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Types of Scope Rings – Which One is the Best for Your Rifle?

When it comes to attaching your scope to your rifle, you’re going to need scope rings.  However, over the years, many different types of scope rings have been designed.  Some are still pertinent today, while others were merely a gimmick or a play by a scope ring company to make something unique.

Because of this, many scope ring types are either no longer useful, or have a specific use.  Therefore, understanding the different types of scope rings, and when best to select one over another can be an important part to properly attaching your scope to your rifle. 

Therefore, in this article, I’m going to help you understand the difference between some of the more popular and useful scope rings on the market, and give general advice on when to choose one over another. 

Types of Scope Rings

Scope Rings vs Mounts vs Bases

Before we get into the scope rings, we first need to separate some closely connected terms as it pertains to this article: Rings, Bases, and Mounts.

Scope rings are the part that wraps around the scope to hold the scope.  Bases are a component that is either already on your rifle (think picatinny rail on an AR15), or is an attachment to your rifle. The base allows the rings to attach to the rifle.

Okay, so now that we have an understanding of rings and bases, let’s look at mounts. This is the entire fixture that attaches a scope to the rifle.  Sometimes the mount can consist of rings, and a base, or it can be one complete system where the rings and the base are actually one piece.

Examples of Scope Mounts

Different Types of Scope Rings

Now that we understand these three phrases, let’s take a look at some of the more popular rings in the industry and when best to choose one over another.  Also, if you’re unfamiliar with bases and mounts, be sure to check out this article here

Weaver Scope Rings

Weaver Rings

The first set of rings we’ll discuss are weaver rings.  These rings fit a cross slot styled base.  However, what is key to weaver rings is that they only fit a crosslot styled base of a certain width.  You see, crosslot bases can be different sizes, and so when people would look for a ring that fit a crosslot, they’d have to ensure the ring was of the right fit for that specific crosslot styled base.  So as to make it easier, a name was given to this ring that means a certain width.  If you say you have weaver rings, then you need to ensure its a weaver base, or in other words, a crosslot base that is of a weaver width. 

Weaver rings attach to the base by turning the knob/screw that will clamp it to the rail.  This also makes removing them a bit easier as well.  

When To Choose:  Popular for hunting and plinking

Picatinny Rings

Picatinny Rings

Like Weaver rings, Picatinny rings fit on a crosslot style rail, but only fit on bases/rails of a specific width. 

They will attach to the rail the same way as the weaver, by tightening the knob and cinching them down on the rail.

Picatinny rings are usually much bulkier and heavier as well.  This is because picatinny rings are made with assault rifles in mind – in that they can take more action, and are supposed to be more study.  Because of this, Picatinny rings can be one of the more expensive options.  However, if you’re mounting a scope

When To Choose:  Best for Tactical rifles

Integral Mounts

Integral Rings

Integral mounts comprise of both the base and the ring and screw directly into your rifle. Because of this, you need to make sure that the integral mount you buy fits your specific rifle.  This way the screw holes not only line up with where the rifle has screw holes, but that the screws are of the right size.

Because of this combined structure there is less material as others, and are usually a lighter option, but also not frail either. 

When To Choose:  Recommend for hunting

Dovetail Rings

Dovetail Rings

A dovetail ring is a simple system of rings that will attach against a rail made for these rings.  Dovetail rails are a popular as the factory option on some rifles with a dovetail rail machined into the receiver so that dovetail rings can be used without the need for a base.

Dovetail systems are also popular on rimfire rifles because a lot of durability and strength is not necessary for those rifles.

When To Choose: Useful for rifles with a built-in dovetail rail and rimfire rifles.


STD Rings

Standard or commonly seen as STD is a Leupold creation that is anything but ‘standard.’  But a convincing name right?

It locks in by twisting it at a 90 degree angle.  Then by placing the scope, the scope holds it in place from twisting again.  These rings are no longer popular and usually seen on older rifles.  I just wanted to include them in the list because their name can lead people to believe they are the top choice or ‘standard’ option. 

When To Choose: An older interface that is rarely used anymore. Only select this style if you’re trying to match an older component.


With Ring to Use for Each Rifle Purpose

Now that you know what some of the ring options are, here is a list of our most recommended, based on a generalization for the components:

  • Hunting: Integral
  • Tactical: Picatinny
  • Plinking: Dovetail or Weaver

Finding the Right Rings for Your Rifle

So, now that you know which rings are best for what, it’s now time to find the right rings for your scope/rifle pairing.  In the past, this used to be the hardest step because you’d need to research the exact diameter of your specific scope, decide on the preferred height for clearance, and ensure the rings also work with your base. 

However, luckily there is a new tool that will do all of that for you.  Gun University created a free online tool called the Scope Ring Finder.  All you have to do is select your specific scope, your rifle, and choose the preferred interface (Picatinny, Weaver, Integral, etc).  Then the Finder will find every ring, base and cap that will work with your pairing and list them out for you.  Furthermore, it will ensure that it shows you the cheapest price online. 

Scope Ring Finder

So, with this tool, you’ll have no problem finding the right rings, and ensuring you get the best price.  You can check it out here

Scope Rings – the Final Decision

As you can see, there is a lot to choosing your scope rings.  Add to the fact that we didn’t go into all the different unique or branded types as well.  However, I know that the above information should be more than enough to help you choose rings that will work with your rifle’s purpose and give you the best idea going forward.

Scope Rings - What Types are there
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Kevin Collins