Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

earthquake

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For a standard .308 cal rifle, is it necessary to have an all steel scope mount vs. an aluminum one? I don't think .308 recoils all that much. Thoughts?

Oh, and what is an easy way to figure out what ring height one would need? Thanks.
 

earthquake

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jasonk</div><div class="ubbcode-body">For ring height, there's a sticky post right above yours.....</div></div>

Ha! Thanks...maybe I need eye glasses first!


As for the metal, I'm thinking an EGW picatinny style base and Leupy Mk IV rings.
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Im not a fan of EGW aliminum bases, too soft, no recoil lug and very soft screws. Go Seekins like Jason said.
 

Rhys

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Good quality aluminum is just fine. If you do something to break a good aluminum mount or ring, the rings and mounts are the least of your worries.
 

egw1

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: USMCj</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Im not a fan of EGW aliminum bases, too soft, no recoil lug and very soft screws. Go Seekins like Jason said. </div></div>

Well by now that is pretty clear that you take a shot every time our mounts are mentioned.

The Tactical bases are extruded in texas out of 6061 T6 alunimum. They retail for 39.99 We machine them in Quakertown Pa. We employ 14 people here in the good Old USA.
We also offer machined from solid 7075 bases, hard coat anodized a little lower at .350 supplied with torx screws. Still competitivly prices at 69.99 And steel bases if you prefer machined hardened 4140 in the hardened condition so they are flat, very flat.

We do not use a recoil lug. All 4 screws use an 82 degree counter sink so they all act as an anchor. Yes there are mounts with lugs, they typically use flat bottom screws and a recoil shoulder, different approach.

As for screws. We Ran out of screws about 1 1/2 years ago and used a major industry supplier to find out they were made from softer steel. Than we ordered a quarter million Cold formed rolled thread 4037 screws that come from Conn. than heat treated to 40-43 rc in souderton pa. So yes we did have a batch of soft screws. Our current screws the head strips out at 57 inch lbs but the bases are to be torqued at 20 inch lbs so not an issue. The HD bases come with torx screws and wrench.

George Smith
EGW
est 1991
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Im not taking a shot, just stating my opinion. Im speaking from experiance here, not something I read online, if you consider that taking a shot, then by all means, do so. And Im not the only one that thinks your aluminum bases are way too soft.

I torqued Seekins rings onto one of your aluminum bases, and it left a dent on the base when I removed it. And it was not just a shiny spot, it was a fucking dent. That very moment your base when in the trash and I ordered a Steel NF base.

Maybe you should use the critisizm to improve your product instead of calling it a shot. Besides, how can it be a cheap shot if you confirmed yourself that you used soft scews...Right then and there the shot turned into a fact, did it not?
 

USMCj

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M25BeastShooter

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Let's see as I see it as an Army guy, Fed LEO and a civilian hunter/shooter I run these guide lines. If you're jumping out a perfectly good airplanes or shooting things that shoot back, go steel to handle the abuse. If you're using someone elses money ie SWAT/PD and you might be talking to a lawyer if you shoot someone use steel or the HIGHEST quality aluminum. If you none of the above, good quality aluminum will be fine in about 99.9% of the sitautions.
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Aluminum is more than fine for a base, some peoples aluminum is better than others though.
 

bohem

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

George, I didn't know you are making chips in Q-town, I grew up about half an hour away. Good to know that there's still some solid manufacturing going on in our area.

On the topic of AL bases I have used them from several companies. AL bases with STEEL RINGS is a bad idea. If you torque everything super tight (not using a torque wrench, like many do) then the steel is going to mar the AL every single time.

In a situation on an aircraft with an AL material with a steel fastener through it, almost without fail we design the part so that a freeze fit bushing goes through each individual piece of the stackup first to increase the bearing area and thus reduce the bearing stress. AL has little tolerance for bearing stress.

USMCj if you don't want to use an EGW AL base then I'd suggest you try the steel ones instead. I've used both, and I have tried to go the cheaper route with the AL. The ONLY time that I do not have galling, fretting, or depression issues over time is with a set of AL rings on the AL base.

Match the AL rings to a steel base and you'll find issues inside the rings.

Long explanation for what comes down to this.

Match the material interface because you don't have the luxury of a freeze plug fit to help reduce the bearing stress issues.

To the matter of whether EGW has a quality product, I do not have a question in that regard. I know it is a quality product. You don't take a mercedes into the national forest to go mudding, and you shouldn't abuse an AL base by sticking steel rings on it either.
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Bohem, Seekins rings are aliminum. And they were torqued to 55 in/lbs using a FAT wrench. I think I know what Im doing, but thanks for the advice.
 

buffybuster

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Seekins uses 7075-T6 Aluminum.
That's significantly harder than 6061-T6 that is used by EGW and a number of other manufacturers.

