A bases and rings "How To" guide.

A FEW POINTERS ON HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BASES AND RINGS FOR YOUR SCOPE AND RIFLE.

Bases and rings.

Left to Right: Standard, Intermediate and High integrated scope bases/rings.

For any scope mounting questions, call us during business hours: 1-800-333-3288.

Which height is right?

Scope Ring Height Selection Guide

  • Use the Standard (low) ring height for scopes up to a 44mm objective with a standard barrel contour.
  • Use the Intermediate (medium) ring height for scopes up to a 50mm objective with a standard barrel contour.
  • Use the High ring height for scopes up to a 56mm objective with a standard barrel contour.

Barrel contour is a major factor in new rifle purchasers having difficulty determining the correct ring height. If you have any question about fit with a larger barrel diameter, step up a size in ring height. For example, if you have a heavier than standard barrel contour and are using a scope with a 44mm objective, just select Intermediate rings. That simple. If you are using a canted/sloped rail step up one size. If you are still unsure, call us during business hours at 1-800-333-3288.

Choosing the right rings. One of the most common questions asked to our customer service department is "how do I determine which bases, rings, and rails are appropriate for my rifle?" This also applies to scoped shotguns, in some cases. The answer is often difficult and a bit complex for several reasons.

  • Several types of bases and rings are offered for Browning rifles, such as 1) integrated, 2) separate bases and rings and 3) Weaver style rings that mount on a rail base, among others.
  • Scopes are sold with objectives (front bell) that vary in diameter all the way up to a 56mm objective. Historically, hunting objectives were so small that they rarely created a problem. 
  • Scopes vary in length which can result in the objective being closer to the chamber portion of the barrel (which is a larger diameter).
  • Adjusting for eye relief can affect where the objective sits in relation to the barrel. 
  • Sloped or canted rails are available (usually 20MOA) that allow a scope to function at longer ranges (600 years and beyond). This also can result in moving the objective closer to the barrel.
  • Barrels vary in diameter. A target barrel can be significantly larger in diameter than a sporter barrel, which, in effect, closes the gap between the barrel and objective.

The solution: Rings are sold with different heights to accommodate the objective of the scope. You will not have a problem if you use the correct ring height for your scope. To do this, refer to the guide on this page for making your choice. 

It is up to you which type or style to use: separate bases and rings, integrated bases and rings or rings that attach to a single rail or two-piece rail. The important thing is to build a scope mounting system that provides the best accuracy and performance overall. It is possible to damage a scope with the wrong setup. So be careful as you put yours together.  THE SCOPE OBJECTIVE SHOULD NEVER TOUCH THE BARREL WHEN MOUNTED ON YOUR RIFLE.

IMPORTANT: There are a great number of variables when attaching scope bases and rings and attaching a scope. These guidelines on this page should be considered as a starting point as you learn what combination of bases, rings, and scope are best for your rifle. Go slow. Don't damage your rifle or scope. If you need assistance call us at 1-800-333-3288 during business hours, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Mountain Time.

Why use a rail for mounting your scope?

X-Bolt with 20 MOA rail. The clearance between the scope objective and barrel is excellent.

What is a 20 MOA rail?  A rail is a one-piece base that when attached to your receiver is angling down toward the barrel's bore centerline. The most common slopes at 20 Minutes of Angle. That is approximately .33 degrees. What is the benefit of an angled rail?

  • When a scope is mounted it initially is zeroed to a target usually at 100 to 200 yards.
  • You only need a sloped rail if you will be dialing your scope for longer ranges. Longer ranges are usually 500 or 600 yards and beyond.
  • With many scopes at longer ranges, you run out of crosshair vertical adjustment beyond 600 yards.
  • To solve this, you can use a 20 MOA rail which, after zeroing, leaves extra adjustment for dialing in at very long ranges. 

If you don't have a scope made for dialing in longer ranges and if you don't usually shoot beyond 500 or 600 yards, you don't really need a slanted rail. 

20 MOA is not a lot, but it can move a tight scope objective too close to the barrel, causing it to touch. To be safe, order the next higher rings when using a 20 MOA rail, especially with a target or semi-target barrel. 

Importantly, if you are using a scope with a ballistic compensating reticle, you probably don't need or want a 20MOA rail. 

Attaching a rail.

There are a few easy things to always do when attaching a rail to your Browning rifle:

  • Before you start insert all the screws in the holes on the rail.
  • Place the rail on the receiver and line up the holes without turning in the screws.
  • Once lined up, finger tighten a screw a couple of threads. 
  • Continue front to back to front to back, or in a figure eight pattern (on X-Bolts), hand screwing, until the base is attached with all screws loose.
  • Carefully tighten each screw until finger tight.
  • Make sure you have achieved sufficient screw engagement of around three or more threads.
  • Using an inch-pound torque wrench, torque to the correct specification provided with the rail. 

Torque specifications.

TORQUING THE SCREWS. For X-Bolt rifles, the torque specification for attaching a rail should not exceed 18-inch-pounds.

IMPORTANT: Inch pounds are not to be confused with foot pounds. 12 inch-pounds is the equivalent of one foot-pound. It is advisable to use a quality inch-pound torque wrench when torquing rail screws. Never over-tighten. 

IMPORTANT: NEVER OVER TIGHTEN ANY BASE OR RING SCREW. ALWAYS MAKE SURE SCREWS ARE OF THE CORRECT LENGTH FOR SECURE ATTACHMENT. NEVER ATTACH A SCOPE IF THE OBJECTIVE TOUCHES THE BARREL. ALWAYS FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED WITH YOUR SCOPE. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN GUNSMITHING PRACTICES. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, CALL US AT 1-800-333-3288 DURING BUSINESS HOURS, 8:00 AM TO 4:30 PM MOUNTAIN TIME.