Zeroed Systems Tactical Rings and Bases

3 November 2002
By Scott Powers

Yet another design has come to the market for tactical rings and bases. In the never-ending search for accuracy, shooters look to various methods of tuning their rifles, accurizing the actions, choosing only high-end optical sights, improving rifle stocks and finally, using the best scope mounting systems they can find. Today's market is full of high quality rings and bases. Now familiar names; Badger, IOR, DD Ross, HS Precision, just to name a very few. There are many others. Zeroed Systems, under the direction of its president, Alan Ball, has now jumped into the fray with a design that is familiar, yet has a completely new twist. The current trend has been to copy the mil-standard M1913 Picatinny Rail system. This system is now well known for its versatility over the older Weaver Rail and has replaced, in the minds of many, the Leupold Mk4 system, which is itself very similar to the current favorite, but only lacks in total number of cross slots found in the base. The M1913 Picatinny rail has afforded users the ability to not only have a scope ring mounted securely -- as made standard with the Mk4 ring and base -- but it has allowed the shooter to place a wide variety of gadgets atop their rifle in any number of positions. Fore and aft, on the mount. With as few as 10 and as many as 15 cross-slots, the Picatinny Rail System, as interpreted by the current group of manufacturers, has become quite a success story.

Into this trend steps Zeroed Systems. While its rings are visually similar to the tactical rings we have come to expect from the major players, that similarity ends there. The company uses, instead of the square cross-slot of the Picatinny system, a series of triangular grooves milled into the base. On the underside of each ring there exists matching triangular cross-grooves, the end result meaning one can adjust their scope fore or aft, instead of the typical .40" of the Picatinny system, a minute .10". There are a total of six triangular grooves machined on the underside of the ring, assuring a very tight and complete contact with the base. The locking lug/bolt of the ring is not part of the cross-slot system at all. Its only function is to hold the side plate in place, locking the ring to the base. By way of comparison, the typical Mk4 type ring found on the Picatinny system, the bolt itself is square and engages the cross-slot in the base. The Zeroed system bolt only requires 45 inch pounds of torque, opposed to the 65 inch pounds on the more familiar system, likely I am sure, due to the nature of the new method of engagement.

The good

The method seems like a very secure way to mount your scope. Once tightened, even finger tight, the ring does not shift on the base at all, a testament to all those engaging surfaces at work. Zeroed Systems chose to go with a 45-degree countersink in the shoulder of the holes for the base mounting screws. The provided screws have matching shoulders, assuring a full 360 contact between the base mounting screws and the base. Once tightened, the bases CAN NOT shift. They are completely captured by the mating surfaces of the mounting screws and base.

The mounting screws themselves are of the Torx head type, always something I like to see, having had my share of problems with Allen heads over the years. The finish is a matt-black coating, which provides the dull, no-reflective surface we have come to expect for anything designed for tactical use. The spacing of the cross grooves are such that you can infinitely adjust your scope forward or back for the perfect eye relief, even AFTER the scope has been tightened down in the rings. In fact, you can mount your scope, zero it to the rifle, and then move the entire scope fore or aft with no real change in zero. They are said to retain 1/2 moa repeatability upon remounting, in ANY position on the base, all the way forward, or all the way back.

The rings themselves come with four cap screws and at this time are available in Medium height. This translates to a distance of .382" between the base of the ring and the bottom of the scope. The bases are .185" thick. In other words, you can mount a scope with a 40mm objective onto a rifle employing a #7 barrel contour, and still have a clearance of 1/8" between barrel and objective. More than enough room for lens caps or flip-up type lens covers. The base, which is a two-piece, has 15 cross-grooves per block. They each measure 1.570" long, which means you can move your scope a total of .935" forward from the most rearward position, and move it in .10" increments, finding that perfect eye relief, even after you mount the scope.

The bad

While the 45 degree shoulder on the screws and holes in the base mean a perfect mating surface between the rifle and the base, it also means that if the holes in the receiver of your rifle are not drilled in true alignment -- front and rear -- you will not be able to shift these bases to stay in line with one another and will have to lap your rings. This is not a fault of the base of course, or of Zeroed Systems. They are providing you with a means for a completely shift free mounting system. But you will need be assured that your scope mounting screw holes in the receiver are drilled accurate from the factory. Zeroed Systems recommends tapping the receiver to 8-40 screws, again using the 45 degree counter sunk shoulder, which would mean not only will the bases be aligned accurately, but they would also be totally captured by the angled mounting screws, assuring a complete, no-shift mount. Even using the provided 6-48 screws, Zeroed Systems stands by its 1/2 moa adjustment statement. Even if you do not check for trueness in your receiver, they state that using the provided screws will still assure you the ability to remove the base and reinstall it with no greater shift than 1/2 moa.

A less potentially troubling issue is the locking bolt on the ring. While it is VERY unlikely to ever be an issue, it would be possible to completely turn out the bolt and lose it. On Mk4 and Picatinny rings, which utilize the bolt as the cross lug, the end of the bolt is usually flared in a manner that means neither the nut nor the cross bolt can come lose from the ring. With the Zeroed Systems method, you can completely disassemble the locking bolt from the ring, freeing up both the side plate and the bolt. While this will unlikely ever lead to a lost bolt, you must be aware of this as people in the field do seem to have a tendency to do dumb things once in a great while under stress. On the upside, the bolt goes nearly through the rings, side to side, so it's very long. You would need to spend a fair amount of time unscrewing it if you actually wanted to lose it.

What it means for you?

While incompatible with the M1913 Picatinny Rail system, the Zeroed System Tactical Ring and Base system does provide you with a nearly immobile method for mounting your optics. It allows you an unheard of ability to move the glass forward or backward in small increments, in a repeatable and accurate manner. It's almost like a micrometer for your eye relief. The rings and bases are quite strong and the quality is good and functional. They appear a little more Spartan and blocky than the IOR or Badger rings, both of which have radiused edges. But in terms of functionality, the Zeroed System rings perform. Whether the market will adopt another system is unknown at this time. The M1913 is fairly entrenched in the tactical community and for good reason. Its total versatility is well known. But for the individual looking for something different as well as something rock solid, someone not needing the more universal M1913 system, the Zeroed Systems tactical ring and base can provide that. Tactical shooters who do not require a full rail, precision shooters and BR types, even hunters who want something of a bit more substance than your typical sporting base, will enjoy this new product.

For more information, contact:

Zeroed Systems
2076 Hwy 69E
Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-1624

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