Picatinny Vs. Weaver Style Bases
One of the many benefits to Warne Maxima, Tactical and MSR rings is that they have the ability to mount to any picatinny or weaver style base. We are often asked how that is possible considering there are many companies who make rings specifically for a picatinny rail, or specifically for a weaver style base. The truth is that the two styles of bases are very similar in some aspects, and very different in others. Understanding those differences is the key to finding out which base style is the best choice for your application.
For reference I will be giving some general specifications we use for our weaver style bases, and picatinny style rails. Note that other manufacturers may offer different specs for their bases. The weaver style base has been around for many decades, and has proven itself as one of the top choices as a mounting platform by hunters and shooters the world over. The weaver style base is a great option for shooters who want a very low profile mount. In a 2 piece, or 1 piece in certain configurations, the weaver style offers an affordable, yet rugged mounting base. Since our maxima bases are most commonly offered in a 2 piece set, you gain full access to the ejection port area of your bolt action rifle. One of the other advantages to a 2 piece set is since there is no need for an ejection port relief cut to clear ejecting brass, the 2 piece set can be made as low profile as possible. Many of our Maxima 2 piece bases can be as low as .150″ thick. When using a rifle that has iron sights, a blind magazine or hinged floor plate, or just trying to keep weight down on a mountain rifle, the Maxima 2 piece weaver style bases are an excellent option.
The picatinny rail is another time tested design that offers its own benefits and drawbacks as well. The two major areas where the picatinny rail differs from the weaver style are the number of slots, the slot placement and the slot dimensions. the basic difference between the weaver and picatinny slot dimension is that the picatinny has a slightly wider, and slightly deeper slot. The picatinny rail also has a standardized spacing of the slots, and the slots typically extend down the length of the rail. A weaver style base may have only one or two slots, and the placement of the slot can be anywhere on the base. A major advantage to a picatinny rail is the amount of surface area the shooter has to mount the rings. With a two piece set, if you cannot get the correct eye relief, you need to use an extension base. With a picatinny rail, you can simply move to a different slot. Another possible advantage is the ability to use a 20MOA base for long range shooting, which is an option Warne offers for all tactical rails. Picatinny rails tend to be thicker than a 2 piece base set due to the ejection port relief cut in the bottom of the base which allows ejecting brass to clear. Since the rail covers the ejection port, it can make loading the firearm from the top difficult. For guns using a detachable magazine, a picatinny rail can be a great addition.
Any weaver style mount will work on both weaver style and picatinny rails, however, some manufacturers make picatinny specific mounts, and these mounts can only mount to a picatinny rail for a few reasons. Either the recoil lug that is being used is too wide for the weaver style slot, or there are multiple lugs that are spaced for the picatinny slot spacing, and they will not align with the weaver style slot placement. Warne Maxima and Tactical rings are a weaver style ring that will work on both weaver and picatinny style bases. Some customers ask us “how do they fit both?, wouldn’t there be a lot of play in the picatinny slot?”. In short, the answer is yes, there is more forward and back play in a picatinny slot. The main thing to consider is that there is still a bit of play in a weaver slot, and typically picatinny specific rings also have a bit of play in a picatinny slot. Since we recommend pushing both rings forward toward the muzzle, the amount of play in the slot is a moot point. The purpose of the recoil key is to keep the scope from moving. When a rifle recoils back into the shooter’s shoulder, the scope wants to stay in place, which happens to place the load of that recoil on the forward face of the slot. It would be similar to putting your car in reverse and giving it some throttle, your body will go forward. The same principal applies to the rings. When you push the rings forward, you seat the recoil key against the front of the slot, stopping any potential for movement.
Warne bases are CNC machined from cold rolled steel to exacting tolerances, and backed by an industry leading warranty for the life of the product. All Warne bases are crafted by our expert staff in Tualatin Oregon, so you can trust the Warne name to represent the highest quality products you can depend on. So which is the better base platform? I would say it depends on what you are shooting, and what you are planning on doing with that firearm. If a lightweight mountain hunting rifle is in the works, a Maxima 2 piece weaver style base set may be the best option. If a thousand yard precision long range rifle is the goal, a Warne Tactical 20MOA rail would be a great fit. The reality is that no matter what kind of rifle you are building, Warne has one of the most comprehensive catalogs in the firearm industry. To find out what bases fit your firearm, visit our Scope Mount Selector.