Making Scope Ring Height Recommendations for Others


Senior Member
Jul 31, 2012
Billings, MT
To those of you who read this and are experts, it's not directed toward you and is not meant to demean, insult or belittle anybody. It is only meant to help the uninitiated or the mis-informed. You can go back and look at almost any thread on this forum wherein someone has inquired about scope ring height recommendations. They are always told to get low rings. That's a good recommendation, if they work for that particular individual asking the question. The better or more accurate recommendation would be "get the lowest rings that work for you".

Just knowing what height of rings will allow for scope clearance is only part of the equation. A lot of times that is indeed the basis for the question. We always hear and read people recommending "get low rings" which is absurd and potentially counterproductive. I say again, that recommendation is absurd and potentially counterproductive. People can give you recommendations as to what is the lowest right height that will allow for scope clearance. However, they have no idea how you hold the rifle, what your cheek weld is like or your neck length/anatomy. Now, the lower the better, is always best, as long as they line up for you.

This has always been kind of a pet peeve for me. Last weekend I met a young guy who started hunting and shooting only about 5 years ago. He asked me how I can possibly shoot while wearing safety glasses. I was curious and asked him why he asked. He told me that he sees guys who wear glasses, whether prescription or safety glasses, who can shoot scoped rifles while wearing their glasses and he can't figure how they can do it. He said when he tries that the top of his glasses bisect the scope. I asked him to let me watch him shoot. I watched him and he was shooting with his head tilted forward. Someone had told him that he needed to have low scope rings. He heeded the advice. So, because of his anatomy, he has to bend his neck and head forward to see through the scope, thus placing the tops of his eyeglass frames in his line of sight.

It's trial and error. If you are using low rings, and have similar difficulty, try this experiment. Close your eyes. Shoulder your already scoped rifle. Take a nice, comfortable grip and natural cheek-weld and then open your eyes. Is the scope lined up perfectly, or very close thereto, with your line of sight? Chances are, many on here are looking directly at the top half of their scope, or worse, looking over it. Solution? Get taller rings. Yes, you want your scope to be as close to the bore center as possible; but, it must be done in a natural manner and not in such a manner as you have to contort your body unnaturally to obtain a proper sight picture. Getting the proper ring height for your physiology, even if it requires mounting the optic higher, will make you a better shot.