I make sure the base is harder than the rings, during any application. With that approach, I've never had any issues.

Steel Base - Al or steel rings
7075-T6 Al Base - 7075 or 6061 Al Rings
6061-T6 Al Base - 6061 Al Rings
 

bohem

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: buffybuster</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I make sure the base is harder than the rings, during any application. With that approach, I've never had any issues.

Steel Base - Al or steel rings
7075-T6 Al Base - 7075 or 6061 Al Rings
6061-T6 Al Base - 6061 Al Rings </div></div>

Exactly my point, just better stated.

USMCj- you have a bearing stress allowable issue, knowing what to do about that would solve the issue, instead of jumping on a manufacturer for a faulty product that isn't actually faulty, it was just applied incorrectly.
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Frank Cordrey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">99% of the time you get what you pay for ........... IMHO. </div></div>

What he said.
 

egw1

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

And if you jump up to 69.99 for the EGW 7075 T6 base it is apples for apples.

Of course the Heat treated 4140 rail is 119.99 if you prefer.

geo
 

AXEMAN

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

wow. just wow. i could have bought steel EGW, but i got the AL ones instead. i dont use a torque wrench so i didnt have any issues with my xtr rings or the base. i thought the hex heads were bad, but it was the stuff savage coats the rifle with that got in the threads. made it hard to turn and i stripped out the heads. i called EGW and had new screws in a few days when it wasnt their fault, i appreciate that George. i bought another one too when i rebarreled, it was a 20 moa


to the OP, i use pennies. i mount the rail, stack pennies on it til the scope clears and measure the pennies. match that to the ring height and your in. no math. i hate math. im wicked good at it, but i avoid it at all costs
 

USMCj

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

George, just to be clear, when I got the base from you guys, you didnt offer it in 7075 or steel, you just had one type. Just thought that was worth mentioning.
 

Jon A

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: bohem</div><div class="ubbcode-body">In a situation on an aircraft with an AL material with a steel fastener through it, almost without fail we design the part so that a freeze fit bushing goes through each individual piece of the stackup first to increase the bearing area and thus reduce the bearing stress. AL has little tolerance for bearing stress.</div></div>
That's not quite accurate. While yes, there are joints like that, they are the minority. On a 747 for example, there are tens of thousands of steel and titanium fasteners that go through aluminum structure without any sort of bushings. And I'm talking primary structure here--fuselage and wings. Of course it has lower bearing strength than steel, but you simply take that into account when designing the joint by using the correct number of fasteners to get the strength you need.

Anyway, back to the subject. I don't know the details on the extrusion EGW uses or the heat treatment processing, but there's more to it than that.

What people notice most is surface hardness--how easily the part scratches or dents. While 7075-T6 is certainly harder than 6061-T6, the difference isn't that dramatic. A bigger difference is made by the type of coating--Type III hard anodizing adds a bunch of surface hardness to either alloy. Hard anodized 6061 will be harder than 7075 without and will "seem" like the tougher material.

While I agree resistance to scratches and dents is desirable for parts like these, don't assume surface hardness equates proportionally to ultimate strength. Virtually none of the aluminum parts on planes are Type III hardcoat anodized because it drastically reduces their fatigue life, and doesn't increase ultimate strength. So their parts are easy to scratch and dent, but they're strong and will last a long time.


Another thing people don't consider is the design of the joint itself. One reason steel rings are more likely to damage an aluminum rail during recoil, is most of them use a crossbolt machined flat which does not extend very far into the cross slot of the base. This means there is not much bearing area between the two so the lug on the base is more likely to be dented. If the lug on the base is not full width, obviously this reduces the bearing area even more and makes matters worse.

That's the main reason I wouldn't use most steel rings on bases such as EGW's extruded ones. Seekins rings, for example, will have less tendency to damage the rail not because they're aluminum, but because the nicely machined lug on the bottom extends deeply into the cross slot, spreading the load over a larger bearing area. Of course as mentioned, they can certainly make marks in the clamp area on a softer rail. Any sort of lack of perfect fit will cause the harder rings to mark up the softer rail. What most don't realize is that with a 7075 rail without hard anodize and rings made from 6061 with hard anodizing, the results wouldn't be much different.
 

Doug308

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

I won't use an aluminum base, no good reason to when steel bases are available. Rings i do like in aluminum,but has to be a quality mfg.
 

egw1

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Thank you USMC, I appreciate that.

