Here’s a useful, cost-efficient product if you have a rifle with a 3/8″ dovetail on top of the action and you want to use a scope with Weaver-style rings. Kwik-Site offers three grooved receiver adapter products. The first is a two-piece set of short rails that clamp to a 3/8″-wide dovetail. Priced at just $13.50, this two-piece rail set, item KS-W22, is available in gloss black, matte black, and a stainless finish. If you prefer a one-piece rail, Kwik-Site offers the KS-W23 ($29.95) and KS-W24 ($30.95). Both are offered in matte black or silver (stainless-look) finishes. The KS-W24 will work with Romanian rifles.
These Kwik-Site products provide a low-cost solution if you want to take a scope from a rifle with a Weaver Rail and place the optic on a dove-tailed action without removing the scope from the ring set. Please note however, you’ll still need to re-zero the scope when you move it from one rifle to another. To order online, visit www.KwikSitecorp.com.
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MIL-system scopes are popular with tactical shooters. One advantage of MIL scopes is that the mil-dot divisions in the reticle can be used to estimate range to a target. If you know the actual size of a target, you can calculate the distance to the target relatively easily with a mil-based ranging reticle. Watch this helpful NRA video to see how this is done:
Starting June 1, 2015, Bullets.com will take over distribution of March Optics scopes in North America, replacing Kelbly’s. You will soon be able to order March scopes from Bullets.com, which now has exclusive March Scopes importing and distribution rights for the USA, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. For a limited time, Bullets.com will offer March scopes at 15% below regular list pricing.
Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia is excited about the March scope deal. He himself uses March scopes on his target rifles, and he knows their quality: “We are very fortunate to have been appointed to be the exclusive distributors for the American continent of a very high end scope line like March. I have been a user of March scopes almost since they were first offered. Many major matches have been won with them.”
Let’s say you’ve purchased a new scope, and the spec-sheet indicates it is calibrated for quarter-MOA clicks. One MOA is 1.047″ inches at 100 yards, so you figure that’s how far your point of impact (POI) will move with four clicks. Well, unfortunately, you may be wrong. You can’t necessarily rely on what the manufacturer says. Production tolerances being what they are, you should test your scope to determine how much movement it actually delivers with each click of the turret. It may move a quarter-MOA, or maybe a quarter-inch, or maybe something else entirely. (Likewise scopes advertised as having 1/8-MOA clicks may deliver more or less than 1 actual MOA for 8 clicks.)
Reader Lindy explains how to check your clicks: “First, make sure the rifle is not loaded. Take a 40″ or longer carpenter’s ruler, and put a very visible mark (such as the center of an orange Shoot’N’C dot), at 37.7 inches. (On mine, I placed two dots side by side every 5 inches, so I could quickly count the dots.) Mount the ruler vertically (zero at top) exactly 100 yards away, carefully measured.
Here are some great rifle-centric landscape images courtesy of Nightforce Optics. Perhaps these “gunscapes” will encourage you to grab your rifle and head out into the woods this weekend. These images are part of an ongoing series of rifle photos posted on the Nightforce Facebook page. Can you identify the optics, and any of the locations? To see a full-screen version of each image, just click on any photo, and a larger version will load.
If you are considering purchasing a new optic for your favorite rifle, you should read a recent article by Robert Abrams that appears on the Target Shooter Magazine Website. Abrams, a Canadian shooter who runs the Rifletalk.org Blog, considers a wide spectrum of optics, from bargain-priced models to top-of-the-line scopes from Nightforce and Schmidt & Bender. In comparing optics, Abrams considers a variety of factors including: Optical Clarity, Controls Function, Cost, Reliability/Durability, and Warranty.
Abrams leads off with this invaluable bit of advice: “I have owned a lot of scopes and the reason I’ve owned so many is because, like most people, I made the mistake of ‘false economy’ — initially buying cheap scopes. Today, I firmly believe the old adage ‘only a rich man can afford cheap glass’ and thought it was about time that I shared some of my observations about a few of the optics choices out there.” To prove his point (that buying cheap glass is ‘false economy’) Abrams reviews the full spectrum of optics, from low-end to high-end:
Nightforce Optics has just launched its own YouTube channel. It’s worth a visit. You’ll find many informative videos worth watching, including Product Intro videos, Nightforce In Action clips, and the Torture Test video. On the Liked Videos Playlist, you can also watch related product reviews and field tests from Extreme Outer Limits, the 6.5 Guys, and AccurateShooter.com.
