What are DNZ Mounts?

Possibly one of the newer and therefore lesser known additions to the Canadian outdoors optic market are DNZ scope mounts. These take one piece solutions to a whole other level as their “Game Reaper” mount bottoms are in fact one piece of moulded aluminum. These rings fill a niche for workhorse rings that likely should have been looked after a long time ago. Their primary strength beyond the lack of stress points is that they screw directly into your tap holes.

Game Reaper 2 Rings

There are both pros and cons to this set-up which we’ll go into more depth in a minute but for the time being I also want to point out that while this is their main line, the “Game Reaper 2” which you might mistake for ver 2.0 instead of 2 as in two rings instead of a single base also exists. They’re a bit lighter than the single because there’s less metal, still screws into the base taps, and also feature most of the other characteristics of the original. But they are more flexibility when it comes to multiple guns that are tapped for say a Remington 700 SA base but has a different length action.

I’m going to focus in on the single one-piece design just because that’s the more unique of the two but just keep in mind that if you have something a little less popular that a gunsmith has tapped like another gun, they have a solution that does a lot of the same things for you as well.

Screw Them Down and Never Worry Again.

 For my entire adult life (so far) the scope mount has been absolutely dominated by the ring and base model. And within that model there were generally two types: a slotted (think Weaver) base and turn-in. Weaver also fielded a “tip-off” type for a number of years but they didn’t really take and though still available in a limited capacity, have largely been phased out over the last thirty years and replaced with the bar and clamp that are widely used on Weaver bases and Picatinny rails.

Weaver popularized this system using a bar crossing the base through a slot and then clamps tightened into the sides of the base. The idea here is that the clamp handles the x and y axis, assuring the scope stays at zero while the crossbar handles the z axis when that 300 Win Mag kicks the whole set-up straight back with recoil.

Picatinny, which is a different spec, started to appear on sporting rifles with the

Warne Picatinny Base

popularization of the AR platform since it was a single spec that could hold your scope, your flashlight, a laser on the side and a red-dot on a 45 degree angle for CQ (Close Quarters) uses. I’m pretty sure there are also examples of people mounting a shotgun, a flare and possibly a space heater or toaster on this platform as the AR modular design invited people to treat their firearms like a Honda Civic and kit them out like a Fast and Furious car.

The Picatinny spec generally has a multitude of spaces in the base to allow for the rings to move in and out and adapt for a range of different lengths and characteristics on scopes. It’s also pretty bulky and can at times block part of the ejection port. But there’s a reason this design is so popular and that is that it largely works the way it says on the package and allows a person to swap out different parts using either QD (Quick Detachable) levers or a flathead screwdriver.

The strengths of this system largely outweigh any and all drawbacks HOWEVER there’s a pretty major caveat. Because of the design, there are a couple points of contact between ring and base that can, especially in cheaper bases or rings that are on the fringes of the spec, wear and warp over time as edges wear with repeated use and removal. And once there is even a minuscule amount of rocking it’s only a matter of time before the whole system is unusable. Naturally as you get into better rings and bases (Warne or EGW for instance) the time it will take for this to happen slips into being counted in lifetimes instead of years or decades. But it became a bit of a problem with cheaper rings as well as even Weaver when they, for thankfully a brief time, had their bases made in China and the spec slipped a bit.

Turn-ins are still favoured by a notable chunk of the shooting population and are happily provided by manufacturers like Leupold. They have their own strengths in that a turn in ring has nowhere to go; when you’ve attached the ring to the base they’re locked there by way of a dovetail that has been turned 90 degrees so that it is tightly locked in. But this design is much less flexible and also requires a fair bit more time to swap out a scope since a QD system is overly complex. After awhile using turn-ins for awhile on a Weatherby Vanguard of mine, I wondered to myself “Why not just screw the damn things into the receiver?” And apparently I wasn’t the only one. That’s where DNZ enters the picture.

Cutting out the middleman of a base isn’t a new idea but it was one that became less popular over time as Weaver became a standard but it’s one that makes sense. After all, after you’ve gone through the process of zeroing in your scope, how often does a person actually swap it out for something else? Yes, there are cases for this but I’d argue that the majority of us don’t fit into that category and just was a scope and rifle that work and won’t slip or wear out over time.

As I mentioned above, the bottom portion of DNZ rings, which are made from a solid block of billet 6061T6 aluminum, screws directly into your receiver; effectively making it just another part of your gun. With a bit of Loctite on good screws, the system has nowhere to move, no points of wear and effectively becomes a nonissue. It’s simple and cuts down on the profile of your rifle since the base part of the ring no longer requires as much metal to house the base and bar/clamp or turn-in interaction in ring and base designs.

DNZ Single Piece Base Mount

In my experience less parts almost always means less things to go wrong. And because the machining is reduced, having to instead just worry about the four screw holes lining up with the holes on the receiver, this one piece solution can generally be produced for less money making for a ring that works better than other designs at the same price point. But there is a trade-off. Because the base tap holes are designed with, well a base, in mind, they’re positioned on the rifle in a way that makes it impossible to remove the scope without first removing the scope from the rings. All this to say, if you know what rifle you’re using and what scope you intend to have on it for the foreseeable future, DNZ may be the answer you’re looking for.

Who is DNZ?

 DNZ is a machining company that took on mounts as a partner project alongside things like garden hose holders and plastic bait. But the rings have been so successful that they have shifted to making rings as their main focus. You can still buy the “Hose Reaper” if you really need one, but they’ve definitely taken a backseat. With that shift has come a better blueing process, more accurate machining and better customer service. Their growing pains have been pretty minimal and they have excellent order fulfillment for retailers which has made the mounts easy to get and their catalogue spans a wide array of firearms from the most popular rifles right to the “They make one for THAT?!?” categories of rifles. Their website also has a pretty solid scope mount finder and they offer centreline and hole space specs for all their mounts. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the old “Do I need a High or a Medium” dilemma. If you haven’t visited their site, though it still has a bit of maturing to do with a few broken links etc, I highly recommend you follow the link above and take a look to get an idea of how wide ranging their lines are now.

Made in the USA

As I’ve said in the past, “Made in the USA” goes beyond being a simple point of pride for our American neighbours. There are certain advantages to the product itself when it’s made in the US, that being tighter quality control, better base materials and the knowledge your rings were made by adults getting paid a fair wage. You also know that the rings didn’t spend the first month of its life in a transport container on a boat. The additional appeal to DNZ is that it’s a relatively small company that has the owner right there on premise overseeing production.

Bottom line

 If you’re looking for a system that allows you to rapidly swap out scopes you’re likely looking for something DNZ is not made for. Also if you’re one of the lucky few to have a receiver that is already designed for a one piece system, you may want to look at other options that might provide you with a lot of the same benefits and a bit of flexibility. That’s not to say a DNZ doesn’t play well with a Tikka T3, it does, and we’ve had by far the fewest returns of DNZ mounts for that platform, but there are options that will give you the one piece benefits and also allow you to remove your scope if that’s important to you. But for the majority of us that want a simple solution that we can just set and forget, DNZ is definitely worth a look.