How to Buy the Best Crossbow Scope

powerful-crossbowsCrossbow hunting and target shooting is becoming a popular activity among hobbyists and professionals in this modern age. If you’re practicing archery, crossbow scopes are an essential tool to have whether you’re on an archery range or hunting game. Scopes are typically used to magnify one’s target to get a more precise shot and makes it easier to visualize the goal. Scopes can additionally lend aid to one’s accuracy and can make for clean and quick kills so game from hunting won’t suffer. There are various kinds of scopes – or sights as some refer to them as – all with different features and functions. It’s very important that the archer chooses a scope that best suits their specific needs and fits their crossbow nicely.

Scope Design Basics

The scope is to be placed on the body of the crossbow above the trigger. An obvious component to a scope’s design is the long black tube with an ocular lens eyepiece on one end and the sight on the opposite end past the eyepiece. If the archer decided to add zooming features, there should be a power ring to be able to adjust the magnification of the sight. The elevation adjustment and windage adjustment tool can be found in the middle of the scope tube, and at the end of the scope is the objective bell where the scope’s body seems to get wider and almost bell-shaped. The objective bell is where the objective lens is contained. There are three main types of scopes an archer can choose from; a laser sight scope, red dot sight, and reticle scope.

Types of Scopes

A laser sight scope is an alternative, mostly practical for when you’re aiming at a moving target. The laser is meant to help the archer anticipate when the arrow will strike the objective. Laser sights can either be mounted underneath an archer’s crossbow or to the upper portion of the scope. If the laser sight is used with a quality scope, it can be utilized to accurately determine midrange targets. An iron sight is another alternative and are the most basic yet durable. There can be two sights on the crossbow, with one as a post, bead, or ring in the crossbow’s front and on the back of the bow perpendicular to the crossbow’s line of sight.

A red dot sight scope makes a red (or sometimes green) dot that the archer can see and use to pinpoint his aim at the target. You can either get red dot sights with single style distance settings or more advanced multi-dot scopes with several distance settings, it depends on what your preferences are. A lot of times, the red dot sight can be adjusted so it will be brighter or darker according to your liking too.

A reticle scope has crosshairs that sections the lens view into four parts. This type of lens scope is the most common and more traditional. The crosshairs might be etched, wired in, or lit up in the scope depending on the model.

Scope Mount Types

When selecting a type of mount for your scope, there is the Picatinny, Dovetail and Weaver rails to choose from. Picatinny mounts can elevate the scope by about ½ an inch above the crossbow body and is most practical if you are using a red dot sight scope. “Picatinny” comes from the place of origin where the system was designed at the New Jersey-based Picatinny arsenal.

The Dovetail mount looks similar to the Picatinny mount in that it has a set of grooves running parallel that grasp onto a tiny set ribs raised in the middle part of the scope’s base. Dovetail mounts are actually the oldest used mounts, and because of a 1931 patent on the mount’s design, Dovetail mounts are also known as Redfield style or Leupold style.

The Weaver rail grips onto scopes’ beveled outer edge and is considered to be sturdier than other alternate mounts such as the Picatinny and Dovetail rails.

Crossbow scope rings are usually made out of steel or aluminum. Be sure to pay attention to the scope’s accuracy, size, and range when picking the best scope for your target shooting or hunting needs for these will be important in how your scope performs.

Most of the time, archers look for scopes that can increase their range so that they can hit targets easier. If you’re using your crossbow for hunting small game, then your scope should feature a short to mid-range distance and it needs to fight nicely onto the scope mount while being lightweight and sturdy. If you have something like a variable scope, which can be a bit on the heavy side, it can affect your ability to hunt and be anything but an improvement.

Terms You Should Know Before Buying a Scope

There’s nothing like knowing exactly what you need to improve your crossbow’s accuracy. So before deciding on the perfect scope, here are some terms you need to know and keep in mind as you’re exploring the scope market.

Magnification is a basic function of a scope’s features which allows the archer to zoom in on objects from afar since the naked eye doesn’t have the ability to do so. There is a wide range of magnifications on scopes, with most of them having up to 32x maximum.

