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Best Scope Mounts [Hands-On]: All Budgets

Want to keep zero on your rifle scope? You'll need some quality scope rings and scope mounts. We hands-on the different types and our favorite models.

A solid rifle, good ammo, and a well-made scope are the keys to getting accurate and precise rounds on target, right?

Well, we forget one thing; the glue that holds the rifle to the scope — the scope mount. Without a good mount, you won’t have a good zero.

Best Scope Mounts
Best Scope Mounts

Without a good zero, you won’t hit your target when you need to.

So let’s talk scope mounts, and hopefully, the only question you’ll have at the end is FDE or Black.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best High-End Mount

    Spuhr QDP Scope Mount

    If you are looking for the absolute best, look no further than Spuhr. It is overbuilt and as precise as can be.

  2. Best Budget LPVO Mount

    Aero Ultralight Mount

    For the money, the Aero Ultralight is hard to beat. It is lightweight and sturdy.

  3. Best Dovetail-Style Rings

    Leupold Dual Dovetail Rings

    If you have a bolt-action rifle that uses dovetail mounts, it is hard to beat the Leupold DD rings when it comes to quality for the money.

  4. Editor's Pick

    Warne 1" Quick Detach Rings

    Top-mounted screws, and indexable QD lever, and solid build quality make these Warne rings our go-to pick for those who don't want a one-piece mount.

Table of Contents


The Different Types of Mounts

Like everything in the firearms world, you have options. Lots and lots of options. This isn’t just options for different companies, but different options for mount designs.

The two primary choices are one-piece mounts and scope rings. Choosing between the two will depend on a few different factors.

Primary Arms 1-6x and 4-14x with Mounts
Decisions, decisions.

In some cases, it will just be a personal preference. In others, it will be based on how your rifle is set up or what you want your gun to achieve.

Let’s talk about each design…

One Piece

One-piece mounts are all the rage these days. They are simple, easy to mount and dismount, and perfect for the modern tactical rifle.

Midwest QD Scope Mount
Midwest Industries QD One-Piece Scope Mount

Most will require a rail base like those you see on flat-top AR 15s.

One-piece mounts are very rigid and robust and often built at heights that work well with modern rifles.

Aero RECCE Optic
The Trijicon 1-4x Accupower in a 30mm BOBRO QD mount

One-piece mounts do tend to be heavier than rings, and if you are trying to trim ounces, these aren’t the choice for you. These mounts are best suited for semi-auto rifles, in my opinion.

Scope Rings

Scope rings are just that — two rings that attach to the gun, and then the scope is mounted in them. The design is simple and has worked for generations.

Individual scope rings have been the traditional mounting solution for over a century.

Scope rings are lighter in weight and generally a bit cheaper than most one-piece mounts when comparable quality is taken into account.

They are usually more natural to use with bolt-action rifles, as one-piece mounts can get in the way of the bolt while it is being actuated.

The piece connecting the rings on one-piece mounts can sometimes get in the way of bolt handles or certain ejection ports. (Photo: DNZ Products)

Compared to one-piece mounts, rings are a bit more complicated to attach and aren’t as rigid, but with a little practice, they aren’t hard to figure out.

The Different Types of Bases

Not only are there different mounts, but there are different bases to which they attach. You have to match the base to the mounting system, so it’s crucial you understand the difference between the two.

10/22 Top View with Scopebase & Double Charging Handles
Optics rarely attach directly to the gun itself. Bases are typically mounted to the gun and serve as the attachment point for scope mounts.

Here are a few of the most universal mounting systems.

Weaver and Picatinny

Rails, we all know them, and we all love them; they changed the way we could attach accessories to guns. When it comes to optics, there are two you need to know about, Weaver and Picatinny.

There are slight dimensional differences between Picatinny and Weaver rails and bases. In most cases, rings or mounts made for Picatinny mounts will work with Weaver bases and vice versa.

Picatinny image
Picatinny as the Military intended it to be.

However, this isn’t always the case, and it’s hard to say that specific mounts will work with particular bases if they do not match. Picatinny rails are the military standard, and Weaver is a commercial standard that predates it.

Mounts have bolts or cross-slots that fill the empty sections of these rails to keep the optic from sliding rearward with recoil and make it impossible for the scope to slip in transit or travel of any kind.

