By John Haviland
Leupold Quick Release mounts hold a Leupold 2-7x scope on a Remington Model 600 rifle.
Sometimes while hunting, I worry about damaging my scope. Other times, I change my mind about what scope to use, or whether to use one. Quick-detachable (QD) scope mounts put my mind at ease. With QD mounts, there is no worry about a scope getting smashed while traveling, or failing 10 miles from the trailhead. QD mounts also allow using one scope on several rifles.
QD mounts come in two styles. Some QDs, like the Talley, include a lever that permits fast and easy removal and replacement of a scope from its base on a rifle. Others, like the Conetrol AQD, work with a coin or screwdriver. In theory, scopes retain their zero when mounted in QD rings. The ones I tested did just that.
Traveling hunters dread airline baggage handlers. Horror stories abound of mangled gun cases, with scopes the first to take the brunt of the damage. QD mounts, though, allow removing a scope and packing it more securely, like wrapping it in a couple of shirts in your duffel bag. Hunters also worry about dropping their rifle and breaking the scope during a remote hunt when the nearest spare is a day’s horseback ride away. That fear can be alleviated with a spare scope in QD rings that has already been sighted in. QD mounts also make it easy to match the hunting conditions by switching between a high-power scope for long shots and a low-power scope or open sights for closer shots.
With additional bases, QD rings allow using a scope on more than one rifle. However, the span between the bases on the rifles must be the same or the rings won’t fit. Also, chances are the scope will require some adjustment when switched between rifles.
Conetrol Adjust-Quik Detach mounts on a Remington 700 chambered in .35 Whelen.
A switch-barrel rifle like the Thompson/Center Encore is a good candidate for QD rings. I mounted a Pentax 6.5-20x scope in Weaver rings on an Encore 7mm-08 Remington barrel and had the rifle shooting right on the mark at 100 yards. But when I switched the scope to a .223 Remington Encore barrel, the rifle hit 10 inches high and 2 inches right of where I aimed at 50 yards. Still, sighting-in again is a small price to pay when some scopes cost as much, or more, than a rifle.
Return to Zero?
The goal of QD mounts is there should be no shift of bullet impact after removing and replacing a scope. At the most, groups fired before and after a scope is removed and then put back on should overlap. After all, a vertical shift of bullet impact as little as a few inches at 100 yards can cause a miss on a deer at 200 yards. Crosshair movement of even 1 inch on a scope on a varmint rifle can cause an embarrassing miss on a prairie dog.
I’ve always been wary of mounts that snap on and off a rifle. Will the scope still point the same place it did, or will I be aiming toward the sky? I tested three different QD rings to see how well they held their zero by shooting a three-shot group, removing the scope, reattaching it and shooting another group.
The Talley TnT rings come with base screws that fasten the rings to the bases with a wrench and screws that tighten with a lever. The levers on the rings should point toward one another (or up) to keep the levers from protruding and snagging on clothes and such. This can be accomplished by rotating the levers around the screws until the right setting is found when the screws are tight.
The Talley TnT rings held a Nikon 4-12x scope on a Remington Model 700 in .223 Rem. The first three-shot group fired at 100 yards measured .75 inches. After the scope was taken off and reattached, the following two shots landed inside the first group. I saw the five bullet holes in a tiny cluster, so of course I pulled the final shot an inch out of the group. Group size of five bullets measured .75 inches, with the sixth bullet increasing group size to 1.75 inches.
Talley (803) 854-5700/talleyrings.com
Conetrol’s Adjust-Quik Detach
Conetrol’s Adjust-Quik Detach (AQD) steel bases and rings are adjustable for windage and quick removal and replacement with a hex-head wrench. The AQD have an angle cut in the front of each ring-stud, which slides along the underside of a cross pin inside the front of each ring hole in the base. A flat-face set screw on the left side of the base can be turned to adjust the rings for windage. The cone-point Jam Screw enters the base ring hole from the right rear, and, when tightened, crams the ring stud hard against the front cross pin and the left side screw.
To detach the scope, the Jam Screw under each ring is loosened a couple of turns, and the AQD rings and scope can be lifted off the base. To reattach, push the scope and mounted rings back down on the base and tighten the Jam Screws.
To check the Conetrol AQD mounts, I used them to mount a Weaver 4x scope on a Remington 700 chambered in .35 Whelen. The first three Remington factory-loaded 200 grain bullets landed in 1.80 inches. With the scope taken off, then tightened back in place, the first bullet of the second group landed inside the first group. The two remaining bullets hit 1 inch to the right. All six bullets grouped in 2.75 inches.
Conetrol (800) CONETROL/conetrol.com
Leupold Quick Release
The Leupold QR mounts work by twisting the lever wing on the left side of each base half a turn. That cinches the lever shaft into a cut in a stud at the base of the ring and pulls the rings down and forward on the bases. The rings and scope are assured of remaining tight when the levers continue pointing in the same direction.
I mounted a Leupold 2-7x scope in QR mounts on a Remington Model 600 chambered in 6mm Rem. The first three shots at 100 yards grouped in 1.31 inches. With the scope taken off, then cinched back on the rifle, the next two bullets landed half an inch to the left, and the third bullet 1 inch to the right of the first group. The group size of all six shots measured 2.03 inches.
Leupold (503) 526-1400/leupold.com
Other rings and bases can also be used as quick-detachable mounts. A few of these are the Ruger integral mounts and rings, various Weavers with Quick-Detach rings and the Leupold STD with a forward dovetail ring and a rear ring secured by windage adjustment screws. Shooting results showed a zero is maintained with these mounts when a scope is taken off and reattached. They’re a good choice for light-recoiling rifles. However, extended shooting of rifles with heavy recoil often loosens their base mounting screws and a thread-locking liquid is required to keep them tight.
Reprinted from the October 2004 issue of Buckmasters GunHunter Magazine