A scope’s field of view is essentially the sight picture with a particular width. For example, if your target’s distance is at 150 yards, the scope will give you a sight that is 15 feet wide. Thus, it’s not only magnified, but it also provides the focal lengths of the lenses. Usually, if the magnification is high, then the field of view will be narrow. While this feature isn’t necessarily for new crossbow users who still need practice, it’s very important for hunters that need to hone in on their prey, especially smaller game.

Stray light is an internal coating which disperses light that enters in the scope and prevents it from reflecting off the scope’s metal. Overall, this helps you achieve the clearest sight of the goal.

The eye relief is simply the space between your eye and the eyepiece lens. It prevents any accidents that may happen your eye while shooting, such as the lens bumping into your eye if your crossbow has a bit of kickback.

Length refers to the distance from the edge of the objective lens up to the back edge of the eyepiece. As a rule of thumb to remember, the longer that the scopes measure to be, the greater the magnification will be, but it will also be heavier. Depending on your preference, the magnification will vary if you like lightweight scopes versus heavier scopes.

The center tube diameter lets you know the size of the scope’s rings as well as the base of the scope.

Recommended Scope Brands

While there is a vast variety of scope brands to choose from, only a few make it to the top and are worth mentioning.

The Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60) is designed to outdo what other scopes are capable of. It’s equipped with 3x Nikon optics that transmit up to 92% of available light for brightness and contrast, and Nikon also included multi-coated lens with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds. What’s even greater about this scope is that its advanced BDC 60 reticle provides precise aiming points up to 60 yard based on a velocity of around 305 fps. Some additional features include a large ocular that utilizes its full field of view, 3.4 inches of eye relief, and a quick-focus eyepiece.

The Bolt XR furthermore has zero-reset turrets allowing you to sight in at 20 yards, lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, then rotate to your “zero” allowing you to re-engage. You can simply dial in your subsequent ranges to make your field adjustments, and with the Bolt XR being waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, this scope virtually matches with any crossbow velocity and bolt weight.

Many archers have deemed the Bolt XR as an excellent scope. It was mentioned that it works very well in low light with crystal clear glass. The multiple aim points were said to make it easier to accurately shoot from 20-60 yards with little to no effort. It’s highly recommended for archers looking for quality optics for their crossbow, for it has received a high rating amongst many that have bought and used this scope.

Second in line to the Nikon Bolt XR is the Raging River 4×32 Multi-reticle. This weapon scope is a sleek looking hunting companion made of aluminum alloy with a black matte finish, but has more impressive features other than design. Precision is this scope’s strong suit, for it allows four times the magnification for optimum clarity. Additionally, it’s powered by a Pro 5-step illumination reticle that gives you the ability to shoot in low light conditions without any problems. Its unlimited eye relief allows for the archer to have the scope placed as far from the sighting eye as they are comfortable with while still being able to get a clear sight view.

Those who have used this scope have said that they were able to keep consistent shots at their set yard intervals and have found that it does very well in low light conditions. Many have had their accuracy improved with this scope, and mentioned that it’s a great scope to use for your hunting needs for an affordable price.

Another worthy crossbow scope is UTG’s 4×32 1″ Crossbow Scope with Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle and QD Rings. It’s built on a TS platform with a 1″ tube, wide angle lens, and parallax at 50 yards. It also includes broadband lens coating, RGB side-wheel illumination, zero-reset/locking W/E knobs, and comes with complete flip-open lens caps and UTG RQ2W1104 QD rings. The side wheel with green/red illumination has flexible adjustment for most versatile weather and lighting conditions and the scope has ergonomic and precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets for a more precise shot.

Plenty have favored this scope mostly for its crystal clear glass view and effective green/red colored sight reticle, great for day or night shooting. It’s pretty solid and well-built with a comfortable eye relief and houses overall wonderful optics, fantastic for archers looking for an effective yet affordable scope.

A more standard and slightly more affordable scope is the Ultimate Arms Gear 4×32 Illuminated Crossbow scope. This scope is built to last and absorb heavy duty recoil, built primarily of highly durable solid aluminum. It presents itself with a black matte finish, an integral sunshade, 1″ sized tube and is approximately 8.25″ long. Because of its nitrogen filled body and sturdy design, the scope is fully coated to be waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. For conditions with low light, the lenses are multicoated and will provide the archer with sharp, bright field of view and an eye relief of 3.1″.

