Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz has been preparing for the King of Two Miles match next week. He’s been out testing a VERY high-BC bullet — Berger’s new prototype .375 caliber 400-grainer. In the photo above, you can see Applied Ballistics intern Mitch Fitzpatrick (flanked by twin LabRadar chronos) shooting at a target set at 2400 yards. Next week, at the King of Two Miles event, the challenge will be even greater — Bryan and his team will be shooting out to roughly 3600 yards.
Bryan reports: “We’ve been preparing for the King of Two Miles match next week. Last Friday we shot 2400 yards at Thunder Valley Precision in Ohio, measuring time of flight and refining the custom drag model for our bullet. We are logging flight times over three seconds and the bullet is still supersonic at 2400 yards! Tomorrow we’re shooting 1800 yards as a final verification before we load up and begin traveling out west.”
OPTICS for Extreme Long Range
Bryan is running Nightforce ATACR scopes on his .375 rifles. These ATACRs offer 120 MOA (or 35 Mils) of elevation. That’s impressive, but you still need more “up” for these extreme distances.
Bryan notes: “No scope has enough elevation to dial direct to two miles even with these large-caliber, high-performance rifles. You need some kind of external adjustment, or use a steep rail (e.g. +80 MOA). This works but can sacrifice your ability to zero under 1000 yards.”
This video shows a hit at 2400 yards with the .375-caliber bullet. The target is 8’x8′ square. The targets Bryan will shoot at next week’s King of Two Miles competition will be up to 1200 yards further than this. (Two miles is 3520 yards).
If you’re interested in this kind of Extreme Long Range shooting, consider attending the Applied Ballistics Seminar. The next seminar will be held July 18-19 in Michigan. Bryan says: “We’ll be sharing our experiences and lessons learned in the Two Mile shooting match among many other things we’re working on.” CLICK HERE for Seminar INFO and Registration.
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Nightforce has released an all-new 4.5x24mm scope for Service Rifle Competition. Nightforce’s new Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope is purpose-built for the CMP’s new Service Rifle rules that allow scopes with max 4.5X magnification, and max objective lens diameter of 34mm. Nightforce made this new scope quite light in weight (just 15.4 ounces), recognizing that Service Rifles will now be limited to 11.5 pounds for optic and gun combined. MSRP is $1950.00.
FIELD TEST COMING — Accurateshooter.com will get one of these new 4.5x24mm Nightforce scopes for evaluation soon. We will provide a complete field test, and our tester Dennis Santiago will use the new scope in actual Service Rifle competition.
The new NF Competition SR 4.5x24mm scope provides 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment, with .25 MOA clicks and 20 MOA per revolution. Parallax is fixed at 200 yards. The main tube is 30mm. This scope features a handy ZeroStop on the elevation knob that allows instant, positive return to the shooter’s chosen zero setting.
Photo shows Nightforce’s new, lightweight Unimount. Half the weight of a similar steel unit, this alloy mount offers +20 MOA taper.
The new non-illuminated SR-1 reticle features heavy posts at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and a 10 MOA center circle with 8 MOA crosshair. The Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm will retail at $1950.00 and the UnimountTM SR will retail at $260.00.
Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a hot seller since it was first released. All versions (.243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win) have been in high demand, with the 6.5 Creedmoor probably being the hardest to find. The RPR represents a solid value, and it is the logical “default” choice for the new Production Class in the Precision Rifle Series. (NOTE: If you spend around $1400 for the RPR, then add a $950.00 6-24x50mm Viper PST, you’re still well under the $3000.00 Production Class price limit for rifle and optic combined.)
In this video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, along with Ed and Steve of 6.5Guys.com, review the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) in 6.5 Creedmoor. This particular rifle was fitted with the Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm scope. Together, Gavin and the 6.5 Guys give their opinions on the rifle, the 6.5mm chambering, and the Vortex optic. They provide candid evaluations (of rifle and optic) based on field tests with targets from 100 to 1000 yards.
Gavin tells us: “The Ruger Precision Rifle is a great rifle platform. I’ve had some great groups right out of the box, and have had no problems staying on target at ranges of 1000 yards and beyond. To me, the Ruger Precision Rifle is an ‘easy buy’ for the new competitive shooter or practical field shooter. But what about optics? It can be very confusing and overwhelming when shopping for ‘just the right scope’. There are so many great scopes on the market it can be staggering to take in all of the options. We wanted to give you some hands-on impressions of one of the most popular picks for optics for the Ruger Precision Rifle and similar rifles in the ~$1000 price range: the Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 riflescope.”
