Best Scope Mounts For AR 15 | Best Gun Scope
Your AR15 is as unique as you want it to be. There are a significant number of ways to configure your rifle with your scope. Rifles and their accompanying scopes can cost a significant amount of money. You, as the shooter, want the piece of metal holding your optic to your rifle to be top quality. This article will help explain the benefits of a one-piece scope mount and scope rings. It will also explore seven of the best scope mounts for AR15 rifles. Scope mounts for AR15 rifles are plentiful and many of the great mounts are relatively inexpensive. Several factors will help you decide which scope mount is best for you. You should consider how much mounting space exists on your AR15, if you are going to have back-up iron sights, a back-up red dot sight, or any other system that helps you identify your target. Before we get in to the best scope mounts for AR15 rifles, let’s talk about the pros and cons of the two mounting options.
One-Piece Scope Mounts
One-piece scope mounts tend to offer more advantages than a two-piece mount when adding a scope to your AR15. These mounts can add height to get your scope into proper and comfortable position on your AR15. With a one piece mount the scope rings are automatically aligned. Many of the one-piece mounts on our list are known as cantilever mounts. The word cantilever is defined as a long projecting beam fixed at only one end. Cantilever mounts, when lined up against others, protrude forward on one end. These mounts push the scope forward and allow for more rail space behind the optic. More space is important in case you want to mount something else behind the scope, like a magnifier or back-up sights. Also, pushing the optic forward like that gives you better eye relief and a larger field of view to work with.
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A one-piece mount is generally stronger and more rigid. They tend to be much heavier than two-piece scope rings, so if saving ounces is your goal, a one-piece may not work for you. One-piece mounts are great for AR15 rifles as they will help provide clearance for other optics and your hand when manipulating the charging handle.
Two-Piece Scope Rings
Two-piece scope rings will serve you and your rifle adequately and two-piece mounts offer numerous advantages. Two-piece scope rings are much lighter making them perfect for a light rifle. Two-piece scope mounts are easy to align, but they still require alignment. Two piece scope rings do allow a lower mounting of optic on flat top AR15s without any iron sights. Scope rings tend to be much more affordable than one-piece mounts and are more commonly available.
Scope rings are typically interchangeable between rifles. They can be mounted closer or further apart based on the size of your scope. One-piece scope mounts may not interchange so easily and may not fit on your other AR15s with less mounting space. Two-piece scope rings are lighter and are a bit more affordable.
If you are not worried about constantly changing scopes and rifles, the one-piece mount is hands down a better approach than a two-piece scope ring set. There are more one-piece mounts on the list for best scope mounts for AR15 rifles than there are two-piece ring sets. Ideally, no matter what type of scope mount you buy, you want it mounted as close to the chamber as possible. You do not want one part of your mount to be attached to the hand guard and the upper receiver. This could cause a bind on your scope and potentially damage your high-dollar scope.
Now that you have determined the type of mount you want to use with your optic and rifle, let’s talk about the best mounts available.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #1 – American Defense AD-RECON
American Defense Manufacturing was founded in Wisconsin. They have designed all their products with one goal in mind: customer satisfaction. Their one-piece scope mount does not disappoint.
The first mount on our list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is the American Defense Manufacturing AD-RECON. The AD-RECON is made for putting high power glass onto a flattop style AR-15. They fit together perfectly and this mount will give your AR that tactical look that you have been wanting. The AD-RECON is a cantilever style mount that can hold scopes with a 56mm or less objective lens tight to your rifle. It is constructed using 6061-T6 aluminum and is hard coat type-3 anodized for toughness. It comes in only one color which is matte black to match your rifle.
