June 27, 2022
Besides red-dot optics, low-powered variable optics (LPVOs) are hands-down the most popular optic for the AR-15 platform. They usually start at 1X magnification and most commonly go up to 6X, 8X or 10X, with a few newer options going even higher. In the 3-Gun competition crowd, LPVOs are almost exclusively what we see, and they are used extensively by militaries and civilians around the world, too. When it comes to mounting LPVOs, a one-piece, or cantilever, mount is the go-to option.
Compared to most bolt-action rifles, ARs have a flat top rail, so mounted optics generally need to sit higher than their bolt-action counterparts. That’s why cantilever mounts are so popular. Not only is the one-piece design more durable and easier to mount than those with two-piece rings, but it also optimizes the height for scope-mounted ARs. Cantilever mounts are not limited to LPVOs, either. Precision AR-15s or AR-10/LR-308 rifles with high-powered optics also work well and are often better than two-piece mounts.
Like two-piece rings, there are tons of different options and styles of cantilever mounts, and it can be challenging to get started. Below, we’ve put together many popular brands that offer both generic and specialized cantilever mounts for every discipline of shooting to help decide on the best mount for you.
Today, Seekins Precision is well-known for its high-quality rifles, but the company actually got started with scope rings when the founder, Glen Seekins, missed a deer due to broken scope rings. Seekins Precision Seekins Precision are exceptional, and they are considered by many the gold standard of scope rings. Their Monolithic Extended Mount (MXM) is their flagship offering in the cantilever department, and they boast the rings don’t need to be lapped. Machined from 7075-T6-series aluminum, the MXM is also Type III hardcoat anodized in a non-glare, matte-black finish. They mount with an integral, flat recoil lug and use Grade 8 Torx fasteners. The MXM cantilever mount is available in 1-inch, 30mm and 34mm options in either 0 or 20-MOA.
Vortex has an extensive line of LPVOs that are incredibly popular with AR enthusiasts, so they have a cantilever line to match. Their flagship cantilever mount is the Precision QR Extended Mount, which has a pricy MSRP of $399. Besides the quality of the rings, that higher cost comes from the dual quick-detach attachment points, which is not seen on many scope rings. This is a nice feature to quickly swap a scope between rifles. For those that don’t need the QD option, the Vortex Sport cantilever comes in at just $179 MSRP. It’s always popular to match brands on your builds, and the Vortex cantilever mounts will match your scope in looks and quality.
Aero Precision is a relatively new manufacturer in the AR world, but they’ve quickly become known for their high quality at affordable prices. Many who buy their rifles also pick their Ultralight cantilever mounts, but they’re also becoming popular with the AR market as a whole. As one can guess by the name, their scope mounts are incredibly light weight, and it’s never a bad idea to save ounces wherever one can. They offer several different models to optimize eye relief to personal preference, which can vary greatly from user to user on the AR-15 platform. Made from 6061-T6-series aluminum and available in tan or black, these high-quality rings are some of the most affordable on the market today.
Geissele Automatics is one of the best names in the AR world. Their handguards and triggers are especially coveted, and their mounting options maintain the Geissele standard. Their Super Precision series is extensive in color, eye relief options, rings size and scope compatibility. As onc can expect with Geissele, their expensive, with the MSRP starting at $325 in the Super Precision line. However, one can rest assured that your scope won’t be going anywhere once it is properly mounted, and zeros won’t shift due to the high quality of the rings. The nut and bolt attachment method the Super Precision Series uses boasts an impressive 1,400 pounds of clamping force, so good luck trying to overtighten these rings.
Warne is incredibly well-known for their scope rings, and they have been in the ring business for some time. They’re especially popular in the competition crowd thanks to the many different color options they offer along with excellent durability. Their XSKEL334R Gen 2 Extended is popular thanks to the skeletonized feature of the rings. It reduces the weight of the rings and gives it a cool aesthetic. Starting at an MSRP of $160, their reasonably priced and are a great option for those who like to match colors on their AR. While these use a nut and bolt mounting system, their most premium Precision Cantilever line uses an integral recoil lug mounting system and boasts even more features over their other cantilever mounts. Warne also offers an entry-level line of mounts, but whatever mounting options you decide on, they will meet your needs with quality, durability and good looks.
American Defense MFG
American Defense Manufacturing makes an extensive line of mounts for more than just scopes. If you need to mount lights, lasers, red dots or anything else, ADM makes some of the most premium mounts on the market today, and their firearms are solid, too. Their cantilever scope mounting line is almost exclusively QD styled, and they have tons of different mounting options to highly tune optics to one’s preferred style. All their options are incredibly durable, and they are a go-to ring when one wants to set their LPVO at a height to pair with night vision optics. Most options start in the $200 range, but they are packed with features and provide tons of options to optimize your AR.
Leupold makes some of the best scopes in the world, and their LPVO line is highly popular with militaries, civilians and competitors around the world. Their MARK AR line ensures end-users have a cantilever mount that matches the quality of their LPVOs. They use a five-bolt attachment design with three lugs to securely fit the mount to top Picatinny rails, which they call their Integrated Mounting System (IMS). Their IMS one-piece mounts also boasts a series of options for bolt-action rifles. Leupold scope rings will also match the aesthetics of their riflescopes, but they’re a high-quality and excellent option for other brands, too.
For more budget-minded cantilever mounts, Weaver offers several options for those looking to mount an LPVO to their AR without the need for as many bells and whistles. Their Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) line of cantilever rings is set to the optimal height for LPVOs, and they do use an integral recoil lug for a secure attachment. They’re not too heavy, and they have a minimalist aesthetic that doesn’t take away from your rifle or optic. Weaver has been making rings for some time, and while they are considered by many as a “budget” brand, their rings have been effectively used by many AR enthusiasts.