At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Remington — $100.00 Cash Back on Rem 700 BDL and CDL
2. Bruno’s — Krieger Barrels $25.00 Off Plus FREE Shipping
Krieger makes some of the very best barrels you can buy. With demand for Krieger cut-rifled barrels being so high, you can expect to wait 3 months or so for a new barrel. Or, you can order from a vendor that maintains Kriegers in inventory. Right now Bruno’s is offering $25 off all Krieger barrels in stock, plus FREE shipping. A variety of lengths/contours are available in .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, .308, and .338 calibers. CLICK HERE for Barrel Inventory list.
You won’t find a better deal on a Magnetospeed Chronograph anywhere. This chrono fits to your barrel so you don’t have to walk downrange to fiddle with a tripod-mounted unit. As part of the Brownells 3-Week “Back to Black” promotion, this Sporter Chrono is marked down to $159.99 for the next few days. Don’t hesitate — this is a killer deal on a very good product.
4. Southern Shooters — Savage A17 in 17 HMR
The Savage A17 is an impressive new semi-auto rifle. With its delayed blow-back mechanism, the A17 can safely handle the added pressure of the 17 HMR cartridge (unlike some previous designs). Though some owners have complained about a stiff trigger (and hard-to-seat magazines), overall the A17 is a very good design — a great choice for small varmints.Now you can purchase one for under $355.00. Southern Shooters is currently offering the A17 for just $352.62. The A17 was named Guns & Ammo Rifle of the Year.
5. Botach Tactical — Double Rifle Padded 36″ Case with Straps
Here’s a nice case for short carbines or hunting rifles. This double Gun Case will transport TWO (2) 35″ rifles inside the main double compartments. This is a nice set-up for hauling a couple of varmint rifles or an AR with a collapsible stock. Three large external pockets will carry magazines, range-finders and other gear. This rugged case includes nice padded shoulder straps so you can carry your rifles backpack-style. Right now this double gun case is just $49.00 from Botach Tactical. That’s $99 off the original price. The case is offered in tan, OD green, or black.
A few years back, we comparison tested four laser rangefinders — a Nikon, Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss. To make a long story short, three out of four testers preferred the Zeiss PRF Victory. While larger and heavier than the Leica CRF 1600, the Zeiss Victory PRF was easier to hold steady, and it ranged as well as the Leica (and better than the Swaro and Nikon). Now the Zeiss Victory is on sale for $649.00, making it $150.00 cheaper than Leica’s CRF 1600. With this price advantage, we think the Zeiss is the smart choice (unless you need an ultra-compact unit). A recent LRF comparison test in the UK reached the same conclusion.
7. Brownells — Stripped AR Lower Just $39.99
This is the lowest price we’ve seen on a lower with a solid warranty. This Anderson Mfg. Lower sells elsewhere for up to $79.99. If you’re planning a budget AR build, you can start with this inexpensive lower and put the money you save into a top-quality barrel.
8. Bullets.com — Thanksgiving Ultrasonic Cleaner Sale
For Thanksgiving Week, Bullets.com has slashed prices on all its Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines. These start at just $31.95 (for 1 pint capacity), and run up to 9 liter capacity for the biggest jobs. We like the 2.5 liter unit which has been marked down to $89.95 from $199.95. That’s a good price for a 2.5 liter machine.
9. Bushmaster — $200 Cash Back on Select AR & ACR Models
Looking for a Black Rifle on Black Friday? Here’s a sweet deal from Bushmaster. Now through November 30, 2015 you can save $200.00 on a variety of semi-auto “modern sporting rifles” from Bushmaster. This includes AR-clone rifles as well as Bushmaster’s gas piston operated ACR series rifles. You save $200.00 through a $50 Rebate combined with a $150.00 Black Friday Bonus.
10. Gander Mountain — $20 and $50 Discount Coupon “EARLY20″
As a lead-in to Black Friday, Gander Mountain is offering online shoppers $20.00 off a $100.00+ purchase and $50.00 off a $250.00+ purchase. Simply use Code EARLY20 during checkout. This coupon works through midnight on 11/24/2015. Also, during Black Friday (11/27/2015), Gander Mountain will offer big discounts on Liberty Gun Safes.
Credit EdLongrange for finding the Bushmaster Rebate Offer.