Weaver and Picatinny
(left) Weaver and (right) Picatinny

Picatinny rails are broader and deeper than Weaver rails, and this is where you may run into issues. If the mount features cross slots and bolts designed to strict Picatinny standards, it won’t fit into a Weaver base. However, Weaver mounts will fit Picatinny rails as far as I know. (If I’m wrong, please let me know below.)

Another issue is that weaver mounts may have irregularly placed slots, making mounting a one-piece difficult due to the uneven spacing. Picatinny rails always have evenly placed rails.

Some Weaver mounts aren’t spaced evenly, so be aware. (Photo: EABCO)

I suggest matching Weaver with Weaver and Picatinny with Picatinny when in doubt.


Dovetail mounts can come in different sizes and styles, but they generally refer to an inverted trapezoid (dovetail) shaped track that runs parallel to the bore. They are simple and work well.

Dovetail mounts are typically found on rimfire rifles, bolt-action guns, and older guns. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Another type of dovetail rail you may see is the one that utilizes a lightweight, two-piece system that uses a rotating locking base. You’ll see these mostly on bolt action rifles.

The base gets mounted, then the rings are set inside, rotated 90 degrees, and locked into place.

Some Dovetail bases will only have a forward slot, and the rear ring and base can be adjusted almost like a rear sight. This design adds extra left and right adjustment to an optic.

Dovetails are a very sturdy system that’s remarkably lightweight and get the scope nice and tight to the bore of your rifle.

The bases need to be reversed. Note how the rings are right against the objective bell and the ocular bell


Integral designs are when the base and ring or mount are one solid piece. This super simple option is preferred if you want to keep things simple.

Of course, your rifle will have to be built to accept an integral mount. Many bolt actions are, but zero AR-15s are. So know that going into it.

Remington 700 Integral Mounts
Remington 700 with Integral Mounts

It’s a very low-maintenance solution to the scope mounting problem.  

Offset Mounts

Offset mounts are mounts that push the scope forward. These are designed mostly for AR pattern rifles. as the gun was originally intended for carry handle iron sights.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

If you mount with a traditional system, you’ll likely end up with the optic too far rearward, making it challenging to use.

An offset mount allows you to install the optic with the rings pushed forward, positioning the scope further from your eye to provide proper eye relief. This makes it much more comfortable to use powerful variable optics on an AR platform.

Is QD For You?

QD, or Quick Detach, systems are gaining popularity. A QD system is quick to mount and dismount and usually uses a locking throw lever design.

These systems are easy to install, and there is no worry about tightening them too little or too much.

A Schmidt and Bender riflescope with a one-piece QD mount.

With a QD mount, it is easy to remove an optic from a gun and retain a relative zero. It needs to be installed on the same rail position it was zeroed on to maintain the zero.

This allows you to efficiently run multiple optics on one gun. It’s easy to swap between a red dot and a variable optic with a QD mounting system or even swap between daylight and nighttime optics.

Mount Height

Typically, you want to mount your scope as low as possible without touching the barrel — this aids in keeping your adjustments accurate and getting the most out of them.

With that in mind, the size of your scope’s objective lens and barrel profile (thickness) will determine the ring height needed.

low, med, high scope mounts
Low, Medium, and High scope mounts

The general rule of thumb to follow with mount sight and objective lenses is:

A 40mm or smaller objective lens uses low mounts.

A 42-45mm objective lens uses a medium mount.

50mm and up will use a high scope mount.

Having a scope mounted as low as possible ensures a good cheek weld, which in turn promotes a repeatable sight picture and increased accuracy. (Photo: Warne)

These measurements are taken with a standard contour barrel — nothing fancy here.

Best Scope Mounts

Before we go, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite mounts. There are hundreds of different options out there that range from crap to holy crap, and by holy crap, I mean some cost as much as some guns I own.

Savage Impulse
Savage Impulse Predator with a Primary Arms GLx 2.5-10X riflescope.

It’d be easy to toss only expensive mounts on this list, but I wanted to make a list the majority of shooters could get. This doesn’t mean cheap, but it does mean I’m mostly aiming for affordable.

1. Vortex Viper Riflescope Rings

Vortex makes some excellent optics across all budgets, and their rings are no different. These well-made rings are affordable and come in low, medium, and high designs. They are designed for both Picatinny and Weaver bases as well.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Their Viper Rings are machined from 6061-T6 aluminum and use Torx-style socket cap screws to mount your riflescope easily. They are available in both 1-inch and 30mm configurations as well.

