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  1. #1
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    Default Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    I have purchased a Howa S/A and am deciding on the scope mounts to fit a Swarovski Z3 4-12 x50.
    I didn't like the Lynx stud bases on my previous rifle, as I found the scope was more sensitive to being knocked out during use (scrambling over rocks, climbing fences, bouncy bakkie rides etc). I replaced them with a Picatinny rail, as I thought it to be the most stable mount, in combination with some Warne mounts.


    I see Warne also makes the
    Maxima Base M902/876M which fits the same scope rings as a Picatinny rail, but is two separate units, (front and back). I like the idea of this, as it gives you more space between the action and scope when loading and unloading.

    I was (over) thinking following:

    1. A picatinny is more stable than separate bases, since it is locked down with all 4 screws in a row, and will give you the best alignment with the action once tightened down. If one screw works loose, the structure is still very stable on the action. With bases, each base has two screws, so that if one works loose, there is the potential for a base to move or rotate, and put the scope out.

    2. Then I went crazy thinking about the fact that if the action heats up (obviously not as much as a barrel) it will expand differently to the Picatinny and put some stress on the mounts, but there should in theory be no stress on the scope rings or scope, because the Picatinny is one unit on which it is all stabilised. If there were just bases and there was expansion through heating of the action, the stress from differential expansion would be spread out in a hoop across the bases, rings and scope.

    So I was wondering whether I am correct in my assumptions, and whether is either of these two factors will make any difference at all?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    Yeah, you're overthinking it. Seeing your your scope tube is made from aluminium like the Warne picatinny rail, you're going to have the differential expansion anyway, and that's notnreally troubled anyone with "standard" mounts in the past, so it won't be a problem with the pic rail.

    Make your life easy. Buy a Warne Mountaintech rail (you've got options between 0MOA, 10MOA ANS 20MOA), buy Warne Maxima rings, or any other fancy rings that'll suit the Swaro, mount it all and go shoot.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    Quote Originally Posted by Againstthegrains View Post
    I have purchased a Howa S/A and am deciding on the scope mounts to fit a Swarovski Z3 4-12 x50.
    I didn't like the Lynx stud bases on my previous rifle, as I found the scope was more sensitive to being knocked out during use (scrambling over rocks, climbing fences, bouncy bakkie rides etc). I replaced them with a Picatinny rail, as I thought it to be the most stable mount, in combination with some Warne mounts.


    I see Warne also makes the
    Maxima Base M902/876M which fits the same scope rings as a Picatinny rail, but is two separate units, (front and back). I like the idea of this, as it gives you more space between the action and scope when loading and unloading.

    I was (over) thinking following:

    1. A picatinny is more stable than separate bases, since it is locked down with all 4 screws in a row, and will give you the best alignment with the action once tightened down. If one screw works loose, the structure is still very stable on the action. With bases, each base has two screws, so that if one works loose, there is the potential for a base to move or rotate, and put the scope out.

    2. Then I went crazy thinking about the fact that if the action heats up (obviously not as much as a barrel) it will expand differently to the Picatinny and put some stress on the mounts, but there should in theory be no stress on the scope rings or scope, because the Picatinny is one unit on which it is all stabilised. If there were just bases and there was expansion through heating of the action, the stress from differential expansion would be spread out in a hoop across the bases, rings and scope.

    So I was wondering whether I am correct in my assumptions, and whether is either of these two factors will make any difference at all?
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    For a hunting rifle, you are overthinking this. I have rails, one Leupold and one Lynx, on a 6mm Creedmoor and a 6.5 Creedmoor, Lee Maxima bases on a 9.3x62, a .375 H&H and a .416 rem mag and Lynx stud type bases on a 7x57 and a .30-06, they all work.

    On rifles that I might want to load in a hurry (the 2 medium bores and the .416) I prefer two piece bases, a rail can really skin your thumb, but apart from that, as long as you buy decent bases, any of the systems will work.

    The rules for target rifles might be different though.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    I have had issues with the Lynx stud bases in the past and avoid them like the plague.

    For a hunting rifle, I have no issues with two-piece bases as long as they fit the receiver properly.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    I have a short action Howa (223 Rem) fitted with a Warne Mountain Tech rail (0 MOA), Warne rings and a Rudolph 2.5-15x50 scope. Been using this set-up for 4 years and have had no issues. Rifle is used for hunting, but gets the most use at the shooting range and for culling geese at long range so it does occasionally shoot a fair amount over a relatively short time frame. I have never experienced any issues with the action getting hot or any screws working loose. A larger caliber may be different, but I doubt it. If everything is fitted correctly there should not be any issues.

    Further to TStone's comment - it can be finicky loading the Howa's internal magazine with a Picatinny rail.