Gavin was very pleased with the Vortex Viper PST: “Having used this scope in a variety of scenarios, ranges, and over the course of more than 1/2 of a year, I’m confident with not only the scope itself, but the entire package: Rifle + Scope + Mount (rings).”
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Nightforce’s 42x44mm fixed-power Benchrest scope mounted on James Mock’s 6mm Dasher.
Nightforce 42x44mm Comp Scope for Benchrest Shooters, by James Mock
Among long range shooters the name Nightforce has long commanded respect because of NF’s great optics and durability. However, the Benchrest disciplines that require either a 10-lb or 10.5-lb rifle had to forego the use of the Nightforce scopes because of their two+ pounds of weight. Some used the Benchrest model in the Heavy Varmint category (13.5-lb max weight) but not many in the Light Varmint, Sporter, or Hunter categories. That may change thanks to a new scope from Nightforce.
The folks at Nightforce Optics listened to benchrest shooters in the lighter classes and developed a new, light weight 42x44mm Competition Scope that weighs just 20.7 ounces. This scope comes as a fixed-power 42X and is without some of the “bells and whistles” of its larger cousins.
Key features of this scope important to Benchrest shooters are: ED glass, 42X power, 44mm objective lens, 88mm eye relief (~3.5 inches), 45 MOA elevation adjustment, 35 MOA windage, 10 MOA per revolution, 2.87-foot field of view at 100 yards, quick focus, click value of .125 inch, parallax adjustment from 10 meters (~33 ft.) to infinity, and an overall length of 15.2 inches. Also, you can set a “zero” easily. After obtaining conventional zero simply loosen one set screw per turret and set the dial at zero.
I received this scope on Monday, February 15th and mounted it on my BAT-action 6mm Dasher and zeroed it for a 600-yard match on Saturday, February 20th. My first impression of this scope was the amazing image produced by the ED glass. Although it is made with a 44mm objective lens (to save weight), one cannot say that the image is not clear. The image is outstanding from edge to edge and the image color is true. Nightforce offers two reticle options: the CTR-2 and CTR-3. Both reticles feature .016″ MOA vertical and horizontal lines, but the CTR-2 includes a .095 MOA center dot.
It took a small amount of faith to shoot the scope in a 600-yard match a few days after receiving it. Although I had shot only a few rounds with the scope mounted on my BAT Dasher, I knew that the Nightforce reputation was solid and my results would depend on the “nut” at the end of the rifle.
At the match, I fired a few shots to confirm zero and really appreciated the scope’s crisp 1/8th-MOA clicks. The adjustments were spot on at the 600-yard range and there was no problem getting my zero at the 600-yard distance. Remember, I had not shot at 600 yards with this scope, but I dialed in 11.5 MOA from my 100 yard zero and the resulting impact was correct. Each eight clicks delivered a precise one-MOA movement (about 6 inches) on the 600-yard target. The picture below is at the range as I was preparing for the first relay.
Our 600-yard match (non-registered) features 20 record rounds fired on the IBS target with steel gongs for sighters. The winter mirage can be brutal in this part of the country, but the Nightforce handled it without problems. Before the match was over, the left to right wind caused me to dial in two minutes (~12 inches) of windage and the scope was precise and I posted my 3rd best score with 191/200. The very fine .095″ dot allows for great precision in aiming.
Actual target shot by James Mock at 300 yards using Nightforce 42x44mm scope. James won the match.
My next match to use the scope was a 300-yard score match on March 5th. I had one chance to zero my rifle for this match and again I had no trouble changing the zero with the crisp, repeatable adjustments of this fine scope. The day was cool with bright sunshine and switchy tail winds. The new Nightforce handled the conditions very well, even with the horrible mirage. We shot two, 10-shot targets on the IBS 300-yard target. I shot 99-3X on the first and 99-3X on the second to win the match by one point over Mitch Young. Above is my second target, and the new scope let me see every shot through the mirage. There were many others who said that they could not see their bullet holes.
Summary of Nightforce 42x44mm Review
This 42x44mm optic is everything that I want in a scope. The 1/8th-MOA adjustments are crisp and repeatable. The center dot is small (.095 MOA). The image is sharp and clear all the way to the edges, and the ED glass provides a sensational image. The turret markings are distinct and there are 10 MOA per revolution. And you get all this in a scope that weighs 20.7 ounces with a 44mm objective lens. The low weight makes this scope viable for all benchrest classes. I believe the short range Benchrest shooters will welcome this scope and pay the sales price of $1742.00 (MSRP is $1795.00). Good shooting — James Mock
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If you’re planning a significant purchase, such as a new riflescope, or a couple new barrels, then head over to Bruno Shooters Supply in the next two days. Now through 8:00 am on May 31st, 2016, Bruno’s is running a Memorial Day Sale. You can get 7% off ALL online orders (other than firearms or actions). So you can save 7% on optics, 7% on powder and primers, 7% on barrels, 7% on reloading tools… you get the idea. Doing the math, seven percent off a $2000.00 scope is $140.00 — that’s a fair chunk of change.
