Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Picatinny Rail
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How the name Picatinny originated, I am not familiar, but I have offered my own acronym to describe PICATINNY: “Placed In Close Axial Tolerance It Never, Never Yields.”

Most of the Picatinny style rails provide a graduated angle for longer range shooting. This angles the scope object lens downward toward the barrel. This normally provides 10-25 minutes of rear base elevation…a feature enabling the distance shooter to mount a scope and not run out of scope elevation adjustment. It is particularly useful for the 1,000-yard shooter or beyond. The Picatinny base also adds appreciably to the overall stiffness or rigidity of any rifle receiver. With some proprietary features offered on some units, this essentially portrays the Picatinny scope mounting system. I will provide further insight on these individual systems, including my own experience with each.

The NEAR Scope Mounting System


Picatinny Rail
With the action removed from the stock, it clearly shows the bridging strength of the Picatinny mount system. This is apparent as it spans the receiver cutout of this rifle. Even the scope and rings add to the rigidity effect.


My first experience goes back several years with the Picatinny Rail Mount base and scope mount system manufactured by Richard Near, founder of Near Mfg. NEAR bases and rings are available in stainless or black, made of hardened stress relieved steel. Parts are CNC machined to a tolerance of 0.0003" made to Mil-Std. 1913 Picatinny specifications. Bases come with 6-48 Torx screws using all four base screws. Two additional screws are available for the strongest possible attachment that fit the two extra holes provided. Bases are available in 10 MOA taper best suited to 100-600 yard ranges, and 25 MOA for zeroes to 1200 yards. Custom bases to precisely match your optics are available by arrangement. Rings are available in 30mm, 1 inch and 34mm. Rings are attached with a very durable, fine threaded crossbolt.

Near bases are available in a good selection of gun models, including: Sako, Savage, Steyr, Std FN, Tikka, Browning A-Bolt, Parker Hale, Remington 700-40X and XP-100, Winchester M-70 and Weatherby MK-V, and perhaps other applications by now.

It was Near Manufacturing who came to my aid when I needed a Picatinny base for the Winchester Model 70 Stealth II action. My search for a one-piece base to fit the Model 70 Stealth II action from other sources netted me nothing. Four additional 8-40 screws were included with the base. Near bases have a special shoulder on the forward underside that makes precision contact with the receiver ring. I really like this feature, which would help to prevent a possibility of screw shearing or breakage on those heavy kickers.

With the Near base and rings along with a 32X Redfield scope, the Model 70 Stealth II performed extremely well with groups as small as .234" at 100-yards shooting a 25 WSSM cartridge. I have installed Near bases and rings on Remington Model 40X and Model 700 actions, and on a Model 70 Winchester action. All grouped very well…further proof of the effectiveness of the Near scope mounting system wasn’t required.

Brownell’s Picatinny Scope Base and Rings


Picatinny Rail
Shown here is Brownell’s Picatinny rail base and rings used in mounting a 36 x 42 Sightron target scope on a Remington Model 40X rifle. Rings are mounted at extreme ends of rail, positioning this scope perfectly. Cutout in rail base coincides precisely with receiver cutout. These steel rings and base proved to be an excellent scope mounting system, delivering quarter MOA accuracy from a 6mm PPC cartridge and a Bartlein barrel.


Brownell’s, in their catalog number 60, added their own Picatinny Scope Base and Picatinny Scope Rings. I have used and tested this most durable Picatinny scope mounting system and find it durable in strength and versatility. Both the cross slotted base and the rings are available in the black in either 4140 steel or 6061 T6 aluminum. They are designed for use on both tactical and sporting rifles and come equipped with 6-48 Torx head screws. These screws could, of course, be substituted with 8-40 screws offered by Brownell’s in their screw conversion kit for an even stronger base mounting. The bases are available for use on Mauser 98, Rem. 700 short and long action, Savage 10 & 110 short and long action, Winchester Model 70 in short action, long action or WSM. The lighter aluminum combination would prove especially ideal for rugged use on any sporting rifle. There are more than a dozen slots cut to true Mil-Std 1913 specifications on the Picatinny rail to accept many Weaver-style rings and, of course, Brownell’s own rings.

Picatinny Rail
Precise coaxial alignment is of paramount importance to a totally stress-free mounted scope. Pre-determining true scope ring alignment is easily accomplished with the use of these versatile sleeved scope alignment rods offered by Brownell’s. Here the alignment rods were being used to test Brownell’s rail base and rings before the scope was mounted. An added advantage of the sleeved alignment rods over basic pointed rods is the means to test to see if the longer of the two rods will slide through both sleeves. This maneuver further verifies 100% perfect alignment of rings..


The Brownell Picatinny rings are 1 inch inside diameter precision machined, flat-top design available in low, medium or high heights. A sturdy hex nut tightens the ring retaining bolts, which are also coin or screwdriver slotted.

I put this base and ring combination through the necessary tests on three different rifles. After mounting, I could see they weren’t going anyplace. Accuracy was superb with all three rifles. I used Brownell’s Sleeved Scope Alignment Rods to verify coaxial alignment between scope rings, which proved out near perfect on all three rifles. This scope mounting system proved to be as precision and durable as it was designed to be.

Holland’s Picatinny Rail Mount


Picatinny Rail
Pictured here is an unassembled view of the Holland Picatinny Rail Mount. It consists of three separate parts: a front and rear base, and the rail mount. Four 6-48 screws attach the bases to the rifle receiver and three larger 10-32 screws interface the rail to the bases. The single hole positioned at the rear of the rail allows the base to pivot on the attaching screw until fully tightened to allow for precise centering of the scope reticle for full right to left adjustment. The button screw goes into the elongated hole and the far-end screw fits the far end hole that was drilled and tapped into the base. With all screws tightened, the rail mount forms a very durable precision fit to the receiver


The third Picatinny Rail Mount that I have worked with is a quite different principle than the other two. It is manufactured by Holland’s Shooters Supply.

The Holland Picatinny Rail Mount has two solid steel bases, as a second component, attached to the rifle receiver beneath the slotted rail base. The rail base has eight milled cross slots with the two widest slots spanning 7 3/4". This mounting system allows you to optically center the scope reticle for both windage and elevation, allowing maximum reticle adjustment right-and-left and up-and-down. Scopes perform best when the reticle is optically centered.

The Holland rail mounting system comes with complete and detailed instructions, which I will just briefly cover here. Some minor fitting is necessary for a perfectly centered scope…a unique feature of the Holland design.

Picatinny Rail
This picture shows the Holland Picatinny Rail Mount assembled as it would be attached to a rifle receiver.


First, the two bases are attached to the receiver with the four 6-48 screws. After mounting, Holland suggests checking the top surfaces of the two bases for precise alignment using a straight edge. They were in perfect alignment on the rifle I mounted them on. Where the bases are not in true alignment, they could be milled. This procedure is clearly outlined in the instructions. Such milling could also be performed to alter the angled plane of bases to change scope reticle adjustment. The bases are machined at a 20 MOA slope as received, which should be good out to 1,000 yards.

Picatinny Rail
Shown here is the Holland Picatinny Rail Mount solidly attached to a Remington Model 40X rifle. Three 10-32 screws attach the rail to the bases.


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