While people spend hours of their time on researching the different kinds of scopes that they need for their rifle, they will spend a significantly less amount of time on the best scope rings – specifically on the types of rings that they need for that scope.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Best Small Scope Rings: Burris 420181 XTR Scope Rings
- Best Large Scope Rings: UTG Low Pro Max Strength Picatinny Rings
- Overall Best Scope Rings: Vortex Optics Precision Matched Riflescope Rings
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The reality is that the mounting system is equally as important as the scope because without the mounting system, it’s impossible for you to attach your scope to your rifle in the first place. If you use the incorrect kind of mounting system for your rifle and/or scope, then it’s also going to be impossible for you to make accurate shots.
There have been too many shooters who have bought the incorrect mounting system or rings for their scope because they didn’t invest in the research. When they began to practice shooting and saw that their shots were going all over the place, they didn’t realize what the issue was until they had spent a lot of money on spent ammunition. You don’t want to become that kind of a shooter.
In this article we are going to cover the difference between a scope ring and a scope base as well as why both matter. We will also discuss the different factors to take into consideration when on the market for scope rings followed by three of the very best scope rings that are currently available to buy.
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Scope Rings vs. Scope Bases
Many people confuse the terms scope rings and scope bases. Both are thrown around a lot in discussions of scope and optic mounting systems in general. However both the rings and the bases are integral parts of the scope mounting system as a whole. The purpose of the scope base is to raise the rings so you don’t need to purchase rings that are taller. Furthermore the base provides you with an excellent point for attaching other optics.
Many rifles as it stands do not require bases because it’s possible to mount the rings directly to the receiver of the rifle. In other rifles, the base has already been built in and doesn’t require an additional installment. For example, many AR-15 and AR-10s come equipped with a base that is already built into the flat top upper receiver.
In short, both the scope base and the scope rings are important parts of your scope mounting systems. A base is not always necessary but rings almost always are.
Factors to Consider in the Best Scope Rings
There are many different factors that you have to consider when buying scope rings. Examples of these factors include obvious things such as the reputation of the manufacturer and the price of the rings, but other ones include the physical material that the rings are made out of, their sizes, and the bases that they are designed to mount onto. Remember that the base that you use does directly impact the type of rings that you can use too.
Quick Detachable Systems
The most common type of bases that are used for mounting systems in general are called quick detachable (QD) systems. This means that the scopes can be easily attached or detached without hassle, and they help make the rifle truly modular. Almost all modern rifles, such as AR’s and even some bolt action rifles such as the Remington 700, come equipped with a QD system. Sometimes the base is grooved into the rifle, but other times it is drilled.
Examples of a QD base include the Picatinny as well as the Weaver rail, which have a .180 slot where the scope rings will be attached. Picatinny rails are larger and used by the military. In order to find the right scope rings for your rifle, all you have to do is find the base that matches your rifle and then the rings that match that base.
We mentioned earlier that the physical material the scope rings are made of is important, largely because this determines the overall durability of the rings. The overwhelming majority of scope rings that are produced today are produced out of either aluminum or steel. Between these two, steel is known for being more durable but on the other hand aluminum is known for being more lightweight. But there’s a little more to it than that.
A greater variety of scope rings are made out of steel rather than aluminum because using steel, either produced via machining or by molding, permits the rounded shape of the scope rings to be preserved even in the event that the rifle is dropped. In contrast to this, aluminum scope rings are forged out of just one piece, which offers rings that are practically identical.
More features of scope rings to take into consideration are the size of the rings and the finish of them. Scope rings are available in a multitude of different finishes, including camouflage, to meet your finish. Obviously the size you go with is determined by the size of scope and base that you use, but you can also decide between different heights. The biggest influence on the height of scope ring that you choose will be determined by the size of the objective lens that you use. The larger the diameter of your objective lens, the taller the scope rings will have to be in order to accommodate it.
Something else to research when you’re on the market for scope rings is how loose or tight they can be. Rings that are being held too loosely or too tightly around your scope can both serve to throw off your aim, so look for scope rings that permit the scope to be mounted close to the rifle’s barrel but without actually touching the barrel. This will especially aid in accuracy for long distance shooting.