NOTE: This deal applies to Online Orders Only, placed through www.BrunoShooters.com. (Phone lines will NOT be open over the holiday.) Bruno’s stocks all your favorite products, including brass from Lapua and Norma, bullets from Barts, Berger, Sierra, and Nosler, dies from Redding and Wilson, and Powder from Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Alliant and Western. Bruno’s also has a large selection of optics including comp scopes from Leupold, Nightforce, Sightron, and Weaver.
Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome Reader Submissions.
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Recently the CMP adopted new rules that allow the use of magnified optics, up to 4.5X power, in Service Rifle competition. The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm Compact Riflescope, while not designed specifically for Service Rifle competition, complies fully with the new Service Rifle optics rules and works very well. In fact, our correspondent Johnny Fisher used this scope to take third place in the recent California State Service Rifle Championship. Here’s a run down of the scope’s features and performance. Johnny says this is a “great scope” and “results are extremely promising” so far.
Gear Review: Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm as Considered for Service Rifles by Johnny Fisher
2016 has brought with it a long anticipated rule change that allows for the use of optics in Service Rifle competition. The rule allows scopes (fixed or variable) up to 4.5 power with an objective lens no greater than 34mm. Given the strict limits on max magnification and objective size for Service Rifle optics, there are somewhat limited options on the market at this time. Service Rifle competitors are now challenged with selecting an optic that fits the rules while offering high-end performance. Thus far, it seems the biggest concerns that Service Rifle shooters have when considering an optic are: quality, repeatability, parallax, reticle choices, and durability.
Click Image for Full-screen Version.
The vast majority of Service Rifle Rule-compliant scopes currently on the market have a fixed parallax. That means there is no separate focus knob to adjust parallax to target distance. Accordingly, there has been much concern about the potential for parallax error over the three different distances in Across-The-Course competition. It is possible that the repeatably-indexed head position maintained while shooting a Service Rifle, along with a little extra emphasis on sight alignment to ensure that the shooter’s eye is directly behind the scope, can greatly mitigate the potential effects of parallax error.
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm comes with the parallax factory-set at 75 yards. Combined with the right amount of eye-relief and low-enough rings to ensure an easy-to-maintain and clear/full sight picture, it seems like the fixed parallax is not really the problem some folks think it may be. Below are two, 10-round test strings shot at 300 yards (each with a magazine change). Note that I didn’t drop a point, even with the non-adjustable parallax.
The Fixed Parallax is not a “deal-breaker”. Witness 20 shots at 300 yards — all 10s or Xs.
For the NXS 1-4x24mm scope, Nightforce offers two reticle types: the International Hunting Reticle (IHR) and the FC-3G (with 5.56 NATO or .308 NATO BDC hold-over features). My scope has the IHR Reticle, which provides a very clear, unobstructed and simple sight picture. The IHR reticle for the NXS 1-4x24mm boasts an illuminated center cross-hair. Unfortunately, the red-color illumination is really only intended for low-light situations and is not bright enough to offer any aid to National Match shooters competing in broad daylight at stationary targets.
For Service Rifle shooters accustomed to keeping track of their sight settings as “clicks from bottom”, the optional Zero-Stop might be welcome. After loosening the turret and establishing the desired Zero-stop location, tightening the set screw blocks rotation below this point. NOTE: Once set, the Zero-Stop turret only allows for one full revolution of elevation adjustment. However, the Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm offers 20 minutes of elevation adjustment per revolution. That should be more than enough elevation adjustment for come-ups to 600 yards (even with a 100-yard zero established near bottom).
PRICE and DURABILITY
The Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm carries a price tag of just over $1500.00. The scope just feels solid –nothing plastic — especially when compared to some of the other consumer- or recreational-grade options on the market. All touchable tolerances feel extremely tight. There was quite an amount of attention given to every little detail, as you would expect from an optic at this price point. It is hoped that the scope’s mil-spec robustness will assure continued excellent performance — even after seasons of the kind of abuse that High Power shooters put on their equipment. More will be revealed as I use the scope at future competitions, but initial results are very good. This is a quality optic. I have high hopes that it will prove a good investment.
