Ammo & Gear Reviews

Gear Test: Warne QD XSKEL30TW Scope Mount

By Jay Grazio, Shooting Illustrated

Ever helped a friend zero a scope, only to be frustrated chasing the zero all over the target? Sometimes it’s a bargain-basement, no-name optic that’s a “scope” in the dictionary sense: Sure, you can look through it, and there’s a vague approximation of a reticle, but any other resemblance to a riflescope is purely coincidental. Sometimes it’s cheap ammo—expecting sub-MOA groups out of decades-old military surplus is an exercise in futility, to be sure. But, what happens when there’s quality glass on a good rifle shooting match-grade ammo and you still can’t zero it?

Often overlooked in this scenario is a critical component, the scope mount. It’s amazing—but not really—how we can drop thousands of dollars on a quality optic, putting it on an expensive rifle and shoot $2+ per round ammunition through it, yet balk at an extra $100 or so for a quality mount. It truly is a case of “buy once, cry once”—dropping money on quality gear can save so much time, money and needless aggravation. Quality components like Warne mounts really can make a difference.

That’s why, when we went to test the new Crimson Trace CTA-2104, we opted for a Warne mount. We’ve had extremely positive results with the company’s products in the past, and received the QD XSKEL30TW mount back in January when visiting the company’s booth at SHOT Show. It’s new for 2019, and features dual quick-detach levers, Torx fasteners with steel threaded inserts to prevent stripping, a cantilever design for extra eye relief and return-to-zero capability.

This last feature gave this particular mount the nod for our recent application. The carbine upon which the CTA-2014 is mounted is a frequent test bed for optics, and being able to take off a zeroed scope, work on a project, then return that scope with no loss of zero is valuable. The previous semi-permanent optic on this carbine, the SIG Sauer Romeo5 red dot, also showed no loss of zero upon remounting, so we were eager to preserve this feature. With that in mind, we mounted the Crimson Trace scope, zeroed it at 50 yards and put the Warne mount’s promise to the test.

True to form, returning the scope and mount to the same spot on the receiver yielded groups indistinguishable from the groups achieved as the result of the zeroing process. Granted, we only removed the scope a handful of times, so consider this a preliminary result, but we’ll be using the same carbine to test other optics in the future and will be paying close attention to any changes in zero.

Sure, an MSRP of $199.99 is more expensive than the no-name mount you found on E-bay or Amazon, but the money you save going with a no-name will evaporate in ammo costs, range time and sheer frustration when problems arise in achieving—and keeping—a zero. Opting for a quality mount like the Warne XSKEL30TW might cost a little more up front, but it pays for itself several times over in the long run.

Thanks to Shooting Illustrated for this post. Click here to visit ShootingIllustrated.com.