Zeiss ZM / VM Rifle Scope mounting rail

History of Zeiss inner rail


In the past a lot of European scopes were mounted to the rifles with the use of a traditional prismatic rail under the scope housing. This type of rail is today called LM rail, however most of the scope manufacturers later decided to develop a new type mounting rails for their scopes. The old LM rail needed cross screws for mounting and that meant that gunsmith had to drill holes in the rail to mount it. To avoid this procedure new mounting rails were designed that are easier to mount. Almost all major scope manufacturers in EU have their own mounting rail standards, however no other was as successful with their design as was Zeiss with ZM/VM rail. Their Zeiss ZM/VM rail standard is known also as

  • Zeiss M rail
  • Zeiss Inner rail,
  • Zeiss Integral rail,
  • Zeiss 45° rail or also simply called
  • Z rail.
Zeiss ZM / VM Rail Mounting System

Zeiss ZM / VM Rail Mounting System



Today this type of mounting rail is used not only be Zeiss but also the following manufacturers:

  • • Zeiss
  • • Docter
  • • Leica
  • • Minox
  • • Meopta


Advantages of Zeiss ZM / VM mounting rail

Even though that rail mounting of Rifle Scopes is not as popular and common as mounting with rings there is really hard to find any disadvantage of this type of mounting. Maybe the only two objectives that are still better at rings mounts is the price and availability. However in all other regards rail mounting of the riflescopes is a better solution. Zeiss ZM / VM rail offers the following summary of advantages over ring mounting:

  • • Better stability of the riflescope
  • • Better robustness and reliability
  • • No stress on the scope tube
  • • No distortion of optics due to mounting stress
  • • Perfect horizontal leveling
  • • No mounting marks on the scope
  • • Easier adopting of the correct eye relief

General design features of Zeiss ZM / VM mounting rail

Zeiss ZM/VM mounting rail is designed as a 45° prism with the inner niche for mounting elements. You can see the basic schematic representation of the Zeiss ZM / VM rail on the following picture.

Zeiss VM / ZM rail schematic representation

Zeiss VM / ZM rail schematic representation

Mounting elements for this rail in most cases consist out of at least 2 or 3 pairs of outer and inner mounting parts which hold the scope tightly. Mounting is easy and with some technical skills gunsmith is not needed.

Zeiss ZM / VM Rail Mount

Zeiss ZM / VM Rail Mount

Mounting with Zeiss ZM / VM rail is still only really popular in Europe, even though it has so many advantages over other mounting solutions. This is also the reason why almost all mounts for Zeiss ZM / VM rail are produced in Europe. There are mounting solutions for almost any type of mount type that include Zeiss ZM / VM rail mounting elements. To my knowledge the following producers of mounts are producing such mount:

1. Pivot mounts for Zeiss ZM / VM rail producers

  • – EAW
  • – Recknagel
  • – MAK
  • – Virtus
  • – Rusan
  • – Henneberger
  • – Kozap

2. Weaver/Picatinny mounts for Zeiss ZM / VM rail producers

  • – MAK
  • – Recknagel
  • – EAW


3. One-piece monoblock mounts for Zeiss ZM / VM rail producers

  • – Blaser
  • – MAK
  • – Recknagel
  • – INNOmount


4. Suhl Claw mounts for Zeiss ZM / VM rail producers

  • – Ziegler
  • – EAW
  • – Recknagel


This list is certainly incomplete and if you have any valuable information which manufacturer should be added to this list, please write to us or mention this in the comments bellow.



This article is intended to highlight the Zeiss ZM / VM rail mounting system and offer as many information as possible to the users. If you search over the internet information about this rail is disperse and in most cases insufficient to give a clear understanding. To make thing short, I will write that rail mounting of the Rifle Scopes is one of the best ways of mounting and that Zeiss ZM / VM rail is among the best rail mounting solutions. I also think that in the future much more scopes will be mounted this way than they are now. There is just too many benefits to ignore them.


17 thoughts on “Zeiss ZM / VM Rifle Scope mounting rail”

  1. Hello Teodor,
    I enjoyed reading your article. I live in Australia where unfortunately Rail Mounting Systems are not very popular. I have a couple of new European Rifles that I’d like to rail mount scopes to but can’t find any instructions on line. Do you know where I can get such information especially relating to correct screw torque settings to avoid damaging the mounts? The rifles are Blaser and the scopes are Swarovski Rail mount.
    Any help or direction to online information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you Teodor.

    1. Dear Terry!

      Some information is given in EAW catalog (http://www.eaw.de/assets/files/2014/EAW_Katalog_2014_Web.pdf), however I doubt you will find torque values for screws. At the same time I have to say that it is very unlikely that you would damage the rail of the scope. Just use your feeling any you will mount the scope fine. Rail mounts are designed for easy and problem free mounting.

      If you will need any additional information, just write to me again and I will try to reply as soon as possible.

      Best Regards,


  2. I have enjoyed your commentaries on the Leica 2.4×16 Magnus and the VM/zm zeiss mounting system I would like to purchase one of these Leica scopes but have been unable to find in the U.S. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Keep up the good work letting us know what’s new and how it performs. Thadd Mays

  3. Hello Teodor.
    I have a Blazer R 93 and I want to buy zeiss 1.5-6×42 rifle scope with rail mount from USA/it is cheaper/. Can I mount that zeiss on my Blazer or must buy zeiss without rail mount and buy saddle mount for Blazer?

  4. Hi guys, I have just got myself an old (50s-60s) hensoldt wetzlar 6×42 Scope with the LM style rail under the tube. This is a great scope and I want to mount this scope onto an M1A 18.5″ Springfield, which has a weaver rail, but am having difficulties finding mounts for this. Rings ‘may’ work but due to the rail on the scope I am very restricted in the mounting location on my rifle and am not sure I will get the best eye relief that I would like. If anyone has any suggestions about what I can get this scope on my rifle it would be most appreciated!
    Thank you. Chris

  5. I have a zeiss rail mounted scope. I wish to mount it to my Sako 75 using the existing Optiloc mounts.
    Is this possible, what additional fixtures do I require for this, if so please advise me on how I should proceed.
    Kind Regards,


  6. Thank you for this information! I have not seen this system in Canada yet can I use it on cz 550? Thanks

      1. Hello Sir,
        Can you please tell me if you have the same type of mount (CZ 550) but for Swarovski SR rail?

        I appreciate your help

        Thank you so much!

    1. Hello,

      I have a very nice Diavari VM 1,5-6X scope, which I bought for my .375 pre-’64 Winchester. The quick-detachable mounts I found for it have the scope far too high, and I was hopeful you can recommend a mount that will bring the scope lower. If not, I am considering having a machinist remove the rail and use Luepold rings and bases to mount the scope. I would prefer not to resort to mutilating this lovely scope, but it is of no use to me when it is sitting up so high.

    2. I have a Zeiss 1,5-6×42 Divari ZM rail mounted scope on my Drilling. It is mounted with Suhler Claw mount (SEM). I would like to buy a rifle scope which has the same length and illuminated reticle. Which of the scopes you sell uses same Zeiss rail?

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