Bad scope mounts can mean poor results when you set up your optics on the AR-15 rifle. While you need not spend the farm on a new system, you do need to pay attention to how that rifle will be used and the requirements involved when using various sights on your gunning platform.
Here are a some of the best scope mounts that can fill in the cracks when it comes to setting a scope on a rifle accurately.
Vortex Optics Tactical
UTG Picatinny QD Rings
Burris AR-PEPR Scope Mount
American Defense Recon
Warne Scope Mount
13 Best AR Scope Mounts
1. Vortex Optics Tactical Riflescope Rings - Best 30mm Scope Mount
Vortex offers the Tactical 30mm as an unitized system in that the base mounts and rings are a single unit. This is a nice, convenient, and solid system, as offered in a Weaver/Picatinny rail.
The rings listed in this case are 6 screw rings, meaning they are designed for tactical application on heavy recoiling rifles, such as the 338 Lapua, 300 PRC, 416, and even the 50 BMG. You can also use this base ring system on lighter recoiling rifles/cartridges, such as the .762 NATO (308 Win,) or 6.5 Creedmoor.
When facing tough field conditions, this style of ring system is not the worst idea a shooter could come up with. I use 6 screws on almost all of my long-range rifles, and yes on an AR-15 platform mounting a sniper scope as well.
These ring/base units come in high, low, and lower mounting levels. Large 50mm ring scopes require high mounts, as do some 40mm bell scopes using 30mm main tube units. Vortex has covered the bases when it comes to a flexible selection of base options for the shooter.
Be advised that magnifiers and red dot sights are often offered in larger 30mm tube sizes. This set of bases and rings can work well when it comes to getting these types of sight up and running down range.
The Vortex rings will position the scope at exactly 0.97 inches in height.
2. Burris Optics Rifle Scope Mount - Best Scope Mount For AR 15
The next set of bases and rings are among my very favorite when it comes to functional design and solid welding of the optics to the rifle. Burris Optics offers the 410341 and related systems in a series of these one-piece ring and mount assemblies. The mounts are tough as nails and will keep everything aligned correctly.
I use a light amount of thread cement (non permanent) on my threads when the sights are going to be on the rifle for some time. Just the vibration of a vehicle moving will loosen screws holding down rings and bases.
When installing the bases, they are set up for a Picatinny rail. Once again, this is an old throwback system from WW I, and when time sets a system in stone, you can trust it to the max. The base allows the scope a great deal of movement in terms of adjusting for the individual shooter.
This mount also carries the Weaver short rail on top of the ring. This allows the use of auxiliary units attached to the scope itself, such as lights, ranging systems, etc.
3. UTG Med Pro LE Grade Picatinny QD Rings
We turn to a mount built by UTG, The 1”/PC Med Pro LE Grade Picatinny QD rings. This set is a 4-screw unit that is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum, uses Weaver-style mounts with quick-detach levers as lock down systems, and is priced at a novice shooter's level.
The good thing about budget-priced mounts is that you can have Amazon look into any possible problems, versus hitting a dead-end regarding assistance with an issue.
I have used these mounts on projects that didn't require ultra-strong rings and bases when heavy loads were being tested. In general, I have had good luck with them in that the screws stayed together, the mounting assembly returned good zero results, and it didn’t cost me a pile of money to get the job done.
I bought them in 10 packs at times when test work loads were very heavy. If I felt that the budget rings were going to influence the performance of the rifles, I would have never used them at all.
4. Burris AR-PEPR - Best AR 15 Scope Mount
The Burris AR-PEPR Scope Mount is outstanding when it comes to mounting glass on your AR-15.
The possible choices in positions are many, leaving the door wide open for any and all individual options as to the eye relief level used and the amount of glass you want hanging over the receiver.
This is a quick-detach system, meaning 2 bolts and the rail and you're off the receiver completely. This takes about 15 seconds or less if you have the necessary tools at hand.
The rifle scope adjustment options give you up to a 2” choice along with the cantilever angle that makes for a very usable mount.
According to me, the mount rates high. When comparing 3 of them I have used in the past, these AR mounts are as good as many others that cost far more.
To be sure, this scope mount will get the job done, whether you are in the field, are shooting targets, or are engaged in combat.
5. American Defense Recon
American Defense offers a series of Recon rifle scope mounts. These are all overhanging units with setups for 1” through 35 mm tube sizes.
