January 19th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: March 36-55 BR Scope + Revolutionary 1:10 Ratio Zooms

Kelbly’s rolled out a remarkable new March benchrest scope at SHOT 2009: a completely new 36-55x52mm zoom, quite unlike anything on the market. Produced by Japan’s DEON Optical, the design was inspired, in part, by suggestions from ace shooter Lou Murdica. Lou looked at the current benchrest disciplines, from point-blank (100/200) BR, all the way to the 1000-yard game. He found that most benchresters (both short-range and long-range) rarely dialed their scopes below 30-power, and most wanted more magnification than their current scopes offered, for times when the conditions were good. Lou asked DEON’s designers if they could build a high-quality BR scope with about a two-times zoom ratio. But he also wanted the reticle to be super-stable, so it didn’t move at all when adjusting the magnification.

Six months later, DEON (March) sent Lou a prototype. It was very different that other scopes on the market because the zoom function is done in the eyepiece — similar to a spotting scope. In fact DEON dubbed the new scoped the “EP” zoom, with the “EP” referring to “eye piece”. Lou has tested the new March 36-55X and he says “The cross-hair absolutely doesn’t move when you zoom because everything is taking place behind the cross-hairs at the eyepiece. For a benchrest shooter this is a BIG deal — if you don’t like the mirage, you can change from 55 power to 36 power in the middle of your group, and know that point of impact will not change.” The other great feature of the scope is the near-constant eye relief — it changes only about 1/2″ from 36 power to full 55X magnification. Lou says, “you can zoom through the entire range and barely need to move your head at all.” Lou has worked with all the March BR scopes, from the early 40X through the lastest zooms. He feels that the new 36-55 may be the best yet for short-, medium-, and long-range benchrest shooters. As Lou explains: “It takes care of 100 to 1000-yard shooting with one scope. What more would you ever need?”

Click Here to download March 36-55×52 Spec Sheet.

Revolutionary March 1:10 Ratio Zooms Amaze Optics Experts
March pulled off a major coup at SHOT Show. The new March 1-10x35mm and 2.5-25x42mm zooms were the talk of the Show. This is the first time ANY major manufacturer has been able to achieve a 10 times zoom ratio. March’s booth was mobbed as engineers from other optics companies came to see how March “achieved the impossible”. And the optics guys had to fight past a line-up of military personnel — from the USA, Canada, Israel, and Germany. Lou Murdica was there and he reports: “Once word of these scopes hit the show’s Tactical area, March had more military and law enforcement people from the U.S. and other countries than you could imagine.”

March 1-10x35mm tactical scopeApparently, the U.S. Military has been asking domestic manufacturers to perfect a 1-10X zoom for years, and the response was always: “It can’t be done.” Well, starting from a blank page, the engineers at Japans’ DEON Optical Design Corp. (makers of the March), figured it out. For the military this is a HUGE technical breakthrough because a 1-power optic is ideal for close quarters combat (or house-clearing) while 10-power is a good setting for long-range sniper work. The two 1:10 ratio zooms both feature 1/4 MOA clicks, illuminated plex or MTR2 reticles, 30mm tubes, and a huge elevation range: 180 MOA for the 1-10×35 and 100 MOA for the 2.5-25×42. Both these scopes are slated for June 2009 deliveries. The 1-10×35 scope is expected to sell for $1500.00 while the 2.4-25×42 will cost about $2400.00.

We are told that David Tubb will be working on adapting a specialized long-range reticle for the 2.5-25×42. Representatives of the U.S. Navy SEALs showed great interest in the 2.5-25x42mm March. In addition to the two smaller tactical scopes, March displayed 5-32x52mm and 10-60x52mm tactical scopes. These feature 1/8-MOA clicks and an MTR1 reticle.

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January 19th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: Matt Emmons, U.S.A Olympic Shooter

27-year-old Matt Emmons has been one of the top American shooters in international Smallbore Rifle and Air Rifle competition. Matt, a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, won a Silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in mens’ prone and won Gold at the Athens Olympics in the same event. He is a co-holder of the 50m rifle prone world record (600 points), and has been a multiple-event winner at the ISSF World Cup.

