How to Choose an Appropriate Scope Base for Long-Range Shooting

How to Choose an Appropriate Scope Base for Long-Range Shooting

Choosing one scope mount over another depends on your shooting prowess and your rifle’s use.

Still, it all comes down to where the mount is tapered or flat.

Ideally, you want to buy a mounting system that matches your shooting skill and style.

You shouldn't choose a mount because it looks appealing on a fellow hunter rifle. Instead, pick one based on your proficiency level and technique.

A tapered mount will not benefit you much if you don't shoot past 500 yards.

On the flip side, you're better off with a flat scope mount if you shoot over longer ranges with an 85 to 120 MOA rifle.

While long-distance scopes should provide internal adjustments to hit targets 1,000 yards away from a 100-yard zero. However, you need a tapered base to get to 700 or 800 for models with fewer internal adjustments.

When zeroing your rifle before a shooting session, note the sight's mechanical zero. That way, you can achieve a solid starting datum enabling you to determine your sight and rifle's full capacity.

That said, let's differentiate between flat and tapered rifle scope mounts. We’ll also analyze the pros and cons of each option. 

Flat Base Mount

The primary benefits of a flat base mount are good ergonomics and comfort.

Apart from providing the best cheek bond for your scope rifle, it also ensures you don’t force your head off the stock. That way, you can keep your cheek down the stock. Besides, you don’t have to strain your neck to maintain a good shooting position.

Further, a flat base is lighter compared to the tapered option. Yet, it is sturdy when mating scope rings to the base and the rifle.

While a flat base scope mount flexes a bit if the receiver’s screws are misaligned, you can use this to your advantage. You can lap in the misaligned scope ring since the base has a minor twist. 

The receiver adjusts to the scope mount if the base doesn’t flex. When you mate it with an out-of-true rifle receiver which is a problem with the tapered base.

While lapping isn’t required for rifle scope rings mounted to a quality tapered, a swaying receiver can impact your action and accuracy.

Key Takeaway: Even though a flat base rifle scope mount offers solid performance for shorter distances, it can't handle the rigors of shooting beyond 700 yards — and that’s where a tapered base mount comes in. 

Tapered Base Mount 

Let’s start with the downsides of tapered bases.

First, the cheek weld will force your head off your rifle’s stock. For instance, you must modify the adjustable cheek rest when using the now obsolete true 20 MOA. You need to attach something to the stock for a proper cheek rest.

In addition, you need to bend your action.

Premium tapered bases such as the Badger and IOR won’t flex when mounted on your rifle. In addition, these scope bases are rigid.

On the upside, a tapered base allows you to keep the existing glass. Further, these bases offer a solid performance over extended distances with any scope combination.

The Badger tapered scope base set is one of the best for long-range shooting. The unit offers an aligned system that comes in handy for long-range applications. 

The 20 MOA tapered base is reasonably priced, an excellent option for any budget.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Scope Rings

Scope bases and rings go hand in hand, so you’ll also want to know how to choose the perfect ring for your rifle. 

The Scope Ring Diameter

When choosing scope rings, you need to consider your scope tube diameter. Most long-range shooters use scopes with 1", 30mm, and 34mm tube diameters.

If you're unsure, you can check with your manufacturer about your scope's measurements.

Scopes rings are contoured to mate directly with a specific action, such as Winchester Model 70 or Remington 70. These allow you to match your scope ring directly to your barreled action.

Most rifles use the Picatinny scope base directly machined into the action or as a separate piece mounted to the action using screws.

Picatinny rail style rings come as a part of independent rings or as single-piece scope mounts.

Single-piece mounts are considered superior for precision shooting because the greater surface area provides more content to the receiver. The extra contact, however, makes the scope heavier, so many hunters and long-range shooters opt for two-piece rings.

Tactical Scope Rings

One common phrase when looking for a new scope ring is “tactical.” Even though manufacturers and products differ, a tactical scope ring is designed for use by armed forces and law enforcement agencies.

Scope Height

You also need to consider your rifle’s scope height to help you narrow down your options further. Rifle scopes are available in multiple sizes and shapes. Still, the size of the objective lens has the most significant impact on the scope ring height.

Most scope rings are either low, medium or tall. And because these aren’t specific measurements, it’d be best to confirm that your scope’s lens offers enough space to sit on top of the receiver without touching the barreled action.

You can determine the fitting by looking at that manufacturer’s product page and measuring the ring’s height from the top of your receiver.

While buying tall scope may seem the best option, it’s not the ideal solution.

To make the most of your rifle scope’s elevation adjustment range, mount the scope as close or low to the receiver as possible. The only exception is your cheek weld.

You can buy higher scope rings if your cheekbones are low or you can’t get low enough on the rifle stock to look through the scope comfortably.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the best scope base for long-range shooting can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. 

With the pointers highlighted here, you shouldn’t have a problem picking a scope base and eight that match your needs and budget. 

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