Why Choose Adjustable Scope Mounts ?
It’s essential to carefully consider the type of mounts (aka scope rings) when fitting a sight to your rifle. Cheap, flimsy mounts will not hold up against recoil or demanding field use; ill-chosen mounts may badly position your scope in relation to either your eye, or your rifle’s barrel/action – and poor alignment anywhere generally leads to shooting inaccuracy. In the worst case, the wrong mount choice may even end up placing stress points on your scope, shortening its lifespan as well as affecting its optical performance.
Naturally, to cover a multitude of mounting scenarios, there is a multitude of mount designs to baffle even the most experienced of shooters – one-piece, two-piece, integral, low, medium, high… the list is a long one.
In that list is the Adjustable Mount – often shied away from due to either its expense, apparently complicated design or fear of it having ‘moving parts’. However, adjustable mounts don’t cost much more than fixed mounts and are very simple to use. As for those moving parts… “Rubbish!” Properly-engineered ones like the Blue Print Adjustable Mount all lock securely with sturdy bolts.
So with those myths busted, here are a few good reasons why you should actually be putting an adjustable mount at the very top of your list…
Firstly: what, exactly, is an adjustable mount? Well, it’s one that allows the rings – the cradle base and top strap that grip the scope’s tube – to be height- and tilt-adjusted. Such user-made adjustments can be beneficial and, even, necessary.
A height-adjustable mount is very handy if you own numerous scopes with different sized objective bells and rifles with different action/barrel designs. You simply adjust it to suit a particular rifle/scope combo without needing to own, say, three sets of conventional mounts in low, medium and high format to cater for every eventuality.
It can also help with achieving a precise ‘gunfit’. For example, a rifle with a raised or lowered comb (cheekpiece) may require a specific mount to achieve good sighting-eye alignment – but what if a ‘high’ mount is too high for comfort, yet a ‘medium’ mount is not high enough? At least with a height-adjustable mount, you can set it to the millimetre for whatever scope you choose to have on board.
Likewise, height-adjustable mounts also help on rifles where there’s a protrusion above the receiver, such as the magazine on a precharged pneumatic (PCP). With a standard mount, you may find the magazine interferes with the scope, most commonly at its saddle. It may necessitate a much higher mount, which may then compromise your head position and, therefore, a comfortable aim. An adjustable mount can be precisely tailored for minimal saddle clearance without compromising your gunfit, though (see figure 1).
Figure 1: An Adjustable Mount helps with awkward receivers, without having to compromise gunfit
But perhaps the biggest advantages an adjustable mount has to offer is in its ability to ‘tilt’ – that is to angle the scope in relation to the rifle’s bore. With a few exceptions, conventional mounts mate the scope parallel to the rifle’s receiver. This can pose problems on guns with a ‘droop’ barrel, or where the trajectory fall-off is especially noticeable, such as when shooting at longer distances or with an air rifle having a pronounced pellet path.
Of course, there are workarounds to deal with exaggerated fall-off, but they have their flaws. You could dial in maximum adjustment on the elevation turret, but that takes the scope’s delicate gimbal system so far from its ‘optical centre’ that it can become unstable in holding zero. Or you could ‘pack’ the base of the rear mount with a shim to angle the scope down at the front – but that puts stress points on the scope (see figure 2) and, in the worst case, can even bend it!
Figure 2: Packing (shimming) the rear mount can place unnecessary stresses on the scope
But by having front and rear mounts that are independently height and tilt adjustable, you can fully support the scope without ‘pinching’ it (see figure 3), and at the angle best suited to retain a near optical centre – the point where you need minimal clicks of the elevation turret to fine-tune your zero for any particular rifle/ammo/scope combo.
Figure 3: A height-/tilt-adjustable mount fully supports the scope at the desired angle
Tilt adjustment is particularly useful when shooting at longer distances, too, where the projectile’s trajectory is at its most pronounced. By tilting the scope ‘front down’, the line of sight can be brought more into alignment with the trajectory fall-off. And if you prefer to use the ‘dialling-in’ method – turning the elevation turret to a new setting for each distance – it also helps keep the clicking to a minimum, which puts less strain on the scope’s internals.
So, when you actually look at the advantages an Adjustable Mount system offers, it’s easy to conclude that it’s well worth the investment. Not only does bring a great deal of versatility to the all-important marriage of rifle and scope, and adjustable mount will even help ensure your scope’s performance – and therefore your marksmanship – is maximised without compromise.