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You probably know that MOA stands for “Minute of Angle” (or more precisely “minute of arc”), but could you define the terms “Milrad” or “MIL”? In his latest video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballitics explains MOA and MILs (short for “milliradians”). Bryan defines those terms and explains how they are used. One MOA is an angular measurement (1/60th of one degree) that subtends 1.047″ at 100 yards. One MIL (i.e. one milliradian) subtends 1/10th meter at 100 meters; that means that 0.1 Mil is one centimeter (1 cm) at 100 meters. Is one angular measurement system better than another? Not necessarily… Bryan explains that Mildot scopes may be handy for ranging, but scopes with MOA-based clicks work just fine for precision work at known distances. Also because one MOA is almost exactly one inch at 100 yards, the MOA system is convenient for expressing a rifle’s accuracy. By common parlance, a “half-MOA” rifle can shoot groups that are 1/2-inch (or smaller) at 100 yards.
What is a “Minute” of Angle?
When talking about angular degrees, a “minute” is simply 1/60th. So a “Minute of Angle” is simply 1/60th of one degree of a central angle, measured either up and down (for elevation) or side to side (for windage). At 100 yards, 1 MOA equals 1.047″ on the target. This is often rounded to one inch for simplicity. Say, for example, you click up 1 MOA (four clicks on a 1/4-MOA scope). That is roughly 1 inch at 100 yards, or roughly 4 inches at 400 yards, since the target area measured by an MOA subtension increases with the distance.
MIL vs. MOA for Target Ranging
MIL or MOA — which angular measuring system is better for target ranging (and hold-offs)? In a recent article on his PrecisionRifleBlog.com website, Cal Zant tackles that question. Analyzing the pros and cons of each, Zant concludes that both systems work well, provided you have compatible click values on your scope. Zant does note that a 1/4 MOA division is “slightly more precise” than 1/10th mil, but that’s really not a big deal: “Technically, 1/4 MOA clicks provide a little finer adjustments than 1/10 MIL. This difference is very slight… it only equates to 0.1″ difference in adjustments at 100 yards or 1″ at 1,000 yards[.]” Zant adds that, in practical terms, both 1/4-MOA clicks and 1/10th-MIL clicks work well in the field: “Most shooters agree that 1/4 MOA or 1/10 MIL are both right around that sweet spot.”
At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Leupold — $100 Mail-In Rebate with Any VX-3 Scope
Purchase any Leupold VX-3 riflescope from November 15th, 2015 to December 31st, 2015 and you will receive a rebate in the form of a $100.00 check.
Here’s one of the best rebates we’ve seen all year. Right now you can get $100.00 back on any Leupold VX-3 Riflescope. The rebate applies to the entire VX-3 line. After purchase you can apply for the rebate online or by mailing in the Leupold VX-3 Rebate Form. For more info, visit www.Leupold.com/rewards.
2. Amazon — Stackable, Lockable 85-lb Capacity Ammo Crates
This is a great product from MTM. These stackable, lockable “Ammo Crates” hold up to 85 pounds of shooting supplies. Choose from two different versions, the Large (7.25″-deep) Ammo Crate will hold rifle ammo in individual boxes, while the Medium (4.5″-deep) Ammo Crate is ideal for shotgun shells. Buyer love these crates. Read the user reviews on Amazon. Here’s just one recent example: “5 Stars — I have purchased four of these over the last several months. Construction, dimensions, lock ability are all outstanding. The ability to store 500 rounds of 12ga in a single crate is fantastic. When I saw them on sale today…I grabbed another four.” — Go Navy (verified purchaser)
3. Cabela’s — Pre-Black Friday Gun Deals
Cabela’s is offering deep discounts on select guns as part of a pre-Black Friday promotion. Among the best deals is a Savage 12 FV rifle with varmint barrel for just $379.99, $40 off. This is available in four chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, and .308 Win. There are also good deals on handguns, scopes, and shooting accessories.
4. Optics Planet — Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4x20mm
Scopes for Service Rifles. Starting next year, under proposed new NRA Competition Rules, Service Rifle shooters will be able to use optical sights with a max magnification of 4.5X (fixed power or variable). At one-third the cost of a 4X ACOG, the Leupold 1.5-4X Mark AR is a good scope choice for the new optics-legal Service Rifle Class. Optics Planet currently has this on Sale for $299.99. With a Duplex reticle, this is also a fine hunting scope.
5. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Rifle Stock
Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel.
6. Precision Reloading — Forster Die Set (.284 Win or 7mm WSM)
Getting started in F-Open competition? Here’s a good set-up for those who need to load quality 7mm match ammo with low run-out. Right now Precision Reloading is offering a Forster 2-die set with sizing die and Micrometer-top seater for just $78.69. Precision Reloading also has a 7mm WSM die site with Micrometer seater for the same low price. That’s another popular F-Open and hunting cartridge.