At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, 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. Cabelas.com — Nikon Scope, Rings and Wind Meter, $249.99
Here’s a great deal if you have a hunting rifle chambered in .308 Win or .223 Rem. Right now, for under $250.00, you can get a Nikon scope, a set of cantilevered rings, plus a Wind Meter that plugs into your smart-phone. The $249.99 P-308 Package features a 4-12x40mm Nikon Scope with BDC reticle calibrated for.308 Win. Likewise the $199.99 P-223 Package offers a 3-9x40mm Nikon Scope with BDC reticle calibrated for the .223 Remington. These cantilevered rings work well with AR-platform rifles.
If you are serious about your precision firearms, you need one of these. We use the Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge to test the triggers on all our match and varmint rifles. The unit is precise and repeatable. Once you try one of these you won’t want to go back to crude spring trigger gauges. Amazon.com offers this unit for $51.87 with free shipping for Prime members. Walmart also has it for $51.87 with free shipping or free in-store pickup.
3. Natchez — Dewey Cleaning Rods 36″ or 44″, $19.99
Natchez is running a great special right now on quality Dewey Cleaning Rods. These bearing-equipped rods are very well made and can last for many seasons. This editor has a couple Dewey rods that are still going strong after 12 years. For just $19.99, you can get either a 36″ or 44″ coated Dewey rod. NOTE: Select “.22-.26 cal” from the pull-down menu (the other options are for short pistol rods). It’s hard to beat a quality cleaning rod for under twenty bucks. Credit Boyd Allen for finding this bargain.
This 10-50X Sightron isn’t as good as a Nightforce 15-55X Competition scope, but it is definitely good enough to win long-range benchrest and F-Class matches. At $965.69, the Sightron is nearly $1400 cheaper than the 15-55X Nightforce. It is even $450 cheaper than the old 12-42x56mm NF Benchrest scope. On a value-for-money basis, then, the Sightron 10-50x60mm makes sense for competitors on a budget. The money you save (compared to a 15-55X NF) will pay for a BAT or Kelbly action, with money left over.
5. Cabela’s — Lyman Turbo Sonic 1200, $69.99
Looking for a reliable ultrasonic cleaning unit at a rock-bottom price? Here’s a very good deal — this new Lyman 1200 sells elsewhere for up to $110.00. This machine will hold up to 350 9mm cases, and clean them in 10-15 minutes. The see-through cover lets you view the progress in the 6.5″L x 5.4″W x 2.6″D heated tank. Select four different dwell times with handy touch controls.
6. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire
With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $252.63. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.
7. Brownells — Ten Magpul 30-Round PMags for $99.99
Need high-capacity magazines for 3-Gun competition or a tactical match? Then check out this great Magpul deal from Brownells.com. Right now you can get TEN (10) high-quality Magpul PMags for $99.99. These GEN M2 MOE PMags are excellent .223/5.56 AR15 magazines that set the industry standard for functionality, reliability, and durability.
8. NRA — Free Duffle Bag with $25.00 NRA Membership
The NRA Convention runs this week in Louisville, KY — so there’s no better time to become an NRA member. Plus, if you join right now you can get a free duffle bag, in either black or camo fabric. In addition, the regular NRA Membership is discounted from $40.00 to $25.00. With your NRA Annual membership you also get your choice of four (4) print magazines: American Rifleman, American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, or America’s 1st Freedom.
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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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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.
CLICK Any Image for Larger View
This is NOT a Photoshop job — that’s the actual view through a Nightforce scope of a deer. Photographer (and rifle-owner) Brandon F. says: “Ya’ll might enjoy this picture of a Fort Hood white tail… 400m away.”
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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.
To simplify the adjustment of elevation on FT rifles, competitors will place tapes on the windage knobs with marks that correspond to distances in 3-5 yard (or smaller) increments. These marks allow you to quickly spin your elevation to the setting matching the target range established with your focus/parallax control.
Field Target Accessories
There are a variety of specialized products for FT competitors that help you set up your scope for precise ranging. First, Compufoil offers a computer program, ScopeKnob, that lets you easily create accurate elevation knob tapes for your scope. ScopeKnob even comes with a built-in Ballistics Module that will calculate the pellet trajectory for you and plot range settings for your tape. Chairgun.com also offers ChairGunPRO, specialized airgun ballistics software that lets you simultaneously compare four different pellets, or different scope heights.
In the past, the A-Team offered replacement elevation knobs optimized for use with yardage marking tapes. These were offered in two versions, one which replaced the existing turret altogether and a second which clamped OVER the factory turret. Shown at right is the larger-diameter version in place over the factory turret. Unfortunately we don’t know a current source for this product, but this may help you crate something similar on your own.
