There are times you might want to quickly and easily remove or attach your scope. Perhaps it’s just for storage and you don’t want to be bothered with all the hassle. Maybe there are circumstances where you want to switch out for another accessory. Or maybe you hunt with the same gun day and night.
The quickest answer to this problem will be amount that will provide ease of mounting and reliability without loosening zero.
Optics are the most valuable upgrade of any long-barreled firearms, especially traditional bolt-action rifles. In order to attach that excellent piece of glass to your rifle, you have to sift through the myriad scope rings and bases on the market to find an appropriate mount for his scope.
Objectively speaking, high-quality optics also need a scope mount of equal quality to go with it. Unfortunately, 90 percent of scope owners do not care which rings or bases they use to mount their optics. That fact has a particular weight when we consider that there are scope mounting systems specialized for hunting, tactical, sport, and recreational shooting. They also run the gamut from very affordable to beautifully machined pieces of mechanical art.
Quick Comparison Chart: Best QD Mounts for the AR-15
1. Burris 410344 AR-PEPR
2. Warne Scope Mounts Quick Detach Rings
3. UTG Integral 1" Offset QD Ring Mount
4. American Defense AD-RECON STD
5. UTG Med-pro Compact Riser Mount
Why Have A Quick Detach Mount?
There are a lot of different mounting systems, but practically all scope mounts fall into two categories: fixed and quick-detachable. Fixed scope mounts provide better durability since they can easily absorb the recoil of the more powerful calibers or powerful Magnum rounds without issue. As an added bonus, they generally weigh less and do not cost as much as quick-detachable hardware. But there’s still times that a quick-detachable mount will better suit your needs.
While a good detachable set will cost more than an equivalent fixed ring, it’s good to remember one thought from wise men: “Always buy the best equipment you can afford." The best thing about Quick Detachable or Quick Release mounts (let’s just go with QD or QR) is that they enable a shooter to mount and dismount optics with no tools. They makes mundane tasks like cleaning and maintenance too.
There are few other reasons for utilizing QDs. First, the user can switch between open sight shooting and scope shooting without having to re-sight in his rifle every time he remounts the scope. Another reason would be to change daily optics for thermals or night vision. Finally you might want to load multiple loads per gun with just a scope swapping.
How Does It Work?
A detachable mounting system includes scope rings and a base which are fastened together with throw levers instead of screws or bolts. It will hold zero incredibly well as long as you keep the levers tight.
Europeans have long preferred detachable scope mounts featuring extremely tight tolerances. This mount type was particularly prevalent in a classic sporting application on rifles intended for dangerous game. As most of us would agree, it makes a lot of sense to remove the scope and use iron sights for close-in work in a situation like searching for the wounded wild boar through the thick brush.
There were attempts to overcome those situations with high tunnel-mounts or see-through rings. These have largely fallen out of favor because the higher you mount a riflescope above a barrel axis, the less force is needed to knock the scope out of zero.
Another advantage of QD/QR rings is a capability for the shooter to carry another type of optics such as red dot. Or you might want to have a backup pre-zeroed scope with you in case of of damage during an expensive outfitted hunt in the remote wilderness.
Besides civilian use, the QD scope mounts are most commonly used in tactical systems as they afford shooters the option of inconspicuously carrying a sniper rifle in hostile territory.
You might hear or read online complaints that QDs will not return to zero after removing and reinstalling your optics. However, a shift in point of impact happens when the shooter has not remounted the scope correctly. It could also be because of using cheaper, low-quality QR rings.
QDs and the AR
The common use of flat-top AR-15 uppers with different optics types has made quick-detach scope mounts somewhat popular in recent years. All of the described features make an AR-15 ideal platform for detachable mounts. This is especially if you’re planning to shoot 5.56mm, since it has almost non-existent recoil.
Also, the best QD scope mounting systems such as Picatinny or Weaver rails fully complement AR-15’s design, making your rifle more modular.
Unlike traditional bolt-action rifle stocks and receivers that have been drilled and tapped for scope bases, the AR-style rifles have their stocks placed in line with the barrel. Because of that you may need to get the optics higher than traditional mounts allow. This setting is possible with the help of riser blocks attached directly to the Picatinny rail.
Reviews of the Best QD Mounts for the AR-15
As with other AR accessories, there is a sea of options and styles for AR detachable scope mounts out there. We`ll recommend several quick-detachable systems for you to choose from. Hopefully it will help you make the right choice and avoid creating a weak link that fails at the most inopportune time.
Most mounting systems come as three-piece units - you have two ring halves and a base. But this model fro Burris comes with ring and base in a two-piece solution. Having fewer components allows for a construction that is more rigid.
The Burris AR-PEPR or "Proper Eye Position Ready" scope mount is made as a one-piece aluminum base. This mount is extremely efficient to use since it will provide up to 2" of forward scope positioning for perfect eye relief and full field-of-view.
There are three sizes to choose from, two that are QD. The Quick Detach mounting option is available in 1 inch and 30 mm rings. There’s also a version with 34 mm size rings but it’s designed as a fixed mount offering 20 MOA of integrated cant.
An added benefit is that the top ring halves sport a small three-row Picatinny rail for attaching accessories. In all three, each ring is secured with six T-15 Torx screws. The mount is tightened with two 1/2″ hex nuts to the Picatinny rail at a high torque value to ensure no slippage.
Compared to other scope mounts, this Burris is more compact. However, that means it does not give a lot of flexibility for placing the scope on the rifle, especially if it has large turrets.
As a small surprise considering this is China-built hardware: Burris guarantees 1/4 MOA return upon remounting.