Thanks to the scope’s red/green light reticle, similar to previously mentioned UTG scope, this features allows the archer to estimate the range of their target to get a better tactical advantage. The side wheel lets you adjust illumination and the windage/elevation settings have a click value at 100 yards 1/4″.

Many that bought this scope loved how easy it is to set up and mount on their crossbow and also found that the sights didn’t need to much adjusting, which is a huge break for archers. The green and red illuminations on the scope work great in low light and a lot of users have zeroed in in less than a few shots. If looking for a more affordable yet quality scope for the shooting range or game hunting, perhaps the Ultimate Arms Gear scope could be a practical choice.

One last scope in the list of top scopes is Hawke’s 1.5-5×32 Matte IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles. This scope matches up to the Bolt XR’s high performance and is specifically designed for crossbows. It features a crossbow speed selector which allows the scope to be compatible with any crossbow, and the precision reticle is engineered to provide aim points at exact 10 yard intervals from 20 to 100 yards. Its 1″ optics are fully coated for high levels of light transmission, and the red/green illumination (only on the SR model) allows for excellent reticle clarity.

It’s around the same value as the Nikon Bolt XR, and its users like its simple set up and quick sighting in. It seems to be highly recommended for those that do target shooting or hunting for archers can truly reach out to 100 yards, which is a best for many that couldn’t reach that before with other scopes.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself

When browsing for the perfect scope, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself in order to make sure the scope fits your needs.

Does the scope fit your budget? Typically, the pricier a scope, the more features it has and the better is performs. Cheaper scopes come with more standard and basic features, and don’t have as many advanced settings such as higher magnification or illuminated sights.

What is your purpose for buying a scope? Believe it or not, this matters very much for it can affect how you perform whether you’re just a hobbyist archer or a serious hunter. If you spend most of your time at a shooting range, then perhaps a red dot sight scope or reticle scope would be most ideal. If you like to hunt game, then a red dot or a laser scope could serve you well. Laser scopes are especially great for moving targets as mentioned before.

Is it easy to sight in with the scope? If you’re familiar with sighting in, you’d know how irritating it is if you have a scope that takes dozens of tries to adequately sight in on your target. You won’t have this issue if you get a quality scope.

Is the scope waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof? These qualities are important if you’re shooting in different weather situations, for they will aid you in getting a more accurate shot and prevent any inconveniences.

Is the scope made of durable material? Depending on what the scope you choose is made of, it could last from a couple months to up to 10 years. Most scopes are made of aluminum alloy while others are made of a less durable material.

Those who own crossbows all have different priorities as to how they use it and what they use it for. Some like red dot sight scopes, others may prefer the traditional cross sight or laser sight, and some like more lightweight scopes compared to heavier scopes. If the scope you ultimately pick can provide you with easy visualization of your target, magnify for better view of your prey, give you quick and humane kills when hunting, and offer features that serve all of your specific needs.

How to Find the Best Shooting Safety Glasses

Three years ago I went to my local indoor range, a trip I make every few months. Like most ranges, this one allows shooters to use regular prescription glasses in lieu of safety glasses and that’s what I’d always done. I’d never had a problem. Halfway through my session that day, though, an ejected case from my pistol bounced off the lane divider and managed to find a just-big-enough gap between the corner of the top of my glasses and my face. Fortunately I’d blinked in time and the hot case tumbled past my eyelid before coming to rest, trapped against the side of my nose by the bottom of the glasses. It left a painful mark, but could have been much worse. From that day on, I would only wear proper safety eyewear when shooting.

And it isn’t just hot brass you need to protect your eyes against. There are ricochets, pieces of flying clay targets, returning fragments from steel or other hard targets, hot gases from muzzle brakes, and even rare but potentially devastating catastrophic gun failures. It only takes one freak incident, one time. There are lots of options in shooting eyewear, so here’s a quick guide to important features with some reviews of the best eyewear for any budget.

What to Look For

Coverage

As I learned from the events above, you need shooting glasses that provide good coverage. They should follow the face’s contours and not leave gaps for projectiles to get through. It won’t matter how good the lenses are if objects can get by them. The lenses should wrap at least a little past the corner where the earpiece hinges meet the frame.