7. Grafs.com — SK Standard Plus at $5.99 per Box
This is very good European-made rimfire ammo at an affordable price. SK Standard Plus is much better than most low-priced rimfire ammo. This is a good choice for cross-training, fun plinking, or rimfire tactical matches. When we don’t need ultra-high-quality Eley or Lapua match .22 LR ammo, we’re happy to shoot SK Standard Plus. The Grafs.com priceincludes shipping (after one flat $7.95 fee).
8. Harbor Freight — Bargain 59″ Safe and Metal Workbench
Harbor Freight has a number of good deals offered through the end of November. Two that caught our eye were “Super Coupon” deals. Get a 59″ Tall Executive Safe for just $298.98 with Super Coupon. Or, if you need a general purpose bench with power outlet, choose this handy Multi-Purpose 2-Drawer Bench for just $84.99 with Coupon. Note, we do NOT recommend this bench for use with reloading presses. However, it is useful for general light duties and storage.
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Have you recently purchased a new scope? Then you should verify the actual click value of the turrets before you use the optic in competition (or on a long-range hunt). While a scope may have listed click values of 1/4-MOA, 1/8-MOA or 0.1 Mils, the reality may be slightly different. Many scopes have actual click values that are slightly higher or lower than the value claimed by the manufacturer. The small variance adds up when you click through a wide range of elevation.
In this video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics shows how to verify your true click values using a “Tall Target Test”. The idea is to start at the bottom end of a vertical line, and then click up 30 MOA or so. Multiply the number of clicked MOA by 1.047 to get the claimed value in inches. For example, at 100 yards, 30 MOA is exactly 31.41 inches. Then measure the difference in your actual point of impact. If, for example, your point of impact is 33 inches, then you are getting more than the stated MOA with each click (assuming the target is positioned at exactly 100 yards).
How to Perform the Tall Target Test
The objective of the tall target test is to insure that your scope is giving you the proper amount of adjustment. For example, when you dial 30 MOA, are you really getting 30 MOA, or are you getting 28.5 or 31.2 MOA? The only way to be sure is to verify, don’t take it for granted! Knowing your scopes true click values insures that you can accurately apply a ballistic solution. In fact, many perceived inaccuracies of long range ballistics solutions are actually caused by the scopes not applying the intended adjustment. In order to verify your scope’s true movement and calculate a correction factor, follow the steps in the Tall Target Worksheet. This worksheet takes you thru the ‘calibration process’ including measuring true range to target and actual POI shift for a given scope adjustment. The goal is to calculate a correction factor that you can apply to a ballistic solution which accounts for the tracking error of your scope. For example, if you find your scope moves 7% more than it should, then you have to apply 7% less than the ballistic solution calls for to hit your target.
NOTE: When doing this test, don’t go for the maximum possible elevation. You don’t want to max out the elevation knob, running it to the top stop. Bryan Litz explains: “It’s good to avoid the extremes of adjustment when doing the tall target test.I don’t know how much different the clicks would be at the edges, but they’re not the same.”
Should You Perform a WIDE Target Test Too?
What about testing your windage clicks the same way, with a WIDE target test? Bryan Litz says that’s not really necessary: “The wide target test isn’t as important for a couple reasons. First, you typically don’t dial nearly as much wind as you do elevation. Second, your dialed windage is a guess to begin with; a moving average that’s different for every shot. Whereas you stand to gain a lot by nailing vertical down to the click, the same is not true of windage. If there’s a 5% error in your scope’s windage tracking, you’d never know it.”
Verifying Scope Level With Tall Target Test
Bryan says: “While setting up your Tall Target Test, you should also verify that your scope level is mounted and aligned properly. This is critical to insuring that you’ll have a long range horizontal zero when you dial on a bunch of elevation for long range shots. This is a requirement for all kinds of long range shooting. Without a properly-mounted scope level (verified on a Tall Target), you really can’t guarantee your horizontal zero at long range.”
NOTE: For ‘known-distance’ competition, this is the only mandatory part of the tall target test, since slight variations in elevation click-values are not that important once you’re centered “on target” at a known distance.
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The Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic (MRO), a one-power “red dot” reflex sight, has been named the 2015 “Optic of the Year” by Guns & Ammo Magazine. The “Optic of the Year” is an annual award presented by the Guns & Ammo editorial staff based on performance, versatility, durability, and product value.
