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Optics

Extension Rings

by Hugh Birnbaum   |  January 3rd, 2011 0

Every now and then, the simple act of mounting a riflescope turns nightmarish when we realize that the scope’s proportions prevent positioning it properly. We may be unable to slide it far enough forward or back to obtain the desired eye relief, or perhaps part of the scope impedes or prevents operating the action. If only the scope tube were a tad longer or shorter, the flare of the objective bell, the turret saddle, or the magnification control wouldn’t jam against a mount ring. Just another half-inch or so of travel would solve the problem.


This see-through-style extension-ring set with one standard and one offset ring positions a Leupold 24X target scope properly for the silhouette shooter while providing adequate clearance between the front ring and the flare of the objective bell.

The easiest and most practical off-the-shelf remedy comes in the form of extension mount rings. Unlike a standard scope ring that rises straight up from the mount base, an extension ring has an offset profile that locates the upper portion about a half-inch ahead of or behind the engagement point where the ring meets the base. In most cases, such rings are bi-directional, allowing installation with the offset to the front or rear as needed. Like standard mount rings, extension rings are available in a variety of heights, from low to very high see-through versions, and in ring diameters to suit common scope-tube dimensions.

Extension rings are offered by most major sources of mounting hardware to fit Weaver-style and Redfield-pattern bases. In the latter lines, mounting options may be slightly limited because frequently only the front dovetailed ring is an extension ring. Clamped by opposed screws that provide windage adjustment, the rear ring is, with few exceptions, a conventional vertical ring.

Extension-ring sets for Weaver-contour bases are usually available in two combinations. One provides an extension ring and a standard ring that are interchangeable for mounting in either the front or rear cross slots according to your requirements. The other ring pack, which I have come to prefer, includes two extension rings for maximum mounting versatility. You can position the rings with the offsets matching or opposed in order to either increase or decrease the distance between them respectively. There are relatively few scope-positioning problems that cannot be cured with a pair of extension rings.


A high double-extension-ring combination allows comfortable placement of a Leupold 25X silhouette scope without crowding the flare of the objective bell or the turret saddle against either ring.

Installing extension rings is as simple and straightforward as attaching standard rings. As always, read the instructions sheet packed with the rings before touching a tool. One area where caution is advisable concerns scope placement within the rings. Don’t get carried away. Leave at least 1/8 inch of clearance, and preferably a bit more, between the ring and the flare of the objective bell, the adjustment turret, or other critical areas of the scope. The object is to avoid damaging the scope when tightening the ring caps that secure the tube.

Some shooters balk at using extension rings on aesthetic grounds. They don’t like the looks of a scope ring with a crick in it. Well, I’d rather have a crick in my scope rings than a crick in my neck from trying to squint through an awkwardly mounted scope. Think about it.

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