Welcome to Optics Trade debates. In each episode, we talk about a different topic and try to answer the most common questions we receive about it. Today, we are going to talk about tube mounting and rail mounting.
Rail mounting is the best possible way to mount scopes. It looks better and the scope can’t get damaged because of the mounting. Rail mounting is also a lot more reliable and robust than the ring mounting. The clamping surface is much bigger and some have recoil stops over the entire length of the rail. Leveling is never a problem with these scopes because they are only able to be mounted completely leveled.
The only problem with rail mounting is that it’s found only on expensive European mounts and that the mounting solutions are less common and more expensive. The scope can sit a little bit higher if it is used on an older rifle.
There are several tube diameters that need to be taken into consideration when mounting a scope with rings.
The 1-inch tube was the most common dimension in the past. In Europe, the 1-inch dimension was sold and made as 26 mm. Currently, the most common tube dimension is 30 mm. The majority of tactical scopes have a 34 mm tube. Some manufacturers also produce less common dimensions, like 35 mm, 36 mm, and 40 mm.
There are a few different rail mounting standards.
The LM rails were a popular mounting solution in the previous decades in Europe. It has since then been almost entirely replaced by other more modern mounting types.
Zeiss ZM/VM rail mount is the most common rail mounting system in use today. It’s also used by other manufacturers, like Leica, Docter, Meopta, Minox, Schmidt&Bender… It’s reliable and effective. We described this rail in more detail in a video.
The second most popular rail mounting system is the Swarovski SR. this standard is used by Swarovski and Kahles. It is very similar to other rail mounting solutions. The main difference is that the Swarovski SR rail has small teeth on the lower side, which work as recoil stoppers.
Schmidt&Bender have their own solution. The S&B Convex rail mount is used only used on S&B scopes. It’s less common than the other two modern systems and mounting solutions for this system are made only by German producers.
All of these solutions are really good, and we think that getting a scope with a rail mounting system is a great investment and we would highly recommend it.
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Riflescopes with rail mounting: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/riflescopes/shopby/special_features-mount_rail.html