The AD-RECON is designed to hold an optic with a 30mm main tube. It is the heftiest mount on our list, weighing in at 8.4 oz. From the top of your rail to the midpoint of the scope rings, it is 1.47 inches. This measurement is important as it determines what the largest objective lens this scope mount can effectively mount. This mount features American Defense Manufacturing’s patented QD Auto-Lock Lever System. This system does not require any proprietary tools to adjust. You can adjust it using your finger or a flat blade screwdriver. This is very important when needing to tighten your mount out in the field. The locking lever can be adjusted to lock on the front or rear of the mount for easier manipulation. The system features a full-length clamping surface to insure maximum engagement with your rifle’s rail system. The AD-RECON has an overall length of 5.93 inches so it will not occupy too much space on your rail. This mount is made proudly in the United States and features a lifetime warranty. American Defense Manufacturing backs their products and will replace it if it is broken or defective.
American Defense Manufacturing’s AD-RECON is designed by shooters for shooters. You can purchase this scope mount without fear of it being anything less than exceptional. The next mount on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is produced by a company that has been producing scope rings for several years.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #2 – Warne XSKEL30 Gen 2
Warne Manufacturing Company’s history dates back to 1947 in Southern Australia. They eventually moved to Clackamas, Oregon and continued making scope mounts. Warne began making scope mounts of old bolt action rifles, but have quickly adapted to making scoping mounts for AR15 rifles.
The next mount on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is the Warne XKEL30 Gen 2. The XSKEL30 mount offers a lightweight scope mounting solution for your AR15 rifle. The extended cantilever provides proper eye relief when using scopes with larger eye relief distances. The extended cantilever also allows extra space behind the mount for accessories like the Warne 45° side mount adapter. This scope mount has only a 1-inch cantilever which is amongst the shortest on this list. It is considered an ultra-high scope mount and the height above your rail is 1.435 inches. The XSKEL30 is constructed using 6061-T6 aluminum which is strong enough to stand up to any recoil produced by your AR15. This mount is to be used on scopes with a 30mm main tube. It is secured to your rifle using two ½” tactical nuts that push a 1-piece side clamp against your rail system. The XSKEL30 only weighs 6.7 ounces so you are not adding too much additional weight to your scoped AR15. For shooters that feel matte black is boring, Warne offers the XSKEL30 in red, OD green, blue, and dark earth. There is a color for anyone whether they need to be tactical or participate in a competition.
Like American Defense Manufacturing, Warne takes great pride in their products. They back their American made products with a lifetime warranty. They will replace your scope mount if damaged or defective. The next scope mount manufacturer on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is known for their high-quality optics. They have been manufacturing optics since before World War II!
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #3 – Nikon P-Series Rings
Nikon began manufacturing optical components in Japan. They were highly successful when doing so, but the onset of World War II changed their focus. They began manufacturing scopes, bomb sights, and binoculars to support the Japanese war effort. After the war was over, they continued to make quality optics for hunters and military contracts. While making optics is one of their main focuses, they have decided to manufacturer mounting systems for their optics. Their mounts are made with meticulous precision just like their scopes.
The third mounting system on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is the Nikon P-Series Rings. This is the first and only set of rings that make our list. Nikon’s scope mounting systems are engineered to uphold the precision and strength of their optics. Nikon has also managed to make their rings fit the aesthetics of their rifle scopes so they look like a one-piece unit. These rings allow the proper height, eye relief and position for accessing the charging handle. The height of these rings from your rail to the center of your scope’s tube is 1.4 inches. This height also provides some of the scopes with the largest objectives to be mounted to your rifle. These rings can be reverse mounted to accommodate most scopes in order to maximize rail space on your AR15. The rings can be purchased in two colors, black or flat dark earth. Each color does feature a non-reflective hard coat anodization.
The P-Series Rings will hold a scope with a 1-inch main tube and are constructed using a lightweight aluminum alloy. They weigh only 6.4 ounces combined. Although these rings do not have as many features as some of the one-piece mounts, they are extremely versatile. They are simple to mount to your rail system with only one hex screw on each ring base. The adaptability of these scope rings allows them to be the number three scope mount on our list. These scope rings are manufactured in the United States and are backed by Nikon’s lifetime warranty. You can rest easy knowing that your scope is securely mounted to your AR15 and that it will maintain zero as long as no damage occurs to your scope.
