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Picatinny vs Weaver: A Hunter’s Choice

Picatinny Rail

Hunting is used in many areas of the world. Whether one uses the system of a picatinny style base or a weaver rail base does not matter, but depending on what you need, specifically as a hunter, is important to know. Although very similar in style, these two mounting systems are very different, bringing specific characteristics to what they can achieve. Each scope mounting system that’s available within the hunting marketplace has two basic parts: the scope mounting base and the scope mounting rings. The weaver rail base and picatinny style mounting systems can look almost identical at first sight, and they can both be utilized for incredible mounting. Yet, beyond this, what is the difference between these two systems?

Weaver Style Base

The weaver style base has shown itself to be quite useful, as it has become very popular over the past decade. Many have declared it as one of the top choices for a mounting platform. Years back, this idea of scope mounts did not exist as an everyday necessity, and when one needed their scope mounted onto their gun, they would usually hire a gunsmith to do the dirty work for them. This, obviously, consisted of attaching the scope to the gun, using a mount. As time improved technology, this changed, and William R. Weaver, decided to mount scopes onto all guns, thus, altering it all, creating the infamous weaver mount. This mount has transformed over time, bringing success to the hunting marketplace, changing how hunters as well as gunsmiths work, sell, and purchase. 

Weaver Rail

​By Ken (Own work) [Public domain], ​via Wikimedia Commons

By Ken (Own work) [Public domain], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWeaver_rail.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

The weaver rail mount has slots that range around the same dimensions, but are not always equal in measurement when they are looked at and compared, side by side. Not as deep or as wide, the weaver mount still holds strong in what it can provide for a hunter. Picatinny and weaver style accessories can both fit this mounting system, as the inconsistent measurements allow for more than one system to work. This mount is best for hunters who want a low profile mount, bringing ruggedness to the mount at a nice price that is affordable for those wanting its character.

The Picatinny Base

The picatinny rail, on the other hand, provides just as many benefits as downfalls. This mounting option was tested and evaluated by the military when a consistent military standard mounting system was desired. The military decided to create the picatinny arsenal mount, once this system proved to be a good standard and common mounting base for all devices that were needing attachment. This occurred in New Jersey and was soon called the MIL - STD - 1913. In the beginning of 1995, the military officially decided they would use this mount world-wide, and it was accepted for use. Its name, picatinny, specifically comes from its place of origin, which is Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

Picatinny Rail

​By Alpha2412 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], ​via Wikimedia Commons​

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By Alpha2412 (Own work) [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASG550_with_MIL-STD-1913-Rail.JPG">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

This mount gives consistency in the deepness of each slot. Each slot has the same dimensions for depth and width, making it consistent for all the attachments, that could potentially be used. The dimensions for the slot grooves are .206” wide and a center to center width of .394”. The consistency in measurement gives hunters stability and the option to stay within all picatinny style accessories, beyond any other mount. If any measurement on this mount is not perfected by the numbers, the mount cannot be used for the military or even be considered as a picatinny base mount.

Device Attachments

It is important to understand what devices can attach to each mount. For the weaver mount, picatinny and weaver accessories can attach, as the inconsistency of measurements within each slot leaves room for both devices to fit. Yet, only picatinny based accessories can mount to the picatinny system because of the strict measurements of each groove. It seems as if flexibility would make the weaver mount a likely choice, but depending on what each hunter needs for their skill, each mount can and will provide certain availability for the goals of each hunter.

Hunting is used by many people around the world, for many different purposes. Having and choosing a scope mount is important for a hunter’s rising success, making the picatinny style mount and the weaver rail mount top choices of consistency within the marketplace. Historically, created for convenience and specificity, but now, used for all and helpful in many different types of hunting. Any opportunity can end with free flowing achievement when a hunter has these mounts.

Rifle Scopes Center Staff

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