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Unimounts are a Stronger Way to Attach a Scope to a Rifle
A Spuhr mount on the author's 6mm Creed comp rifle. (Bill Buckley/)
Unlike traditional scope rings, which attach independently to the tube of a riflescope, a unimount creates a bridge between the rings that increases the rigidity and reliability of one of the most failure-prone elements on a long gun.
There are other benefits to these systems as well. Some offer additional mounting points for accessories. Among the more useful I’ve employed are hangers for dope cards, mounts for red-dot sights, and shot-angle indicators. The red-dots are handy for getting on hard-to-find targets quickly, and the angle indicators work great when you’re shooting in steep terrain. I’ve put all four of these mounts through hard use in competition and while hunting, and they all performed admirably. Whether the extra bulk (and often cost) of these systems is worthwhile is up to you to decide, but for peace of mind, they can’t be beat.
Spuhr SP-4001 (Bill Buckley/)Weight: 8.57 oz.Price: $410Sizes (mm): 30, 34, 35, 36, 40Cant (mil): 0, 3, 6, 9, 13, 16, 18
This Swedish mount is built like a tank and is packed with innovative features that help make the price tag easier to swallow. Using 12 T-20 Torx fasteners on its wide (1.26-inch) rings, the Spuhr holds the scope in place with a grizzly-strength bear hug. The clamping mechanism is numbered 1 through 5 so you know which order to tighten down the screws. It comes with a built-in bubble level so the shooter can correct rifle cant. Multiple attachment points allow for the mounting of accessories.
Perhaps the coolest feature is the ramped slot machined into the bridge. During scope installation, you slide a wedge into the slot that pushes up against the flat underside of the scope tube, automatically leveling the scope in the mount.
MDT One-Piece Scope Mount
MDT One-Piece Scope Mount (Bill Buckley/)Weight: 11.36 oz.Price: $329Sizes (mm): 34, 35Cant (mil): 0
This mount is the definition of over-engineered. It has the longest clamping surface (nearly 5 ½ inches) of any of the unimounts I tested and is secured to the rifle by cranking down on the four cross-bolt half-inch nuts, which are helpfully numbered so you know which order to tighten them in. Each of the scope rings clamps down with six T-25-size Torx fasteners.
Like the other mounts in this review, the MDT is machined from aluminum, but because it has no weight-reducing contour cuts, it is the largest and heaviest of the lot. MDT says that extra material provides extra strength and rigidity, and with many competitors adding weight to their rifles, the 11.36-ounce weight can be viewed as a feature rather than a bug.
The MDT also has an integral recoil lug on the underside of the mount.
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American Rifle Company M-10 QD-L
American Rifle Company M-10 QD-L (Bill Buckley/)Weight: 8.64 oz.Price: $300Sizes (mm): 30, 34, 35Cant (mil): 0, 20, 30
This mount has a couple of features that set it apart from the rest of the field. Most notable is the way the scope rings function. Rather than have two separate pieces that clamp together with multiple fasteners, like two clamshells coming together, the top portion of the ring is split in half. When the single fastener that holds the split halves together is removed, those pieces splay apart like wings to allow the scope to be set in place. This system provides even clamping pressure on the scope tube and prevents the scope from rotating as the rings are tightened.
The rail clamps are also different. The spring-loaded rail clamps have a high pivot point that places more of the clamping force on the rail and less on the ring itself.
All told, this mount has just four fasteners total—the fewest by far, making it the simplest to use and install.
MPA BA Bolt-Action Mount
MPA BA Bolt-Action Mount (Bill Buckley/)Weight: 6.8 oz.Price: $250Sizes (mm): 30, 34, 35, and 36, and 1 inchCant (mil): 0, 20
The MPA unimount keeps the clutter to a minimum. The two mounting fasteners sit flush in the base when the clamps are tightened down, giving the sides a clean look. The MPA’s two clamps each have two pins that serve as recoil lugs to align the base within the recesses on a Picatinny rail. The lugs help keep the mount from slipping under recoil and assist with returning the scope to zero should the shooter remove and then reattach the mount.
At 6.8 ounces, this is the lightest of the unimounts I tested, and it would be a good choice for use on a hunting rifle, where keeping the overall weight down is a priority. To trim ounces, MPA machined multiple recesses into the unit and employed four Torx T-25 fasteners on each ring rather than six.