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Thread: Steel vs. Aluminum Rings

  1. #1
    UZI Talk Life Member
    Adolf's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Midwest, Kansas

    Steel vs. Aluminum Rings


    Not sure if I am in the right forum, please forgive.

    I am going to a rifle school in which the instructor wants us to purchase Steel Scope Rings for our mil-dot scopes. What is the difference(besides types of metal), and is it worth the cost of the steel rings(He wants us to use Badger Ordnance rings)?

    This Steel rings are only a suggestion like the night force scope that he also would like us to have.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    I have NEVER, in 45+ years of shooting seen ANY rings fail. Looks like he wants to sell rings.

  3. #3
    UZI Talk Supporter
    sniperdoc's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    Unless you're shooting 50 BMG or larger, use Aluminum.
    I hope the guy knows more about rifles than rings & optics.
    There are plenty of great aluminum rings,and lots of great scopes also.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Sep 2005
    Southern TN
    I have aluminium rings on my ar-50 (and a nightforce scope)...1/2 MOA for years with no problems.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2015
    The manufacturer of the rings has far more bearing than the material.
    Where accuracy is concerned, you likely won't see any difference between well designed rings nor what material they're made of. Perhaps a well honed benchrest shooter could tell the difference. Perhaps.
    Badger, Nightforce, Seekins, Spuhr, etc....all good ring and one piece mount manufacturers. Some manufacture both steel and aluminum rings, and both materials are priced about the same, respectively.

    So where does the rift between steel and aluminum occur?
    Preconceptions would be my guess.

    The time honored tradition of believing that steel goes on steel and aluminum goes on aluminum, because temperatures and dissimilar metals and vibrations and one is harder than the other....which seems a bit silly once you see aluminum on steel at competitions and nobody is complaining when they win. That, and the fact that the metal your scope is made of is often aluminum too. So if you're putting them together, would it be better to have aluminum scope and rings on a steel rail, or an aluminum scope with steel rings and rail? Either way, you have different metals it kinda cancels the argument out.

    You see steel on a lot of military DMR's and rifles of that nature, presumably because the military believes that steel rings are just tougher...not because of some magical thing that happens when you clamp different metals together.
    Well, the difference in potential strength between them is apparent, though is that strength really necessary?
    Few scopes will be usable after an impact has damaged aluminum rings, so the strength issue is a bit overrated.
    Consider this:
    Steel rings....."Your scope's ruined and totally useless, but hey....those steel rings sure held up to that 20ft drop as advertised!"
    Aluminum rings...."Your scope's ruined and totally useless, and it appears that your aluminum rings got kinda ruined too after that 20ft drop."
    Not dropping your rifle off a cliff...."Hey, those aluminum rings are holding just as good of a zero as my steel ones are"

    Oh, and Nightforce makes great optics BTW, that actually is a good suggestion.

  6. #6
    Mr. Miata
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    Nov 2005
    SE MI
    I like LaRue optics mounts which are made from aluminum. Lots of bad guys have been shot using these mounts. No worries with the right use of aluminum in a properly designed optics mount.


  7. #7
    UZI Talk Life Member

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    Jul 2015
    If shooting long range you need quality rings and a quality optic. Not all aluminum rings are created equal. Some cheap rings use a softer aluminum alloy than others. That said, I have never heard anyone claim that quality aluminum rings are not as good as steel. I have seen guys spend $1k on a scope then buy the cheapest rings they could find. Of course they blame the rifle when it wont hold 1/4 MOA.

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