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April 23, 2008

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Bases and Rings, Part Two

Part of the trouble with our older scope mounting systems is that they were designed way back when scope reticles were not permanently centered. If you cranked the crosshairs up and right, they traveled up into the upper right quadrant of your field of view and there they sat. So rather than adjusting the crosshairs, shooters would center them and then adjust the scope itself up, down, right or left. This was an immense pain in the ass, and once you had a scope mounted, you didn't touch it.

Now we don't have to do this, unless the barrel is out of line with the receiver, and then you will probably need a mounting system with some of the old left/right to it.

The strongest mount around is made by David Miller, the great Tucson rifle builder. He builds each one to fit a particular rifle, and they are constructed so that the scope is almost entirely encased by the steel rings and bases.

The lightest/simplest rings and bases are made by Talley, and were designed by Melvin Forbes of New Ultra light arms. The base and lower half of each ring is one piece of aircraft aluminum. They weigh less than a hummingbird's spleen, but are extremely strong.

The strongest bases and rings, aside from David Miller's, are the standard Talleys. They are steel, and have a virtual death grip on the fine-gun biz. Every expensive rifle you see employs them. However, getting them mounted can cause you to say many a bad word, and the directions don't help much.

The worst rings and bases are any of the see-unders. Structurally they are weak and they force you to lift your head off the stock to see through the scope and thereby violate one of the principles of sound rifle shooting. And try to get a gun with these abominations on board into a saddle scabbard.


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Troy S.

..."Now we don't have to...unless the barrel is out of line with the receiver...then you will probably need a...system with some of the old left/right to it."

Come, come now Dave! Surely you jest in this particular situation? If the barrel is known to be out of alignment with the action, no manner of scope-induced witchcraft is going to turn that expensive tent peg into a "shooter".

(Of course I remember a previous declaration by yourself that you gave up on a particular Mauser because it didn't meet your criteria at the range...instead of working it out- you got rid of it. Tsk, tsk....)


Abilene, TX.



What is your take on the SAKO mounting system. Do you think the tapered base assist in the mount. I do not know of many companies using this method.?

Chris D.

Or you could just use a scope with rails, making life simple, and not have to worry about tube crushing, off centered reticles, etc..

Jim in Mo.

Chris D,
I saw pictures of that scope and I think it was a Leopold (maybe not). Without having looked into it wouldn't the same problems still exist? The barrel,receiver,bases on receiver and fixed rail on scope all still be in perfect alighnment? If not, then what do you do?

SD Bob

You know it's a good post when a humming birds spleen is used as a frame of reference though I do believe the aforementioned bases/rings are way heavier than a gnats ass!

Bernie Kuntz

Those Talley mounts are indeed handsome. I only have one set since all my other rifles were scoped before Talleys were on the market. (I think the company has moved from Glenrock, WY to somewhere in South Carolina.)

As Dave points out, many classy custom rifles are equipped with Talley mounts. In the Custom Corner feature of RIFLE magazine, most of the rifles featured are mounted with Talleys.

Tom, I know you directed the question to Dave, but allow me to point out that I own six Sako rifles (circa 1961-72) and those tapered bases that slip right onto the receiver are great! I have never had one come loose or cause me a problem in all the decades of use.

Trae B.

Thank you for getting me in May's Field and Stream Mr. Petzal. Your my hero.

Ralph the Rifleman

Any comments about Leopold mounts? I have had them on a few of my rifles for years with no issues.I agree with you on the iron-sighter mount totally useless to me, but some hunters swear by them as the greatest invention ever made for a rifle.


I know this is a little off subject, but then it isn't.

I just received this advice from my attorney friend on how to justify funds in a new mortgages on my house for a new gun. I thought I'd share this wonderful news with you all.

"As I understand it, new mortgages require a higher security of the collateral; the home must not only remain insured but protected as well from home invasion. To make sure a defense system is in place banks have opted for brand new guns which are certified brand names: beretta, remington, perrazi, etc. So, and acting on your attorney's advice, you MUST include a new weapon in your closing.
Thank you & I will send a bill for the advice."