Last but not least, Pyramid Air offers large-diameter parallax control wheels. According to Pyramid: “The enlarged sidewheel is the most popular FT scope accessory of all. It lets you put white artist’s tape around the rim to mark the actual distances at which the scope focuses”. A 6″ sidewheel provides over 18″ of space on which to inscribe yardage, and that means you can have a meaningful separation between 18 yards and 20 — where there is a huge parallax and trajectory difference. Though the ranges are already engraved on the rim of the wheel, field target competitors will measure them again on an actual range and write the markings on a strip of white artist’s tape.
Tips on Field Target Scope Set-Up
The creator’s of the A-Team knobs suggest taking your time when setting up a scope for Field Target competition: “We normally take from three to four hours preparing a scope to be mounted on a gun. We mark the scope in 1-yard increments from 9 to 40 yards, then to 55 yards by 3 or 5-yard increments depending on the scope being calibrated.”
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We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…
In this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.
Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.
WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 1 radian = 2 PI; 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian; 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.
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Leupold now offers easy online ordering for custom riflescope dials for your elevation turrets. A custom CDS dial lets you simply “dial the yardage” to have the correct elevation at distances near to far. For example, as shown below, if your target is at 550 yards, you simply dial 5.5 on the turret index. This is possible because the dial has been customized with the particular ballistics of your rifle and your load.
“Leupold engineers do all the hard work in the lab, making sure it’s easy and fast in the field,” said Rob Morrison, Leupold’s global marketing VP. “All the shooter has to do is provide us with ballistic information. From this simple data, a custom-calibrated dial is laser engraved for that specific load.”
Order Multiple Dials for Different Bullet Types
Leupolds’ custom CDS dials are tailored to the exact load used. With the ability to quickly change dials, it’s easy to set up several loads in a single rifle with a single riflescope. Transition from coyote loads to big game cartridges with a simple change of the dial. Or you can get different dials for different cartridges if you move your optic from one rifle to another. To order a CDS dial, call 1-800-LEUPOLD or visit Customshop.leupold.com/custom-dials and click on the appropriate dial for your riflescope.
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Readers often ask “What’s the difference between a Weaver scope rail and a Picatinny Rail?” The answer is not as simple as it seems. The dimensions of a Picatinny Rail should be consistent (from one rail-maker to another), since there IS a government spec. Conversely, there is some variance in “Weaver-style” rails. The width of the groove is the most important difference between Picatinny Rails and weaver rails. “Mil-spec” Picatinny rails will have a grove width of 0.206″ while Weaver rails typically have a narrower, 0.180″ groove width.
Brownell’s has a helpful GunTech™ Article that discusses the Picatinny Rail vs. Weaver Rail. That article explains:
“What are the differences between the ‘Picatinny’ and the ‘Weaver’ systems? The profile of the two systems is virtually identical. Depending on the quality of the machining done by the manufacturer, the two systems should be indistinguishable from the profile. The key difference lies in the placement of the recoil grooves and with width of the grooves. MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) grooves are .206″ wide and have a center-to-center width of .394”. The placement of these grooves has to be consistent in order for it to be a true ‘Picatinny’MIL-STD system. Weaver systems have a .180” width of recoil groove and are not necessarily consistent in a center-to-center measurement from one groove to the next.
In many instances, a Weaver system has a specific application that it is machined for, so interchangeability is not necessarily an issue. A MIL-STD-1913 system must adhere to the specifications listed above in order for it to be considered MIL-STD, since the military desires uniformity in the recoil grooves to allow for different systems to be mounted on the weapon with no concern for compatibility.
Now, what does this mean to you? Boiled down, it means that accessories designed for a Weaver system will, in most cases, fit on a ‘Picatinny’ system. The reverse, however, is probably not the case. Due to the larger recoil groove, ‘Picatinny’ accessories will not fit a Weaver system. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for a good rule-of-thumb, [full-width] ‘Picatinny’ won’t fit Weaver, but Weaver will fit ‘Picatinny’.”
Have you ever left your plugs or muffs at home when you took a trip to the range? That’s happened to most of us. That won’t be a problem now, so long as you have your eye protection. Browning now offers ANSI-rated safety eyewear that includes corded NRR 25 earplugs stored in the frames. That’s a clever design — one less thing to worry about.
Browning’s new Sound Shield shooting glasses feature ear plugs stored on a retractable cord in the end of the frames. Now, if you have your shooting glasses with you, you will always have hearing protection as well. The end of each sidepiece opens to release the corded retractable ear plug. The ear plugs have a NRR of 25 dB and are replaceable and washable.
Sound Shield shooting glasses feature polycarbonate, wrap-around lenses with a frameless design to provide additional coverage and eliminate blind spots. The glasses are available in two different styles (Large/Medium) with either yellow or lightly-tinted indoor/outdoor lenses. All lens types exceed ANSI Z87.1 impact standards. A soft rubber standoff nosepiece reduces slipping and lens fogging. According to the Browning website, these Sound Shield glasses may be offered in a kit that includes NRR 27 ear muffs, but we don’t know if that is available yet.