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LongRangeHunting.com recently published a helpful review of the new Nightforce 3-10x42mm SHV scope. If you’re looking for a hunting optic or you are interested in predator hunting, this review is worth a read. Author Tim Titus, an experienced hunting guide from Oregon, tests the little SHV is the field, bagging a coyote in the process.
Tim was impressed with the 3-10 SHV, given it’s price level: “While the SHV performed flawlessly on this hunt, NXS or ATACR owners will notice some subtle differences in form and function when comparing this scope to its more expensive big brothers. The Nightforce SHV won’t replace the 2.5-10X NXS for those who want to turn turrets on a consistent basis or who have the need for specialized or lighted reticles. But … for current Nightforce owners wanting a more affordable alternative … the SHV opens another playing field in what is still a very upscale optic. I’m confident this new scope will find its way onto many big game and predator hunting rifles.”
Field Target (FT) and Hunter Field Target (HFT) airgun disciplines are popular outdoor shooting sports that simulate the challenges of hunting small game. One of the unique aspects of FT competition is target range-finding using parallax and optical focus. (HFT is limited to lower power scopes, so this type of range-fiding is not used in HFT.) Range-finding is very important because the pellets shot by FT airguns drop rapidly once they leave the muzzle (pellets can drop roughly 5″ at 50 yards). If you don’t have your scope set to the correct distance, you’ll probably miss the target high or low.
FT competitors employ high-magnification (35-55X) scopes to sight targets placed from 10 to 55 yards (7.3 to 50m in the UK). Because these scopes have very short depth-of-field at high-magnification, the target will be out of focus unless you have the scope focus/parallax control set very precisely. But competitors can use this to their advantage — once the target is precisely focused, you have effectively established its distance from the shooter. FT scopes often have large-diameter wheels on the side parallax control so the focus can be set very precisely. You can then read marks placed on the scope to adjust the amount of elevation need to put the pellet on target.
Forum member Scott S. (Sunbuilder) has built a sweet long-range varminter based on the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge necked down to 6mm and then improved to 40 degrees, with slightly less body taper. Scott tells us that “improving the case adds about 2.0 grains to the case capacity”. This allows Scott to run the 103-108gr bullets at well over 3100 fps, with no pressure issues. Scott calls his Improved case a “Long Dasher”, a name suggested by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge.
6-6.5×47 Improved Works Well with Many Powders
Scott’s 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved varmint rifle features a Stiller Diamondback action, Lilja 30″ 8-twist barrel, Richard Franklin stock, and a NightForce 8-32×56 NXS. Scott has had excellent success — his two longest groundhog hits were at 778 and 810 yards. Scott has tested many powders with his 6-6.5×47 wildcat: “I tried several powders (H4350, N160, N560, H4831sc), and primers (CCI 450, BR4, Rem 7 1/2, Fed 205Ms). I got better velocity with H4350, but my barrel likes the N160. I did find a [high-speed] node with H4350. The increased velocity potential of this cartridge is partially due to the slightly increased case capacity. The load I am shooting now is 40.5gr N160, Berger 105gr Match BT, .010″ jam, CCI BR4, .002″ neck tension at 3115 fps. This has an ES under 15 fps, and it will group under 2″ at 500 yards if conditions hold. This ‘Long Dasher’ (6-6.5×47) seems to have a lot of potential (and that’s an understatement).”
A Better Mount for the Spotter and Rangefinder
Scott designed and fabricated a very slick set-up to hold his Zeiss spotting scope and Leica CRF RangeFinder. He’s built a combo bracket that holds both units rock steady, with a parallel line of sight (same axis and elevation). Smart. Very smart. Scott explains: “I built a mount to connect my rangefinder to my spotting scope. The mount can be adjusted, so the spotting scope and rangefinder are both centered on the same object. The only way I have found to get repeatable long-range readings is to make them from a stable base.” Scott, we think you’ve got a winner here with your innovative and clever design.
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Trijicon has introduced a new line of Second Focal Plane scopes with illuminated reticles. Trijicon’s new AccuPower™ riflescope series includes four models. The smallest AccuPower, well-suited for short-range hunting and 3-Gun Games, is the 1-4×24mm. Next up is a general purpose 3-9×40mm. For hunting and sporting use there are a 2.5-10×56mm and a 4-16×50mm with bigger objectives for better low-light performance. All these four models offer either 1/4-MOA or 0.1 Mil clicks. AccuPower scopes feature aluminum scope tubes, multi-coated lenses, and application-specific illuminated reticles. The 3-9x40mm has a 1″-diameter tube while the other models have 30mm tubes.
