Types of Rifle Scope Mounts – Beginner-Friendly Guide

If you are in the market for a new scope for your rifle, don’t lose sight of the different mounting options out there that you’ll have to consider as well. A rifle scope mount attaches your scope to the top of the rifle, and it plays an integral role in the accuracy of your rifle. We live in an age that provides us with a lot of different choices– rifles, scopes, and even a bunch of different options for scope mounts. Pending familiarity, all of these options can be overwhelming (especially when you’re starting out).

We want to help you learn a little bit more about scope mounting systems, so that you can make the best decision for you. Let’s jump into some of the most common types of rifle scope mounts.

1. One-Piece Scope Mounts

One-Piece Scope Mounts

One-piece scope mounts are the most basic type of scope mount on the market today. They are a critical part of how to fix a scope crosshair in the least amount of time. These mounts eliminate the need to align your scope with two attachment points. As a result, one-piece scope mounts are normally the simplest type of mount to deal with. Given the design (and in my experience), these mounts are also incredibly durable, have fewer points of failure and traditionally constructed out of one solid piece of material.


These scope mounts are easy to install, and there is no need to level the two mounting points or dial anything in. Unfortunately, they can be heavy, which is a large part of the reason why many hunters go with a more lightweight option for their scope mount.

2. Rifle Scope Ring Mounts

Rifle Scope Ring Mounts

This type of mounting system is very similar to a one-piece scope mount. However, the main difference is that the two scope rings that attach the scope to the rifle are not connected with a rail.

One advantage to this type of mount is that it is much smaller and lighter than a one-piece scope mount, so it’s a fan-favorite for those who are looking for more portability and maneuverability with their setup. Ring mounts are more difficult to install properly since you have to make sure the two scope rings are aligned properly and perfectly level. Understanding ring mounts is an integral part of understanding how to mount a rifle scope the right way!

While installation can be a bit tricky, these type of mounts are traditionally the most budget friendly. If you are on a tight budget with the recession we’re heading into, scope rings might be the perfect choice for mounting your scope.

3. Weaver Rail Scope Mounts

Weaver Rail Scope Mounts

The Weaver scope mount has been around since the beginning. As you would expect, the Weaver mount follows a fairly simple installation style. Essentially, it acts as a barrier between the scope and the top of the rifle.

The Weaver scope mount consists of a one or two-piece rail system that has slots cut into the top of it all the way down its length. These grooved slots allow the user to attach the scope to the rail. One of the advantages of this type of mount is the fact that it makes it easy to attach and remove a scope, so they work well if you are someone that likes to use more than one scope with a single rifle.

4. Picatinny Scope Mounts

Picatinny Scope Mounts

The Picatinny scope mount combines a one-piece scope mount with a Weaver rail system. Originally introduced for military applications, hunters and other recreational shooters use these mounts a lot more often than they used to. Popularity of this mount has skyrocketed over the last few decades and some would even argue they have become THE most popular option for scope mounting.

The bottom portion of the mount attaches directly to the rifle. Or if this doesn’t suit your eye, it can also be attached to another Weaver rail. While they are somewhat heavy, Weaver scope mounts are extremely solid and will hold your scope in a fixed location, even when it is exposed to significant recoil. This is one of the reasons it is a popular rifle scope mount for more powerful rifles.

Excelling in versatility, the Picatinny scope mount attaches to any position along the length of the rifle. All things considered, it makes sense why the military developed this mounting system.

5. Integral Scope Mounts

Integral Scope Mounts

Integral scope mounts integrate everything into one solid piece. Since the Integral mount features everything required to attach a scope to a rifle, mount it directly to the top of your rifle and don’t worry about needing a separate rail system.

While they are certainly convenient, unfortunately, not every type of rifle can accept an Integral scope mount. Their design will also prevent you from being able to swap scopes, so they usually work best for those that know they will only be using one specific sighting system with their rifle.

These types of mounts are really popular with bolt-action rifles, but they are also seen on other types of firearms, and are popular for mounting a scope on an AR-15.

6. Quick-Detach Scope Mounts

Quick-Detach Scope Mounts

As the name implies, a quick-detach scope mount allows you to quickly detach your scope from your rifle, which can be incredibly beneficial if you are using one rifle for a variety of different shooting applications.

You can even use multiple types of optic systems on a single rifle. For example, you may choose to attach a scope for long-range shooting but switch it out for a reflex red dot sight when you are aiming at much closer targets.

They usually lock into place with one or more simple thumb levers, so you can switch out your sighting system without having to use tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of rifle scope mounts?

The different types of rifle scope mounts are Cantilever Scope Mounts,One-Piece Mounts, and Integrated Dovetail mounts. Each mount type has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Are all rifle scope mounts the same?

No, all rifle scope mounts are not the same. They come in different sizes and designs. Each scope mount has its own unique pros and cons depending on your specific firearm and type of rifle scope.

What are the different scope rail sizes?

The most popular different scope rail sizes are 1-inch, 30mm, and 34mm. The size of your rail will have an impact on which scope mount you can utilize to install your optic.

What are the mounting types?

When it comes to rifle scope mounts, there are four main mounting methods: Plate Type, Screw-in Type, Insertion Type, Angle Type. Each mounting method can be used depending on your specific mount type and rail design.


The specific type of scope mount you use will depend on the type of rifle you own, as well as the type of scope you are hoping to attach to that rifle. Scope mounts are very important for learning how to install scope on rifle the right way. Each type of mount offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it always helps to do your homework before you choose a particular style.

Remember, incorrect mount installation destroys accuracy and confidence. Don’t your scope mount a weak point in your rifle– attach it properly and torque all of the screws to the right specifications.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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