Badger Ordinance rings and bases
Badger Ordinance Rings and Bases
When I received my first set of Badger rings and bases I was truly amazed by the ruggedness and weight of the things. Up until that point in time I had for the most part been a Leupold dovetail or some other variant of the lightweight Weaver design ring user. This firsthand knowledge of the Badger setup immediately changed that.
What I first noticed was the large and tough look and feel, holding them in my hand I recall thinking they were certainly not going to be knocked out of alignment by a casual brush with tree branches or rocks. The finish is dark gray and a matte sandblasted non-reflective look.
The one piece Picatinny style base has 20MOA of taper built in and has cross-slots milled into the top to allow for accurate and repeatable placement of the rings. These cross-slots match up with the bolts in the rings so that when the rings are mated to the base everything is nice and secure and won’t slip forward or rearward.
After several minutes of examining the set I had to get them on the rifle and see how they looked. The base has 4 holes for mounting to the Remington 700 action and is supplied with 4 screws. I had been forewarned by other users that the screws would more than likely be too long for the front holes and that I’d need to take some off the front 2 to get a good fit. This was good advise and I did indeed need to shorten the front 2 screws to get them to do anything other than bottom before providing support for the base. Once I had shortened the screws and double checked the tightness one screw at a time I was read to final fit the base to the rifle. I grabbed the ‘red’ Loctite from my workbench and applied a dab to each screw in turn as I set them in place. I didn’t use a torque to get the 15 inch-pound tightness but rather opted for the field expedient method of pulling on the allen wrench until it flexed a little. I also used the ‘red’ Loctite vice the ‘blue’ as I figured I’d likely not remove the rings in the foreseeable future.
Setting the rings in place was a bit more difficult, not physically demanding but rather mentally demanding. First off I didn’t know which side the big ½ inch tightening nuts should be mounted on and I didn’t have a feel for how far apart the rings should be mounted on the base. I also had to decide whether or not to mount the rings with the support bolt butted to the rear of the rail slot or to the front of the slot and if both rings should be mounted butted in similar or opposite directions. The scope I was mounting was a Leupold 6.5x20 Long Range and it is plenty long so the scope didn’t limit the distance I could place the rings apart on the base. I finally decided that I should place the rings as far apart as possible so the scope had only a minimum of material hanging free past the front and rear of the rings and butt the support bolt to the rear on both rings. This I thought would provide the most support for the scope and it looked like these rings were made to provide plenty of support. I also thought that by butting the rings to the rear I could remove and replace the scope while gently pulling the scope and rings to the rear of the rifle which is where I prefer to be when handling a rifle.
I opted to place the ½ inch nuts on the left side of the action which I was later told is the standard configuration for a right handed firearm. I was informed that the nuts could get in the way of hastily loading the rifle and are out of the way on the other side and provide no hindrance there. Once I had lightly tightened down the lower portion of the rings onto the base I set the Leupold scope in place and then set the upper half of the rings in place. Everything looked correctly aligned and I decided to try mounting the scope without lapping the rings. Each ring has 4 screws to hold the ring cap in place and I began the sequence to tighten them gently and adjust the scope for my eye relief and plumb. Once I was satisfied I was ready for the final tightening I went through the crisscross tightening sequence for each ring and once again did the field expedient bent wrench 15 inch pound drill. Only thing left to do now is do a final tightening on the ring nut and I’m done. The ½ inch ring tightening nut is rated to be set to 65 inch pounds and for this purpose I had bought a t-handled torque wrench. I tightened the nuts and repeated the tightening several times to make sure the new rings had taken up all slack and things were ready for a firing run.
That first set of Badger rings was about two years ago and I’ve now installed and used many sets. One of the selling points of these ‘tactical’ rings is that they have repeatable zero removal and replacement to .5 MOA. I’ve twice setup two scopes for one rifle and changed them out repeatedly in a test of this reported repeatable replacement. I have yet to be disappointed and they generally return to zero close enough so that no scope adjustment is needed at all.
I use my rifles in fairly harsh trials, not military missions but tactical sniper competitions and training. The portion I worry most about is during stalking exercises when the rifle is being drug along the ground behind me. My dragbag is a light double thickness 1000 denier Cordura sleeve without padding. I have a 3 foot piece of cord attached to the muzzle end of the drag bag and a “D” ring clips the dragbag to my belt. I crawl over logs, rocks and through streambeds with the rifle often tagging along behind like a new puppy. I have completed stalks and went straight to the long range events and shot to over 900 yards without ever worrying about the zero on the rifle. Do I need this much ring on my hunting rifle? Probably not but I use the same rifle for competitions and hunting and since I’ve begun using these rings I’ve never worried about those slaps and bangs that inevitably occur while transporting or getting to and staying afield.