Impact Protection

Aside from coverage, the lens’ ability to withstand impacts is the most important feature in shooting eyewear. There are two ratings glasses can obtain to demonstrate this ability.

The first rating is known as ANSI Z87. ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, which exists to set guidelines for safety equipment. The standard for safety eyewear is known as Z87. To be able to claim a product is Z87 compliant, manufacturers have to subject the eyewear to tests demonstrating it will withstand impacts like those encountered in industrial occupations. ANSI Z87 was first published in 1968 and has been updated five times, the most recent in 2015.

The other rating is being included on the U.S. Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL). The requirements to make this list are far more demanding than to pass Z87. Most notably, lenses are put through military high-speed ballistic fragmentation testing, and must be seven times more impact-resistant than what Z87 calls for. APEL eyewear also has to block UV, withstand a wide range of temperatures, and meet a basic standard for optical clarity. Here is the official APEL web page.

Lens Material

Most modern safety eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a lightweight plastic that transmits light about as well as glass. It can stand both hot and cold conditions without becoming brittle. Polycarbonate’s most important feature here is its impact resistance. Layers of it are used to form ballistic (“bulletproof”) glass.

UV Protection

Contrary to popular belief, how dark lenses are have nothing to do with how well they block UV radiation. Even clear glasses can block both UV-A and UV-B rays, and it’s an option you should look for in shooting glasses if you do any portion of your shooting outside. UV rays can damage your eyes over time, possibly leading to cataracts or other problems.

Other Features

Shooting glasses may also have the following features, which are primarily about comfort and convenience rather than safety–but people are more likely to wear safety glasses if they are comfortable.

  • Anti-fog coating
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Adjustable nose piece
  • Adjustable ear pieces

Other Considerations

Lens Tints

While clear lenses are an overall good choice for shooting glasses, there are numerous shades and tints available to optimize a shooter’s vision under particular conditions. Here are the most common.

Gray

Gray lenses can range from a light smoky color to a tint as dark as normal sunglasses. These are good for shooting in bright conditions, including outdoors. Gray lenses do not heighten contrast.

Amber/Bronze

These are also good for bright days, but have the added benefit of increasing color contrast.

Yellow or Orange

Bright yellow and orange lenses are good in dull light, like indoor ranges or cloudy days or near dusk. They improve depth perception and make colors pop more, for example orange clay targets.

Prescription Glasses

As I said in the beginning, regular prescription glasses don’t offer enough protection for shooters. Not only do they usually leave gaps, but the lenses aren’t made to withstand projectile impacts.

If you shoot and need glasses, there are several solutions. The first is to wear contacts with standard safety eyewear. You can also buy safety glasses that fit over prescription glasses, but I’ve found these to be clunky and difficult to fit properly. Your other option is to have prescription safety lenses made for shooting glasses frames. Lenses can be made for either single vision prescriptions or bifocals. It’s not cheap–a set of singe vision lenses will cost about $150-200–but there are some mid-priced frames out there than can dampen the expense. A company called Wiley X makes a number of frames that can be fitted with prescription lenses, including their models Talon, Vapor, and Valor. Those three are all APEL rated and under $100.

Selected Products

Here are three of the best shooting glasses on the market at their respective price range.

Budget Range

Howard Leight by Honeywell Genesis Sharp-Shooter

  • ANSI Z87 and APEL rated
  • 99.9% of UV blocked
  • Adjustable nose piece
  • Adjustable temples
  • Adjustable lens angle
  • Available in clear, amber, espresso, vermilion tints
  • Exceptional value

Medium range

ESS Crossbow

  • Frame and hi-def lens
  • ANSI Z87 and APEL rated
  • 99.9% of UV blocked
  • Anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings
  • Superior clarity
  • Replacement lenses available for about $20

Premium Range

Oakley Si Ballistic M-frame 2.0

  • Frame and 2 lenses
  • ANSI Z87 and APEL rated
  • 99.9% of UV blocked
  • Anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings
  • Proprietary polycarbonate (Plutonite)
  • Maximum clarity; distortion-free
  • Can take prescription lenses
  • Replacement lenses available for about $50
  • Silicone non-slip ear and nose pieces

Shooting is a lot of fun, but the safety involved has to be serious. Shooting glasses play a vital role in protecting our vision. Hopefully this introduction to shooting eyewear has shown you what to look for when choosing your next pair, and given you some ideas about what’s available in different price ranges.

