I will soon be purchasing a set of Badger Ordanance rings and base for my LR rig. But am a little confused on which ring height to get. My current setup places the bell of the scope very close to the barrel, and I would like a little more space in there. The scope is a Leupold 8.5-25x50 LRT, and barrel conture is a NBRSA HV (1.25" out beyond the reciever for 5" then taper to .900 @ 29"). Any suggestions would be appreciated.
The standard rings are 0.823" from the bottom to the center of the scope and the mediums are 0.885". Those numbers don't mean a lot since the whole ring is sitting on a base, but they show the relative height of each style.
I use both and prefer the looks of the standards with a 50mm scope and heavy contour barrel. I just checked a couple of rifles and the scopes sit low but there is enough clearance for a ScopeCoat to go between the bell and the barrel - maybe 1/8". The rings are sitting on Badger bases and the barrel contours are heavy, NXS scopes which would have a little thicker body-wall than your scope.
The Medium would give a bit more clearance, maybe increase to 1/4" or so, but I'm pretty sure your Leupold will fit nicely in standards. The Mediums are more for 56mm front-ends I believe. If you buy them you are set if you ever get a bigger objective scope. There are a couple of slightly taller rings now, to accomodate Nightforce scopes primarily. My 3.5-15x50mm NXS looks real nice in the standards tho.
I don't notice any difference in shooting position when using either height.
The standard ring (.823) is probably a bit too low for your barrel contour with the 50mm objective. The medium (.885) should work. I have the medium rings with Badger 20 moa base on a Rem700 with a Douglas #7. Leupold 6.5-20x50 LR mounted. Scope to barrel clearance without lens caps is .155 inch. with lens cap .075 inch.
You are correct, my 50mm scope in standards would barely allow for Butler Creeks - I have a heavy Scope Coat on and it is a snug fit over the bell. I like the low position, but the mediums will give more clearance without looking too high. One of the barrels is a straight taper Mike Rock and it does not touch the scope bell. This is a matter of choice, I would swap my mediums for standards as I prefer the real low scope height.
I'm with you on the low mounting. To be on the safe side though, I ordered the .885 med. rings. My measurements indicate the .823 standard rings would have worked for me too. the difference between the two only being .062" ..I still would have had .013" clearance with standard rings with butler creek caps in place. Close, but still OK.
The rifle has a McMillan A2 stock. After mounting the optics in the medium rings, I did a little test. Closed my eyes, mounted the rifle naturally in my shoulder, then opened my eyes. Perfect eye-to-scope alignment! The .062" change in scope center seems imperceptable to me in shooting positions. (I previously had a 3.5-10x40 LR M3 on the rifle in standard rings.) But I agree that lower is always better.
By the way, Badger Ord. sells a great kit with a Sekonk 65 in-lb "T"-handle snap wrench and the fittings to tighten both the side nut (1/2") on the rings and also stock bolts. Unlike the Leupold model (65 in-lb either direction) this one will undo mount nuts as it goes 80 in-lb one way and 65 the other.
Not sure of the $, nor did I see it in his catalog but he does put these kits together - they were at the SHOT show booth. This stuff is costy but hopefully you only buy it once. Easy to check as his e-mail is on the badgerord website.
I believe Premiere sells the same snap wrench.