With literally hundreds of companies producing scope mounts, it’s difficult to find the best one. I think the 1-Piece Cantilever Scope Mount from Wheeler Tools is the best scope mount on the market for an AR-15.
Most shooters and hunters prefer a cantilever scope mount, but many others don’t have a real good understanding of what a Cantilever scope mount is and why it’s important. We’ll hopefully help each AR-15 owner and potential hunter understand the importance of a cantilever scope mount and why we should all use one.
What is a Cantilever Scope Mount?
A cantilever scope mount simply means that the mount is only attached on one side, with the other side free hanging with a Picatinny rail system for weapon attachments.
A Cantilever scope mount is almost always made in a 1-[iece construction style, especially when they’re made for ARs. As everyone knows by now, a single-piece scope mount is going to be able to handle and distribute more recoil. This durable design is meant to ensure that you don’t lose your zero after a few shots from the reverberation of the recoil.
A Cantilever scope mount also always includes a built-in level to ensure that your scope mount and scope are going to be level and in line with each other. One of the biggest knocks of a 1-[iece cantilever is that it’s almost always heavier than having a 2-piece scope mount. This is absolutely true, but it comes down to what’s most important to you.
If a few ounces are important to you because your rifle is already loaded up with attachments, maybe a 2-piece is better for you. However, if you’re looking for the best consistency, accuracy, and durability, the 1-piece cantilever scope mount is going to be the best for you.
Eye relief matters more than a lot of gun nuts and bloggers write about because it’s not as interesting as the guns and scopes. If you’ve ever seen someone bust their eyebrow wide open or come to work with a black eye from shooting, it’s because their eye relief wasn’t set correctly.
For me, I always set my eye relief about 1" further than I initially think it is. One o the biggest issues shooters have with eye relief is they seem to think that a hunting rifle and AR-15 scope mount are going to be the same.
Every AR that I have owned or operated has a shorter eye relief than any hunting rifle that I’ve shot. With this in mind, a cantilever scope mount works perfectly for an AR.
Why is a Cantilever Perfect for an AR-15?
Most ARs have a Picatinny rail system that is stretched across the entire top of the rifle. That included both the handguard and the upper receiver. As most AR owners understand, it’s more difficult to maintain stability if the attachment is on the handguard. You’re more than likely to cause the optic to rattle and lose your zero within the first magazine.
The cantilever scope mount can be adjusted to fit entirely on the upper receiver and avoid placing pressure on the handguard. This will offer more stability and allow you to adjust your eye relief to fit your rifle and optic. With many 2-piece scope mounts, you are giving up the stability that the 1-piece mount enables.
Wheeler 1-Piece Cantilever Scope Mount
The Wheeler 1-piece Cantilever Scope Mount is the best scope mount for an AR-15 because this tool was specifically designed for an AR platform. You can move the mount further up on the receiver to offer a better and more comfortable eye relief. It’s ok if the mount is on both the receiver and handguard, but you really want the mount to be on the upper receiver for most scopes.
The Wheeler Cantilever is built with a 6-screw design that is meant to offer the highest level of security and clamping force. I think the thing I like most about this feature is that it feels like Wheeler understands how most of us use our ARs. Nobody wants to go to the range and shoot 1 bullet every few seconds and wait to see if they hit the target. Most of us want to hit that trigger until all 30-rounds are gone and rinse & repeat.
Having 6 screws on each side of the cantilever allows you to go near cyclic with your rifle and your scope won’t budge. As you see in the picture below, the 6 screws offer incredible security and the anti-cant mechanism is easy to see and easy to read. If you’re one of those that prefer to challenge yourself with longer shots from AR, an anti-cant mechanism is vital to that goal.
What Sizes are the Wheeler 1-Piece Cantilever?
There are 3 sizes for the diameter of the Wheeler Cantilever; 1", 30mm, 34mm tubes. Before you buy your scope mount, always know the specs of your scope, which can be found in your manuals. I have 2 ARs and one takes a 1" scope mount and the other takes a 30mm scope mount, and they don’t work universally, so be sure before you buy.
What Other Tool Should I Have to Mount My Scope?
There are many other tools that I use include a lapping bar, but the biggest tool that has changed the way I install my scopes is the Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench. How many of our readers have overtightened a screw and broke a scope mount or scope ring? It happens all the time with even the most veteran shooters, but it doesn’t have to happen that way.
The Wheeler F.A.T. Wrench is a tool that will give you the most precise adjustments anywhere from 10"/lbs of force to 65"/ lbs of force. If you want to spend an extra $10-$12, you can get the digital model, which I prefer over the standard analog model.
This tool will ensure you never break another scope mount, ring, or strip your screws. Scopes are made to be as durable as possible, but glass is fragile, nonetheless. Having the most precise tool for this task is going to give you the best experience with your gun collection.
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