In this review I will be looking at the M3 Rings from American Rifle Company (ARC). These rings were loaned to me by SexyWeapon.com for the purposes of this review.
The best optic in the world is only as good as the rings that connect it to your rifle. Your scope rings are the interface between your optic and your rifle. They allow the optic and rifle to work together in an efficient manner. Poorly made rings can damage an optic, lose their adjustment, or make a rifle impossible to zero. Quality rings are not an option – they are a necessity.
Specifications and Features
The M3 Rings have many of the hallmarks of quality that we have come to expect from similar products. They are precision machined from 7075 aluminum and feature a black, mil-spec hard anodized finish. They are made in various heights (low to extra high) and sized for 1”, 30mm, 34mm, 35mm, and 40mm diameters. These are the kinds of features that we have come to expect from quality mounting systems but the M3 Rings have several features that really separate them from the crowd.
The most obvious feature is what ARC calls their Tangential Scope Clamp. The part of the ring that clamps on to the scope tube consists of upper and lower parts that are hinged together on one side and connect of the other side via an overlapping surface with 2 screws. The overlapping surface provides a hard stop so that the ring can not be over tightened. The 2 screws are placed on a tangent to the scope tube so that the ring is not distorted in a way that damage the scope tube when the upper portion of the ring is tightened. When the hinged side, overlapping surface, and 2 screws on a tangent are combined you end up with a ring that very evenly disperses the clamping pressure over the entire contact area of the ring to the scope. When you have them in hand and can see how they work, it is very impressive. You can read a more technical explanation of what is happening on the ARC website.
Some scope rings have their weight reduced by milling away parts of the ring where it contacts the scope. This reduces the contact area between the scope and ring which can lead to slipping or scope damage from the clamping forces being concentrated on a smaller area. ARC lightened these rings by milling deep recesses into the surface but not all the way through the material. The result is a lightened ring that doesn’t compromise the contact area between the M3 Ring and the scope. It is a subtle but important touch. The .965″ width of the M3 Rings also helps to provide plenty of contact area between the scope and rings.
One less obvious feature of the M3 Rings is the way that the rings interface with the rail. The crowned interface of the ARC M3 Rings allows for rail variations which are very common among rail manufacturers while still providing very precise contact. Each ring has 2 recoil lugs milled into the bottom of the ring to distribute recoil forces over a large area. ARC has a full explanation along with diagrams and comparisons on their website.
I was provided a set of extra high, 30mm rings for my review. These rings are a good height for use on an AR-15 flat top upper (they might be a touch short if you have a fixed front sight). I mounted an Aimpoint M2 and a Leupold MK4 1.5-5×20 MR/T for the test. The first thing you will notice is that the hinged upper portion of the rings make mounting the optic extremely easy. Installation is a breeze. You can simply lay the scope in the rings, close the top portion, slide the scope forward and back to set eye relief, and then tighten the two tangential screws.
Since these were loaners rings, I didn’t apply a thread locker as I usually do with all my rings. It was also a good chance to see how the rings would behave without an thread locker. They performed admirably. I wasn’t able to witness mark the screws (like I usually do) but I noticed no loosening of any of the rings under recoil. Once a zero was established, it was held. There were no surprises which is a very good thing when it comes to scope rings. I would still apply some a mild thread locking compound if I was keeping these rings. It is cheap insurance.
I generally do not take notice of whether or not a mount or rings scuffs the rail that they were attached to but since ARC claims that their M3 Ring’s crowned interface will not disfigure the rail, I decided to check. I noticed no marring after the first install and only minimal scuffing after installing and removing the rings a handful of times. This marring probably had more to do with me moving the rings around on the rail than it did with the rings themselves.
These M3 Rings from American Rifle Company really seem to represent an evolutionary step in scope ring development. The hinged, tangential design is amazingly efficient and well executed. It not only protects the scope from damage, but it makes installation simple. These rings represent the culmination of so many good ideas that they just seem to be on a completely different level than other scope mounting products on the market. Everything from the hinged interface and tangential screws to the improved rail interface and construction materials represent quality and innovation.
You can read more about or purchase the M3 Scope Rings from American Rifle Company on SexyWeapon.com.