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Best Scope Mount

Best Scope Mount – What The Pros Use

I’m currently publishing a series of posts that highlight the gear the 200 top-ranked shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) are running in long-range rifle matches. (Learn about the Precision Rifle Series.) This group of competitors represents the best precision rifle shooters in the country. My last post focused on the rifle scopes this group of shooters was running, and this one will cover their scope mounts and rings these guys are mounting those in.

I know so many shooters who save and save for their first precision rifle, and then save and save for a capable scope … but then buy whatever cheap rings the local gun shop has in stock. The scope mount is the bridge connecting what you’re using to aim with what is actually firing the bullet. I’d strongly recommend that if you buy a nice rifle and scope, please don’t cut corners on the mount. That’s like a player in the NFL who has an unbelievable kickoff return, but he starts celebrating a little too quickly and accidentally fumbles on the 5-yard line instead of scoring a touchdown. Doh! Cheap rings can allow the scope to move under recoil (in erratic ways that are hard to diagnose) or even damage the tube of your scope. That doesn’t mean you have to spend $400, but it probably does mean at least $100.

Most Popular Brands of Scope Mounts

The chart below shows a complete breakdown of the brands of scope mounts that were used by 2 or more of these top 200 ranked shooters in the PRS. There were a few additional brands that 1 of the shooters surveyed said they used, and those are listed towards the end of the article.

Best Scope Mounts and Scope Rings

On the chart above, the various colors represent where a shooter landed in terms of season rank in the PRS. For example, black indicates shooters who finished in the top 10, the darkest blue is people who finished 11-25, and the lighter the blue, the further out they finished in overall standings. The chart legend itemizes the ranks each color represents, but basically, the darker the color, the higher the shooter’s overall ranking.

I’ll dive into each of the top brands below, but before we do that – let’s look at how many of these guys prefer to run a one-piece mount vs. rings.

One-Piece Scope Mount vs Scope Rings

The chart below represents all brands and competitors that were ranked in the top 200 in terms of PRS Season standings.

Scope Rings vs One-Piece Mount

You can see that one-piece mounts are more than twice as popular as traditional scope rings among these elite shooters. 71% said they’re using a one-piece scope mount, and 29% said they’re using rings.

But let’s take a closer look at those who finished at the very top. The chart below is limited to those who finished in the top 50 on the season.

Scope Rings vs One-Piece Mount Among Top 50

9 of the top 10 shooters said they used a one-piece mount. However, there are clearly world-class shooters using both systems.

Hawkins Precision Scope Mount: 30%

Hawkins Precision was the most popular brand of scope mount, representing 30% of these top marksmen. That included 3 of the top 10 shooters: #1 Kahl Harmon, #4 Austin Orgain, and #5 Austin Buschman.

Hawkins offers both rings and a one-piece mount. Last year, I interviewed both Austin Buschman and Austin Orgain. Buschman was using the Hawkins Heavy Tactical Rings, and Orgain was using the Hawkins Heavy Tactical One-Piece Mount. Both guys are PRS Season Champions – so obviously, those are both great options. I’d suspect most of these shooters are using one of those Heavy Tactical products instead of the more lightweight rings that Hawkins offers.

Hawkins Heavy Tactical One Piece Mount Rings Review

So, how many were using Hawkins rings vs a one-piece mount?

Hawkins Scope Mount Rings vs One-Piece Mount

60% were using the Hawkins Heavy Tactical One-Piece Mount, and 40% were using their rings. There were top 10 shooters in both groups, so either one are a great option.

Andy Hawkins, the founder of Hawkins Precision, is a competitive shooter himself and finished 47th overall in the 2023 PRS Season Open Division! Clearly, Andy knows first-hand the kind of gear that you need to compete at the highest levels.

The street price of Hawkins Heavy Tactical One-Piece Mount is $342, and their Hawkins Heavy Tactical Rings are $223. But, one thing to keep in mind while you’re comparing against other top brands is that Hawkins includes both an integral bubble level AND a “diving board” picatinny rail.

Diving Board Picatinny Rail on Scope Mount

The “diving board” is a picatinny rail that mounts above the objective bell. A picatinny rail in that location is sometimes also called a RAPTAR rail because it’s where some people mount a rangefinder, like the Wilcox RAPTAR. For PRS-style shooting, that rail provides a place to put pressure down on the rifle with your hand while shooting positionally without causing a point-of-impact shift. If you put pressure down on the objective bell of your scope, it may cause a shift in your point of aim – causing your bullet to not impact where you intended. You will see many of the pro shooters use the technique that Austin Orgain is demonstrating in the photo.

Some of the other brands (e.g., Spuhr, Gray Ops, Area 419) offer scope mounts where you can add a diving board on the front, but they charge $80 to $120 for that additional accessory. So, if you were planned to add a diving board, the all-in cost of the Hawkins Precision one-piece mount or rings are a pretty clear value in comparison.

