Standard bases vs. Picatinny rail

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Hudge, May 16, 2011.

  1. Hudge

    Hudge Member

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    Hello,

    I'm trying to make an informed decision on how to mount a new scope to my hunting rifle. I can use standard bases or a picatinny rail. Can anyone explain the benefits of using one option over another? I was hoping the members could give me a little information and advice here.

    Thanks,
     
  2. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Here are just a few ideas. Pros,for me, rugged,ease of scope switch from rifle to rifle, rail for accessories,level,angle,sometimes more mounting positioning.Base with build in moa.Cons- rings and bases heavier,most such as seeking,leupold,NF, much more costly, do'nt have the horizontal adjustment in bases like some dovetail type.
     

  3. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    For me, it depends on caliber too. For "smaller" calibers (that being relative) the usual bases and rings can hold fine. For larger ones the windage screws just won't hold up to big kicking rifles - I wish I could show you the ones from the 338-378 Weatherby my Dad just purchased. They are chewed up quite a bit.

    Double dovetail bases/rings can eliminate the worry about windage screws but are a bit tougher to set up, and of course are less forgiving.
     
  4. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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    Once you get over the "tactical ugliness" of a picatinny rail and tactical rings, the function will win you over.

    You can easily gain more elevation travel and most do with a standard 20 MOA base (and have a much stronger setup than Burris rings with inserts) and they can be made in custom slopes for whatever you want.

    No more worrying about tube length, action length, eye relief, etc, compatibility. You can put the scope very far forward or very far rearward--you can place it in the "correct" position for you.

    You can swap scopes from rifle to rifle very easily. Many say they never do this, but often that's because doing it with standard rings is such a PITA. Once it becomes easy you may find yourself doing it a lot.

    You can have a backup scope sighted in and ready to bolt on at any time that you can take with you and keep in camp.

    You can put a torque wrench on the mounting screws to verify everything is tight for some peace of mind without losing zero. Most standard rings pretty much require disassembling everything to check the base screws and/or can't be counted on to return to zero very well. The end result is with a standard setup many people will let many YEARS go by without ever checking because once the scope is on the rifle they don't ever get up the motivation to take it off.

    Strength. A picatinny rail (especially with #8 screws and/or glued to the receiver) and quality tactical rings are a huge jump up in strength from most typical standard rings. Long range guys typically like big, heavy scopes. Couple that with a hard kicking rifle and an "overkill-strong" mounting system is an ounce of prevention that can save you much hassle in the future.

    Speaking of ounces, due to good design, some high quality rails and rings made from aluminum and/or titanium can still provide this massive increase in strength with only a very small weight penalty over old-style standard steel rings/bases.
     
  5. LouBoyd

    LouBoyd Well-Known Member

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    The plus of a picatinny rail is by using quick disconnect rings one scope can be moved between several rifles, and different scopes can be easily put on one rifle. I buy my picatinny rails with a built in 20 MOA slope for bolt actions, 0 MOA for ARs which come with rails built in. It's easy to swap a conventional scope with a night visom scope and not loose zero on either. Unlike any other scope base I know of the scope can be moved to a comfortable fore/aft postion without moving the rings on the scope and all Picatinny rails use standard spacing increments.

    Some disadvantages of Picatinny rails are that they may obstruct the ejection port more than some other base designs. There are many rings and some scopes which simply won't fit on a Picatinny rail. Some rifles can't use them either because they obstruct loading or there's no reasonable place to mount them.

    I have Picatinny rails on rifles as diverse as a Ruger 10/22 and a Pauza P50 50 BMG semi-auto carbine. They don't seem out of place on eiither. Picatinny rails are available in aluminum and steel as appropriate for weight and strength. Even titanium for both. I don't put Picatinny rails on 1960's or older rifles. That just doesn't seem right to me but for no real reason. My 1870's 50-70 Remington rolling block will never get one even although it would be easy to install and would work ok.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  6. Hudge

    Hudge Member

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    Guys,

    Great advice. Thank you so much. Very helpful.
     
  7. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    I will offer up some advise and you can take it for what's it's worth. If you chose to use a quality picatinny rail such as a Seekins or Near have a qualified gunsmith check the top of the receiver for trueness with a dial indicater. A lot of factory receivers are not true and if you just install the rail there is a good chance it will get tweaked to conform to the out of true receiver and that will carry up into the scope. Have the gunsmith check the receiver then bed the rail so that it's sitting true on the receiver.
     
  8. highridge1

    highridge1 Well-Known Member

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    After going to a 1 piece steel design for a long range rifle I will never go back to a 2 piece design. The 1 piece just has too many advantages over the 2 piece.