MOUNT­ING TEN­SION

These much mis­un­der­stood items are a vi­tal part of our sport

Air Gunner - - Mounts -

Sim­ple black lumps of metal that hold your scope, that’s all they are.” “Re­ally? Is that what you be­lieve?” I re­sponded.

So went a con­ver­sa­tion I had with a fel­low air­gun­ner re­cently, and to be hon­est, I was a lit­tle shocked. ‘ Sim­ple’ is one thing that well-made mounts are not. To do their im­por­tant job prop­erly, they must be made pre­cisely and match per­fectly the scope and ri­fle they’re in­tended to marry.

Sure, there are lots of lumps of black metal out there go­ing cheap, that will plop your scope some­where near the top your ri­fle, but is that what you want for your dream gun? I can’t un­der­stand peo­ple buy­ing a £ 600 ri­fle and £150 scope and then us­ing £ 9.99 mounts. The old say­ing about a chain be­ing as strong as the weakest link ap­plies here ex­actly.

First things first

So what do we want from a set of mounts? Firstly, they need to match the scope’s body tube, be­ing ei­ther 1” or 30mm; in the firearm world, 34 and 36mm bod­ies are com­ing along, but I don’t think we need worry about those just yet. Then we need to choose be­tween sin­gle-bolt or dou­ble-bolt de­signs. For me, the choice is easy. Dou­ble-bolt mod­els don’t cost much more or weigh enough ex­tra to be of con­cern and I like the ex­tra sup­port they of­fer. Field ri­fles can take knocks and bangs as part of daily life, and hav­ing the re­as­sur­ance that the dou­ble of­fers makes me more con­fi­dent in the ri­fle’s zero.

One of the most im­por­tant fac­tors when choos­ing is the type of ri­fle you shoot. Re­coil­ing guns ben­e­fit from the huge, grip­ping force pro­vided by one-piece mounts and are the ones I rec­om­mend.

When

“a re­coil pin, or stud, that pos­i­tively en­gages a drilling on the top of the cylin­der to lock the two to­gether me­chan­i­cally”

you slip the trig­ger on a springer, a steel pis­ton weigh­ing close to a pound hur­tles down the cylin­der at around 200mph and then comes to a halt in frac­tions of a sec­ond. The ri­fle re­coils back­wards first and then in a vi­cious snap, re­v­erses di­rec­tion and tries to slide the scope back­wards down the rails. It’s a bru­tal en­vi­ron­ment for a del­i­cate op­tic and a huge chal­lenge for the mounts that try to main­tain the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the scope and ri­fle. The bet­ter one-piece mounts also have a re­coil pin, or stud, that pos­i­tively en­gages a drilling on the top of the cylin­der to lock the two to­gether me­chan­i­cally.

Loc ‘em down

I be­lieve that it’s wise to use soft Loc­tite on all the bolts of a springer, in­clud­ing the ones on the mounts, to pre­vent the com­pli­cated re­coil cy­cle work­ing them loose.

On pre- charged pneu­mat­ics and other re­coil­less guns, we need only be con­cerned about cor­rect align­ment and solid sup­port. Your scope must sit per­fectly above the cen­tre­line of your bar­rel. If it’s placed to one side or the other then you suf­fer a prob­lem known as cross­over. In prac­tice, it will cause the pel­let to land to one side or the other of your in­tended aim­ing point and you won’t know why. Se­lect­ing a mount de­signed for the brand and model of ri­fle you shoot will elim­i­nate this fault. For ex­am­ple, some, but not all BSA ri­fles have rails that are dif­fer­ent for the in­dus­try stan­dard 11mm, but you can get spe­cific mounts to com­pen­sate.

“Your scope must sit per­fectly above the cen­tre­line of your bar­rel”

PCP

Many pre- charged pneu­matic ri­fles have a mag­a­zine that pro­trudes up­wards from a slot in the scope rails, and this must be al­lowed for in height. This of­ten means choos­ing medium or high mounts re­gard­less of how high the scope would need to be oth­er­wise. The cen­tral part of the scope, known as the sad­dle, of­ten co­in­cides with the po­si­tion of the mag­a­zine, mak­ing the prob­lem worse. Please take the time to check these di­men­sions on your gun be­fore you buy, or you may be frus­trated.

Pre­ci­sion isn’t only im­por­tant where the mounts con­tact the scope rails. It’s equally im­por­tant where the two halves of the rings meet. Any mis­align­ment here can mark or even crease the scope’s body tube, mak­ing it worth­less if you ever try to sell it. The bet­ter made ones have a sub­tle ra­dius on the edges to elim­i­nate any mark­ing is­sues and give a pro­fes­sional fin­ish to the set-up.

I make no apol­ogy for my sup­port of the Bri­tish mount man­u­fac­turer, Sports­match. I’ve used their prod­ucts for over 30 years with­out a sin­gle com­plaint and they have al­ways had the right mount for any project gun I’ve built. Their cat­a­logue is huge and ever- grow­ing, so you’re likely to find what you need there as well. Their mounts are so strong that they sup­ply the elite mil­i­tary teams around the planet, and you can’t get a bet­ter en­dorse­ment than that.

Above: I rec­om­mend one-piece mounts for springers

Above left: Mounts are avail­able in a choice of heights

Above right: Note the re­coil pin pro­ject­ing from the base

Left: The mount on the right has the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar Weaver fit­ting

Right: You need to know if your scope is 1” or 30mm

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