The Los Angeles Handgun - Rifle - Air Pistol Silhouette Club

IHMSA News Feature Article
Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
Published monthly except November/December - January/February
IHMSA on the web at http://www.ihmsa.org
 
BKL Scope Rings
By Todd Spotti
 
     I recently picked up a scope with a 30mm tube that, among other things, was going to be mounted on my Anschutz Exemplar 22 rimfire to do some ammunition evaluations. That immediately created a problem in that all my scope rings are of the one inch variety. Another factor complicating things is the fact that the Anschutz uses the traditional European dove tail scope mounting system. Now I, like most shooters looking for 30mm dovetail scope rings, was faced with a puzzle i.e. where to find good quality, larger than normal rings at a reasonable price.
 
     Dovetail scope rings generally fall into two extreme categories i.e. cheap/junky types that are normally used on equally junky air guns and rimfire rifles, and super expensive types ($100+) that are used on benchrest rifles. Now, wouldnít it be nice if you could buy dovetail scope rings that were every bit as good as the expensive types for half the price? You bet! However, wouldnít it be even nicer if you could buy dovetail scope rings that were actually BETTER than the super expensive types for just one third of their price? Well, I found out that we can.
 
     Iíve written about BKL rings in the past and probably will do so again in the future because these are a very high quality products that are sold at a extremely reasonable price. (Shhhhhhhh. Donít tell them about this. They might raise their prices if they find out how good their stuff really is.)
 

"Offset rings solve scope placement problems."

 
     In fact, BKL has a well earned reputation as THE scope mount to use in the airgun competition world, and that kind of buzz doesnít come easily.
 
     However, I would guess that the first thing that youíll probably be wondering about is whether dovetail rings will be sliding around under the recoil generated by a 22 long rifle cartridge. The answer is absolutely not. Anschutz hasnít been putting all those dovetail rails on its guns for all these years as some kind of long running gigantic mistake. Dovetail scope mounting systems have been successfully used on 22ís in Europe for many, many generations.
 
     Additionally, dovetail mounts and rings are overwhelmingly used for benchrest competition because there are fewer gun/scope alignment problems. Additionally, as you probably know, the most common cartridge used in benchrest competition is the 6 PPC, which is a case that is only around 7% smaller than the 6 BR. Even though itís noted primarily for its laser like accuracy, the 6 PPC is no wimpy pussycat, and can easily drive an 80+ grain bullet over 3000 fps. Lighter bullets used in competition typically are moving around 3400 fps. There are two points here. One is that these bench guns produce a fairly decent amount of recoil. The second point is that dovetail mounts have no problem handling that recoil and and are rock solid.
 
     So letís look at the features that make BKL rings so well regarded. Ok, the first thing thatís going to catch your eye is the fact that the BKLís are definitely beefy, and beef equals strength and durability. The top strap of most scope rings is the thinnest and weakest part of the assembly. BLKís measure .125Ē thick, and everything else on the ring is equally oversized and heavy duty. In scrounging around in the closet, I found and measured perhaps a half dozen different rings from several manufacturers. They included both dovetail and Weaver styles, and were for both airgun/rimfire and center fire applications. They all measured between .075 and .085 inches. I then got hold of a set of the super expensive benchrest type rings and measured their top strap. They came out at .058Ē - substantially thinner than even the standard type rings. Iíll go with the thicker, stronger top strap thank you because I wonít have to worry about it twisting when everything gets torqued down. Yes, the thin stuff really will bend when torqued and even flex under recoil.
 
     Youíll also notice that the BLKís use big #8 screws for both the top straps and to clamp the unit to the dovetail. The #8ís provide a hefty 78 inch pounds of torque when theyíre tightened up, which means you have a substantial increase in holding power over the #6 screws used by almost all other manufacturers.
 
     This is one of the prime reasons why these rings aren't going to move. Note: If you feel that youíd like even more holding power, opt for the BKL double rings with double clamping screws for double the grip. I tend to gravitate more toward these mainly because they look so darn sexy.
 
     The next thing thatís going to catch your eye is the soft, satin finish of the silver rings. After CNC machining, the rings are then tumbled. This process gives the rings their very, very smooth, silky finish and also gets rid of any burrs left over from the machining. It also rounds off all the sharp edges, insuring that the rings wonít be cutting into your scope and then leaving behind those nasty, ugly gouges (I really hate having my scopes chewed up by the rings.)
 

"BKL 30mm single strap rings are stronger and better than the high dollar competition rings."

     The rings are also hard coat anodized giving them a surface hardness of around 60 - 65 on the Rockwell scale. The hardness really goes deep as well - around .003Ē. The black anodized BKL rings even go up to 67 Rockwell. So hard is that? Itís as hard or even harder than most of the hand tools on your work bench. Well, you might be saying to yourself ďOK, thatís nice, and so why is having a rock hard surface important?Ē Because aircraft grade aluminum, even the 6061-T6 type, is relatively soft compared to steel. Consequently when you use steel screws on an aluminum product, you want to make sure that those steel screws aren't going to grind up your rings when you really tighten them down. You also donít want the steel screws to strip out the aluminum threads either. I had a set of tacky aluminum rings that I foolishly bought at a gun show that suffered that exact fate because they were not hard coated. I donít intend to waste my money again by buying no name rings that canít stand up to hard use. Iíll stick with BKL.
 
     These rings also have a nice design feature that sets them apart from many other dove tails, and that is a horizontal stress relief slot that is cut into the ring stem or post. When dovetail rings are being tightened down against the gunís mounting rail, tremendous force be being applied to the base. This force can actually distort the base on other rings and throw off the alignment of your scope. If there is a stress relief slot, the base wonít be distorted and  alignment will be preserved. Additionally, the inside diameter of the rings wonít be twisted either. The result is a perfect wrap around the scope with no high/low spots or gaps.
 

"Double straps equal double the holding power.  Really look nice too."

 
     O.K., say youíre the skeptical type, and youíre saying to yourself ďI still donít believe that rings mounted on a dove tail rail wonít move under the recoil of a 22. That kind of ring is good only for airguns.Ē What if I told you that you can mount BKL rings on a center fire silhouette gun and that they absolutely wonít move. Itís true. As I mentioned before, dovetails are used all the time on center fire benchrest guns. But what about handguns where the recoil is heavier because the guns are lighter in weight. Well BKL makes a dovetail adapter rail for TC Contenders. Just take off the rear sight, attach the adapter rail and then mount the BKL rings. Piece of cake.
 
     Just as a spur of the moment experiment, I put together a set up with my 14Ē SSK 357 Mag barrel. I used BKLís double strap rings basically because my single strap rings were already mounted on a rifle. For a scope, I used my Simmons Presidential 2.5X - 7X. Unfortunately this scope was made for only about 2 years, but it was one of the very best pistol scopes available at the time.

     For a load, I cooked up something stout. It consisted of 17 grains of H110 and a 200 grain Leadhead (The very best commercial cast bullets on the market.). I then proceeded to the range to shoot some groups. If the rings moved on the rail, the groups would be all over the place. As these 50 yard groups show, that didnít happen. The bottom line here is that these rings are very high quality, very tough, and they donít move. The icing on the cake is that theyíre very reasonably priced as well. Visit their web site at (www.bkltech.com). You wonít regret it.

Good luck and good shooting, Todd

Top of Page

 

 
Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which IHMSA, The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned. Always consult recognized reloading manuals.