By Rob Kay and RN Price
We acquired an ADM Recon Scope Mount when we began our test and evaluation (T&E) of a Sightron SIII 1-7X24 IRMOA scope.
The manufacturer recommended the Burris Signature Zee Ring Set to mount it. Sightron’s rationale was that they are relatively inexpensive ($64), work well and, if you don’t plan on changing your scope, you won’t have to think about it again. Makes sense, unless you’re like a lot of people that own multiple uppers, and you’re constantly swapping out scopes depending on your needs, moods, etc.
That certainly seems to be the trend.
As an ADM spokesman told us, “Everyone is going to Quick Detach Systems. This allows the user to be able to quickly swap out optics or equipment depending on their mission.” And why not? “QD” mounts make it fast and easy to change out optics or equipment from one rifle to another without the use of tools.
Why the heck not? Our philosophy is that one can get hung up on big brand names and miss out on lesser known marques that are equally good.
If the forum chatter on AR15.com is any indicator, Larue seems to be the “industry standard” for QD style mounts. We agree, they make very fine gear and On Target staff own several Larue mounts.
However, there are other manufacturers out there that make excellent gear and we’ve found ADM to be in this category. (Do you really think buying a Land Rover is going to do more for you than purchasing a Toyota or a Ford?)
ADM believes their mounts are equivalent in quality to anything out there. We think they have a point.
A little background the company: American Defense MFG, LLC. is based in New Berlin, Wisconsin and was founded 5 years ago by William Orne and John Gross. In addition to manufacturing mounting solutions for optics, they manufacture bipods and flashlights for tactical, military and civilian applications featuring their patented “Q.D. Auto lock System.”
Their mounts are not as expensive as Larue or Bobro and, occupy the upper middle niche of the price spectrum. They also have an impressive list of clients in the law enforcement field such as the Oregon State Police and the California Highway Patrol. The clientele also includes SWAT teams, SOCOM and the U.S. Army. In addition, the company makes mounts for Vortex and Lucid optics. Noveske and FN also use ADM mounts on their rifles. (If you surf the forums you’ll see that ADM mounts generally receive very good reviews).
The first thing we noticed as we took the mount out of the box was the shiny anodized finish on the 6061 T6 Aluminum. Not only do the products look good but ADM stands behind them with a lifetime warranty.
Another nice feature is that they don’t require proprietary tools to assemble or adjust. All you need is an allen wrench (which they provide). To actually adjust the tension on the cam levers that lock down the mount, we found you don’t need any tools.
Just press the lever on the bottom of the mount the so that the adjustment protrudes. At that point it can easily be turned clockwise or counterclockwise with your thumb and forefinger so that you can very precisely gauge the “lock down” pressure. It works like a charm.
Another thing we noted is that the “clamping surface” in contact with the rail is quite substantial. The more surface that the rail is gripped, the better the “hold”. At the foot of the mount are the cross-bolts that are connected to the cam levers. They are wide and square for positive engagement with the picatinny rail.
The scope itself is held in place by eight allen screws and the product comes with a couple of small packages of “Thread Mate”, a Loctite-like substance. Between mount’s clamps, which as we pointed out, can be infinitely adjusted and those hex head screws cinching down the scope, it certainly appears that this assembly is not going anywhere.
Removing the mount is easy. Depress the secondary lever on the cam lock and flip the lever to the opposite side.
What about the $64,000 question. Can the mount hold zero?
Testing for this is no mean feat. There are a number of factors to consider other than the mount. If the scope is not properly set up on the mount or your barrel is not in spec, you’re not going to get a precise alignment and your aim will be thrown off.
So how did we do with the ADM mount? Pretty darn good.
We tested the mount with two different uppers–a Sig 516 and a Barnes Precision Ultra Light Extreme. Both had 16″ floated barrels and were well within “combat zero”.
What exactly does that mean? A good shot should be able to hold a 1″ group at 25 meters with his or her service M4. This is consistent with Military Specifications of the weapon being a “4″ gun”—one that holds a 4 inch group at 100m. A service rifle should hold a 2 MOA group and service ammunition should hold a 2 MOA group hence the 4 inch group.
Our groups were well within this spectrum but (not unexpectedly) the two uppers differed markedly.
The Sig 516–which uses a military spec barrel, averaged 1.5″ groups at best, and displayed variance every time the scope was removed and then re-attached. The Barnes Precision model, which sported a Wylde chambering, no perceptable change in zero when the scope was swapped out at 100 yards.
In summary, we found the ADM Recon to be reasonably priced and high quality. Given that the weakest link in a shooting system could easily be your mount, you don’t want to take chances with a less than solid platform. Even the best rifle and scope combination is useless without a robust foundation.
The bottom line is that the ADM won’t scar your rails, holds zero, iz easy to tweak, provides a lifetime warranty and, at a price of around $180, is much less expensive than the “name” brands.
What’s not to like?
Photos courtesy of On Target staff.
Questions? Comments? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org