Best Binocular Harnesses for Hunting, Birding, and More

Best Harnesses for BinocularsA binocular harness is a wearable harness built to hold your binoculars when they aren’t in use. They are far more convenient than carrying the binoculars by hand, or storing them in your backpack, where you’ll then have to take them out again every time you need to use them. There are several different options that you can choose from based on your binoculars and the activity you will be doing.

What is a Binocular Harness?

Binocular harnesses reduce the stress and pressure on your neck that you would get when carrying the binoculars around your neck using the binocular straps. But with a binocular harness, the weight and pressure of the binoculars is distributed evenly across your entire body, reducing the burden of carrying binoculars.

While the normal binocular straps are fine for short periods of time, eventually the pressure the straps exert on your neck would be far more uncomfortable than if you were using a binocular harness. This will take the weight of the binoculars off of your neck. This is why binocular harnesses are far better than straps.

A binocular harness is especially useful during activities where your binoculars require better support and protection than what is provided by the normal binocular straps. Some examples would be hiking and hunting. A harness will provide far more strength than straps, making sure your binoculars are safely held in position even if you’re running, keeping swinging to a minimum. Making the binocular harness both safer, and more comfortable than binocular straps.

Great for Hunting and Birding

When you need to get to your binoculars quickly, fumbling around with backpacks or binocular straps is less than ideal. This is especially annoying during hunting or birding when timing is important. So being unable to easily use your binoculars can be extremely frustrating.

Many times, once you’ve finally retrieved your binoculars from your pack, it will be too late. This is one of the biggest reasons for owning a binocular harness, to make it quick and easy to get to your binoculars when you’re out hunting or birding. So you never have to fumble with your binoculars trying to get them out of your pack.

Types of Binocular Harnesses

There are a number of different styles and types of binocular harnesses which you can purchase, which can usually be broken down into a few different categories: Full Size, Basic, Low Profile, and Dual Harness. There are also a couple of different attachment methods for binocular harnesses, which can affect both the harness’ ease of use, as well as its reliability.

Harness Styles

Binocular harnesses are generally split into one of four categories: Full Size, Basic, Low Profile, and Dual Harness. Below you can find a detailed description of each harness type, as well as their potential uses.

Full Size

A full-size binocular harness is the most widely used, and most popular binocular harness style. These usually include full sized pouches to give your binoculars as much protection as possible without being cumbersome. These are great for both hunting and birding, as well as general use.

Basic

A basic binocular harness will employ a simple system that uses clips and ties for your binoculars. Harnesses like these are quite a bit cheaper than other styles, but they’re far less durable, and won’t protect your binoculars as well as a higher-end harness will. But it’s still far more convenient than a strap or just storing the binoculars in your pack.

Low Profile

A low profile binocular harness will give you similar performance to the basic harness, but with upgraded, more comfortable straps, and more safety features to protect your binoculars. These are great for someone who wants a high-quality harness, but doesn’t have the money to spare for a full size or dual harness model.

Dual Harness

A dual harness system will give you the functionality of two harnesses rolled into a single package. Allowing you to carry your binoculars, as well as a camera, or even a second pair of binoculars. Or any other equipment. A dual harness system will allow you to comfortably carry two items at once. Which is great for birding, where you may need both binoculars and a camera.

Attachment Methods

There are two primary attachment methods for binocular harnesses, which can greatly affect the reliability and ease of use of the harness. Below you can find a detailed description and recommendation regarding the two attachment methods: Quick Release, and Snap-On.

Quick Release

Of the two attachment methods for binocular harnesses, quick release is by far the most convenient of the two. It utilizes a simple buckle-like attachment that allowing for quick release and locking. However, it can be prone to small amounts of accidental releases. So while it may be more convenient than snap-on, it isn’t as reliable.

Snap-On

The snap-on attachment method, while less convenient than the quick release method, is more reliable and secure. It utilizes a series of metal rings which are attached to the neck strap anchors of your binoculars. Although, the metal rings are known to sometimes rub against the finish on the pair of binoculars.