The AccuPower series incorporates a hybrid black chrome/etch and fill illuminated reticle system available in red or green, with eleven (11) brightness settings. Notably, there is an “off” feature between each brightness setting.
Four reticle choices are offered: MOA reticle, MIL-square reticle, Duplex crosshair, and the popular competition Segmented Circle crosshair with BDC capabilities.
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More and more folks are using Burris Signature Rings these days. These unique rings feature polymer inserts. That allows you to pre-load some elevation in your scope set-up, or you can center-up the windage. Additionally, the polymer inserts hold your scope securely without leaving marks on the tube. Lastly, some folks believe that Signature rings may offer advantages for benchrest competition. Rodney Wagner shot the best 600-yard group in history using Burris Signature Zee Rings (“Zee” denotes the Weaver-rail model). James O’Hara set multiple IBS 1000-yard records last year using Burris Signature Zee Rings. He’ll tell you he thinks “all his guns seem to shoot best with these rings”.
Records Have Been Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost just $39.99 at Grafs.com. But consider this, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.336″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. Here’s a photo of Rodney showing the record-setting rifle, outfitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.
Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now Midsouth has a very complete selection of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models.
EuroOptic is running a big sale right now through April 12, 2015. You can save hundreds on riflescopes, LRFs, and binoculars from big-name companies such as Schmidt & Bender, Zeiss, Leica, and more. NOTE: If you call EuroOptic at (570) 368-3920, be sure to ask for Jason Baney and mention AccurateShooter.com. Jason will tell you about all the latest (and greatest) deals.
Jerod’s Tactical Trio
Many guys are lucky to have just one accurate tactical rifle fitted with a custom barrel and high-end optics. Well forum member Jerod (aka Stinnett1981) has three!
Jerod calls his tactical trio the “Three Amigos”. All are built with Manners Composite stocks and Bartlein barrels. But there are three different chamberings. In order below (from top to bottom) are: .308 Win (Bartlein 5R, 1:10″ twist); .223 Rem (Bartlein 5R, 1:8″ twist);,and 6.5×47 Lapua (Bartlein 5R 1:8.5″ twist). Read on for a full description of each build.
The tan rifle is Jerod’s .308 Winchester. It has a Manners T4A stock, trued Rem 700 SA, Badger M5 DBM, and Bartlein 5R 10-twist HV contour finished at 23″. The optic is a Bushnell XRS 4.5-30X50mm FFP with G2 reticle scope.
The Green rifle is a .223 Remington. This has a Manners T4 stock, trued Rem 700 SA, Badger M5 DBM, and Bartlein 5R 8-twist HV contour finished at 23″. On top is a Nightforce NXS F1 3.5-15X50mm FFP with MLR 2.0 reticle scope. Jerod says: “This scope and reticle are awesome.”
The Black rifle is chambered for the 6.5-47 Lapua. Components are: Manners T4A stock, Stiller TAC 30, Badger M5 DBM, Bartlein 5R 8.5-twist bull barrel (1″ at muzzle) finished at 26″. The scope is a Nightforce NXS 8-32X56mm with NP2DD reticle.
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Here’s a chance to save $50-$80 on a Nikon scope. These optics will work fine for a hunter or varminter. Now through April 26, 2015, shooters can save up to $80 on select Nikon PROSTAFF 7 and MONARCH 3 long-range riflescope models. PROSTAFF 7 series scopes feature a 30mm main body tube and ample elevation adjustment range. Both PROSTAFF 7 and MONARCH 3 product lines offer multi-coated lenses, a 4x zoom ratio, and spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets. These Nikon optics are covered by Nikon’s No-Fault Policy and Limited Lifetime Warranty. CLICK for Rebate info.
To learn more about Nikon’s Long Range Precision promotion for PROSTAFF and MONARCH optics, visit www.nikonpromo.com.
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Here’s an impressive hardware package for long-range shooting. This set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick.
Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
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In the above video, a spokesman for Horus Vision explains how and why scopes can experience zero shift. First, just cleaning the gun can cause a small shift in point of impact. Second, when you re-tighten rings and ring bases, this can cause a change in zero. Horus recommends that you use a torque wrench to confirm that you maintain the same torque settings each time. The same goes for action screw tension — tensioning your action screws can shift the point of impact.
Other factors that can cause a change in zero:
Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet. With increased temperature, there may be a higher velocity (depending on your powder).
Gun Handling and Body Position
You rifle’s point of impact will be affected by the way you hold the gun. A “hard hold” with firm grip and heavy cheek weld can give you a different POI than if you lightly address the gun. Even when shooting a benchrest gun, the amount of shoulder you put into the rifle can affect where it prints on paper.
Type of Rifle Support — Bench vs. Field
Whenever you change the type of rifle support you use, the point of impact can shift slightly. Moving from a bipod to a pedestal rest can cause a change. Similar, if you switch from a mechanical rest to sandbags, the gun can perform differently. That’s why, before a hunt, you should zero the gun with a set-up similar to what you would actually use in the field — such as a rucksack or shooting sticks.
Transportation of Firearms
Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur during transport. We’ve seen zero settings change when a tight plastic gun case put a side load on the turrets. And in the field, if the turret knobs are not covered, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc. If the knobs turn, it will definitely move your reticle slightly and cause your point of impact to be off.
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Minox has introduced two new high-quality spotting scopes, the MD 60 Z and MD 80 Z. Both employ a “folded light path” design that makes these optics much more compact than conventional spotting scopes. With 20-60X magnification and a retail (MAP) price of $1398.00*, we think the MD 80 Z could become popular with long-range shooters who prefer a straight-through optic. With 12-40X power, the ultra-compact MD 60 Z ($1298.00 MAP), would be a good choice for hunting applications. We hope to get an MD 80 Z to test soon. These should be hitting dealers’ shelves by late April.
We like the folded light path design for two main reasons. First, this puts the heavy objective lens much closer to the tripod mount, reducing the amount of overhang (or cantilever). In practice, this makes the scope much more solid on the mount. With other long, heavy spotting scopes, even with a sturdy bipod, just a slight touch causes the scope to jiggle or shake. We’ve found with some of the big 80-88mm (objective) spotting scopes, it is almost impossible to focus the scope without causing it to jiggle a bit, which takes a while to settle. With a shorter spotting scope with the balance point much closer to the mount, the “jiggle factor” is much reduced.
The compact design also makes these Minox spotting scopes much easier to transport and tote around. The MD 60 Z and 80 Z will easily fit in a medium range bag or utility box. If you regularly use a spotting scope you’ll appreciate the compact size and portability of the MD Series units.
Built-in Eyepieces, with 20-60X on MD 80 Z
Minox’s MD Series spotters have permanently-attached wide-angle, zoom eyepieces. This keeps dust and moisture out of the scope bodies, but it does limit your options. You can’t swap eyepieces to change the zoom range or go to a fixed-power. But we think the 20-60X magnification range is ample on the MD 80 Z, while the 12-40X range on the MD 60 Z is plenty for hunting use. We think that, for most outdoor uses, a fixed eyepiece has benefits. And we bet that 9 out of 10 spotting scope owners just stick with the eyepiece that came with their scope (and never swap in a different ocular). So, ask yourself, “Do I really need to change eyepieces?”
The Minox MD eyepieces have ample 30mm eye relief. Notably, Minox gave these spotting scopes a huge range of diopter adjustment, from -5 to +50. This means that just about any person can use the optics with no need for glasses or corrective lenses.
Straight Eyepiece Only
No angled eyepiece option is offered on either the MD 80 Z or MD 60 Z. If you’re spotting for a fellow shooter from a seated position, a straight eyepiece makes sense. On the other hand, for prone shooting, when you’re spotting your own shots, most folks prefer a spotting scope with an angled eyepiece. When shopping for a spotting scope, determine how you will most commonly use the optic. This Editor owns both a straight spotting scope and an angled spotting scope. I use the straight spotter most of the time, except when I am shooting prone. If you really need an angled spotting scope, Minox does offer an ultra-short, 16-30X MD 50W spotter. This is one of the most compact angled spotters on the market, and it weighs just 24.3 ounces!
* The MD 80 Z’s Minimum Advertised (MAP) price is $1398.00 while MSRP is $1498.00. MAP price for the MD 60 Z is $1298.00 with a $1398.00 MSRP.
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