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What's the easiest way to mount a Red Dot sight on a rifle? Does a Burris- Ruger to Weaver base work? Does an aftermarket Picitanny rail need to be installed? And how do I know whether a Red Dot will mount to a Weaver or Picitanny rail? Will I just be mad that I didn't spend $3-500 on a good magnified scope from the beginning, even if I'm looking for a short range 100 yard brush gun?

Should I give up on trying to get a Red Dot to work on a Ruger and just stick to the Skinner sights?

It's an M77/44 and this new Ruger rifle owner needs your advice, please.
 

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Most red dots are picatinny mounts. Picatinny will fit on weaver mounts, but not the other way around IIRC. If you are planning on red dots or anything of the sort it may be best to swap to a picatinny rail, EGW makes nice ones for decent prices. Not totally sure if they make one for your rifle. Picatinny gives you flexibility along the entire length of the mount vs Weaver you get just a couple slots you are stuck with. You can get a wide variety of rings and bases for picatinny rails and a decent variety for Weaver as well. I prefer picatinny myself for flexibility and it seems most of the industry has adopted this option. In fact I swapped my Ruger rail for a picatinny on my x39 RAR because the standard “picatinny” rail had odd spacing and limited rail slots to make room for the Ruger logo... If you’re looking for a low power optic, Leupold makes a fixed 2.5x scope that is nice and not terribly expensive. I have one on my RAR x39 for brush style hunting and really like it. It ain’t easy picking up the center of the bullseye at 100 yds with it, but I’m not trying for a bullseye on a deer. Hope this helps.
 

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Just looked, EGW rails require drill and tapping your receiver. Weigand makes a rail you affix using the scallops on the receiver.
 

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I got a Burris mount that fits in the Ruger ring notch but never used it yet because I like Reflex red dot out away from eyes better.. For under 100 yards it be fine as long as your targets/vermins are not too small to see, small groundhogs and raccons gets lost easily trying to see them past 40 yards or so. Good to go for deer tho.
 

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Some Ultradots have 1" tubes and will mount in the std. Ruger rings. Has a 4 minute dot so you can't dot a squirrel's eye at 100 yards with it but you would be good on the boilerworks of a deer or pig.
 

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Picatinny rails have uniformly spaced slots. Weaver rails may or may not have. The width of Picatinny slots is slightly greater than that of Weaver rail slots if they are at spec. That means that all cross bolts that will fit into Weaver slots will also fit into Picatinny slots, leaving just a bit of forward and back play.

The opposite may or may not be true. Rings, red dot sights, and scope mounts made to fit Picatinny rails may or may not fit into Weaver slots, they might be to fat. A lot of manufacturers will make cross bolts that fit into either. Sometimes these will be advertised as fitting Picatinny/Weaver rails and sometimes not. If the sight, ring, or optic says it is intended for Picatinny rails (and does not specifically say Weaver) it may or may not work on a Weaver rail.

One piece mounts that are made for Picatinny rails that have two securing cross bolts in fixed positions will generally not work on Weaver rails. The slots will not be correctly spaced for the cross bolts.
 
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