Scope rings--When is "good enough" good enough?

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
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#1
Question on scope ring quality. I've always gravitated toward the more respected brands, just because I wanted to cover all my bases, without really understanding the why (and never had a ring issue). Curious though what sets "good" scope rings apart from not so good. I've seen some threads on people's favorite scope ring brands, but I'm more interested in the "why."

Where do less expensive brands fail?

Is there a point at which a great ring is overkill, and a "pretty good" ring is good enough?

Are any of these considerations caliber-dependant?

...Drop-out-of-helicopter dependant?

Nik
 
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mcameron

Sergeant of the Hide
Nov 17, 2011
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#3
honestly its not about "being good enough".........lets face it......a pair of $30 scope rings is probably "good enough" for what most of us use them for


its about piece of mind.

if im on a 5 day hunting trip, i dont want to have to worry about my scope rings........if im in a match, i dont want to have to worry about my scope rings.......if im LEO and i need my rifle for potential life or death shot, i dont want to have to worry about my scope rings.


cheap rings do fail........maybe not as often as we make it out to be..........but considering the cost of a good set of rings is $100......why take the chance?


i mean hell, we have no qualms buying a $2000 rifle.....a $1500 piece of glass.......a $250 bipod...........but when it comes to scope rings we cringe at the thought of buying anything over $30?
 

Nik H

Constantly Learning
Jan 22, 2014
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Rhode Island
#4
@mcameron is correct. I don't even want to think about something failing because it inevitably happens at the worst time.

There are a few very well respected brands that people use. I happen to use the Nightforce X-treme duty Ultralights. Looked at a bunch of others since I started using them but never felt compelled to change because these work really well.

They cost $175...is that too much? I don't think so for the peace of mind I get.
 
Feb 13, 2017
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#6
I have and still do use various rings and unimounts from Nightforce, Badger and Vortex/Seekins. I like shit that works at a reasonable price. Install and forget.

It's a simple fact that good stuff isn't cheap and cheap stuff isn't good. Every individual has to draw the financial line line in the sand for themselves.
 

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
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#7
Brands like Spuhr and ARC are less likely to marr the scope tube.
Thanks, this is a measurable differentiator.

I've had Leupold,, SWFA, IOR, TPS, and Barrett rings. Never seen a ring failure in the field. Don't know what a ring failure even looks like--unless ring failure is taken to mean, "light marking of scope tube."

I have dropped an 18lb rifle on a boulder coming down a hillside after a sling failure. Crushed the scope turret. Rings were fine.

Do we know if any of the better rings hold the scope better, insofar as the scope coming loose, or adding rigidity to the platform, or protecting the scope from flexing, or anything else?

Nik
 

mcameron

Sergeant of the Hide
Nov 17, 2011
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#8
Thanks, this is a measurable differentiator.

I've had Leupold,, SWFA, IOR, TPS, and Barrett rings. Never seen a ring failure in the field. Don't know what a ring failure even looks like--unless ring failure is taken to mean, "light marking of scope tube."

I have dropped an 18lb rifle on a boulder coming down a hillside after a sling failure. Crushed the scope turret. Rings were fine.

Do we know if any of the better rings hold the scope better, insofar as the scope coming loose, or adding rigidity to the platform, or protecting the scope from flexing, or anything else?

Nik
when you pay for "premium" rings.....you are getting one thing.......quality.

quality in manufacturing

quality in design

and quality in CS

High quality rings are machined as a pair, meaning they are perfectly concentric with each other.....this is going to allow the scope rings to better hold the scope.....not only will this prevent "light scratches" on the scope.......but the main reason is it will prevent the scope from slipping under recoil, which is going to throw off your zero.

poorly designed and manufactured rings can also loosen on the scope rail.

the factory rings that came with my Ruger No1 had both these issues........after just a few shots of .375HH the scope not only slipped in the rings......but the rings worked themselves loose.

this is typically what scope ring failure looks like.

also, should you have an issue, you can call up badger, nightforce, seekins, and theyll bend over backwards to help you.

i lost a couple screws to some badger rings......called them up, asking to buy some.....they mailed me out a whole set of screws next day for free.
 
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SLG

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 2, 2009
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#9
Don't know that I can add much to whats been written, but "good enough" is definitely a relative concept. If I'm putting top tier glass on a gun, then it gets top tier rings by default. Doesn't matter if the gun is "top tier" or not, I clearly want some level of performance if i'm putting great glass on it, so having it shift at the wrong time would be counter productive.

Truthfully, though I can't just put ATACR's on everything I own, all of my shooting is important enough that I don't want to deal with the hassle of diagnosing and fixing problems. My time, my ammo, my training are all very valuable. If I'm willing to try a less expensive scope on a less expensive gun, I'm still likely to use top of the line rings and base. First, its one less variable if something does go wrong. It allows me to more quickly id the issue and solve it. Second, the only area I will compromise in scope quality is in glass or features. If the scope doesn't track right, it is wasting my time at any price. A properly tracking scope still needs rings that do their job. The rings don't know the glass isn't as good. Or maybe they do, idk;-)

Plus, rings are an area where the cost delta from bottom to top isn't as high as other areas, so it doesn't hurt much to get better rings, even if it is "just in case."