This mount is built for flat-top AR-15/M-16 applications and is flexible in terms of positioning as a stand-alone system or with other top rail options.
Machined from 6061 T6 aluminum and anodized coated in black, this is a good-looking and well-built scope mounting option.
The mount makes use of the “Auto-Lock” patent pending lock system. This lock accommodates both mil-spec and non-mil-spec rails.
The outside forward ring to outside rear ring measures 4.48". The length inside of the forward ring to the rear of the rear ring measures 2.52“.
6. Nikon P-Series
Nikon, the manufacturer of all types of optical equipment, markets 2 types of rail mount. The first is the two-piece Picatinny rail mount. The second is the one-piece mount that uses a cantilever design.
Except for the 2 methods of getting the ring into the rail, they are about the same in terms of ring design.
Made in a black finish with aluminum, the two-piece mount is set for the AR-15. Some additional height may be seen when mounted to the low flat Weaver rail system that is used on all non H-bar rifles.
This mount is designed for the standard 1” scope tube and is a solid metal mount that lacks any external adjustments. This mount is not built to be used on police and military sight systems that have larger tube sizes.
This mount was built for sporting purposes.
The second mount that is the sister to the two-piece mount is the one-piece mount. This one is a cantilever mount that is strong, simple and allows some flexible movement up and down the rail when adding standard scopes or related sight equipment to the AR-15.
7. CCOP MNT 1516
Turning to a 30mm tube mount the CCOP MNT 1516 is designed to fit the Picatinny rail and retains a 2” forward extension.
The CCOP is another cantilever mount scope retention system. However, this mount is a 30mm-ring mount designed for military/police optic applications.
Not to say you can't have this mount, but it is set up for the slightly more complicated optics. As such, this high-end mount is often more expensive than other AR-15 glass.
This mount is made from hardened T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum and is an enhanced one-piece mount. This mount will fit any Picatinny rail.
The mount has high-quality anodization and a matte black finish. It includes Torx screws with a Torx driver included in the package.
8. Warne Scope Mount
From my experience with the evaluation and testing of firearms, sights, and ammunition, my "go to" mount about 80% of the time is a Warne Skeletonize 30mm, or similar, mount.
Warne is an early designer of the cantilever style scope mounting system. These are great systems for a rail-mounted rifle scope. These fit the receivers of both ARs as well as all chassis rifles.
Built of aircraft-grade aluminum and using Torx style bolts, the bases are solid as a rock. This quality mount will not fail, as some lighter materials have been known to do over time.
I rate this mount 5 out of 5 stars in my own personal rating system here at Ballistics Research & Development TM.
9. Trijicon AC22033 - Best 30 mm Scope Mount
Here, we are moving deeper into the professional element when it comes to field gunning equipment. For more than 25 years, this manufacturer has supplied the U.S. military with sights and mounts for their M-4 platform weapons and their 50 cal BMG.
This quick-release scope mount fits 1-4X24, 2.5-10X56, or 5-20X50 AccuPoint optical systems.
Designed as a quick-release one-piece mount, the design is simple but very effective. This scope mount can be depended on to perform in battle conditions, or even gun combat target competitions.
When used in the field for hunting big game, the hunter can depend on this mount. Gunning swamps at night for wild pigs or busting backwaters for gators, this unit will do the deed every time.
The lock system features their patented BLAC lever system that requires no manual adjustments when obtaining a rock-solid alignment.
The scope ring can be moved and remounted in four different positions along the base system. This allows some added flexibility to the base design's already wonderful spacing system.
In effect, this is one of the best scope mounts available today. If you want quality, go with Trijicon every time. I am always impressed with their sights and lock down equipment.
I have used their products while shooting competitively at long-range events. I have also participated in classic press designed coyote hunts with the same equipment. Never, and I mean never, have I had any part or unit to fail me in the field. Some of this hunting was difficult in deadly nasty weather.
10. Trijicon MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) Mount
Coming down in price but not in quality at all, the MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) Mount is designed for all rail-type mountings (AR-15). This is a great sight base system for hunting and even light competition shooting events.
This mount requires you to use your own rings. However, the base system is intact. This mount is low-profile and is mil-spec/drop tested, passing all tests and meeting all their requirements.