“We designed the new MRO to be as rugged and versatile as our renowned ACOG, while offering the features and benefits reflex optic owners desire,” said Chuck Wahr, Marketing VP for Trijicon. “We have been overwhelmed with the positive response from the industry. Being awarded “Optic of the Year” by Guns & Ammo is a great honor for Trijicon.” Users have praised the MRO. One purchaser wrote: “Great FOV, clear dot and glass. Light weight…love it.”
MRO Sells for under $450.00
The American-made MRO features a 2 MOA dot and 25mm objective lens for quick target acquisition. There are handy adjusters with half-MOA click values and 70 MOA total adjustment. Dot intensity is adjusted with a top-located brightness control. Street price for the Miniature Rifle Optic is $449.00 for the basic version, $515.00 with a low mount, and $535.00 for the elevated “co-witness” version.
With the co-witness elevated mount, the MRO allows “see-through” aiming with back-up iron sights.
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a new “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Sportsmans Superstore — .30-06 Ruger American Rifle, $299.99
Want a quality deer rifle for under three hundred bucks? Look no further. Here’s an awesome deal for the hunting season. This long-action .30-06 Ruger American Rifle costs just $299.99 this week. If you prefer a short action, Sportsmans Outdoors Superstore has the same rifle in .308 Win for $319.41 (camo stock) or $339.88 (black stock).
2. Bruno Shooters Supply — Leupold Competition Scopes $999.99
Here’s a good deal for benchrest shooters. Bruno’s is offering Leupold 35X and 40X Competition Series scopes for $999.99. That’s $100.00 less than we’ve seen anywhere else currently. And, for a limited time, Bruno’s is offering free shipping on Leupold scopes. Other Leupold scopes are 5% off regular prices while this sale is in effect.
3. Burris – $100 Off Burris Eliminator III LaserScope
Now through December 31st (2015), you can get $100 back on any Eliminator III with a mail-in rebate. The Burris Eliminator III combines a medium-powder zoom scope with a built-in laser rangefinder. We’ve used an Eliminator and it ranged successfully on steel plates out to 600 yards. We think this is a good product for a varmint hunter — it quickly returns yardages and shows the correct hold-over with an illuminated dot. Just put the dot on the target and “send it”. CLICK HERE for Rebate FORM.
4. Cabelas — FREE Shipping on orders of $99 or more
For the next two days, through midnight on 11/3/2015, Cabela’s is offering FREE Shipping on orders of $99.00 or more. Yes this applies to ammo sales as well (though not to firearms or hazmat items). To qualify, use code “115HOT” during checkout. NOTE: Shipping charges may apply to large or heavy items. Act quickly, this offer expires soon.
5. Midsouth Shooters Supply — Hornady Progressive Press on Sale
The Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Progessive Press is on sale at Midsouth this week for $389.99. That’s $70.00 off the regular price. To further sweeten this deal, press purchasers can get 500 free bullets through Hornady’s “Get Loaded” promotion. We have used this press. It is strong and reliable. We favor Hornady’s easy-to-adjust, rotary-type powder measure over Dillon’s sliding-bar system.
Like the RCBS ChargeMaster, this Lyman Gen6 Powder System will automatically dispense and weigh powder charges. This unit features a touch screen, rapid warm-up, anti-static/anti-drift technology, and electronic shielding to resist interference from other electronic devices. It’s a good deal at $202.49.
7. Amazon.com — Lee Universal Shell Holder Set
Every hand-loader needs one of these Lee Universal Shell Holder Sets. The kit contains 11 shell-holders for most popular rifle and pistol cartridge types. This editor bought one of these kits 25 years ago, and I still use it every week. Even if you prefer more expensive Redding shell-holders, this 11-piece kit serves as a valuable back-up. Right now the Shell Holder Set is on sale at Amazon.com for $26.99, with free shipping on orders over $35.00. Get two kits and they’ll ship for free.
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Nightforce has announced a limited re-release of its NXS 2.5-10x24mm scope, with enhancements. The 2.5-10 NXS has been discontinued since 2008, but has been requested by customers for several years due to its small size and successful use with the Mk12 5.56 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) program. This slim, compact (9.9″ OAL) design has been popular for AR-platform rifles and hunting/safari rifles.
This limited run of NXS 2.5-10x25mm scopes will be offered with MOAR™ or Mil-R™ reticles at a $1,950.00 MSRP (street price should be lower). These scopes should be available by the first week of November from four retailers: EuroOptic, Sport Optics, Mile High Shooting Accessories, MidwayUSA.