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Burris Optics now offers online ballistic tools to help shooters maximize the potential of Burris riflescopes. The new Burris Ballistics Services site offers easy-to-use software and a comprehensive cartridge/bullet library. With these web-based tools you can analyze your reticle, build a dope card, program an Eliminator LaserScope, and order custom elevation and windage knobs. Burris Ballistic Services are provided online at www.BurrisOptics.com/ballistics.
Burris Reticle Analysis Calculator
The Burris Reticle Analysis Calculator allows users to select their ammunition and define exact environmental conditions, such as altitude, humidity, and wind speed. This allows you to plot the exact holdovers/holdoffs shown by any Burris reticle at any distance. Results are customizable and printable.
Dope Card Builder
The Burris Dope Card Builder is a fully-customizable solution for determining bullet performance at any distance. By using the extensive Burris bullet library users can expect very precise and reliable elevation and windage values for their custom-generated drop chart (aka Dope Card).
Data for Nearly 7000 Cartridges and Bullets
Burris has compiled an impressive database for its online software — nearly 7,000 cartridges and bullets are included from every major ammunition and bullet manufacturer. Rimfire, centerfire, muzzleloader and shotgun shells are included, as well as G1 and G7 profiles (where available) for precise accuracy.
Eliminator LaseScope Programming Tool
With the touch of a button, the Burris Eliminator LaserScope will range your target, calculate your needed vertical hold-over (based on your load’s ballistics) and then instantly display a red dot you put right on the target. We’ve used an Eliminator and can affirm that the system works well. For most accurate elevation calculations, you program the Eliminator by entering the Drop value at 750 yards and the Ballistic Coefficient of the cartridge you are shooting. The Eliminator Programming Tool helps you determine the correct Drop Number and Ballistic Coefficient, and lets you fine-tune your results by inputting local environmental conditions.
Burris customers can now order custom elevation knobs for many Burris riflescopes. With the online software you can configure a knob for your favorite load and exact shooting conditions (elevation, temp, humidity). You can then submit this knob “blueprint” to Burris and have a custom knob produced.
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Do you find that the crosshairs in your scope get blurry after a while, or that you experience eye strain during a match? This is normal, particularly as you get older. Focusing intensely on your target (through the scope or over iron sights) for an extended period of time can cause eye strain. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce eye fatigue. For one — breathe deeper to take in more oxygen. Secondly, give your eyes a break between shots, looking away from the scope or sights.
In our Forum there is an interesting thread about vision and eye fatigue. One Forum member observed: “I have noticed recently that if I linger on the target for too long the crosshairs begin to blur and the whole image gradually darkens as if a cloud passed over the sun. I do wear contacts and wonder if that’s the problem. Anyone else experienced this? — Tommy”
Forum members advised Tommy to relax and breath deep. Increase oxygen intake and also move the eyes off the target for a bit. Closing the eyes briefly between shots can also relieve eye strain. Tommy found this improved the situation.
Keith G. noted: “Make sure you are still breathing… [your condition] sounds similar to the symptoms of holding one’s breath.”
Phil H. explained: “Tom — Our eyes are tremendous oxygen hogs. What you are witnessing is caused by lack of oxygen. When this happens, get off the sights, stare at the grass (most people’s eyes find the color green relaxing), breath, then get back on the rifle. Working on your cardio can help immensely. Worked for me when I shot Palma. Those aperture sights were a bear! The better my cardio got the better and longer I could see. Same thing with scopes. Try it!”
Watercam concurred: “+1 on breathing. Take a long slow deep breath, exhale and break shot. Also make sure you take a moment to look at the horizon without looking through rifle or spotting scope once in a while to fight fatigue. Same thing happens when using iron sights.”
Arizona shooter Scott Harris offered this advice: “To some extent, [blurring vision] happens to anyone staring at something for a long time. I try to keep vision crisp by getting the shot off in a timely fashion or close the eyes briefly to refresh them. Also keep moisturized and protect against wind with wrap-around glasses”.
Breathing Better and Relaxing the Eyes Really Worked…
Tommy, the shooter with the eye problem, said his vision improved after he worked on his breathing and gave his eyes a rest between shots: “Thanks guys. These techniques shrunk my group just a bit and every little bit helps.”
To avoid eye fatigue, take your eyes away from the scope between shots, and look at something nearby (or even close your eyes briefly). Also work on your breathing and don’t hold your breath too long — that robs your system of oxygen.