Best Binocular Harnesses for Hunting

Binoculars are very popular among hunters, they allow them to see animals and objects easily from a distance. But it can be a pain to take your binoculars out of your hunting pack every time you need to use them, this is where the need for a good binocular harness comes in. Here are a couple of the best binocular harnesses for hunting.

S4Gear LockDownX Binocular Harness

The S4Gear LockDownX binocular harness utilizes wide, padded straps and a full-size style. Providing a stable and comfortable place to keep your binoculars. The X-shaped straps spread the weight of the binoculars across your body, and the straps, as well as the back panel, are both made from breathable fabric, making the harness more comfortable, and reducing sweat.

The LockDownX also includes a binocular pouch with conformable flaps to protect your binoculars and twin shock cords which you can attach to your binoculars for tension-free glassing and bounce elimination.

Badlands Mag Bino Case/Harness

The Badlands Mag Binocular case and harness is the optimal choice if you’re looking for a binocular case fit for professional hunting and hunting guides. The harness is durable and reliable, and weighs only one and a half pounds, with a fully enclosed case large enough to fit up to 200 cubic inches. Like many other high-quality harnesses, the Badlands Mag is a full-size harness and features breathable fabric to reduce body heat.

The integrated case is built to handle all 8×32 pairs of binoculars, as well as most 10×42 pairs, and the harness includes a roll-out hydration bladder integrated into the rear center back pad. Overall, it’s an excellent binocular harness, perfect for any outdoorsman.

Best Binocular Harnesses for Birding

Binoculars are one of the most important tools in a bird watcher’s arsenal, allowing them to get an up-close view of the birds without disturbing them. But birds can be quick, and often move, making it extremely inconvenient if you have to take your binoculars out of your bag every time you need to use them. Luckily, binocular harnesses remove the inconvenience. Below you can find a couple of the best binocular harnesses for birding.

Celestron 93577 Binocular Harness

The Celestron 93577 binocular harness is a comfortable, high-quality lowe-profile binocular harness perfect for birding. Great for longer walks where you need your hands free, but still want your binoculars to be available at a moment’s notice, without having constant pressure on your neck.

The small backplate reduces sweat, and makes the harness more compact, and while not padded, the straps are thick enough to significantly reduce pressure and distribute the weight of your binoculars. The harness also utilizes a quick release system for added convenience. Overall the Celestron 93577 binocular harness is a high-quality, low-profile binocular harness, perfect for birding.

OP/TECH USA Bino/Cam Harness (Elastic)

The elastic model of the OP/TECH binocular harness is a perfect fit for any outdoorsman looking for a simple and reliable binocular harness that can self-adjust to make carrying your binoculars more comfortable and convenient. The harness utilizes a loop attachment method for added reliability.

The harness is available in both a webbing and elastic model, but the elastic model is generally believed to be better, due to it letting you hold the binoculars closer to you when not in use, and being able to stretch to allow you to bring the binoculars up to your eye level with ease.

Conclusion

A binocular harness is a perfect tool for any outdoorsman, whether they’re a hunter, a bird watcher, or anything in-between. They allow you to comfortably wear your binoculars without having to deal with the prolonged pressure a neck strap gives you and makes your binoculars far more accessible than they’d be if you simply stored them in your pack.

The Best Scope Rings

Shooters spend a lot of time researching different rifles and scopes when putting together their shooting systems. While these are obviously the most critical pieces, smaller gear should not be taken lightly. One component often overlooked is the purchase of reliable rifle scope rings. Rifle scope rings are circular clamps that are used to attach a scope to a rifle using pre-installed mounting bases. Quality rings keep the scope mounted securely to the weapon enabling accurate aim at all times. Even top of the line scopes will prove to be useless when paired with sub par rifle scope rings. The last thing a shooter wants to deal with after sighting in their weapon is unreliable zero, or the inability to have consistency in hitting the mark. This is where a set of good scope rings comes into play.