Upgraded Controls for NXS 2.5-10x24mm
This limited run of NXS 2.5-10x24mm scopes will have some modern enhancements. A Nightforce PTL (Power Throw Lever), allows quick magnification changes even while wearing gloves. The elevation and windage turrets are updated, providing positive click-feel and easy-to-read numbers. Click values are 1/4 MOA (20 MOA per revolution) or .1 Mil-Radian (5 Mil-Rad per revolution). An elevation ZeroStop and capped windage adjustment are standard.
Click Image to download NXS 2.5-10x24mm Flyer in PDF Format:
Hunting season is here in many parts of the country. If you need a good, yet affordable scope for your hunting rig, look no further. Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a super sale right now on Vortex scopes. You can get a 4-12x44mm Crossfire II Vortex scope for just $169.99 with free shipping. Or, if you want something lighter and smaller, consider the 3-9x40mm Crossfire II. It’s a mere $149.99, again with free shipping.
If you’re concerned about the durability/longevity of these bargain-priced optics, consider this — these Crossfire scopes, like all Vortex optics products, are backed by the Vortex lifetime “VIP” warranty:
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Shooting Sports USA recently released an informative article covering prescription eyewear for shooters. In The Right Rx for Aging Eyes, writer Chris Christian reviews vision issues with Doctor of Optometry Alexis Rodriguez. Christian notes that many shooters have difficulty focusing on their sights as their eyes age. Even if you use scopes more of the time, we recommend you read this article, which explains the physiology (and bio-mechanics) of human vision.
Shooters experience vision issues as they get older, explained Dr. Rodriguez: “Presbyopia is the medical term that describes the natural deterioration of the eyes with age.” As people get older, the ability of the eyes to focus on near objects is diminished, due to the loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens inside the eye and the gradual deterioration of the ciliary muscles that help in bending the lens to focus. Rodriguez says the first symptoms usually occur around age 40, although some will experience them later. This normally starts with blurriness when looking at close objects. From that first point, this natural deterioration will continue to worsen until around the age of 65, where it normally stabilizes, and virtually all elasticity of focus is gone.
To overcome focus problems associated with aging eyes, Dr. Rodriguez often recommends a modified bifocal design for shooters. The lower insert is set to the shooter’s Sight Distance (SD) instead of a standard “reading” distance and the insert lens is moved upwards in the lens to a point in line with the bottom of the pupil. This allows the shooter to maintain a constant head position to access the lower lens and reduces image jump.
Do you know which one of your eyes is dominant? It’s easy to determine eye dominance with a simple exercise. Pick an object about 6-10 feet away (a light switch or door knob works well). Make an “OK” sign with your right hand (see photo) and hold that about 18″ from your face. Now, with both eyes open, look through the circle formed by your thumb and index finger. Center the circle on the object, so you can see the object in the middle.
Now, here’s the important part — while still holding your hand up, centered on the object, first close your right eye. If you don’t see the object anymore, then your right eye is dominant. If you still see the object, then repeat the procedure with the left eye shut and right eye open. If you don’t see the object when your left eye (only) is closed, then you are left-eye dominant.
The digital archives of Shooting Sports USA contain many interesting articles. A while back, Shooting Sports USA featured a “must-read” expert Symposium on Eye Dominance, as it affects both rifle and pistol shooting. No matter whether you have normal dominance (i.e. your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand), or if you have cross-dominance, you’ll benefit by reading this excellent article. The physiology and science of eye dominance is explained by Dr. Norman Wong, a noted optometrist. In addition, expert advice is provided by champion shooters such as David Tubb, Lones Wigger, Dennis DeMille, Julie Golob, Jessie Harrison, and Phil Hemphill.
Top Rifle Champions Talk About Eye Dominance:
David Tubb — 11-Time National High Power Champion
I keep both eyes open, always. Some use an opaque blinder in rifle or shotgun shooting. If you close your non-dominant eye, you will not get as good a sight picture. If your aiming eye is not your dominant eye, you have even more of a problem to overcome.
Lones Wigger — World, National and Olympic Champion Rifleman
Shooters should try to use the dominant eye unless the vision is impaired and the non-dominant eye has better vision. You should always shoot with both eyes open since this will allow the shooting eye to function properly.
Dennis DeMille — National Service Rifle Champion
I close my non-shooting eye initially. Once I pick up my sight picture, it’s not something I focus on. For those that use a patch, I recommend that they use something white to block their view, rather than cover the eye.
Bruce Piatt — 2015 World Shooting Championship Winner
Some shooters, especially those with nearly equal or cross-dominance, will naturally find themselves squinting one eye. When anyone does this, you are also closing your dominant eye to some extent and adding stress to your face.