Spuhr Scope Mount: 21%

The 2nd most popular brand of scope mount was Spuhr. The last time I surveyed the pros was 5 years ago, and Spuhr was the #1 brand back then, with 27% of the top-ranked shooters. They aren’t far off that mark this year, with 21% of these top-ranked shooters running a Spuhr mount.

There were 4 shooters who finished in the top 10 who were running the Spuhr mount: #6 Kyle Mccormack, #7 Jeff Guerry, #9 Chris Kutalek, and #10 Nick Gadarzi. That was one more than Hawkins, which makes Spuhr the most popular option among the top 10.

Spuhr Scope Mount Review

The Spuhr Ideal Scope Mount is one of the most extensible scope mounts with attachment interfaces covering it for mounting accessories. This could include dope card holders, cosine indicators, reflex sights, lasers, other rails, nightvision equipment, etc. There are really no limitations to what can be attached – I’ve even seen a GoPro camera mounted to a Spuhr. The extensible interfaces provide maximum flexibility with a minimal footprint.

It also features an integral bubble level and has a very compact design that shouldn’t get in your way of seeing your elevation turret.

Sphur Scope Mount

Spuhr does offer independent rings, but you can see in the chart below that almost all of these guys prefer to use their one-piece mount.

The downside of the Spuhr mount is the price. The street price is $475 (when this was written), which makes them the most expensive mount on this list. The separate rings aren’t much less at $430. If you want to add a diving board on the front, you’ll add another $107. (Note: After trying a few different Spuhr diving board sizes, I ended up preferring the Spuhr A-0029 rail, which is their medium size.)

Masterpiece Arms Scope Mount: 12%

12% said they were running Masterpiece Arms (MPA) Scope Mounts, which was about the same percentage as 5 years ago. That included one shooter from the top 10 running the MPA BA Scope Mount: #3 Morgun King.

In fact, if you look at the top 25 – MPA had as many scope mounts represented as Hawkins or Spuhr. All 3 companies had 6 shooters represented among the top 25.

Of those running MPA mounts, all of them said they were running MPA’s one-piece mount (not rings).

Masterpiece Arms MPA BA Scope Mount

The MPA BA One-Piece Mount has a street price of $275, which makes it the lowest-priced one-piece mount that was used by 5 or more pro shooters. So, if you’re looking for value, the MPA BA Mount brings a lot to the table.

MDT Scope Mount: 8%

8% of these top-ranked pros said they ran an MDT Scope Mount, including Andy Slade, who finished 2nd overall and won the 2023 AG Cup.

MDT makes both a one-piece mount and traditional scope rings, so here is a breakdown of what these shooters chose to run on their match rifle:

MDT Scope Mount Rings vs One-Piece Mount

You can see world-class competitors run both options. MDT only has one model of their one-piece mount, but I would suspect these guys were all running the MDT Elite Rings (not their lightweight models).

MDT One-Piece Mount Elite Scope Rings

The street price on the MDT One-Piece Scope Mount is $400, and the MDT Elite Scope Rings are $280.

Gray Ops CNC Scope Mount: 6%

Gray Ops Scope Mount

6% of the shooters were running a scope mount made by Dave Preston over at Gray Ops CNC, including #8 Ken Sanoski.

Gray Ops only released these scope mounts in May 2023, and I did this survey around the finale at the end of the 2023 season. Most of these guys are very hesitant to change any aspect of their competition rifle mid-season, so the fact that 6% had already moved over to them says a lot. You could reasonably expect that percentage to be higher once the product has been out an entire year – especially over the off-season when pro shooters typically experiment with new gear.

When I reached out to Dave to confirm the release date, he said, “The mounts have been gaining steam, and people really seem to like the high quality and slew of accessories for them.” You can see some of the accessories, like a diving board and bubble level, in the photo.

Gray Ops currently only offers one-piece scope mounts (not rings), so that is what all of these top shooters were using.

Dave Preston PRS Shooter David Preston

I’d expect that most people reading this have some experience with Gray Ops products, but for those that might not – they are very, very well-made and thought-out products. Dave Preston, owner of Gray Ops CNC, has an engineering background and was the 2015 PRS Season Champion. He remains competitive, finishing 21st in the 2023 PRS season rankings. Anything that Gray Ops CNC makes is an extremely capable product, and I’m sure these scope mounts are no exception.

The street price of the Gray Ops Scope Mount is $390, and the optional diving board accessory is $120.

American Rifle Company Scope Mount: 3%

American Rifle Company (ARC) had 3% of these top-ranked shooters running their scope mounts and rings.

American Rifle Company Scope Rings Mount

American Rifle Company is known for innovative engineering. They certainly aren’t a “me too” manufacturer that copies existing designs or makes incremental improvements. You can see an example of that in their scope mount and ring design, which has a very unique design with 2 hinges on each ring.

American Rifle Company ARC M-Brace Scope Ring Mount Design

The hinged, split-ring design puts pressure on the scope tube in a more uniform manner, and helps keep the scope level and aligned as you tighten it down. They also are low profile so you have a clear view of all of your turrets.

