Advantages of the Picatinny Scope Rings

We often get asked, “should I go to a Picatinny Scope Ring setup”.  Given the variables involved, this system may or may not be the optimal solution. In some situation, a picatinny rail and rings setup may be the only option. In either case there are more advantages of using Picatinny scope rings than you might expect.

Although still a new concept to many shooters, the Picatinny system began making its way into the marketplace circa 1995. It was then that the U.S. military commissioned The Picatinny Arsenal to make some modifications to a specific mounting rail called the MIL-STD-1913. The resulting rail, is exactly what now know as the Picatinny rail.

If you’re looking for the most versatile and adaptable scope rings available on the market today, then a closer look at today’s Picatinny scope ring options may be worth investigating.

Driven by the popularity of today’s top selling firearm, the AR-Rifle platform, Picatinny rings are some of the most common types of rings available.  These rings offer several advantages over traditional optics mounts, such as the weaver scope ring design.

Of all the accessories we attach to the picatinny rail system, the Rifle’s scope is without question the most important accessory for sports shooters, hunters or anyone looking for a tactical picatinny rail system setup. Selecting the right picatinny ring is not based solely on the rifle, caliber and scope.  Consideration must be given to the shooter, shooter’s habits and the conditions the rifle system will be exposed too.

If this sounds like the type of information that you may be interested in, keep reading.  Diving a bit deeper into what a Picatinny rail and scope ring system is, the advantages, and we will explore how it can impact your shooting for the better.

What Is A Picatinny system?

Picatinny is a type of rail system for mounting scopes and various other accessories to firearms. Standardized across the firearms industry, the term Picatinny refers to a set dimension. As such, a Picatinny Scope mount or accessory made to true Picatinny specs will fit on any firearm that has a Picatinny rail. This makes it easy to find compatible mounts and optics.

Picatinny Scope Ring

This also means that compatibility should be no  issue when changing out picatinny accessories. The Picatinny rail, previously known as the MIL-STD-1913 rail, features multiple slots distributed evenly along the top of the rail.  With multiple slots the shooter is able to mount various accessories in a multitude of positions.

Available in a variety of lengths and configurations, a picatinny rail will allow you to choose the option that best fits your needs. Additionally, many picatinny scope mounts and accessories have a quick-release feature that allows you to remove the scope if needed with ease.

Whether you are setting up a precision shooting rifle or a hunting rifle, a reliable and secure option.  One that provides you with a solid scope mount that won’t loosen over time or allow movement from the recoil of the rifle.

Picatinny Mounts vs. Weaver Style Mounts

Picatinny and Weaver are different, however on a Picatinny rail, you can mount a Picatinny or weaver rings. This does not work the other way; Picatinny Mounts will not work on a Weaver base. The most noticeable difference is the slot width. The recoil slots on the Picatinny scope mounts are a bit wider than that of the weaver. Picatinny slots will also be a bit deeper.

Weaver mounts will work on a Picatinny rail, but it should be noted that the fit as not as tight. The result is accuracy inconstancies due to back and forth movement cause by the recoil of the rifle. With a tight fit, the recoil lugs on the bottom of the mounts will limit this potential movement.  This is more critical with higher caliber rifle and for those rifles that are exposed to rough conditions.

As noted above, they’re adaptable, however weaver mounts have a little less side to side width than your Picatinny ring. This should be kept in mind if you when evaluating options. Weaver rings consist of recoil lugs designed to fit snuggly in the Weaver .180″ slot (aprox.). The Picatinny ring have a recoil lug designed to fit snuggly in its .210″ slot (aprox.). The weaver rings will tighten down left to right on a Picatinny rail; however, the weaver recoil lug will be loose in the Picatinny slot. Using Picatinny mounts on a Picatinny rail is the best option.

Picatinny rails are becoming more popular among sport shooters and hunters due to their versatility and adaptability. A Picatinny rail allows the  mounting of a wide variety of accessories to the rifle.   This includes items such as scopes, optics, lasers, and flashlights.

Advantages of the Picatinny Scope Mounting System

Talley Modern Sporting Ring

One of the biggest advantages of using Picatinny rings on your rifle is that they are extremely versatile. They will work with any Picatinny rail that is manufactured to this established standard. Picatinny rings are very strong and durable when properly machined from quality material.  This means that they will withstand the recoil from even the most powerful rifles.

There are a number of reasons why hunters and sport shooters are switching their traditional setups to Picatinny Scope Ring system. The primary reason may be due in part to the shorter mounting surfaces found on a number of newer scopes. We now see many manufactures shortening up the distance between the scope turrets and the bell of the objective. The shorter distance combined with the fixed mounting location on the rifle may limit the range of adjustment.  We need greater adjustment to achieve the proper eye relief. As such the shooter is unable to set the correct distance between the eye and the scope in the mounts. The correct distance is required to achieve a proper view of the target downrange in the scope. It is for this reason many shooters are finding their best option to be the Pic Ring and Rail setup.

Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known advantages:

  • Versatility: Picatinny rings are versatile and adaptable and will work with any true mil-spec Picatinny rail. This creates the perfect choice for shooters who want to be able to change their optics quickly with ease.
  • Space On the Rail: Mounting surface area is increased. There is a lot of room to mount scope rings and adjust for the shooters desired eye relief.
  • Convenience: Picatinny rails allow you to mount additional accessories such as scopes, optics, lasers, and flashlights securely to your rifle.

Choosing the Right Picatinny Scope Ring

When it comes to your rifle scope, we must know how to select the right type and height of ring is important. Too high and you may end up using all your scopes adjustment to get zeroed.  You may also find getting a consistent sight picture is difficult. To low and you may find you are unable to mount the scope.  This is commonly due to clearance requirements of other items on the rifle.  Or you may find yourself having to crane your head down to low making it uncomfortable to shoot and difficult to get a proper sight picture.

For Picatinny style rings themselves, there are a few options to work with. You’re either going to be using a pair of independent rings or you’ll be using a single-piece mount. There are steel and aluminum options. Which one you decide to go with will depend on a number of variables.  These range from shooter preference, shooting application, the rifle and the optic itself.

In many cases the aluminum bases are preferred based on weight; however, some do opt for the steel option because of the increased strength coupled with its sleeker styling. Because of the added strength of steel, we are able to reduce the overall bulk of the ring as comparted to aluminum rings.

One of the first thigs to verify is the scope tube diameter; rings are based on the scope tube size; there is no true universal ring.  Talley offers picatinny scope rings in 1”, 30mm, 34mm, 36mm and even a model for the rare 35mm scope.  For those who are going the distance with Swarovski Optik’s monster DS Scope, we even offer the new DS-40 single piece picatinny rail scope mount.

DS-40 Picatinny Scope Mount

Choosing the Correct Height

When consider what height scope rings you may need, we must first look at the scope dimensions.  In most cases the critical dimension is going to be the scopes’ objective, also known as the “bell”.  This is typically the largest vertical dimension we use to ensure we are high enough to ensure the rifle and scope do not come in contact.

With a traditional set up we also need to look at the dimensions as they relate to the mounting areas.  Many scope manufactures are shortening the distance of the mounting surfaces; given the multiple mounting locations on a picatinny rail, this shorter distance is not a concerning when compared to traditional scope mounting systems.

We simply need to ensure the objective does not contact the rifle and that we have enough clearance for the operation of the rifle. In the case of “straight tubed” scopes (no bell), we may be able to get much lower, however we need to verify the other parts of the rifle such as the bolt handle, hammer, hammer spur or fixed sights do not come in contact with the scope.

It is also possible to get to low and find yourself in an uncomfortable shooting position. It is best to find your natural head/ body position and bring the scope top that level rather than bringing your head up or down to the scope.

Methods to verify scope height requirements

There are a couple methods to verify scope height requirements. One of the simplified methods of determining required scope ring height is to use some sort of shim (i.e. coins, washers, magnets).  By stacking up the required number of shims to achieve desired scope height will ensure the final height does not interfere with operation of bolt handle or other components of the rifle system. Once you stack up your shims to the proper height, simply measure the shims and compare the requirements to the dimensions provided on the particular scope ring product page.  Given the flat surface of the picatinny rail, this is a simple method.

If you are unsure what height scope ring to get, please feel free to contact our technical support team for guidance on your Picatinny Scope Mounts. 803-854-5700

Installing the Picatinny Rail and Picatinny Scope Rings

We often get asked whether or not the Picatinny rail should be “bedded” to the rifle.  Traditionally, we “bed” scope rings to ensure they don’t come lose.  This also eliminates any potential twisting or warping of the base when it is married up to the action.  Manufacturing methods, final design and relief cuts in Talley picatinny rails prevent the potential of warping or twisting when torqued to the proper values.  This eliminates the need for bedding.

The second question is always, “should I lap the picatinny scope rings”.  Lapping has been done in the past for a couple of reasons.  Many manufacturers use a casting process.  This leaves surfaces uneven and rough reducing the amount of surface contact between the scope and scope rings.  At Talley Manufacturing we fully CNC machine all our product to ensure clean smooth surfaces for 100% surface contact.  This process reduces the chance of slippage.

Misalignment of scope rings is another reason to lap rings.  Misalignment can of the scope rings can put undue stress on the scope tube.  In turn this will cause issues trying to get zeroed and potential slippage when not squared up in the rings.  The one-piece design of the CNC machined Picatinny rail that is true and straight provides a naturally aligned foundation for the scope rings. Coupled with the stringent tolerance held in the machining process of our scope rings the potential of misaligned rings is virtually eliminated.  These factors eliminate the need for lapping.

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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sportsman, it’s important to have the right equipment. You need to work with equipment that is durable and maintains accuracy. Greater accuracy and cleaner shots are the goals for serious and even novice rifle enthusiasts.

When looking for Picatinny scope rings or any optics mounting solutions, if you need help choosing the right mounting system, our experts are here to help. Contact us today and get started on upgrading your hunting and sport shooting gear.