What Is A Quick-Detach Scope Mount?

What Is A Quick-Detach Scope Mount?
What is called a "quick detach" scope mount often is not, especially if the scope doesn't return to zero.

Editor’s note: The following is from Steve Adams, president of Clawmounts Manufacturing, Inc. Clawmounts makes a “true quick-detach” scope mount.

What Does “Quick Detach” Mean?

“Quick detach” (QD) is a term not often used properly in the firearm industry when it comes to scope mounts. What's out there is not true QD. They are merely “detachable.” True quick detach is a self-locking, one-hand operated device without any secondary hand manipulation required. No levers or screws.

Anything that detaches from or re-attaches directly to the picatinny rail is subject to the well known tolerance variations of the rail. Some companies have turned to tensioners to alleviate this, and now even have locking levers to lock their locking levers! The shooter is asked to count slots to the “right” position on a potentially flawed rail, awkwardly rock a mount into position, then flip one or more levers to MAYBE return to zero. It’s all convoluted and time consuming, a patch to a patch.

We bypass the deficiencies of the rail by leaving the base permanently affixed to the weapon with only the ring/optic assembly removed. Our claws are conical tapers, reducing attachment to one fluid downward thrust. It also “feels” right locking like a bank vault, and can even be easily and silently operated in the dark.

Our mount is also interchangeable. We feel this is critical because the ability to swap optics at a moment’s notice with reliable zero allows a shooter to adapt to changing circumstances and take full advantage of the capabilities of their firearm. From CQB to extreme range, from day scopes to thermals, our mount is the solution.

Also, because shooters can’t place faith in the average mount’s zero return many simply leave it permanently on the gun. This means the customer is paying for a promise unfulfilled.


Some background about me. I’m a tool and die maker by trade. I started at 17, so 32 years and counting. I was fortunate because back then, besides boomers, there were still members of the greatest generation on the production floor.

These were men who built the implements that allowed our great nation to wage war on a worldwide scale. During peacetime, they beat their swords into plowshares to produce civilian goods, but there were always weapons talk and “toolbox” projects around. From rifles to shotguns and pistols, someone was always working on something. They were my mentors. It was a great time to be alive!

Besides mathematics, there was also a tactile, holistic approach to our craft. File work, hand polishing and “fit, finish and feel” all mattered. Things had to click and clack together right, and feel “true.”

Cigarette Rifles

It was about this time that I came across my first example of a quick-detach (QD) scope mount on a “cigarette rifle.”

This term applies to veterans bringing back rifles as war trophies. GIs on occupation could barter a scoped rifle for a carton of cigarettes. Many were high quality “Guild guns” built on a Mauser 98 action, and they usually had a set of traditional German scope mounts, known as claw mounts, installed.

What Is A Claw Mount?

The Clawmounts approach to true quick-detach scope mounts.

“Claw mount” is a generic term for a class or type of scope mount. While there are differences in design, the name is derived from the claw or hook shaped extensions protruding from the rings that align with and lock into bases either soldered onto or dovetailed into the receiver of the rifle.

Although somewhat fragile and finicky, when executed well the system allows a shooter to detach a scope for safe keeping and re-install said scope when needed.

It requires a three step fine motor skill; alignment, insertion and an angular or pivotal motion. When driven into place properly there was a reassuring “click” at the moment of lock up. When not damaged or worn, the scope returned to zero.

Because the scope and rings were detachable, they often became lost, leaving only the bases on the rifle. So, I would hand fit new hooked rings to the bases, completing the rifle and increasing its value.

I established a reputation for such work and have since built every type of scope mount. That includes German sniper mounts, single claw, double claw, short and long side rails, Rigbys, Hollands and even full customs.

Going Into Production

In 2002, Clawmounts Mfg. Inc. was established. We developed production mounts based on the Mauserwerke Oberndorf pattern. We built sets for custom gunmakers, and our mounts are on some of the finest rifles in the hands of big game hunters worldwide. However, done right, a traditional claw mount is a very pricey proposition, ranging from $700 to $2000 or more for full custom.

We had to come up with something better, a system that surpassed all types. It needed to be simple, using a gross motor skill to engage. It had to be stronger, faster, resistant to wear and dirt, and, most importantly, interchangeable.  

Return To Zero

The result is designed, patented and proudly built in the United States. It's a true quick-detach scope mount, and it returns to zero in an instant. That's what QD is all about.

$95 Off: Try Clawmounts Scope Mounts At GunDigestStore.com

Quick Detach Scope Mount

Clawmounts' true quick-detach scope mount is available at GunDigestStore.com at a $95 discount. Click here to try it for yourself.


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