These are very secure scope rings, and I like the opening design. Having the Torx screws at the top makes it easier to access them. This also prevents you from overtightening on one side versus the other as you install your scope.

2. Spuhr QDP

If you are going to spend big money on a good rifle and good glass, then you need to be willing to spend the money necessary to get a good scope mount.

It isn’t uncommon to see Spuhr mounts on high-end rifles, such as on the HK MR 762 pictured above. (Photo: HKPRO)

A long-range rifle is often high-powered; to maximize the range, you’ll need a powerful optic, which often means a heavy optic. High recoil and a heavy optic require you to have a robust scope mount.

You don’t get any more robust than the Spuhr mounts. Specifically, the Spuhr QDP series, which I think is one of the best mounts on the planet.

With all those screws, this mount isn’t going anywhere. (Photo: Sniper’s Hide)

The QDP line features a quick detach lever system. I love a good QD system, and the Spuhr setup locks the thing down and keeps it locked in place without issue. You don’t have any kind of movement when you shoot at extreme ranges.

These mounts come in both straight and cantilever styles with a rock-solid locking system. Load it up, lock it down, and have confidence that you won’t miss what you need to hit when your optic is mounted in a Spuhr mount.

Best High-End Mount
at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Aero Ultralight Mount

Aero Precision makes a lot of great stuff for the AR platform, and you can count on them to deliver something with a tremendous amount of value for the cost.

Aero Precision Lightweight
The Aero Precision Lightweight Mount is quickly becoming one of the most popular scope mounts out there.

The Ultralight Mount is one of those products that provide great value. Living up to its name and weighing roughly 3.25-ounces, the Aero mount is strong enough for just about any use case and rifle combo but still light enough not to ruin your build.

Best Budget LPVO Mount
at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What’s your take on the Aero Lightweights?

Readers' Ratings

4.95/5 (976)

Your Rating?

4. Leupold Dual Dovetail

Leupold is a famed optics and optics accessories manufacturer. The Leupold Dual Dovetail Rings are perfect for getting a low and secure mount on your dovetail-equipped rifle.

This is a simple, rugged setup that is easy to install and well-suited for hunting rifles. I appreciate the simplicity of a dovetail mount system. It’s not for everyone, and it’s a bit out of style these days, but it still works.

Best Dovetail-Style Rings
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Leupold is undoubtedly doing their best to support dovetail set-ups and is one of the few significant players still producing dovetail bases and rings.

5. Burris AR-P.E.P.R.

Brevity doesn’t seem to be in Burris’ wheelhouse when it comes to naming optics mounts. The AR-P.E.P.R. is a cantilever mount for modern rifles available in both standard and QD configurations.

Burris PEPR Mount
The Burris P.E.P.R Mount has been around for a while and is a proven design.

The P.E.P.R is a solid mount if a little bit on the heavier side at 8.7 ounces. It is available in 1-inch, 30mm, and 34mm configurations.

It sports two sections of Picatinny rails on the top of each ring, making it easy to attach a miniature red dot as a backup sight. The cantilever also gives you two inches of forward scope position, making it perfect for MSRs.

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Burris AR-P.E.P.R. is an excellent design and an affordable one. It’s also backed by one of the best warranties in the business.

6. Warne QD rings

For quality QD rings, look no further than Warne. Like the Vortex rings, the screws are at the top, making it easier to take apart and install an optic.

Warne Scope Mount
Warne Scope Mount with a Vortex Strike Eagle

The QD aspect is a simple large throw lever. It’s easy to reach and grip, even with an optic sitting right over it. The Warne rings come in 1-inch and 30mm models for both Picatinny rails and dovetail bases.

The rings also come in low, medium, and high heights. The lever is also indexable, which means you can position it where you need and want it for easy removal.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Warne has long been known for their precision machining and solid build quality. For the money, they are hard to beat.

Final Thoughts

The world of scope mounts is enormous, and the impact of your choices is way more significant than most people expect.

More Scope Mounts
More Scope Mounts

Outside of some necessities, a lot of your choices should be personal preference. This means I want to turn it over to you folks.

Do you prefer a specific style of mounting? What works for you? Let us know in the comments below! Haven’t picked out a scope yet? Check out our hands-on review of the 10 Best Rifle Scopes: All Types and Budgets!