Blue Ox

I wouldn't mind having a set of them Talley mounts for my .300 short mag. They're strong and may be as light as a hummingbird's spleen, but I'm sure the price is as high as a giraffe's balls.
Then again, you get what you pay for.


The Talley one piece mounts have worked wonderfully for me on Thompson Center encore barrels. Plus the price is good at under $60.


I'm one of the "iron-sighters are the best thing ever" crowd!

Get rain or fog on the scope and you just drop down to the open sights, wonderful and simple backup plan. I would prefer to see them made a little heavier and higher. (you don't get much of a view under a 40mm or bigger scope)

They are especially good for 30-30 shooters, adding a inch or two of height to a scope mount on a 30-30 they make a rifle zeroed at 100yds almost dead on from 0 to 150-200 yds. At least for deer sized game, groundhogs are a little different.
Yes I used to shoot groundhogs with a 30-30, was great practice.
And I do know I'm crazy too!
Spot and stalk with a 22LR is also great off season practice, if you can sneak within 50 yds of a groundhog you can sneak up on anything.

WA Mtnhunter

Blue Ox



I've always had good luck with Warne and Leupold rings.

I've used both brands on slug guns and muzzleloaders and never had any problems whatsoever.



I have a dozen or so Sako or Sako actioned rifles. The only problem with their system is the limited ring choices. Fortunately those that will readily fit are quality rings (Sako of various types, model, and age, Warne, Leupold, etc). I never liked the slide on Redfield setup but know many people who have used it for years and never had a problem. I suppose this is just another of my quirks. Last I looked Talley did not make rings for them although I did talk to them when they were in Glenrock. Some guy there said he would consider tooling up a set but apparently never did because I did not hear back from him. Limited market I suppose. Warne makes wonderful rings that I understand will fit the "A" series, 75's, and 85's but not the older pre-Garcia Sake actions. I have not tried them yet on any of my older rifles to verify this statement.

Clay Cooper

I know a couple of you like some of my Alaska stories so hers one for ya!
It was around 4pm on the first Thursday of August of 89 and I got a frantic 911 call from a Colonel that I never met. He said he knew the range was closed that day, but he was going on a fly in hunt and his flight out is at 7am the next day and needed help sighting his rifle in. Ok Colonel, meet me at the Bas e Range at 1715 (5:15pm) and I’ll sight it in for you. The Colonel was already there sweating bullets holding a new 340 Weatherby Mag in one hand and a bag containing an used scope, new bases and rings. Got it all set up and the third round shattered the inside lenses and cross hairs. I told him to run to Ron Sparks Sporting goods in North Pole about a 20 minute ride and get at least a 3x9x40 Vari XII Leopold. 45 minutes went by and he showed up with a Tasco (O’BOY! I said under my breath). Sir, that’s not going to work, I said politely and respectfully, shut up Sergeant; I know what I’m doing. I put the scope on, and visually bore sighted it by removing the bolt and looking thru the scope. He insisted on firing the first shot. While he was preparing, I went back to my truck to grab the paper towels. The Colonel wanted to know what the paper towels were for, Nothing Colonel I replied comely chuckling under my breath. Squeezed off the first round, BBOOOMM the 340 Weatherby rattled the country side and the blood commenced to flow! O’$#IT! The Colonel yelled, I can’t take this rifle tomorrow! Colonel Sir, why don’t you go the ER, that’s a pretty big cut you got there Sir and I’ll fix this rifle so you can go I promise you ok! I pulled my Leopold of my 338 Win Mag and installed it on his, dialed it in at 250 yards. The Colonel returned along with his Captain, hunting buddy and I just finished sighting in another shooters rifle. I pulled the Colonels rifle out and said try this and if you miss, IT’S YOUR FAULT SIR!!! I The Captain said your set Sir! Colonel fired 4 rounds with a 5 inch group at 250 yards, looked at me and smiled. I never shot that good before! Got a new Leopold scope out of the deal!
Make sure that your equipment is compatible with each other!
It wasn’t just a $75.00 scope on an $1800.00 rifle on an $1800.00 trip? NOT GOOD!
That scope became his weakest link because it did not have the eye relief required for that magnum rifle!