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Nightforce Optics has just launched a new monthly newsletter. This free, subscription-based digital publication will offer information on optics, target shooting, hunting, and other topics of interest. The debut October issue, released this week, features match reports, tactical shooting hold-over advice, plus a TECH TIP explaining Parallax.
PARALLAX – What is it and Why is it important?
What is Parallax?
Parallax is the apparent movement of the scope’s reticle (cross-hairs) in relation to the target as the shooter moves his eye across the exit pupil of the riflescope. This is caused by the target and the reticle being located in different focal planes.
Why is it Important?
The greater the distance to the target and magnification of the optic, the greater the parallax error becomes. Especially at longer distances, significant sighting error can result if parallax is not removed.
How to Remove Parallax
This Nightforce Tech Tip video quickly shows how to remove parallax on your riflescope.
While keeping the rifle still and looking through the riflescope, a slight nod of the head up and down will quickly determine if parallax is present. To remove parallax, start with the adjustment mechanism on infinity and rotate until the reticle remains stationary in relation to the target regardless of head movement. If parallax has been eliminated, the reticle will remain stationary in relation to the target regardless of eye placement behind the optic.
If you want to subscribe to the Nightforce Newsletter, CLICK HERE to open the Newsletter then click the green “Join Email List” button at the top of the page.
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If you’ve been considering the new Nightforce SHV scope for a hunting application, head over to LongRangeHunting.com. There you’ll find an in-depth field test of the 4-14x56mm SHV by Nicholas Gebhart. This is a very thorough review — Gebhardt checks every feature of the scope and comparison tests the SHV against the more costly Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50mm. Gebhardt even put the SHV scope in his freezer for a weekend to ensure there was no fogging.
Overall, Gebhardt was very pleased with the SHV: “Optical clarity, image brightness, contrast and resolution were all extremely good.” The tester also liked the MOAR reticle in his scope. He didn’t think it was too “busy” though he thought the hold-over lines would benefit from numbers: “Nightforce’s MOAR was easy to use and provided a clear sight picture for engaging small targets. The line thickness is perfect for both precise shot placement and visibility. My personal preference however would be for the even hash marks to be numbered for the entire lower portion of the reticle.” Gebhart noted that the SHV’s side parallax knob had yardage marking numbers that proved accurate (and handy to use) — most other scopes just have lines.
Nightforce SHV vs. Nighforce NXS
How did the new SHV stack up against the NXS in a side-by-side comparison? Gebhardt was impressed with the $995.00 SHV, saying it held its own with the pricier NXS model: “I took about 30 minutes to evaluate the optics of the SHV and see how it compared to an older Nightforce NXS 3.5-15X50. Both of these scopes are made in Japan but given the price differential, I expected to see some difference in the optical quality. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any optical difference between the two except for a very slight possibility of a brighter image with the SHV.”
Nicholas Gebhardt has been an active hunter primarily pursuing mule deer, antelope, coyotes and prairie dogs since he was old enough to legally hunt. Nicholas is also a precision rifle competitor and a Captain in the Montana National Guard.
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SilencerCo has introduced a new laser rangefinder (LRF) that mounts directly on a rifle. The new Radius rangefinder can attach to a standard Picatinny rail in any orientation. Windage and elevation controls allow the Radius be precisely aligned with your scope. This way you can place your scope’s cross hair on a target and instantly get a range at the push of a button. The Radius even includes a visible laser to help align the LRF with your riflescope.
The ability to collimate (align) your rangefinder with your optic should be a boon to varmint hunters and tactical shooters. A varmint hunter in a prairie dog field can quickly range a dog mound as he scans the field for critters. A tactical competitor can get target range the instant he sees his target in his scope.
With a $999 MSRP, the compact Radius rangefinder features a user-configurable display, long battery life, and extreme durability. It also has a “scan” capability that allows you to range multiple targets quickly. The Radius was developed by SilencerCo Weapons Research (SWR), a new R&D division of SilencerCo. The Radius starts shipping in October 2015.
Also from SilencerCo — 9mm Pistol with Built-in Suppressor
At a product launch this week, SilencerCo also unveiled its new Maxim 9 silenced pistol. This integrally-suppressed, semi-automatic 9x19mm pistol is ergonomic and holsterable. SilencerCo claims the new Maxim 9 is “hearing-safe” with factory ammo. Accordingly, the manufacturer says: “the Maxim 9 will forever change the way people think about firearms as they realize that there is no longer any reason why guns have to be loud.” Report by Chris Cheng.