Top Three Recommended Scope Rings

When deciding what type of scope rings to install, factors such as price, material and the manufacturer’s reputation for quality products should all be taken into consideration. It is extremely important to match the scope rings to the correct style of base. The most common base is the Weaver style. Weaver style bases have a .180 recoil slot, to which the rings are attached. Most scope companies make a set of rings that correspond to this style of base. Picatinny bases are similar to the Weaver style, but are larger. The Leupold style of base is the industry standard that non-Weaver styles are measured against. Almost all modern rifles are set up for a certain type of mounting base, either pre-drilled or grooved. In the case of a weapon that lacks a pre-set mounting point, it may be necessary to have the holes or grooves machined by an experienced machinist or gun smith. Once the correct base is matched to the firearm, it is simply a matter of purchasing a set of rings to coincide with the mounting system as many of the rifle scope rings on the market can be used with different manufacturer’s bases.

The primary options in terms of materials used in the manufacturing of scope rings are steel or aluminum. Steel rings are much sturdier and keep the round shape of the rings from becoming compressed and oval shaped over a period of time or in the case of the rifle being dropped. They are most often produced by molding or machining. This process offers more variance. Aluminum rings are made using a process called extrusion, in which many rings are created from a single piece of material. This process creates mostly identical rings offering the best accuracy. Each style of ring comes with many options in terms of the finish to match the shooter’s preference. Everything from a matte finish to a camouflage is available. Another thing to consider is the height of the ring purchased. Rings come in low, medium, and high heights. Typically, the size of the scope’s objective lens outside diameter and the ocular ball size will determine the height needed on the rings in order to allow the scope cap to clear the barrel.

Proper installation of rifle scope rings does more than just secure accurate aim. It may also help to protect the gun, the scope and more importantly, the shooter. Mounted rings that are too loose will most likely turn freely over time and throw off the accuracy. Rings that are too tight, even just slightly, may bend the sight tube rendering the scope inoperable. When trying to avoid damaging the scope, it is imperative to match the inside diameter size of the scope ring to the outside diameter size of the scope tube. Look for a set of rings that will allow the scope to mount close to the barrel of the rifle but without actually touching it. This will make it much easier to bring the target into the sight picture more quickly and will also help to ensure a higher level of accuracy when shooting long distances. Once the scope and rings are mounted in place and adequately, use Loc-Tite or another brand of thread locker ensures the screws will not loosen with recoil.

There are many other options than just normal rifle scope rings. Extension rings can be used when it is desired for the scope to sit higher on the rifle. These can also be used in cases of mounting a shorter scope onto a rifle with a longer receiver and can offer about another half-inch of mounting leeway. Quick release rings have a lever that allows the user to take off the scope more easily when cleaning or transporting the firearm from the field. It can also come in handy for a hunter trying to put a longer-ranged scope on, depending on the type of game being hunted, though if a single scope is used between more than one gun, re-zeroing the scope will most likely be necessary each time it is exchanged. Offset scope rings allow the scope to be mounted on the side of the weapon. These types of scope rings are usually chosen based on the action style of the gun and if the weapon already has factory mounted sights.

Most of the time, manufacturers of rifle scopes also make sets of rings to compliment the scopes they produce. It may seem ideal to purchase rings made by the scope manufacturer but it is not necessary, as many companies make quality rings that can be paired with any style of scope. One line that Weaver manufactures are Lever-Lok rings. Made of solid steel, these rings consistently receive high ratings in reviews. They have a cross-lock design, which helps to keep the rings more stable and secure. They are also quite affordable and easy to install. Lever-Lok rings also allow a quick release without the need of tools for removing a scope. In fact, it is possible to detach these rings with the scope still attached to them. Leupold makes the Rifleman series of scope rings, which are machined from aluminum; these rings are lightweight and able to withstand significant recoil forces. They are low priced and also receive good reviews on a regular basis. Though on the higher priced end, Nikon makes a variety of rifle scope rings that live up to the company’s reputation for high-quality products. Many of these rings come in the Mossy Oak style finish. The Simmons Company makes sets of aluminum rings. Extremely affordable while still being well built, these rings not only consistently receive good reviews, they also have a loyal following of customers.

With all the different options of rifle scope rings out on the market, it can be a bit confusing trying to decide the correct one to purchase. The most important things to look for are light rings that match the mounting system that the particular firearm utilizes and also the size of the scope tube. The last thing any shooter wants is to spend their hard earned dollars on a rifle and scope only to have the whole system compromised by poor scope rings. Good rings need not be pricey, but they should stay secure once attached to the weapon giving peace of mind to the shooter.