrifles.com/

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