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The Lyman Borecam is an electro-optical borescope with a digital display. You can record “stills” on a SD card. This is one of the hottest products on the market right now — so hot that it has been sold out for weeks. But Grafs.com just got a shipment of Borecams (item LY04055), and the price is more than competitive. Right now Grafs has the Borecam in stock for $259.99 with free shipping (after a single $7.95 handling fee). That price is $40.00 less than some other online vendors are charging.
This is a good product. Guys who purchased the Lyman Borecam are very happy. If you don’t have one yet, now may be the time to “pull the trigger”. After this article goes live, we expect Grafs.com to sell out quickly. Graf’s inventory may be gone by end-of-day today.
Our British friend Vince Bottomley did an extensive review, giving the Lyman Borecam high praise. Vince says serious shooters should definitely acquire one of these tools: “In my opinion, this product is one of the very best to come along in recent years and I predict that the demand for these [Lyman Borecams] will be very heavy. I would advise you to place an order as quickly as possible if you want one.” Vince adds: “If I were to replace my [Hawkeye optical borescope] today with another Hawkeye, it would cost me well over £700 [$1015 USD]. Stick on a video adapter and we are looking at four figures. That’s what makes the new Lyman digital borescope so attractive — at around [$260.00 USD] including a monitor — it’s an absolute steal!”
The system really works. Many of our Forum members have the system and they say it functions very well and is “very easy to set up and use”. Here’s what an Optics Planet Borecam buyer wrote: “I have used Hawkeye borescopes and know their quality. The Lyman worked as advertised and is a great tool for checking for leading, cleanliness of bore, and bore wear. The compact size, ability to take pictures, and store them are a big plus.”
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Looking for a very high-quality hunting scope that won’t break the bank? The German-crafted Zeiss Conquest DL has won many awards, yet it’s half the cost of super-premium European brands. For general performance, durability, and glass quality, many experts say the Conquest DL sets the “benchmark” for the “upper middle” end of riflescopes. Here is a very revealing review of the Conquest DL by British lady hunter Ginny Langton.
Ginny explains: “Even when the visibility has been bad, early in the morning, very cloudy and a bit foggy, the image is really clear and really bright… which has made for a much easier and clearer shot for me. I have found that using the [ASV bullet drop compensator] even when it’s bitterly cold is really straight-forward. Even when you’re fumbling around with gloves on, it’s very easy to find the buttons and the functionality of the scope is very, very good. The great thing about the DL scope is its versatility — I could use this scope all over the world.”
In a recent comparison review, gunwriter L.P. Brezny rated the 3-12x50mm Zeiss Conquest DL one of the best hunting scopes under $1000. Brezny states: “As a second option on my list of five top hunting scopes for big game that are under a grand stands the Zeiss Conquest DL Hunting Scope in 3x12x50mm. Here you have an illuminated reticle [extra cost], ultra-refined German glass, and a side focus knob with the Z-Plex reticle. In most cases what is in this optic, in terms of quality, is often found at a much higher price.” This German-made Conquest DL retails for $999.99 on Amazon.com (non-illuminated) or $1299.95 with illuminated reticle.
The entire Zeiss riflescope line is available from Europtic.com. Call (570) 368-3920 and ask for Jason Baney and request the best price. Tell Jason that AccurateShooter.com sent you.
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No doubt you’ve heard the term “reticle” before, but it probably brings to mind the cross-hair you see through a rifle-scope. This term “reticle” can also describe an optical aid used to score targets. This story discusses a new scoring reticle with precisely-defined circles etched on clear plexiglass. This scoring reticle (as attached to a magnifying crystal) is used to determine whether bullet holes fall inside or outside the scoring circles on targets. This unique new scoring reticle allows match scorers to “equalize” the shot placements of all popular calibers from .204 up to .308. This way, there’s a “level playing field” for all calibers, and any caliber rifle can compete on an equal basis with the 30s.
New ‘Equalizer’ VFS Scoring Reticle
by Ron Goodger
The ubiquitous controversy over the advantage of larger caliber bullets in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches still rages, but there is a simple solution that is being embraced by all to whom I have shown it. The concept is simple, and it accomplishes the same thing the UBR (Ultimate Benchrest) targets do with the advantage that it can be used on any target a club happens to have on hand.
I had heard shooters complain about the advantage that larger calibers have many times and wish there was a fair way to score targets that would level the playing field for all calibers. The UBR concept came along and I read up on it. When a match was held close enough that I could enter, I did so and observed first hand what it was all about. The UBR targets essentially make the distance from the bullet hole center to the scoring ring edge the same for each caliber by using different-sized rings on the caliber-specific targets. After seeing the accompanying disadvantages of using this method (the chief one being the large number of targets required by UBR rules and the resulting increased time required to hold a match), I began searching for a simpler way to accomplish the same thing. I was aware of a number of mid-West clubs wanting to make scoring fair but unwilling to use the UBR method because of the disadvantages.