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Someone spending thousands of dollars on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt might consider getting Geovid rangefinding binoculars. Leica’s award-winning Geovid combines a superb binocular optic with a laser rangefinder AND a ballistic computer. With this single device you can spot your game, find the distance to your target, and calculate the elevation correction. Geovids even take a micro-SD card so you can upload your customized ballistics table.
At around $3200.00 (street price) Geovids are very expensive, but for a serious hunter the Geovid’s capabilities justify the price*. The glass is excellent, the rangefinder offers outstanding performance, and you never have to pull out a PDA or mobile device to run ballistics. The Geovid even does angle correction and can output elevation click values. With the Geovid, you have one tool that does three jobs exceptionally well. When you’re climbing a mountain in pursuit of a Trophy Elk, carrying less gear makes sense.
Now through October 31, 2015 you can save $300.00 on a new 8×42 Geovid HD-B, or 10×42 Geovid HD-B. That makes this state-of-the-art tool much more affordable. To get a $300.00 mail-in rebate from Leica, submit a sales receipt with the Leica Rebate Form.
*We have a good friend who works as a professional hunting guide and gunsmith in New Mexico. For years he made do with well-used Steiner binoculars and an older Leica LRF. On our last visit to NM, he proudly showed us his new Leica Geovid. I told him: “John, those Geovids cost a fortune… are they really worth the money?” He told me: “On one of my first hunts after getting the Geovid, I took along the Steiners for comparison. It was late in the day. I glassed a ridgeline about 700 yards away with the Steiners, and saw nothing. Then I got out the Geovid, looked at the same area and saw two large Elk in among some trees. That made the hunt a success for me and my client. Yes the Geovids are worth it… the glass really makes a difference in low light. And I can range as I’m spotting — that’s a big deal.”
If you are considering the Geovids, you’ll find that Geovid owners have high praise for these rangefinding binoculars. Here are reviews from verified purchasers who have used Geovids on hunts:
“Optical quality is second to none, these binos are in a class by themselves (the only competition IMHO are the Swarovski EL Range). Direct comparison of optic image quality to my lesser-brand binos really demonstrated the difference for me. The image is bright and clear across the entire field of view which is also wider than my standard 10×42 binos. Low-light gathering capability at dawn and dusk is considerably better than my lesser brands and should extend my evening hunting times by another 5 to 10 minutes. The laser ranging capability is amazing! The reading is almost instantaneous[.] The display is a red open target square that’s easy to see in all light conditions.” — Jackson611
“These Binos are the best range-finders on the market, not even talking about the glass yet. The range report is almost instantaneous. If you choose to load your ballistics data on the SD card you will be glad you did. It gives you bullet drop out to 1000 yards. Now let’s get to the glass. I have Swarovski 15×56 binos. These Leicas are just as clear, but small enough to wear around your neck. The price is high, but I learned a long time ago, that you get what you pay for with optics. And if you hunt out west, your optics will make or break your hunt.” — Matt
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They knocked it, tossed it, even hammered with it — but they couldn’t kill a Nightforce NXS. In this remarkable torture test video, past Nightforce Exec Kyle Brown (with help from NF employee Sean Murphy), absolutely brutalizes a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm scope. Brown bangs the NXS on a concrete bench-top, throws it 50 yards downrange, knocks it on a hardwood beam multiple times, and then heaves it back again. We kid you not. To our eternal surprise, the Nightforce scope survives all that abuse and shoots fine. What did Timex once say — “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”?
Video is Continuous — No Tricks
You’ve got to watch this video — it was shot with five cameras and runs with no “time-outs”, cutaways, or video tricks. What you see is what you get. This is one tough NXS. Thank you Kyle Brown and crew for taking the time to prove the durability of Nightforce Optics products.
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Based on its external appearance, a modern riflescope may seem simple. It’s just a tube with two or three knobs on the outside right? Well, looks can be deceiving. Modern variable focal-length optics are complex systems with lots of internal parts. Modern scopes, even ‘budget’ optics, use multiple lens elements to allow variable magnification levels and parallax adjustment. We had a chance to look inside a riflescope thanks to a product display from ATK, parent of Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Speer, Weaver Optics. ATK sliced open a Weaver Super Slam scope so you can see the internal lens elements plus the elevation and windage controls. We thought readers would like to see the “inner workings” of a typical modern rifle scope, so we snapped some pictures. The sectioned Super Slam scope was mounted inside a Plexiglas case, making it a bit hard to get super-sharp images, but you can still see the multiple lenses and the complex windage and elevation controls.
