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How to Measure Scope Ring Height: Easy Beginner’s Guide

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scope ring_Jacopo Werther_Wikimedia

The one important thing that we’ve learned about life, is the fact that it always seems ruthless to those who pretend they don’t have time to unwind. You need time to relax. You could sign up for dancing classes, yoga, or maybe go hunting.

But if you choose to hunt, make sure the equipment you’re holding in your hands exudes premium quality, with a splash of perfection. Get it wrong, and the whole experience will be nothing more than a waste of time.

Take the scope rings, for example. They say a quality scope with the right ring height will offer you unrivaled accuracy, and focus. Positioning it will never feel like a hassle, and you won’t ever have to deal with constant forehead pokes.

scope crosshairs divider 2

What’s a Score Ring Height?


You know, we’ve realized the past couple of days we’ve only talked about scopes, and what they bring to the table. We were about to discuss a different kind of sighting device for the millionth time this week, but then we remembered, we’ve never really talked about scope rings—and how to effectively measure their heights—in any one of those past articles.

Therefore, to ensure you’re well covered on all aspects the next time you go out to get yourself one of these bad boys, we have to help you gain an accurate and deep understanding of the role they play in the entire setup.

And… we promise to keep it simple.

Measuring the Scope Ring Height 

insert scope_Iakov Filimonov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Iakov Filimonov, Shutterstock

We’re going to start with the installation of the scope mount on the weapon. You need to have your manufacturer’s instruction booklet next to you, just to make sure you’re doing it right. Get it wrong from the start, and you’ll be compelled to go through the entire process a second time. Cool? Okay, let’s move on.

By the way, we forgot to ask: Are your threads thoroughly degreased? Because both male and female threads have to be degreased beforehand. If they aren’t, please take care of it. But if they are, the next step is to torque every screw to the specification recommended in the instruction booklet. You’ll need a good quality torque wrench for this. Preferably, one that has a Calibration Certificate.

We now want to create two equal stacks in the area reserved for the scope rings. You can use coins, washers, or whatever you’re comfortable with. Place the scope next to the stack you’ve just created, and measure the height. If you feel the need to make a few adjustments, remove or add spacers.

Once you’re done making the adjustments, measure that height one more time, and write it down somewhere. It’s the scope ring measurement. 

Sounds Too Complicated?


Being a rookie, you might not fully understand the steps or methods that we’ve described above. Lucky you, this is a supportive community. So, what we’re going to do is give you a simpler alternative. In this second method, you first have to…

Figure out the scope height

To do that, all you have to do is estimate the front lens’ diameter. Add 3mm to that estimate, to account for that thick outer area of the device, and then divide that number by 2. That’s your scope height.

If you prefer working in inches, just divide it by 25.4.

The final step is to look for an online calculator. Key in that number together with the front lens’ diameter, and viola! You’ve got your scope ring height.

Do Not Just Settle on Any Scope Ring


Choosing a ring that guarantees the best fit is a process. It’s almost the same as choosing a good scope. You’ve got to take into consideration the scope’s diameter, and the width of your ring. If they both come with different measurements, they’ll never fit.

Most of the brands that we’ve worked with only produce scopes that have a tube diameter that’s an inch wide, 30 mm, or 34 mm. And these are great brands that have served the industry for eons. A larger diameter equates to more elevation adjustment range, rigidity, and durability. The exact words that you’d want to hear, if you’re a long-range shooter. But we’re obviously digressing. Let’s go back to the ring. 

The point is, if you’re going for a larger tube, think about the weight as well. The scope rings have to be strong enough to hold all that weight, and as large as the tube’s diameter. Always remember this because these are two things that go hand in hand. Almost like PB and J. 

Important Things to Remember


First off, different brands have different scope ring size variations. So, if you’re looking to avoid confusion, just work with a scope base and ring manufactured by the same brand. Secondly, the size of the scope’s objective lens will always be the factor that determines your ring’s height. The industry average is around 40 mm, so work around that.

Thirdly, the scope ring height can be measured in two ways: from the base to the ring edge or from the base to the ring center. Make sure you’re on the same page as the manufacturer when shopping for one.

And lastly, scope rings don’t attach the same way. Some will require a hex tool, but most of them can be screwed using your bare hands. It’s as simple as that.

Frequently Asked Questions

rifle scope_shepardhumphries, Pixabay
Image Credit: shepardhumphries, Pixabay

Does the Height Affect Accuracy?

No, it really doesn’t affect accuracy. How accurate the rifle is will depend on your position while holding it, and how well your scope has been mounted. If you’re not comfortable and the mount isn’t perfect, you’ll keep missing your shots. 

Can the scope touch the barrel?

That’s a no, buddy. In fact, this right here will definitely affect your accuracy, since the pressure exerted will, without a shadow of doubt, impact the barrel’s harmonics one way or another. But if it’s barely touching, that’s okay.

Is Lapping the Scope Rings Okay?

Yeah, it’s sometimes recommended to users looking for optimal performance. It aids in the proper alignment of the scope rings and increases the surface contact between the rings and the tube.

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In Conclusion

Adjusting your ring height is always an option. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Get it right on the first try, and you’ll get the perfect image clarity, without spraining your neck. Also, feel free to reach out should you have any questions.

Featured Image Credit: Jacopo Werther, Wikimedia

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.