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Rings and bubbles: when does price matter?

longrange772

Sergeant of the Hide
Full Member
Minuteman
Apr 19, 2021
118
103
US
Dark Lord of Optics just dropped a post on Locals discussing a variety of rings at different price points. This is something that I have thought about quite a bit. I have read frequently on SH, "would you use $70 rings on your $3000 scope?" or something similar. Why wouldn't you? If $70 Arken or Athlon rings hold my $400 scope in place securely it doesn't seem like a stretch to think they will keep a scope costing 10x securely in place as well. I get some mounts like Spuhr have additional capabilities beyond just holding a scope in place. I am just considering the secure mounting perspective for this post.

Another item that seems to fall into this "cost as a percentage of over all rig cost" argument are bubble levels. Most, if not all, seem to be made in China and if you look on Amazon many seem to be exactly the same except for the logo spray painted on them. Outside of something like Accuracy 1st, where they claim some indication of various levels of cant, they pretty much all appear about the same but can go from $12-$150. Yeah, some seem to have more play around the bubble but can't say I have seen a huge difference between a $15 and a $50 one.

I have searched around for some objective testing but haven't seen much out there. Most arguments seem to be based on more $$ inherently means more quality. I am pretty new to long range shooting and regularly shoot to 1100 yards. Maybe those issues just don't manifest until you get further out.
 
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Things to consider, depending on your use case:

- Ease of use (scope rings): Not all rings are created equal. If all you want is holding power, yes, most out there from reputable makers are perfectly fine. But...I'd submit that you don't just want holding power. You want concentricity (within reason), and that's part of what you pay for. And once you've loosened and tightened and loosened and tightened the rings for the eight time trying to keep the scope level, you might decide you want ARC MBRACE rings which don't have that problem. They cost more, and other rings out there are good, but it's so dang easy to get your setup right with the ARC rings that once you try them, you won't go back. And if you're telling yourself "I only have to get it set once, so it's only a pain once" then...maybe you're right! But you're probably wrong lol; you want to upgrade your scope, or you want to adjust eye relief, or you move it to a different gun with a different LOP...you'd be surprised how often they get messed with.

- Ease of use (bubble level): I have the Vortex bubble level, the chunky one. And I like the bubble portion of it, but it's so thicc that I can't install it without removing the scope from the gun. This is sufficiently annoying that I'm about ready to change to a different model. You may not run into this, but again, if you start fiddling, or moving the level to other scopes, or various other very reasonable scenarios, you might find that you prefer one with a single tension screw and thin enough to slip under a mounted scope. YMMV.

Not everything is worth more $$, but some quality-of-life features can only be had at higher price tiers. You might find that you can get by with cheaper options, but many of us have played that game and eaten the expensive bullet to have an easier time of it.
 
Use what works for you. If it holds the scope secure then it holds the scope secure. Kind of like scopes as when you hit a certain level then anything more doesn't have much of a advantage to double or triple the price to most. And if you have to set the rings 8 times when mounting then you need some instruction on how to mount a scope. LOL

Kind of the same for levels. Is it level? Either yes or no. Have used a bunch from electronic versions years ago before they because the new cool to cheaper models and they all worked for me. I like a simple level myself.
 
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Things to consider, depending on your use case:

- Ease of use (scope rings): Not all rings are created equal. If all you want is holding power, yes, most out there from reputable makers are perfectly fine. But...I'd submit that you don't just want holding power. You want concentricity (within reason), and that's part of what you pay for. And once you've loosened and tightened and loosened and tightened the rings for the eight time trying to keep the scope level, you might decide you want ARC MBRACE rings which don't have that problem. They cost more, and other rings out there are good, but it's so dang easy to get your setup right with the ARC rings that once you try them, you won't go back. And if you're telling yourself "I only have to get it set once, so it's only a pain once" then...maybe you're right! But you're probably wrong lol; you want to upgrade your scope, or you want to adjust eye relief, or you move it to a different gun with a different LOP...you'd be surprised how often they get messed with.

- Ease of use (bubble level): I have the Vortex bubble level, the chunky one. And I like the bubble portion of it, but it's so thicc that I can't install it without removing the scope from the gun. This is sufficiently annoying that I'm about ready to change to a different model. You may not run into this, but again, if you start fiddling, or moving the level to other scopes, or various other very reasonable scenarios, you might find that you prefer one with a single tension screw and thin enough to slip under a mounted scope. YMMV.

Not everything is worth more $$, but some quality-of-life features can only be had at higher price tiers. You might find that you can get by with cheaper options, but many of us have played that game and eaten the expensive bullet to have an easier time of it.
I too run ARC rings on three guns and I don’t care what they cost, their function iI.e. not rotating the scope as they are tightened) makes them worth it to me.
 
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Use what works for you. If it holds the scope secure then it holds the scope secure. Kind of like scopes as when you hit a certain level then anything more doesn't have much of a advantage to double or triple the price to most. And if you have to set the rings 8 times when mounting then you need some instruction on how to mount a scope. LOL

Kind of the same for levels. Is it level? Either yes or no. Have used a bunch from electronic versions years ago before they because the new cool to cheaper models and they all worked for me. I like a simple level myself.
Eh, I just leveled and mounted a scope in a public parking lot over the weekend in about 15 mins, counting the walk to and from my waterline. Fairly straightforward once you’ve done it a few times? Sure. But have I done it a few times? Also yes.

Setting eye relief, at least for positional shooting, is a bit of trial and error, and it’s not unusual to realize it’s 1/8” off after you shoot some drills or stages. Do that once or twice, realize you need to move rings to make room for your bubble level or the damn Archimedes bolt stop…the number of times you dork with it do start to add up.

And let’s be honest. Somebody asking what rings to get is gonna have some trial and error 😂
 
Eh, I just leveled and mounted a scope in a public parking lot over the weekend in about 15 mins, counting the walk to and from my waterline. Fairly straightforward once you’ve done it a few times? Sure. But have I done it a few times? Also yes.

Setting eye relief, at least for positional shooting, is a bit of trial and error, and it’s not unusual to realize it’s 1/8” off after you shoot some drills or stages. Do that once or twice, realize you need to move rings to make room for your bubble level or the damn Archimedes bolt stop…the number of times you dork with it do start to add up.

And let’s be honest. Somebody asking what rings to get is gonna have some trial and error 😂

Not really trial and error when you know where to set your scope and how to mount a level. Setting eye relief is easy but agree someone new might have issues but they will have a learning curve with any set up.
 
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