The next mount on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is the first one on the list that can fit a 30mm or 1-inch scope.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #4 – TMS Flat Top
A small company based out of California has managed to place their one-piece scope mount amongst the best available. This scope mount is manufactured by Hammers which is known for making binoculars. Hammers has begun producing rifle scopes and red dots so it is no surprise that they would begin manufacturing mounts for those optics.
The fourth mount on the list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles in the Hammers TMS Flat Top. This scope is constructed using aircraft grade aluminum and has a one-piece body for extra durability. This is another cantilever mount, but it is considerably shorter than the XSKEL30 and the AD-RECON. Although it is shorter at only 3.43 inches, it can support an optic that has an objective lens up to 60mm. This mount can definitely hold its own weight and then some. The TMS Flat Top comes in only one color, which is hard-coat anodized matte black. What helps set this scope mount apart from others on the list is its ability to adapt to your scope’s diameter. If you need a 1-inch scope mount, simply place the included spacers in the rings and you can mount that scope. If you need to mount a 30mm scope, you can remove the spacers and place your 30mm scope in the rings. The transition from scope to scope takes less than two minutes and you can be out practicing with a new scope.
The TMS Flat Top weighs only 4.6 ounces. At that weight, you can afford to add a little heavier optic to your AR15 and not notice the difference. This mount only requires two inches of rail space, so your rails will be open for several accessories if necessary. The scope mounts to your rail system using one ½” hex screw. This screw is easily adjusted with your fingers or a small standard screwdriver. The one hex screw is a point of concern. If it were to loosen under continuous firing, your scope could detach from your rifle and become significantly damaged. Unfortunately, there is not a warranty that covers this product and that is why it finds itself near the end of the list of the best. Even with some of these small issues, this scope is a quality scope mount and you should not be worried about it lasting as long as your scope does.
The next scope mount on our list is made by the same company that made the only rings to make our list. Nikon has developed the next scope mount specifically for their AR15 scopes.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #5 – Nikon M-223 XR
As mentioned earlier in this article, Nikon is known for making quality optics and other shooting accessories. They have developed a scope specifically for their AR15 scopes known as M-223 riflescopes. The M-223 series of scopes are durable and adaptable to any ammunition you choose to fire from your AR15. The mounts for this series of scope are no less durable than the scopes they support. The name of the mount for those scopes does not deviate too much from Nikon’s scopes.
The fifth scope mount on the list of the best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is the Nikon M-223 XR. The XR in the nomenclature stands for Extended Range. Nikon has built in a 20-MOA incline in to this scope mount so that it can be used for extreme long distances. The incline allows the shooter to make more adjustments to their scopes elevation than they could previously with basic scope mounts. Not only did Nikon manufacture these scopes for long distances, but they made sure that they would fit most rails found on flat-top AR15s.
The scope is constructed using a lightweight aluminum alloy and is hard-coat anodized with a matte black finish. It is designed to house 1-inch scope and features a cantilever design for better eye relief and field of view. This one-piece scope mount weighs in at 5.1 ounces. It mounts very securely to your AR15 with 3 hex screws and a single plate that is the entire length of the mount base. The 3 hex screws are connected to steel rods for durability under even the heaviest of recoil. Even though this scope mount finds itself lower on the list, its mounting system is one of the best on the list. Nikon manufactures their scope mounts in the United States and backs them with a lifetime warranty. The next scope on our list is manufactured by a company that is less than two decades old, but has taken the sporting optics world by storm. Vortex Optics has quickly become a major influence in the optics and shooting accessories market.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #6 – Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Mount
Vortex Optics is an American-owned, Veteran-owned, and family-owned business. They began as a small outdoor retail shop and quickly began expanding and exploring different products to manufacture. Officially established as Vortex Optics in 2002, they have been on the cutting edge of optics for several years.