    On a personal note I would suggest the Warne rings that split on the horizontal axis. I find them easier to mount and to align the scope than those that split on the vertical axis.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    Quote Originally Posted by Againstthegrains View Post
    I have purchased a Howa S/A and am deciding on the scope mounts to fit a Swarovski Z3 4-12 x50.
    I didn't like the Lynx stud bases on my previous rifle, as I found the scope was more sensitive to being knocked out during use (scrambling over rocks, climbing fences, bouncy bakkie rides etc). I replaced them with a Picatinny rail, as I thought it to be the most stable mount, in combination with some Warne mounts.


    I see Warne also makes the
    Maxima Base M902/876M which fits the same scope rings as a Picatinny rail, but is two separate units, (front and back). I like the idea of this, as it gives you more space between the action and scope when loading and unloading.

    I was (over) thinking following:

    1. A picatinny is more stable than separate bases, since it is locked down with all 4 screws in a row, and will give you the best alignment with the action once tightened down. If one screw works loose, the structure is still very stable on the action. With bases, each base has two screws, so that if one works loose, there is the potential for a base to move or rotate, and put the scope out.

    2. Then I went crazy thinking about the fact that if the action heats up (obviously not as much as a barrel) it will expand differently to the Picatinny and put some stress on the mounts, but there should in theory be no stress on the scope rings or scope, because the Picatinny is one unit on which it is all stabilised. If there were just bases and there was expansion through heating of the action, the stress from differential expansion would be spread out in a hoop across the bases, rings and scope.

    So I was wondering whether I am correct in my assumptions, and whether is either of these two factors will make any difference at all?
    The Lynx style stud mounts have been proven for years. Yes, there was a time when the studs were not heat treated properly, but that was when they were still being imported from down under. Since many years ago, Lynx mounts are being made locally and the quality is top notch. In fact, the copycat Thor versions are probably just as good and the 2 brands can by mixed. If your zero moved from rough handling, it is more likely that the scope bent a little. I have them on all sorts of rifles from large to small and there are no issues.

    When mounting bases on your action, keep in mind that the only thing keeping everything on are the 4 tiny screws in a straight line. This is usually the weakest link in any scope mounting setup. Remember that this setup is a carry-over from the early days when iron sighted rifles were drilled and tapped to accept the then new scopes and mounts. Makers like Sako and CZ/Brno put dovetails on their actions to provide a much sturdier mounting system. Whatever you screw to those 4 holes, make very sure it sits solidly. Many people use epoxy to bed the base to the action top and thus eliminate any potential wobble. (Remember the release agent!)

    A single "bridge" type base is always sturdier than 2 separate bases. It also ensures perfect alignment of the rings to the base. With separate bases you have to make sure the rings align.

    Most top-loading magazine actions are difficult to load with any bridge style base attached. If the bridge is high enough to clear your loading thumb, the scope sits too high for comfortable shooting. You can't have it both ways, unless you use a detachable mag and feed the rifle from the bottom. This is one of the reasons why detachable mags are so popular.

    Heat expansion in the action is a non-event. Your barrel heats up first, and by the time it is so hot that the mirage disrupts your sight picture, the action will still be cool. Aluminium scope tubes that expand more than the action's steel in extreme weather are more likely to produce some stress, and that is best handled by a one-piece bridge type base.

    In the end it is the primary purpose that the rifle is going to be used for, that determines how you need to equip it. A walk-and stalk rifle needs to be relatively light, with a thin barrel, straight stock and low-mounted scope of moderate magnification range, fed from a fixed magazine. A voorsit or long-range shooter will have a heavy barrel, target-style stock with raised comb, high magnification scope that sits in higher mounts and is fed from a detachable box mag.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    Quote Originally Posted by TStone View Post
    On rifles that I might want to load in a hurry (the 2 medium bores and the .416) I prefer two piece bases, a rail can really skin your thumb, but apart from that, as long as you buy decent bases, any of the systems will work.
    I agree with what TStone said. I've had this issue on one of my rifles and it isn't a pleasant experience.

    I'm shocked you guys are having issues with Lynx bases. I have Lynx bases and rings on all my rifles with zero issues. My working rifle scope hasn't budged or had any issues.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    Quote Originally Posted by ady View Post

    I'm shocked you guys are having issues with Lynx bases. I have Lynx bases and rings on all my rifles with zero issues. My working rifle scope hasn't budged or had any issues.
    I have to agree, I have been using this type of bases for 4 decades and have never had an issue. I still use them on two rifles, one of them a .30-'06 working rifle that spends a lot of time in the veld.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Scope base or picatinny - overthinking it again?

    I had them on a relatively heavy .308 which was virtually always shot with a silencer. Relatively mild recoil in other words.
    But the rifle does have a pretty heavy scope. Around 900g.

    The base of the ring, where it sits on the base became deformed from the stud pounding on it, to the point where the rings did not sit flat on the bases anymore.

    The mounting faces were ground flat and within a couple of 100 rounds it happened again. After that I just welded the rings to the bases, and never had a problem again.

    I think with smaller, lighter scopes the Lynx mounts probably work well enough, but I won't take the risk again.

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