Matt Emmons Olympics shooter

In 2007, Matt married Czech shooter Katerina Kurkova. “Katy” earned fame as the winner of the first Gold Medal in the Beijing Olympics (see photo below). A husband and wife “dream team”, Matt and Katy are probably the most famous couple in the shooting sports. Matt is currently training for the 2012 Olympics. Wife Katy is now pregnant, but she’ll rejoin Matt in training after the baby’s born.

Jason Baney has a chance to talk with Matt at SHOT Show where Matt appeared on behalf of USA Shooting, the U.S. national governing body for Olympic Shooting Sports. Jason notes: “It was great to talk to Matt about shooting, though we practice very different disciplines. At 27 Matt is the same age as me, and we’ve both recently been married, so we had things in common. Matt is a very cool, humble down-to-earth guy.” If we can clear it with Matt’s sponsors, we’d love to have Matt test some match rifles for AccurateShooter.com.

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January 19th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: New RCBS Bullet Feeder for Progressives

RCBS makes a fine progressive press, the RCBS Pro 2000. This Editor owns one. I can tell you it is very solid, and the strip primer-feeding system has proven virtually fool-proof, something that can’t be said about some competitive progressive presses. I also believe the micrometer-equipped powder measure is superior to the Dillon alternative. Nonetheless, Dillon still dominates the progressive press market. One reason is that Dillon has long offered a reliable case-feeding system, and GSI International and Gaspari USA offer after-market bullet feeders for the Dillon 650 and 1050. Until now, with an RCBS Progressive, you needed to manually insert a bullet into each case. Well, at SHOT 2009, RCBS unveiled a new bullet-feeding system.

RCBS Pro 2000 progressive press RCBS Pro 2000 progressive press

RCBS says its new automatic bullet-feeder will work with Dillon (blue) and Hornady (red) progressives as well as the RCBS 2000. The unit mounts to a sturdy vertical support, with a flexible tube that connects to the bullet-seating station. It looks well-designed, and during a demo by RCBS manager Kent Sakamoto, the bullet-feeding system worked flawlessly. Kent showed us the pistol-bullet feeder, but a second version for rifle bullets will be offered by mid-2009. The rifle-bullet feeder should be just the ticket for varminters who need to load large quantities of .223 Rem, 22-250, or .204 Ruger rounds. Sakamoto explained that the automatic bullet feeder can significantly boost your reloading output whether you have a blue, red, or green progressive press.

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January 19th, 2009

SHOT Show Report: Leica's Impressive APO Spotting Scopes

Every year, the high-end Spotting Scopes from the major optics-makers seem to get bigger, better, and, unfortunately, more expensive. Leica rolled out its new flagship spotting scope, a black-bodied 82mm Televid with APO glass. A smaller version with a 65mm front objective will also be available in Spring 2009. These babies are expensive — the 82mm (body only, no eyepiece), carries a $3,195.00 MSRP, while the 65mm (body only, no eyepiece) retails for $2,295.00.

What justifies the high price is Leica’s superb APO (apochromatic) glass. This is formulated to give enhanced light transmission with less chromatic aberration. Other manufacturers offer “ED”, “HD” or “LD” low-dispersion glass, but the Leica APO glass is probably about as good as it gets. (Both the new 65mm and the 82mm are offered at a lower price with HD flouride glass, with APO lenses an extra-cost upgrade.) Leica claims the optical performance of the new spotting scopes is significantly better than the preceding models. The High Definition (HD) versions use specialized glass in a newly designed lens arrangement for improved clarity and contrast.

Jason checked out the new 82mm Televid with angled body. It was fitted with a 25-50x Wide Angle eyepiece. Jason noted the eyepiece offered good eye relief, and the clarity and sharpness was outstanding. The scope is fairly compact (front to rear) for an 80mm-class optic. Is the 82mm APO Televid better than the Big Zeiss or Swarovski (or the new ED-glass Kowa)? Only field tests can reveal that. “You’d have to get the Leica 82mm in the field with a couple other premium spotters with low dispersion glass and see how they perform side by side.” The Leica Televid 82 and Televid 65 spotting scopes are both available with straight or angled eyepiece housing, with either HD or APO glass.

Leice also announced that, for 2009, it will offer HD (High Definition) lenses in its popular Geovid Laser-Range-Finding Binoculars. MSRP on the HD Geovids starts at $2395.00.

For more information, visit www.leica-camera.com.

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