Del in KS


That was a good one about the Colonel. I have a good friend that has duck and Turkey hunted with me for years. Last year he decided to take up deer hunting with me. Billy showed up at the range with a Rem semi-auto 270 topped with an older Bushnell scope. It was left to him by his father-in=law along with several Belgian Brownings. We got it sighted in pie plate @100 yd and he was ready to go. I suggested a new scope. Now like the good Colonel, Billy is a man of means and a good scope is not a $ problem. However, He is also very practical and no amount of talking will convince him he needs a new scope (heck, he probly still has paper shot shells he just hasn't used yet). When opening day '07 rolled around a nice buck came by, made a rub on Bill's gun barrel, probly used it for a licking branch, pooped and strolled away. No shots were fired. All the while Bill could not find the deer in his Bushnell scope. He still thinks the scope is just fine. Guess it will take a few more war story incidents to get him to buy a Sightron or Leupold. Billy has a computer for his kids (that he never uses) so I called him up and said read your blog entry I hope that will help convince him that he needs a scope. We'll see. Remember from your soljerin' days, all war stories begin with "this ain't no sh*t." At least that is the way it was in the Army. Not sure about the USAF. Anyway, let me know what you think about the idea below.


On another subject I have an idea for an invention. I need your help getting the ammo companies to bring this idea forth. Take the bullet used in long range ammo for guys like Clay (and I) that can shoot way out there. And pack the rear end with salt. Kinda like a tracer bullet with the burning stuff in the back only this time with salt. This way when you shoot a deer waaay out there it won't spoil before you can get there to do the field dressing. Great idea huh? Wonder why the ammo companies never thought of it before. Now Dave, don't go stealing my idea. I'm counting on your help with this one. If it works I'll cut you in for a share. Yuk Yuk

Del in KS


That guy sounds like an army colonel I knew in my Ft. Wainwright days. He was a legend in his own mind.
Do you recall the name of the gunshop in Faibanks? I still have some of the gear bought there. Really liked that place.

Clay Cooper

Del in KS
Man, your to funny!

Clay Cooper

I have a Weaver K6 with the same bases and rings that is 40 years old and still going strong on one of my 30-06 using max loads!


And then there are those folks who should know better. About 16 years ago a surgeon friend and I were lucky enough to draw area 55 near Yellowstone Park for bull elk in November and December. The snow was about 2 to 3 feet deep and the temp below zero nine out of the ten days we trophy hunted. On this last day we spotted 4 bulls which included one that would score about 380-400 B & C. We had seen him almost every day but could never get within 1000 yards of him since we were hunting in the remnants of the Yellowstone fire of '88 and cover was minimal. We rode the horses up the mountain as far as possible and dismounted to struggle on foot the last 300 to 500 yards. About 200 yards from the plateau we stopped to rest behind a large boulder and as I was looking for the bulls my friend whispers "Is this supposed to be this loose?" I looked over and his hand could easily move the Leupold Vari-X III on a .300 Weatherby in any direction about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. As I examined the rig I noted that every screw on the mount and rings was loose. Remembering I had my Leatherman tool I tightened everything as best as I could and handed the rifle back to him muttering that I had not a clue where it would hit. He answered with a rather blank expression that the last time he shot it at the range a few years ago it was "shootin' fine" so maybe would now. I'm sure a complete cloud of doubt was evident on my frost covered face. I raised my 7mm mag Sako just as the four bulls walked out of a brush pile about 200 yards up a steep hillside but could not locate the big one. It was the last day we could hunt so I settled the reticle on a 300 point 6 x 6 and fired. He went down as I waited for my friend to shoot. There was no other rifle report as the three remaining bulls ran over the mountaintop out of sight. "I didn't want to chance wounding one with a long followup to find him on a cold day like today" he said. We crawled up through the snow to see what the 160 grain Partition had done to my bull.

Del in KS



Del in KS

Clay, can you help me here?

Del in KS

Clay, I think Dave might be rippin' me off.

Ed J

Del in KS

I thought you knew that those guys who used 264 WIN already were doing that more than a half century ago.

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