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American Defense Manufacturing RECON Mount

American Defense MFG, LLC is a company based in New Berlin, WI. They produce a number of optic and accessory mounts utilizing their locking lever, quick release design.

- American Defense MFG, LLC -

One of the most critical pieces of equipment on a precision rifle is the hardware that holds the optic to the receiver. If this mount is not rigid, durable and repeatable, then it doesn't matter how much money and labor has been put into the rest of the rifle. The most accurate rifle in the world will not group if the scope is moving around on top of it.

It always makes me chuckle a little bit when I watch a Hollywood feature that shows an agent opening his attache case, then assembling a Sniper Rifle from the parts inside. The barrel is screwed on by hand, then a scope is quickly snapped on top. I always wonder if the agent in question ever spent some time at the range checking to see what kind of zero shift he gets every time the weapon is broken down and re-assembled. Of course since it's Hollywood, the answer is none.

If anything is true it's that folks like to mimic what they see in the movies. If you do any searching on the internet you will come across pictures of Pelican or Starlite cases with their foam intricately cut out. At least a couple of these, you will notice that the rifle is broken down and the scope is stored off of the rifle. Rarely is there a really good reason for this. Because of this phenomena, I also often see quick release rings or mounts on a precision rifle with only one optic.

For some time now I have used and recommended standard cross-bolt rings for precision rifles. When they are installed with a torque wrench at a repeatable setting, they are consistent and return to zero well. There is rarely any issue with them coming loose. If you do not need to swap optics in the field, then there is little need for the added expense and complexity that quick detach (QD) mounts bring to the party.

Folks seem to like the fancy levers. There are a couple of good reasons for a QD mount on a precision rifle. In a military role, it allows you to carry a compact, rugged backup optic to install in case the primary optic is damaged. In an LE role, departments that cannot afford high end "clip-on" night vision devices can attach less-expensive night vision scopes after the sun sets.

No matter what your reason for a QD Mount, it has to be reliable and repeatable. There are several mounts on the market currently, but you rarely see an independent Return To Zero (RTZ) test done on them. ADM was kind enough to supply us with one of their mounts to test this aspect.

Unitized QD mounts are generally quite a bit higher than standard scope rings. They are usually seen on AR type platforms. However for this test I really wanted a platform that was easy to shoot and had razors edge accuracy. The second requirement was that the stock could be adjusted to provide the proper cheek weld so that I can take advantage of that accuracy potential. Looking into the safe, the choice was clear. We chose the AI AE MkII for this job. We have an AR10 available, but the AE MkII is capable of holding groups half as large as the AR10. You will see why this was important later.

The ADM RECON mount uses two locking levers to hold the mount to your rail. This is in contrast to their "Scout" mounts that only use one lever.

The levers on the ADM mounts cam against a locking plate to provide pressure on the side of the host weapon's Picatinny rail. When the lever is fully closed, a detent tab snaps into a groove on the hinge preventing the lever from being snagged open.

The tension of the ADM levers can be adjusted by simply unlocking the lever and opening fully. Then press in on the hinge and turn the octagon shaped screw on the opposite side. Tighten the screw to increase the locking pressure and loosen it to decrease. The screw can be turned with your fingers and alleviates the need for any tools.

Since the ADM levers cam on their own plates, they do not mar the weapon's rails.

For our test we set a target (from our friends at at 100 yards. The mount had been on the rifle for several weeks now without being removed. This was intentional in order to allow the mount to "shoot in" to the position it wanted to be in. I fired one shot to confirm zero at a separate target. Then I fired a ten shot group, slow-fire at the first diamond. This was to serve as a control group and demonstrate what the combination was capable of.

The first group measured 0.83" center to center. The center of the group was clustered about the top point of the diamond.

We then removed and reinstalled the mount. When installing the mount it's critical that you push forward when tightening the levers. This preloads the mount against the front of the lugs in the rail. If you do not do this, the mount may move forward slightly on the first shot.

We continued to remove and reinstall the mount after each shot. This ensured that the pace was slow and methodical.

When we checked the target we noticed that the group was trending left with the center approximately 0.2 mRad left. I added a .2 tenths right correction.

After swapping the mount on and off, for ten shots it was apparent that the mount was not returning to zero perfectly for each re-installation. The mount was left on the rifle after shot number ten. I then fired another ten shot group to check if after one shot the mount would return to zero.

The ten shot group measured .78" center to center. This group appeared 0.2 mRad right when compared to the first group. If I had not made a correction, then this group would have been in the same location as the first shot group.

At this point the mount has passes the RTZ test. Apparently after one round, the mount will return to it's prior zero and remain there.

In the pursuit of thoroughness, we fired another ten shot group removing the mount for each shot. The results were the same as the first attempt. The shots were scattered across 2.5".

We can see from the results that the ADM RECON mount will hold zero perfectly when left alone. When you remove and reinstall it, it will return to zero after one shot. The only issue with this mount is that you cannot predict the impact of the first round when you have removed it and reinstalled it. This limits the roles that this mount can play in tactical areas. It would be fine for any situation where you have a couple of "sighter" shots after installing the mount. It will not be acceptable for any mission where you would have to make a critical shot after removing and reinstalling your optic.

A key to getting the most accuracy out of a QD mount is making sure they are properly tightened. Prior to our test we set the levers on the RECON mount to be as tight as possible and still able to be closed with hand pressure. The faceted adjustment screws allows you to turn them only 1/8 of a turn for each step. We set them so that they were one step short of having to hammer them closed. The front lever was extremely tight. The rear was a little less so, but another step prevented closure.

The ADM RECON is a very high quality mount. It is well machined and finished. The rings hold the optic securely without damaging the tube. Installation is easy and the flat on the top of the mount allows you to used the "feeler gauge" method of leveling your scope. It is well worth the money as long as the limitation are kept in mind.

Copyright © 2011 8541 Tactical

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