Although the Burris AR-PEPR is an excellent mount for the money, it does not come without drawbacks. We’ve already-mentioned limited space between the rings for larger scope knobs. Some shooters also complain about the weight, at 10.4 ounces including the top Picatinny rails, which is heavier than a lot of the rival mounts.
Warne Manufacturing Company had incredible success with its RAMP, a 1-piece cantilever- style scope mounting platform featuring an innovative design. It offers unique 45-degree mounting rails on both sides of the mount. The next step from this renowned Oregonian manufacturer was to release the now-famous Quick Release Maxima rings.
In this model the horizontally-split rings are more spread so they are easier to install onto the rifle. The vertically-split rings halves apply pressure like a hose clamp. This leaves just one small gap not making contact with the scope tube.
Since there are two screws placed on the top and two screws on the bottom of the scope tube, the rings with vertical orientation have an added advantage in this design. This takes the form of a slim side profile and a bit more stylish look than most of today's tactical rings.
The Warne Scope Mounts QD steel rings are a great product fulfilling three primary requirements of a top quality scope mount: alignment, rigidity, and strength.
The Warne’s rings and bases are precision-made and CNC machined from sintered steel technology. The manufacturer claims that using its Maxima bases and QD rings, this mount will keep accuracy of within 1/1000th of an inch when removing and reattaching the optics. Each ring with its broad surface area supports your scope securely. A square stainless steel crossbolt ensures positive engagement and great recoil absorption.
In addition, Warne rings fit any standard Weaver-style cross-slot base, so there is no need for the proprietary bases. Warne Built-In Integral Mount rings are available in 1" and 30mm sizes with various finishes such as silver, matte or gloss.
All in all, many shooters consider this the best buy in integral scope rings. However, for the inexperienced user, it can be a little challenging to get it mounted on the scope and adjusted to the rifle It can seem like you need three hands to set this mount up. Some owners also warn that solid steel Warne Maxima rings can crushed scope tube if you overtighten those screws.
The Leapers UTG Integral QD Offset Quick Detach Mount is a simple and affordable solution with a bi-directional offset feature. This provides extra compensation distance to the eye relief in addition to what the mounting rail usually allows.
Utilizing the flip-levers for the QD mechanism by hand - no tools are necessary! - the Leapers UTG mount can be locked to or detached from the gun in a second.
The UTG offset scope mount can be attached reliably to any Picatinny rail system. The high tolerance control enables repeatable scope zero after multiple QD engagements and disengagements.
Featuring one-inch rings with Picatinny grooves on top of them and a reinforced locking system with adjustable tension, this QD mount works the same as its rivals but around half the price.
The Leapers UTG Integral mount is machined from aircraft grade aluminum with a posi-lock crossbar design. Though the construction feels solid, you may want to apply blue Loctite to the screws including the QD adjustment. Some shooters have also complained about the distance between the rings. Because of this lack of space, riflescopes with Target Turrets and Side Parallax will not fit between the rings.
American Defense Manufacturing (ADM) produces numerous types of mounts, including ring sizes of 1 inch, 30mm, 32mm, 34mm, 35mm, and 40mm. They also offer various centerline heights and standard or larger tactical levers in black or dark earth color.
Unlike most other mounts in this guide, ADM's Recon scope rings are split vertically. This makes installation easier since you don't need to worry about spacing as you would with horizontally-split rings.
The AD-RECON is a cantilever design that accommodates traditional riflescopes. It provides adequate eye relief on a flat-top-style AR-15. The AD QD mount lets you easily adjust the tension on each lever through adjustment nuts opposite the levers. In other words, this patented ADM system, the “Auto Lock Lever” system, enables easily changing of lever tension in the field without tools. It fits any mil-spec rail.
Overall, it is a well-built and very stable scope mount fashioned from 6061 T6 aluminum. However, its split ring design may make the initial mounting of your scope a bit more difficult than you are used to.
Like other American Defense QD mounts it comes with a wrench and thread locker.
Unlike the Leapers UTG Mount, the American Defense QD mount is a pricier version of the Burris PEPR base at around twice Burris’ price.
Compared to standard scope mounts, the Leapers UTG Compact Riser Mount presents a new approach to scope mounting systems for rifles with a Picatinny or Weaver rail.
The latest UTG riser mounts adjusts any optics accessory that is not quick detachable to a quickly-detachable configuration, allowing you to customize it to your needs and wishes.
The Leapers UTG offers its Riser mount in 3 different mounting lengths and three of the most commonly sought-out saddle height profiles. Our suggestion would be a model with a see-through design that features a saddle height of 0.83” and with 3 Picatinny slots.
UTG is known as the maker of low-end stuff, but this sleek profile, well-designed riser creates an ideal solution for getting 1/3rd co-witness with iron sights for your optics. This perfect low-cost upgrade is constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum and then finished with a hard-anodized black matte finish.
This UTG riser is convenient and durable, but you might face the to need to retighten the mounts via the plastic-like wingnut. It’s a commonly-seen recommendation that this screw be turned into a quick detach lever instead.
Already the most popular sporting and tactical rifle, the AR-15 becomes even more versatile utilizing a finely-machined QD mounting system to enhance your shooting experience. This handy bit of equipment is the ideal accessory to bring your optic to the most comfortable and safest shooting height.
Today's manufacturers, by applying modern technological processing, have reduced the average shifts after reattaching the QD mounts to the rifle to mere hundredths of MOA. Even though they’re generally more expensive, quick-detach scope mounts are undoubtedly a good choice when you want versatility in your optics.