I think it is worth noting that wile we have the 7075 HD rails the Std. Tactical rail far outsells the HD and Steel for us. Wile we here on Snipers Hide have our 1000.00 and 1600.00 and more dollar scopes the vast majority of shooters use scopes costing 1/10 as much and are probably just as proud of there boom sticks as we are of ours. They will probably not spend more for there mount than they paid for there simmons scope but I am sure they have fun too. Pretty Kool place this America, isn't it, heck it's even made here, can't say that for much today.

geo

www.egwguns.com
 

NukeMMC

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

Folks, let me tell you something about George. I have been a customer of his, off and on now for about 10 or 12 years, since he was in Doylestown. Once upon a time, I had him re-work a Bruce Gray 38super Caspian IPSC for me that ran flat out non-stop for the 25000+ rounds I put thru it. Based on that job, I even recommended him to a fellow Navy shooter for a hardball pistol build. When he got that pistol back, he went to the range and came to me saying it was junk. He called George and pitched a fit saying it wouldn't reliably function and was grossly inaccurate. On the spot, George offered to buy the pistol back from him. Instead, he held onto it and had me shoot it. It turns out he was using PMC ball ammo and was getting 5" groups at 25 yards. Personally, I think that almost qualifies as a record with PMC. The cycling issue was a loose barrel link pin which I staked. I put the pistol in a Ransom rest and shot 200gr SWC handloads at 25 and 50 yards. 1" at 25 and 2" at 50. He hadn't even paid for George's 2.5" at 50 guarantee and he got on Hell of an accurate pistol out of it. I gave him the test targets (and scanned and sent them to George as well) and told him to buy some reloading gear with the money he pissed away on PMC ball.
I run one of his standard 20moa bases on my R700 308, and use Smith steel rings (because I got them for $25) and have never had an issue with marring, lug damage etc. I had a set of "US Tactical" high rings with 1" inserts I suspect he made, because I bught them from him, which held an actual USMC Unertl on top of a flattop AR for a while (77gr tracked pretty well on the elevation knob out to 500). I have had about half a dozen of those bases on assorted Remingtons and Savages, all without issue.
I have always recommended EGW to supply my friends' needs for 1911, AR or other parts without hesitation, and will continue to do so. He stands by what he sells and the work he does. If he sold it to you, he'll make sure you are satisfied.
 

OPS2

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Scope Mounts

I think a few things are being overlooked. EGW's intent was to bring an economical rail to the mainstream shooter, not challenge the higher-end products for market share. I can say this as fact you'll have a very difficult time finding a company with better customer service nor will you easily find a more stand-up guy than George at EGW. USMCj anytime a manufacturer sees comments they will defend themselves which is what George did and knowing George for more than a dozen years he does take criticism under advice and will assess the issue and make improvements as needed.

Recoil lugs: most short actions don’t generate enough recoil impulse to move a quality rail. The Army’s M24 uses the Leupold MK4 base and it has no lug, (not saying it’s a perfect setup) the USMC M40 uses the clip slot DD Ross but not based on recoil impulse but for operational concerns, impacts etc. EGW’s screw design acts as somewhat to negate recoil with the use of the 82deg counterbore, its an effort through design while maintain price point.

Material: 6061 is indeed softer then 7000 series alum and will dent and crush when used with a stronger material using high torque pressure. JON A ref that matter and the coating issue Mil Std TYPE III 8625 hardcoat is very hard / resilient and for alum it’s the coating of choice (100% correct) note the near 100% increase in material cost, but there are also 2 price points. This being said certain mounting platforms use designs that will either wear through (QD style) or crush through the .001 in .001 out coating by the clamping design. This is very common on most black gun platforms that have steel rings in use. Like EGW said they do make 7000 series rails and steel and those are not extrusion based they are from bar stock.

1913 dimensions: rings that follow the orig Leopold MK4 Ultra design (used early M24) that use a pressed bolt type recoil lug typically have a .140 wide .065 deep crossbolt protrusion. 1913 spec is .118 +.008 deep .206+.008 wide, simple math shows tremendous movement. Also most ring manufacturers use the under 45deg as there clamping surface which does not work the greatest. Companies the use the integral recoil lug provide a larger bearing surface a JON A stated, UNLESS the rail has been milled down the center on top then it is significantly reduced.

Screws: few if any rail makers man their own screws, its done at a screw house and they don’t always run perfect parts and its usually done “lights out” or unattended. It happens and unless you test every run by 40% how would you know. Did EGW take note and a correction? Did they not replace any defective screws?

In the end EGW makes a quality product at that price point, not everyone has money to put a $165.00 steel or $200.00 Titanium rail on the platform. Also this has to be said Alum rails are not for every platform. Next if you don’t know how to assemble a weapons platform correctly you shouldn’t and if you don’t have the right tools or can’t follow the installation instruction then find someone who does.