Scope mounts are available in many styles and sizes and even different colours. There are many variables including height, dovetail rail width and bore size. Probably the most popular type of scope mount is the 11mm ringmount where the ring and the base are combined into an integral unit. The reason the 11mm ringmount is probably the most popular scope mount in the world is because this type of mount is used on 95% of 22 rimfire and .17 rimfire rifles as well as the vast majority of airguns. The air rifle in its many guises along with the .22 rimfire rifle are very popular the world over with huge quantities being sold in the US.


Possibly the second most popular type of scope mount is the weaver or picatinny style mount. A large number of centrefire or fullbore rifle manufacturers use the picatinny or weaver system to enable scope mounting on their rifles. From an engineering perspective the picatinny system is an extremely solid scope mounting solution as it uses a different angle of 45 degrees instead of 30 degrees and this allows the scope mounts to kind of wrap around the rail. A cross bolt then locates into a slot on the picatinny rail which guarantees no movement of the rifle scope even if subjected to large calibre recoil. In recent years the picatinny scope mounting system has been increasingly used on air rifles or airguns as known in the US.


Another fairly popular type of scope mount is the fixed 15mm, 16mm, 17m and 19mm dovetail mount for Tikka and CZ centrefire rifles. This is basically the same system as the 11mm type but just wider to suit the wider dovetails of rifles such as the Tikka T3 and CZ527 etc. This type of mount is also available to fit Parker Hale bases.


Some scope mounts are available in a black gloss finish but this is not always good for hunting applications as it may cause a reflection giving your position away to a wary predator you have been trying to ambush. A matte black finish is normally the most practical and they are readily available.


For long range shooting adjustable scope mounts are a good choice as they allow the objective lens of your scope to be lowered which will mean you will not run out of vertical adjustment on your scope turrets. The angle of your scope will then follow the trajectory of the bullet as it drops away as the range increases.


If you are a spring gun user and many shooters are as spring guns are the most popular type of airgun then you may have experienced problems with the recoil breaking your scope. This is particularly a problem in countries that do not have a power limit and high powered rifles are the norm. Don’t worry a solution is available – the ‘dampa mount’ The dampa mount allows the top half of the mount to slide on the bottom half as the shot is fired. This then stops the recoil from being transferred from the airgun to your scope. Precision machined slideways mean there is no loss of zero and it’s like an insurance policy for your scope.


Whatever type of scope mount you end up with its best practice to buy from a reputable company who manufactures in the US or Europe. Chinese made scope mounts are not the same quality and this reflects in the price. The humble scope mount is more important than many people realise and always choose a good quality brand and be prepared to pay more than the budget versions cost. This will pay dividends and enable you to optimize the accuracy of your rifle along with the feeling of confidence in your equipment which is such an important part of good shooting.

How to choose the best rifle scope for your precision airgun or rifle


Choosing the best rifle scope for your precious rifle or precision airgun is not a simple task. Firstly ask yourself what type of shooting do you do mainly with the rifle in question. If target shooting is your thing you may want to consider a higher magnification scope so you can see your shots on the paper but as you are not likely to be shooting at low light you probably wont need a scope with a large objective lens. The advantage of a scope with a smaller objective lens is that the scope can be mounted lower and closer to the barrel in low or medium height ring mounts.


A good all rounder


The 3-9x40 rifle scope is one of the most popular scope specifications in the world and this is for good reason. The 3-9 means that the magnification is adjustable from 3 times upto 9 times. The 40 means thans that the objective (front) lens is 40mm. This is not the overall outside diameter of the scope but the diameter of the lens inside the scope. This needs to be considered when choosing the best ring mounts for your scope as the overall diameter of the objective lens may be around 47mm depending on which brand you have purchased. This can make the difference between using a low or needing a medium ring mount. Increasingly rifle scopes are coming onto the market with larger magnification ranges and larger objective lenses. There are even scopes out there with 60mm objective lenses that require a high or extra high ring mounts. These super scopes tend to have 30mm or 34mm diameter body tubes.


Tube Size


A lot of 3-9X40 and similar specification scopes feature a 1” diameter body tube but larger scopes with higher magnification ranges are often 30mm. As far as light transmission goes this does not make that much difference but the larger tubed rifle scopes tend to have more turret adjustment so adjustable ring mounts are less likely to be required.




How do you choose the best magnification range (zoom) for your rifle scope ? If you are shooting at a maximum of say 50 yards then there is know point in having a rifle scope with 20 times magnification as the image though the scope is likely to be blurred unless your parallax is adjusted to exactly the right position so you will obviously have to make sure your scope does have adjustable parallax. Adjusting the parallax to exactly the right range may be possible when target shooting but it is not practical in most hunting situations so go for a lower magnification if hunting at quite short ranges with a .22 rimfire or airgun is your thing.


Scope Length


If you choose a particularly long rifle scope then you may have issues getting the correct eye relief. One way to move your scope forward along the scope rail is to use reach forward or extended ring mounts. This type of ring mount can increase your eye relief by around 1” which is often enough to obtain a comfortable shooting position.


Rifle Scope Brands


There are many brands of rifle scope available on the market but two of the best value for money are Hawke and Bushnell. Hawke in particular produce a comprehensive range of scopes at different price points to suit most shooters needs. If you have a budget which stretches into the thousands of dollars brands such as Nightforce, Zeiss and Schmidt & Bender may be a good option. The same rule applies to buying a scope as applies to buying ring mounts – buy the best quality you can afford.