Now that we have learned about the different features that you need to look for when buying scope rings, the next thing we’ll do is list out and discuss three of the specific best rifle scope rings that are currently available to buy on the market. Each of these scope rings that we are going to talk about meet the criteria of features that we have laid out for you and in some cases exceed them. They are made out of high quality materials, can fit either Picatinny or Weaver rails in order to qualify as a quick detachable mounting system, and are produced by reputable manufacturers. Read our review on the best scope mounts here.
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Best Scope Rings in 2021
Best Small Scope Rings:
These are an aluminum constructed set of scope rings and thus will add very little weight to your rifle. Just because these rings are lightweight does not at all mean that Burris did not invest into the overall quality and durability of them. In fact, when Burris first produced the XTR scope rings it was the successful result of them setting out to make a set of strong scope rings that wouldn’t increase the weight of the rifle. Because of this strong design, these scope rings are able to handle the
But another neat feature of the Burris XTR is its ability to be mounted on both Picatinny and Weaver style rails. This is a major plus since many rings can be mounted to Picatinny rails but not to Weaver rails.
All in all, this is a high quality set of scope rings that is equally at home for tactical use as it is for hunting or varmint shooting. It’s able to withstand abusive conditions and harsh weather while also sustaining the heavy recoil of larger calibers.
- Black finish
- One inch
- Aluminum construction
- Can fit on both Picatinny and Weaver rails
Best Large Scope Rings:
The UTG Low Pro Max Strength Rings are a very large set of scope rings that are also very versatile because they can accommodate practically any kind of optic in addition to laser and light attachments. Constructed out of aircraft aluminum, these rings are very durable and will wrap themselves around your optic securely thanks to four screw holes on the top strap.
UTG has proven themselves to be a reputable manufacturer of optics and other scope related accessories. The Low Pro Max Strength set of scope rings perfectly lives up to their reputation as these are easily some of the best scope rings for the money overall.
- Twist lock design for quick detachment capabilities
- Synthetic protective tape on inner surface
- Aircraft aluminum alloy construction
- Designed for use with Picatinny Rails
- Recoil stop cross bolt
- Can hold laser and light attachments
Overall Best Scope Rings:
Despite being a relatively younger company in the world of rifle scopes and optics, Vortex Optics has quickly established themselves as one of the leaders in the industry. If you’re going to be going with a Vortex scope for your rifle, you most definitely need a set of Vortex rifle scope rings to go with it.
These rings are designed to keep your scope aligned perfectly with the rifle, allowing it to sit completely flat with equal pressure securing the scope from both rings. Not only will your scope sit flat over your rifle, it will also sit there securely because of the strong design of these rings. The strong four screws that will hold the scope in place.
These are a high pair of scope rings and are explicitly designed to accommodate a scope that has a larger diameter of objective lens, specifically one with a diameter of 50mm or more. Overall, these are some of the best Picatinny scope rings that you can currently buy.
- Includes hex wrench in package
- Anti-snag design
- Grade 8 fasteners
- 1.26 inch height from base
- Compatible with Picatinny Rails
- Made in the United States
- Includes vortex warranty
Best Scope Rings Conclusion
With a great multitude of different scope rings available, it’s a little complex to determine which ones will work the very best with your rifle base and scope while simultaneously meeting each of the important qualities that we talked about before. But the primary purpose of this article has been to simplify your quest for finding a set of scope rings by discussing those qualities in detail and then recommending three specific scope rings that don’t just meet but exceed those qualities.
Out of the scope rings that we have recommended, the Burris is arguably the most versatile in that it can fit both Weaver and Picatinny styles of rails. The UTG is going to offer you the best value for your money. The Vortex Optics model is the strongest and best able to accommodate the largest sizes of scopes when it comes to the total diameter of the objective lenses. Just decide which of these rifle scope rings best accommodates your needs and budget and then make a decision from there.
Of course, there are many more excellent scope rings out there beyond the three that we talked about and that will serve you well. As long as they meet this criteria, they should work well for you:
- The rings should be produced by a reputable manufacturer.
- The rings should be able to mount on either a Picatinny or a Weaver rail if you want a Quick Detachable mounting system, which you do if you’re using a modern rifle.
- The ring should be constructed out of either steel or aluminum.
- The rings should not be too tight or too loose when screwed on. This can be confirmed by mounting the scope close to the barrel without actually touching it.
- The rings should have the same dimension as your base and your scope.
- The rings should have enough height to accommodate your objective lens.
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