At a full witness means that the sight is mounted at the exact height of the M-4 front sight. When using the red dot sights, the dot will appear precisely at the top of the towner front sight blade or notch.
These folks don't mess around. They built their mounts and bases to precision for fighting rifles or target events systems.
The distance from the top of the rail to the optical axis point is 1.53 inches.
11. AccuPoint Quick Release Flattop
. AccuPoint Quick-Release Flat Top
This rail mounted one-piece design is a match for the AccuPoint red dot optical system for combat or civilian use. The materials are of high-quality. The mounts stay where you want them, even when under massive field stress.
This 30mm ring mount is used for weapons systems in the military class. Big 30mm tubes mean heavy, tough sighting adjustments with real steel holding the system together.
The mount makes use of the TRI 25 release system for the rail. This system will precisely re-zero after removal.
12. Mizugiwa Cantilever Flat Top Mount
This Mizugiwa 1-Inch Mount is not mil-spec and should only be considered for light duty use. It would be suited for plinking on Sunday afternoons or general small game hunting when you don't have to haul the weapons system any great distances.
This is a markdown item, but in some cases it will work out fine. Just understand what you are buying from the get-go.
I have listed this mount because not everyone needs a military class scope mounting system. When shooting in the back yard with everything from air rifles to 22 LR (and yes, those are built on AR platforms), this mount will do the deed for the shooter.
If you start moving up in task-related shooting situations, I would not depend on this much lower priced system. Nothing wrong here, mates, this is just what this situation boils down to.
Since this unit is in a lower price range, it has less material in the finished product. Screws, for example, tend to require great care when tightening down the bases. The alignment is a bit off and requires some extra adjusting.
However, for the most part, this base system is a true Picatinny-style system and will accommodate extra accessories if needed on the receiver top.
This is a milled assembly and as such will hold up under normal use.
13. UTG ACCU-SYNC
The UTG Accu-Sync 1" mount is an integral Picatinny rail mount set up for 1-inch scope tubes. It is a good match for the basic hunting scope using this tube size.
The mount is as indicated features all-in-one construction and allows flexible movement of the optical system forward and backward. This mount can be flipped for an increase in eye relief as needed for small people or young shooters.
This CNC machined precision piece uses aircraft aluminum and is finished in matte black anodizing,
This good-looking mount has a very modest price. Even Torx screws have been installed on this mount. Those are often reserved for military applications instead of general-purpose mounts.
This mount is similar to the one I often use when reviewing rifles in the editorial test room when I require some quick glass for the short term. It is interesting to note that many of these budget mounts have given me great service for better than 20 years. The hard part is they are often removed several times a year to work in different test situations. Go figure?
Without question, the use of this mount is an advantage but will involve some extra carry weight. This mount cuts down the chance of one full section vibrating loose due to recoil or other factors. The system is flexible, clean mounting and very strong. It would be smart to consider this mount if you're buying an AR-15 scope mount in the near future.
The Heart Of Rifle Accuracy
When a rifle is accurate in terms of the barrel and action,the whole deck of cards can coming crashing down if the simple but very important element dealing with scope mounts has not been addressed correctly.
Scope mounts and paired rings are the foundation between the firearm and its sight system. Any element that is not correct regarding this link will mean an interruption in performance, and the end result is an inaccurate weapon, or worse.
Almost every time I find a shooter at the range who is having problems zeroing a rifle or getting some kind of group to 100 yards, the fault can be traced back to the mounting of the sight system.
Today you can buy rings and bases from piles of very low-grade cheap manufacturers, mainly in China, that produce pot metal and low grade aluminum bases, and rings that are paired with very low-grade screws that strip and fail and will result in a junk yard mounting system every time.
The key here is simply that you're going to get exactly what you're willing to pay for in this parts-generated market. Try to buy a name brand that, if possible, is American-made. Or buy a brand regardless of where it was made that you can gain direct contact with in terms of solving issues with breakdowns, etc.
Even if a brand is not produced in the USA, if they have a shipping point and representative agency in the country you're way ahead of trying to work directly with some outfit deep in the heart of China, for example. I had exactly this issue with a product a month ago, and dealing with China was a totally worthless venture.
In the end I ate the money lost and gave up completely. Don’t get trapped, is my message here, because scope rings and bases are a very big part of the off-shore trade within the gun business today.