For me, all this generally means NF ultralights, unimounts and magmounts. Not cheap, but light, tough and really well built.
 

flyer

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 25, 2018
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#10
A top quality ring is going to do everything a ring needs to do straight out of the box.

A lower quality ring will have issues but those issues can some times be addressed with reaming and thread inserts.

In the end a ring just has to be a nicely fitting clamp that holds the scope without stressing it. It doesn't need to be steel, it doesn't need to be 7075, it doesn't even need to be 6061.

Mystery metal Chinese rings could be good enough if there is enough meat to them because the way they fail is the threads pulling out or the bottoms on the ring cap holes pulling out. Fix that and there is nothing wrong with them.
 
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Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
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Pierce County, WA
#11
Only one I ever saw fail was an M68 mount that was on an M4 and it was behind the seat in a 5ton. He hit a bump hauling ass and that rifle sheared the damn mount in half, talking about an inch of solid aluminum. Some of the guys in the back got pretty banged up too.

The M68? Yeah, it still worked. Go figure.
 

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
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#12
Ok these are some good arguments that I can learn from.

Where would a brand like TPS (which I currently have) land on design, CS, and manufacturing, and being machined as a pair?

And Badgers (misspoke when I said Barrett).

Nik
 
May 16, 2013
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#13
A lot of scope rings will do the trick, Badger, NF, Leopold. All good options but same basic design. I like the ARC rings because they not only do a damn good job and are repeatable but they are also some of the easiest to use as far as mounting, torquing to spec and leveling the scope.
 

SLG

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 2, 2009
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#14
Has anyone ever had any issues with Seekins rings? Thinking about getting a set and I think they look good, but I have no experience with them. 2 T25's for the clamp, instead of a .5" nut is just different. Very snag free looking though.
 
Jan 2, 2003
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#17
To the post asking about TPS steel rings, I have three sets of TPS rings, 2 of which have S&B PMII scopes in them and my experience with them has been excellent. They hold well, don't slip, and have not marked my scopes through several removals and remountings. I consider them to be a pretty good value but for a little more money, I consider Seekins aluminum rings to work just as well, are lighter, and in my opinion, look a little better.
 

Grog11

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 1, 2018
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Anthem, Arizona
#18
Has anyone ever had any issues with Seekins rings? Thinking about getting a set and I think they look good, but I have no experience with them. 2 T25's for the clamp, instead of a .5" nut is just different. Very snag free looking though.
Pretty snag free, but I think the best part about it is that you don’t have to carry around a different wrench for the clamp bolts. I have these rings and the clamps work great with the torx.
 

Thunderhorse

Sergeant of the Hide
Jan 31, 2018
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Central MO
#19
I bought a scope with a 35mm tube, that made the choice to get Seekins/Vortex PMRs pretty easy. They are on a Warne 20 MOA rail that I am happy with; some of the Tikka rails overhang the front of the receiver and I don't care for that.

Usually once you get to scopes with tubes larger than 34mm the high end mounts and rings are the only options. Really in terms of quality rings the Seekins aren't all that expensive, they're just not Chinese cheap
 
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Likes: 6.5 sender
Oct 14, 2009
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Hamilton County, Nebraska
#20
I'll be the poor guy that chimes in about being happy with Burris Signature Zee rings on my two 6.5 CM rifles. Both were a byproduct of the bases on the rifles - both of them are factory 0 MOA rails and I wanted the scope to have 20 MOA of cant.

I suppose if the rifles had a 20 MOA base, I'd get Badger, Seekins, Warne, or ARC rings.
 

Xander3Zero

Just a normal dude.
Aug 10, 2017
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Rhode Island
#21
I have had several pairs of Seekins rings and they were excellent, never left a single mark on any of my scopes and never had anything come loose (though that's more attributed to excellent torque-ing skills and the use of blue loctite).

That said, I recently got a pair of ARC rings and I will never look back as long as they prove to be as reliable as the Seekins rings. My reason for this is because it is just so nice to only have 1 rail bolt and 1 clamp screw to torque for each ring. So easy to install/remove scopes from these rings, and you never have to worry about a torque sequence or making sure that the ring cap has an equal gap on both sides or whatever. My 2 cents.
 

Marinevet1

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
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#22
Buy the best rings, or mount that you can afford........there is some real shit out there.......scope mounts are just like the rifle, or the glass, you get what you pay for.......I've got a GAP with a S&B, Sphur mount, I got a 10/22 I got from Cabelas with a scope, and unknown rings, both work.......about $6G in the difference in cost......what do you want to do with the gun
 

mystryak

Sergeant of the Hide
May 24, 2018
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#23
Ive honestly asked this question on several forums and FB pages and I keep getting back the same answers from the guys in the know. Seekins Precision is really the acceptable "will these work good" rings.
 

Mooncake

Sergeant of the Hide
May 29, 2018
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Central Mountains, CO
#26
I used to believe in a sort of law of diminishing returns with respect to optic mounts -- that over a certain price point you likely weren't justified in spending more. Then I examined a Spuhr mount for the first time and that attitude died an immediate and permanent death.

If you're putting a cheap optic on a cheap rifle then sure...cheap rings. If your optic cost you thousands and your rifle cost you thousands and your goal is precision shooting -- why would you fret about a couple hundred bucks when you're linking them together?

I don't see myself buying anything but Spuhr going forward.
 
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