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Old eyes not up to the task of inspecting your brass and bullets anymore? Need a magnified view so you can check bullet meplats and polymer tips for defects? Want to very carefully inspect a reamer before you run it into an expensive new barrel blank? Well then you can use this handy gadget — a high-resolution microscope that can be plugged into a laptop or tablet computer. It costs only $35.00 — about the same as a box of match bullets.
The Plugable Digital Microscope is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among digital microscopes. This $35.00 unit offers 10X to 250X magnification — more close-up power than you’ll ever need in your reloading room. Surrounding the “viewing” lens is LED halo light with convenient brightness adjustment control. This built-in light is very handy when inspecting the innards of complex parts.
This Digital Microscope works with Windows, Apple (iOS), and Linux operating systems. It can plug in to the vast majority of modern computers and mobile devices via a standard USB 2.0 port. The Plugable Microscope uses an industry-standard webcam chipset and sensor, so you can probably run the unit without needing to install software. However, if you have an older operating system, drivers are available free from www.Plugable.com”. Free third-party software is also available that lets you capture still pictures and video.
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Here’s a great tip from Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). Greg has created a trajectory table with windage and elevation data for various distances and wind speeds. Greg prints out a compact version of his drop chart to place on his rifle. While many shooters tape a ‘come-up’ table on their buttstock, Greg has a better solution. He tapes the trajectory table to the outside of his front flip-up scope cover. This way, when he flips up the cover, his data is displayed for easy viewing right in front.
With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation easily without having to move up off the rifle and roll the gun over to look at the side of the stock. Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”
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Nightforce is bringing out a new 20-60X 80mm spotting scope that is significantly less expensive than its 82mm big brother, the 20-70X TS-82. The new TS-80 Hi-Def spotter is priced at $1595.00 MSRP compared to $2653.00 for the TS-82 (MAP “street price”). Yes, you heard that right, the new TS-80 is more than $1000.00 less expensive than its 82mm big brother. That’s a lot of hard-earned cash saved in return for the loss of just 10X magnification on the upper end. Both spotting scopes feature high-definition glass and easy-to-use, full-diameter focusing controls.
At its $1595.00 price point, the Nightforce TS-80 looks like a winner. It shares features we liked in the more expensive TS-82: Extra-low-Dispersion (ED) glass, easy-to-use zoom ring, built-in sunshade, and rubber armor on the entire body. However, on the TS-80 the eyepiece is NON-removable. That means you cannot swap in a different eyepiece (such as a fixed power 25X for greater field of view).
The TS-80 offers a lot of performance for the $1595.00 price. Most other current-production spotting scopes with comparable features and ED glass cost a lot more. Weight is 68 ounces (4 lbs., 4 oz.) — that’s fairly hefty. The TS-80 will focus from 20 feet to infinity, making it suitable for all shooting chores, even close-range pistol work. The mounting foot fits many quick-release tripods and accepts standard 1/4″ tripod screws. The TS-80 includes an integral, retractable sunshade for the front objective. Optional accessories include a protective sleeve and a fitted carrying case, shown below.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Hunters and tactical shooters need scopes with good low-light performance. For a scope to perform well at dawn and dusk, it needs good light transmission, plus a reasonably large exit pupil to make maximum use of your eye’s light processing ability. And generally speaking, the bigger the front objective, the better the low-light performance, other factors being equal. Given these basic principles, how can we quickly evaluate the low-light performance of different makes and models of scopes?
Here’s the answer: ScopeCalc.com offers a FREE web-based Low-Light Performance Calculator that lets you compare the light gain, perceived brightness, and overall low-light performance of various optics. Using this scope comparison tool is pretty easy — just input the magnification, objective diameter, exit pupil size, and light transmission ratio. If the scope’s manufacturer doesn’t publish an exit pupil size, then divide the objective diameter in millimeters by the magnification level. For example a 20-power scope with a 40mm objective should have a 2mm exit pupil. For most premium scopes, light transmission rates are typically 90% or better (averaged across the visible spectrum). However, not many manufacturers publish this data, so you may have to dig a little.
ScopeCalc.com’s calculator can be used for a single scope, a pair of scopes, or multiple scopes. Once you’ve typed in the needed data, click “Calculate” and the program will produce comparison charts showing Light Gain, Perceived Brightness, and Low-Light Performance. Though the program is easy to use, and quickly generates comparative data, assessing scope brightness, as perceived by the human eye, is not a simple matter. You’ll want to read the annotations that appear below the generated charts. For example, ScopeCalc’s creators explain: “Perceived brightness is calculated as the cube root of the light gain, which is the basis for modern computer color space brightness scaling.”
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