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18 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    SPUHR or iron-sight. Nuff said

    October 18, 2021 9:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    " This design keeps the optic from sliding rearward with recoil"
    Scopes slide forward as the rifle goes back during coil.....this is why Warne tell advises mounting with bar pushed forward in groove during mounting.. its a little counter intuitive

    September 28, 2021 9:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Terry Hayes

    Just got a Henry 30-30 and want to mount a Crossfire II on a picatinny. I need eye relief. Need to mount as far forward on cantiler as possible. Any suggestions?

    May 21, 2021 3:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Have you had any experience with EGW's (Evolution Gun Works) products? I've found their products to be very well made. I've used their rails on a lot of my builds and they seem to have a pretty big selection to choose from. They just came out with a new set of rings called the Keystone Series. I got my hands on a set and they were really impressive. They aren't as expensive as the precision matched set that they offer, but they definitely feel really well made. All of their products are machined in the U.S. too so that's definitely a plus in my book.

    February 22, 2021 1:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      I've used EGW scope bases on a few rifles, they've worked great for me so far!

      February 23, 2021 10:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Randal G Rhea

    I purchased a Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 Riflescope, Scout for my Springfield M1A Socom 16 for installation on the installed Picattiny rail. What height rings should I purchase? What will the sight picture be with the rifle sights?

    December 7, 2020 7:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Aero lightweight mounts are hot garbage. A poor design with numerous nightmare stories of torqueing issues and breaking parts. Too many people enchanted by their price and weight then find out the issues later.

    July 21, 2020 9:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have read numerous picatinny side failures on the Aero ultra light mounts: probably not the best mount for high end optics. A forum users S&B hit the deck and after epoxying the mount his second high end scope hit the deck. One optic needed to be RMAd. Ive been buying Warne mounts for years, and they are hard to beat, made in USA. Best consumer mounts IMO. Burris is well designed and reasonbly priced, very practical designs, but it begs me to wonder if a Chinese made mount is worth the $100+ retail price of the Burris line? Id rather pay $130-160 for a US made mount like Larue and know my $3000 optic is not going to hit the deck. But you cant beat Warne for a sub $100 rock solid mount, I wouldnt hesitate to mount high end glass on a Warne. I prefer Larue because they offer more practical tactical functionality but it moves you into the $170-250 range, but I buy once cry once.

    February 3, 2019 9:10 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Fordyce

      JP Enterprises. For an extended 1-piece mount there ain't nothing better designed, or more solid.

      October 11, 2019 8:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      How did Larue not make the cut? I have never seen a finer mount aside from the SPHUR.

      December 18, 2019 1:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    If u want best look at the SPUHR mounts.

    December 23, 2018 8:29 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Harold Callahan

    Always be willing to include some of the obscene expensive stuff, just for the sake of comparison. Even if it's to poke fun at them for overvaluing their product. But as a reader, I like to see the contrast of affordable to expensive.

    December 15, 2018 11:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Aero Precision for ARs and Talley 1 piece mounts for rifles under 1000 yards.

    December 14, 2018 7:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have a one piece Leupold mount on my Sig 556DMR. It is a $150 scope mount that was foisted on the public a few years ago. The rails aren't mil-spec. They are 2mm to narrow. "Hey it's Leupold. They know what they're doing." Uh..no they don't.
    I got the mount on an auction site. The nuts, (not shown) wear tightened with pliers. "Why would anyone do that?" BECAUSE THE S.O.B. could not hold zero if you paid it. Mount it pushed forward or or back in the rail slots, it moved.
    I'm not only a shooter. I'm a machinist and I fixed it by welding and milling it. If your life depends on first round hits STAY FAR FAR AWAY FROM THIS MOUNT.

    December 14, 2018 6:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    UTM Tactical is similar to the MACO, but has a holster specifically for it. Works great...

    December 14, 2018 6:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I not a big time shooter I've tried two different single piece scope mount on are guns in 223 and 308 put hundred round through both gun s would not hold zero I have single p series rings on my 6.5 have it zeroed at 300 yards now at 100 rounds bounced around still holding zero as a machinist the solid one piece has too many variables that could be machined just a little off and you could never hold zero thanks

    December 14, 2018 5:40 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Larry D. Dixon

    Thanks good article. I 've always liked the dovetail style on my bolt action magnum deer rifle, it's pretty much what I was raised with, and have stuck with, they just look so much better to me and are bulletproof at the same time. I do like the new integral mounts, they have got to be bulletproof because there's no moving parts, so to speak. Thanks again, I appreciate the info.

    December 13, 2018 9:03 pm
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