The sixth mount on the list of the best scope mounts for AR15 optics is the Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Mount. This cantilever mount is designed for 1-inch scopes. The Vortex mount offers a 2-inch offset cantilever mount that positions the scope in a forward location, allowing the correct eye relief and head placement on an AR-15. With the 2-inch cantilever, the Vortex mount is the second longest mount on our list at 5.89 inches in length. Even though it is one of the longest mounts, it weighs in at only 6.7 ounces.
The Sport Cantilever Mount is constructed using aircraft grade aluminum and comes in only one color, matte black. The Vortex mount is easily mounted to your AR15 using 4 hex screws. These screws are divided in two groups so that the long mount does not have a potential pivot point when responding to recoil. The screws are attached to square, steel rods so there are four points that can resist reoil from moving the scope forward or backward. The mount is made in China and backed by one the best warranties of any optics company in the market. The Vortex Very Important Promise warranty will cover your mount if it becomes defective or damaged. They do not require a warranty card or receipt to claim this warranty. It can be used for the life of the mount, no questions asked.
The Vortex Optics Mount is simple and easy to use, but its lack of features places it near the end of our list. The next mount on our list has many different features and shares a few characteristics with the first scope mount on our list.
Best Scope Mounts for AR15 #7 – Flat Top Offset One Piece Scope Mount
The next mount on our list of best scope mounts for AR15 rifles is another mount manufactured by Hammers. This scope is manufactured using 6061-T6 aluminum and is hard-coat anodized to a matte black color. This is a very solid and heavy-duty mount to install for easier eye relief setup. The length of this mount is very helpful when mounting a scope with longer eyepiece tube and scopes with illuminated reticles. The Hammer mount can be used with a 30mm tube or a 1-inch tube depending on if you have placed the spacers in the rings or not. The spacers are included so that you do not have to worry about buying those if your scope measurements are not correct. The centerline of this scope from the top of rail is 40mm.
This mount can be installed without the use of any specialized tools. This mount also features QD locks much like the ones found on the American Defense Manufacturing AD-RECON. These cam locks can be finger adjusted when needed. With the cam lever at unlock position, pull up and rotate the star wheel on the opposite end of the clamping bolt to adjust. Once you have the mount connected to your rail system correctly, pulling the cam levers will allow the mount to fall away freely if your scope becomes a hinderance when inoperable. The cam levers are attached to two square bolt shafts that ensure that your mount will not travel forward or backward under the recoil of your AR15. The Hammer mount weighs 8 ounces and has an overall length of 5.3 inches. This product is not backed by any type of warranty. It is manufactured in China.
The lack of a warranty and potential failure points in the QD locks make this scope mount the last one on our list. This is still a quality mounting option for any scope and AR15 that you may own.
Much like choosing your optic, you must think critically about what type of mount you want. You may need a quick detach mount like the Hammers Flat Top Offset Mount or the American Defense Manufacturing AD-RECON. QD mounts are a must when operating battery power optics as they may fail and you will need to transition to back-up sights. You may have limited mounting space and you will need to get creative with mounting your scope. The Nikon P-Series Rings offer you the most customization of any mounts on this list. The other mounts on this list may serve you perfectly well, but you will need to verify your scope’s tube diameter before ordering any mount.
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Whether you are a competitive shooter, a hunter, or using your rifle in a tactical capacity, there is a mount on this list that will suit you. Each mount has its own pros and cons, but that is true about any AR15 accessory you purchase. If you decide to use this article as your guide, you can rest assured that your AR15 scope mount will function when you need it to the most. If you stray from this list, you will be getting into questionable mounts and you cannot rely on questionable mounts to hold zero or your thousand-dollar optic. This list of the best scope mounts for AR15 rifles should provide you the best mount for any need that may arise.