Many shooters believe that they need tactical rings and bases when in fact they spend 95% of their shooting time shooting from a bench at the local shooting range. In reality, a typical cheap aluminum scope ring would serve them just fine in these conditions. Now, do not get me wrong, the high quality (and expensive) rings and bases like Leupold Mark4, Badger Ordnance, US optics, TPS, Warne and others are fantastic and are far more durable and grip the scope more solid than an average hunting ring… but are certainly overkill for most rifles, even tactical rifles. Those agencies that are on a tight budget or otherwise limited in what they can spend, may need to look into alternatives. One good example of a more affordable, but still very good ring is the Leupold PRW weaver style rings. I have also been aware of Burris zee-rings for a while now, and thought their insert concept was interesting for solving the ring mark and tube damage problem (without lapping the rings). But, what made me interested in reviewing them now was the availability of offset inserts. The inserts that are used on the signature series are available as off set, one half being thicker than the other. This allows you to get the same effect as using a canted base to gain some up elevation from your scope. So, I set out to see just how well this system may work.
I was finishing up the sub $800 custom rifle project and needed to mount the scope on it. So I figured this was a good time to try out these Burris rings. Since I was mounting a Burris scope (fullfield II 3-9x50mm) it was a good match. In keeping with the nature of the rifle, I opted to use an affordable (read cheap) B-Square single piece weaver style aluminum base. The base worked, I guess that is about all I need to say about it. The Burris rings are nicely machined and are good quality. They are of the single screw design where you attach the halves together, so I would say heavy field work is out, though the pos-align inserts do help with gripping power, so they are probably better than just “light” duty. One of the first things I noticed is that to mount them, you have to completely remove the cross screw and then slide the ring forward or back along the base. You see, the rings get their name “zee” from the way the rings are cut to provide a mount. If you look at the picture above, you will see the zigzag “zee” shaped cut. It works well, but does require the “different” procedure of sliding it along the base.
This brings me to one of the problems I have with the rings. The cross screws to tighten the rings to the base has a flat head on it, where as the screws to attach the top half of the rings to the bottom are a torque head. Torque heads, or allen heads, are superior to a flat head arrangement because it prevents the driving head from slipping out, possibly scratching the scope (if removing the rings & scope as a unit), rings or even the rifle. Also, why would it be different from the other screws? It is fairly common for good quality rings to provide torque or allen heads on these cross screws, look no further than Leupold PRW rings. All that being said, I mounted up bases without scratching anything
Now it was time to mount the scope. Setting the bottom half of the inserts into the rings, then estimating where the scope needed to go, and putting the scope into the inserts. The fit is tight into the inserts, preventing movement of the scope within the inserts. This means you cannot slide the scope easily within the rings when they are loose during mounting. This slows the process down as you have to lift the scope out of the inserts to move it forward or back when adjusting the placement of the scope for eye relief. Nothing critical, but slows you down a bit. Once you get it close, then you loosely put on the top half of the rings using the torque head screws. You can twist the scope slightly while the rings are not tight, in order to align the reticule. Once that is done, tighten everything up. Here is where the beauty of the insert system comes into play, as you can tighten up the rings without fear of damaging your scope tube, or even putting ring marks on it.
Well, at this point, things were all mounted up, the only real test was to take the rifle to the range and shoot it and check for any scope movement of which there was none. The rifle is a .30-06 that is fairly heavy, probably about 10 lbs with optics on, so recoil wasn’t severe, but not minimal either. Now, I did want to try out the offset inserts, so the original mounting was done with the non offset inserts for the initial rifle test fire and zero. Then I switched over to the 0.010″ offset which is supposed to be about 10 MOA. Whether up, down, left or right depends on the orientation in which you put them inside of the rings. So you could compensate for out of align scope mounting holes, or other problems. You can also get them in 0.005″ and 0.020″. Now, if you combine offsetting the front AND the back, you can get anywhere from 5 MOA – 40 MOA of adjustments from the inserts being offset. But I just went with the 0.010″ in the front, putting the thicker half on top causing the point of impact to rise, forcing me to dial in more down, therefore giving me more up elevations in the scope (I hope you followed that).
The inserts are clearly marked on top with a +10 or -10 so you do not get confused. With everything all mounted up and back in place, I headed to the range again. Now, I figured I would just assume everything worked great, so I dialed in 10 MOA of down before I fired anything and then started. The scope was 2 MOA high, so I dialed in another 2 MOA of down (total of 12 MOA from original zero) and 1 MOA left to get it zeroed. Once there, everything was as it should be and functioned great, with an added 12 MOA of up elevation in my scope. Not bad at all. Because you are putting those inserts in by hand and there is no perfect way to align them, you will often times have the slight left or right deviation like I did. But it is generally not much and no problem at all.
The rings are good quality steel, built nicely, and work well. The pos-align inserts on their own are a good idea for not damaging your scope, but when you can get inserts of various offsets, it becomes a very flexible system. I do really wish Burris would change the head on the cross screws, but beyond that there are no real complains beyond the added difficulty of mounting and I can recommend these rings for light to medium duty, and as an affordable way to get MOA slanting from your mounting system. For a heavy duty solution, though only for 30mm scopes, from Burris, look at their XTR rings, they are also very nice.