For individuals who do not require Picatinny spec bases, or who do not wish to spend the dollars that our beloved Badgers and Nears cost, the one-piece Ken Farrell base is a great alternative. Kens base is very nicely machined and blued, fits perfect on the receiver.
The Ken Farrell base looks very much like the tactical "rails" except the cross-slots are on 1/2" centers rather than to Picatinny 1913 specs. This base has a recessed bottom so that it can be epoxied or bedded for a perfect fit to the receiver. This base will accomodate Ken's tactical rings or any other brand of tacticals such as Badgers or MK4's. It will also handle any cross-slot Weaver style base, from the Warne Maxima to the old original Weavers. The cross-slots are rounded as opposed to rectangular as on some bases.
He makes a bases for Winchester M-70, Reminton M-700, Savage and some Mausers.
Check out www.kenfarrell.com
KF bases are indeed a bargain, and very well made. HOWEVER, be sure to inquire if you are getting the new/improved screws that he was switching to last year.
Prior to that, the screws that came with my 700 S/A one piece tapered base, mounted on my .308, broke. All of 'em. (The scope was a Sightron 4-16x42, not at all a heavy affair...)
After about 16 shots from the bench. Never seen anything like it, and the senior gent on the line next to me said "@*&#!$%#@!! I can't believe that just #$@%!#$! happened."
All four screws sheared off at the receiver,and the scope and base landed on my left arm (which was tucked below the rifle, I'm a bag squeezer). Thankfully, not on the concrete bench or the concrete walkway!
I was in the process of writing an article reviewing Ken's base and neat rings. I informed him of the issue, and he said that he had heard of very little trouble with the screws then in use, but was as a matter of fact upgrading them.
Unfortunately, the new screws were going to be slightly shorter, which would necessitate modifying the base holes to match. I've still not sent mine back (I have three of his neat bases), and never did write the article.
The number of slots (half-round) on the Farrell base is fewer by at least 50% than a Picatinny style base. For best cross-bolt engagement, I recommend rings with a round cross-bolt, not squared off like most of the tactical/heavy duty rings feature.
Ken makes an excellent set of rings (serial numbered and indexed to ensure they match perfectly, as they are made in pairs to very precise specs). As you'd expect, his rings have a round cross-bolt. So do the economical and excellent Burris Signature Zee (Weaver base compatible) rings, and the newish F A tactical rings being sold by Brownell's these days. The F A rings are a bargain compared to some, and they include a set of 1" inserts so you can use 30mm or 1" scopes. BUT, the F A rings are not made in equal halves, circular-wise, in their 30mm configuration. The bottom is more of a 'U', and goes just past what would be halfway of the diameter of the scope tube. So, it's a slight press fit to bottom the scope in the lower ring half, and another concern is that the scope will not make contact with most of the ring 'band'. Instead, it's held via contact at the bottom, two points on the side, and the at the top.
These rings with the 1" inserts should work very well, as the inserts are split normally.
[ 03-22-2003: Message edited by: Nate Haler ]
it's not about need in the USA -- it's about WANT
My dad got a couple of Ken's 20moa bases from Sinclair. Really nice base, but lacks the lug that drops over the ejection port at the front. His both have 90 degree square bottom cross slots though, unlike the round style you both describe? He's using the new Leupold QRW rings with the improved square bottom recoil lug on the crossbolt.
He did have the base bedded with the front torqued down all the way and the rear left to run wild, as there was a gap there initially. He mounted the new 8-32 Nightforce R2 on it and was 4 moa short of getting a 100 yard zero because of the extra taper. In other words it's a few inches high at 100 yards at the bottom of the adjustmwnt range. Looks like a nice base though, not sure what screws it had with it, he had Dave redrill and true the base holes up so it got larger screws anyway so...
I have a Farrel 20 MOA base and rings on my 300 WSM. The scope is a 6.5 X 20 LRT. I bought this set before he up graded the screw. I was testing loads and the groups went wild. Checked the scope it was tight took it off 2 of the screws were sheared. I emailed Ken and he sent me the new screws. It is still working well after 800+ rounds on the new screws. A friend of mine sheared the screws in his as well. I am going to use his base and rings on a 260 I had built. I like them.
I put this in another section but it deals directly with Ken Farrell bases so here it is again.
There is an extensive review of the Farrell mounts at www.snipershide.com Not sure what column it is under but there is about three pages. Bottom line is that Ken Farrell had some bum screws, they bent or broke on some rifles with fairly heavy scopes. Ken fixed the problem with better screws PLUS he has always suggested and recommends that his bases be bedded to the receiver for perfect fit and best performance.
Some guys never did this and the basic design of the base allowed a few screws to break or bend - the base is concave and does not fit directly to the receiver like a glove (fact is no base can do that as there are so many variables involved in manufacturing receiver).
The best solution in Ken's opinion (and logically) is to put some bedding material under the concave base which would make for a perfect fit and also provide some "support" for the screws. Alternate is to machine a lug or contact point into the base so that it butts against the front of the receiver, taking the recoil forces.
If you are on a budget or just don't feel the need for Picatinny spec bases the Farrells are excellent. Bedding them is simple and cheap, must admit that I have not done it yet and might never since the Farrell base I am using is doing fine on a .223.
Badgers and Nears are top-end products and you pay for that quality. Farrells can do much the same job for about 1/2 the cost, but they are not intended to compete with Picatinny spec bases. They are a lower-priced, beautifullymachined and blued rail that will provide varying degrees of slope and accept most Weaver style rings. Some people drive Camrys, some prefer Lexus - they both haul your butt to Walmart.
**Amazing how someone can warble on and on about a simple freaking scope base, isn't it [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]