I have learned so much valuable information from this forum, that I want to give back to the community in whatever small way I can.
The shooting sports have gotten very expensive. Ammo & gear is not cheap. The gun rags usually will *not* tell you directly if something doesn't work as advertised.
It is extremely easy to spend a bunch of money and end up with gear that just doesn't perform.
However, by the honest sharing of information on boards like this, novices can find out relatively easily and inexpensively what works and what doesn't.
At 42 years of age, my eyes are still OK, but they are *not* what they used to be. Optics help me have more fun at the range. I can shoot irons "OK" but I wanted to mount a scope on my M1A to see what I could do with it.
Last year, while at my favorite gunstore, a fellow traded in an M1A with an ARMS 18 mount (newer style with the solid rail).
I already had a loaded M1A, but I was interested in the mount. I asked my dealer friend what he would take for the ARMS mount. He asked what I would offer. I said "$50." and he said "Sold."
Yes, I know that is a good price, but it didn't work out well. My SAI receiver seems to be slightly out of spec on the scope mount cuts. So I dremeled the ARMS mount to get what I thought was a decent lock-up (hey - it was only $50!).
At the range, the rifle would sporadically lodge an empty right between the op-rod and the receiver, resulting in a significant jam that required hearty pounding with the palm of my hand on the op-rod to remedy. I was not amused.
If you have an ARMS mount and it works for you on your rifle, great. I am not trying to bash any product, I am just relaying my personal experience.
After doing more research here on the "Firing Line" and reading the rave reviews for the Bassett mount, I decided to order one.
I first ordered one of Bill's railed mounts. This mount allows full use of your iron sights underneath. I put a so-so scope on with low rings, and tried it out. The mount works as advertised, however, you need some sort of cheek-rest with this set-up. I also did not like the scope I was using.
I tried to mount my ACOG 3.5 TA11-C scope on the Larue throw mount to the Bassett mount. Buzzzzz! No can do! The Larue mount is picatinny spec, the Bassett mount is weaver spec. The throw levers WILL NOT WORK on this mount!
That is OK, because just holding it on with my hand, I could see the ACOG would be so high up off the stock, I would need a massive cheek-pad to make this work.
Also, I wanted more power than the 3.5x fixed power of the ACOG.
I already had a nice Nikon 3.5x10 Monarch scope (illuminated, Mil-dot reticle, 1-inch tube, 50mm objective) mounted on one of my DSA Fal rifles. That particular rifle shoots OK for an FAL, but it has never shown the potential of my M1A.
So, I removed the Nikon from the DSA, and I ordered another mount from Bassett.
This time, I opted for his "old-style" or "original style" LOW mount. I wanted my scope as low as it could go!
The mount arrived within a few days of ordering. I called the number on the Bassett web site and had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bassett himself. He is very helpful and quite a character. He told me his personal preference is plain old weaver rings. He said he has never had any of them slip.
He said the only "complaint" with the original style mount is you don't have a lot of room to adjust eye relief. The turret housing of the scope you are using has to fit in between the space on the mount. Big "tacti-cool" turrets might have a problem. Also, depending on how *your* eyes are, you may be better off with his newer rail style so you can move the scope back or forward to suit you better.
I could have chatted all day with Bill, a real shooting aficionado!
After our discussion, I felt my Nikon would fit OK. I placed my order on his web site per his request (it is easier for him that way) and as I said, it arrived quickly.
Next, I went, rifle and scope and mount in hand, to my local gun store to try and get some rings. They did not have any plain old weaver rings in stock!
I tried some fancy Leupold medium rings and they were too low. Finally, the clerk found me a set of Millett weaver-style Angle-loc HIGH rings, part number AL00012. Bingo! these were gonna work. The scope was as low as I could possibly get it. I had to bottom out the rear sight to clear the back of the scope. I cannot use the irons with the scope mounted - however, I do not need to use a cheek-rest! This is a plus for me. I like to keep things simple. Also, most slip-on cheek-rests block the use of the hinged butt plate.
I store the Bassett mounting wrench in the stock storage compartment, I can remove the scope in seconds if I need to go to irons!
I took everything home and mounted her up. Today was the first day we had decent weather for me to get to the range. Here is how she looks:
Here is the right side:
Here is the left side:
Here you can see how close the clearance is - this is EXACTLY the way I wanted it! (Remember this particular scope has a 50mm objective!)
Here is a another view from the action side - getting ready to roll:
About the rifle:
This is a SAI "loaded" purchased used in a walnut stock. I purchased the fiberglass stock from the same trade-in where I got the ARMS mount. I have no idea of the round-count on this gun. The bolt is TRW and the Trigger group is HR-N. Everything else appears to be SAI.
This stock fit my action very nice and tight and someone else had already done the camo.
I installed a Sadlak spring-guide and a Sadalk tactical magazine release. I also installed the new Sadlak bipod plate mount (which works great!) and attached the Harris bipod.
I tried the Sadlak piston in this rifle and my gun did *not* like it. Function was fine, accuracy went to hell. I switched back to the rather worn looking piston it came with and groups tightened right back-up. I wrote of my experiments on this and Gus Fisher provided extensive background info on the effects of different pistons in the "Simple Gas Piston Accuracy" thread that is now a sticky.
Also, I have installed the Midwest Industries Tactical Light rail mount. This mount bolts between the barrel and the cylinder.
I wanted the option of easily adding a light and/or laser.
Obviously, if I was competing, or trying to squeeze the nth degree of accuracy from my rifle, I would not do this. The rail has to change the barrel harmonics in some way. However, she still shoots pretty darn good.
Here is the Midwest Industries rail from the side:
Here it is from the top. The two halves are beveled. They bolt against each other. They do NOT "hang" on the gas cylinder or the barrel (you really need to see the backside of the mount to understand this, but I did not want to take it off to take a picture. Sorry!)
By now you are probably wondering how well this setup shot. Well I will show you. Keep in mind:
1) I am not the world's best shot!
2) Ammo used was American Eagle 150gr FMJ (not match
3) This rifle is not glass bedded
4) The gas cylinder is not unitized
5) I have the aforementioned light rail mounted!
With all that being said, I was pretty darn happy with the results. Here is a 5 shot group, 100 yards, from the bench, scope set on 10x - The group in the black is 1.5" CTC. Measuring the 2 shots I most likely botched, the group = 2" CTC:
Bill Bassett has invented the simplest, most ingenious scope mounting system available for the M14 type rifle!
Not only did the scope stay rock solid on my rifle, the scope itself did not show any sign of "brass kisses" - all the empties were thrown clear from the action and I had ZERO failures of any kind!
The Bassett mount doesn't care if my receiver is in spec or not, it doesn't ask me to remove the stripper guide, and it will easily come off and go back on. I did not remove and remount the scope to test the zero holding capabilities, but from other reports it is quite good. If I have more time and ammo, I may test that next time I am at the range.
I want to put out a big "THANK-YOU" to Bill Bassett for creating such a fantastic product that does everything he claims it does, and also to all of the people here on the firing Line who have shared their knowledge so freely.
My respect for the elegant design of the M14 rifle and the performance it is capable of continues to grow.