ARC offers both rings and one-piece mounts and these top-ranked shooters were evenly split on which they preferred to run in competition:

American Rifle Company ARC Scope Mount Rings vs One-Piece Mount

ARC offers a ton of different sizes and heights of scope mounts/rings. Many scope manufacturers have low, medium, and high rings – but they add extra low and extra high options – and also offer them in 1”, 30mm, 34mm, 35mm, 36mm, and 40mm scope tube diameters!

American Rifle Company ARC Scope Mount Ring Sizes

The street price for the ARC One-Piece M-Brace Mount is $279, and the M-Brace rings are $179 – making them some of the most affordable products on this list.

Leupold Scope Rings: 3%

3% of the 200 top-ranked shooters in the PRS said they ran Leupold scope rings. Leupold does make one-piece scope mounts, but all of these shooters who said they used a Leupold scope mount said they were using rings. None of the shooters using Leupold as a mount were in the top 10, but there were a couple in the top 50.

Doug Koenig PRS

One of those guys who said they were running Leupold rings was Doug Koenig, who is a world champion pistol competitor and now is a high-ranking competitor in the PRS’s Production Division. I met Doug at Clay’s Cartridge Classic PRS Match earlier this year, and I’ve watched a few of his videos and it looks like he’s using the Leupold Mark 4 Scope Rings. Those are Leupold’s beefier, tactical rings – and I’d bet the other shooters running Leupold rings are likely using those same rings, too.

Leupold Mark 4 Scope Rings Review

The Leupold Mark 4 scope rings have a street price of just $111, making them the lowest-priced scope mounting option that was used by 5 or more of these pro-level PRS shooters.

Other Scope Mounts Used By The Pros:

The scope mounts listed above represent 84% of these shooters who were ranked in the top 200 in the PRS and include all of the brands used by those who finished the season in the top 25. But, there was a list of other scope mounts and rings represented among these world-class marksmen. The list below are all of the mounts used by 1-4 shooters.

To be clear, I’m not trying to say these are “not as good” as those others, but the data simply says they weren’t as popular. Often, this is the place you might find new, innovative products that haven’t been widely adopted yet.

Used By 3-4 Shooters:

Used By 1-2 Shooters:

Street Price of Most Popular Mounts & Rings

Finally, here is a recap of the street prices for all of the one-piece scope mounts and rings that were used by 5 or more shooters. This seemed like a helpful view to compare the different options, especially for those on a budget. They are in the order of popularity among this group, with the most popular on top.

Street Price of Best Scope Mount and Best Scope Rings

It might surprise some to see how much these guys are spending on their scope mounts but remember: it is the bridge connecting the thing that actually launches the bullet with what you’re using to aim it. That is a critical bridge! I’m not saying you have to spend $400 if you want to be competitive or hit targets at long-range, but it also isn’t a place you want to be cutting corners either.

Ultimately, the question comes down to this: “Is It Worth It?” There is no one-size-fits-all “right” answer. The answer to that question largely depends on your personal circumstances and the intended application. Something is worth it if the benefit exceeds the cost – to you. If “it’s worth it largely depends on what money means to you. We all come from different circumstances. I get people commenting about whether something is “worth it” or not so often that I wrote what I feel is a mature and comprehensive view of that question: Is It Worth It?

Coming Up Next

If you enjoyed this content, there is more to come! Over the next few months, I’ll be publishing a ton of data on what the top precision rifle shooters are using. Check out the other “What The Pros Use” articles that have already been published.

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About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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4 comments

  1. Hi, rather then tell me how many people use x,y, and z,- many of whom may be paid to use those mounts- why not tell the differences between each mount and the pros and cons of each mount. Maybe I might be smart enough to decide for my own self which one to buy?

    • Ha! Nobody is being paid to use a mount. It’s funny how many people think these guys are getting money thrown at them.

      I’m just reporting the data and adding a little commentary. I feel like I did point out some differences … but the truth is, there aren’t a lot of differences beyond what I mentioned. Many are similar designs made with similar machines and processes.

      Best of luck to you, Sam!

      Thanks,
      Cal

    • I anticipate given recent price increases (due to tariffs) on Spuhr, Hawkins and GrayOps will fight for 1st and 2nd place very soon.

      Having used Spuhr for nearly a decade, one simply cannot stomach the price of the mounts. In my experience, including myself, most people stick with Spuhr because of the attachment system. As more companies offer different accessories, heights, cant, etc (ahem… GrayOps) people will look for alternative, high quality mounts.

      Thanks again for the write-ups!

      • That’s a great point, Dustin. I’d noticed the trend on pricing, but I guess I didn’t think about how tariffs impact the Spuhr mount, but not the others. Since most of these products are made in the US, it’s easy to forget how international politics can make it harder for imported products to compete. I do think you’re right. There was a time when the options seemed to be either traditional rings or a Spuhr mount with all the extensibility options. If you looked at my
        “What The Pros Use” article on scope mounts from 10 years ago … you can see that was true! Scope Mounts – What The Pros Use 2014 Edition

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
        Cal