I came up with an idea late in 2015 and designed a scoring reticle that would do the job. The following diagrams graphically explain how UBR and my scoring reticle accomplish the same thing. The illustration above shows how different caliber bullets hitting the same center point of impact will each just score the 10 ring edge on the different-sized, caliber-specific UBR 10 Rings . It is clear that it is the distance from the center of the bullet to the scoring ring that is made uniform by the different 10 Ring sizes.
The illustration below shows how my VFS scoring reticle accomplishes the same thing by scoring every shot with an .308-equivalent ring that circumscribes the inner caliber-specific ring. The dotted line shows that the center of each bullet hits the same distance from the edge of the scoring ring. It is clear that, using current VFS scoring techniques, the .224, .243, and .257 bullets would score misses. However, scoring each bullet with the .308 ring around the hole illustrates that all calibers would be scored the same.
Scoring Reticle Converts Any Caliber Shot to a .308-Equivalent Hole
The above photo of an IBS 100-yard target has a 6mm hole that is clearly a nine (9), using current scoring methods. But consider that, if a .308 bullet from a 30 BR hit in the very same location, that .30-caliber shot would score in the Ten Ring. Why should the 6mm bullet, whose center was just as close to the middle of the target, be penalized because of the bullet diameter? The image on the right shows the scoring reticle with the 6mm scoring ring centered on this hole. With this scoring reticle, the .308 ring around the 6mm hole clearly scores the 10 Ring, just as a 30-caliber bullet centered in the same spot would do. That is as fair as it can get.
The above image (two shots per frame) from a Hillsdale Michigan varmint target has two 6mm holes that scored a 16. Score values are 10 points for a shot in the white, 5 points for a shot in the orange, and 1 point for hitting the center dot. This was a match that had 30BRs shooting in it. The next photo shows how scoring this frame with the VFS reticle would have resulted in a 21 because the left side of the reticle’s .308 circle just extends into the 10-point white bulls-eye region. So, in effect, there were two (2) shots in the white for 2×10 points (based on the .308 equalizer effect of the reticle). This shows how the reticle will level the VFS playing field regardless of what target is being used.
VFS Scoring Reticle Features and Specifications
The 6mm circles have been placed in the center of the reticle because it is expected to be the most commonly-used caliber, and that makes it easier to see in the crystal. Any of the ring sets can be used for a .308. The sizes of the circles are guaranteed accurate to within .001″ on the outside edge of the circle by the reticle’s manufacturer. I have found the best magnifier crystal to use is a genuine Badash crystal that measures 3.25″ in diameter. They are available from several eBay sellers and are easily attached using a piece of packing tape about 3/4-inch wide around the edge of the reticle (visible on the crystal in the lower part of the photo). That makes the Plexiglas reticles easy to replace in the event they become scratched up from frequent use.
A number of Midwest rifle clubs have already purchased these scoring reticles. The Plexiglas reticles are available for $15.00 each plus $2.04 shipping from the author (does not include the crystal). Email him at LRGoodger [at] gmail dot com for more information.
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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.
Place the rifle in a good hold on sandbags or other rest. With your hundred-yard zero on the rifle, using max magnification, carefully aim your center crosshairs at the top of the ruler (zero end-point). Have an assistant crank on 36 (indicated) MOA (i.e. 144 clicks), being careful not to move the rifle. (You really do need a helper, it’s very difficult to keep the rifle motionless if you crank the knobs yourself.) With each click, the reticle will move a bit down toward the bottom of the ruler. Note where the center crosshairs rest when your helper is done clicking. If the scope is accurately calibrated, it should be right at that 37.7 inch mark. If not, record where 144 clicks puts you on the ruler, to figure out what your actual click value is. (Repeat this several times as necessary, to get a “rock-solid”, repeatable value.) You now know, for that scope, how much each click actually moves the reticle at 100 yards–and, of course, that will scale proportionally at longer distances. This optical method is better than shooting, because you don’t have the uncertainly associated with determining a group center.
Using this method, I discovered that my Leupold 6.5-20X50 M1 has click values that are calibrated in what I called ‘Shooter’s MOA’, rather than true MOA. That is to say, 4 clicks moved POI 1.000″, rather than 1.047″ (true MOA). That’s about a 5% error.
I’ve tested bunches of scopes, and lots have click values which are significantly off what the manufacturer has advertised. You can’t rely on printed specifications–each scope is different. Until you check your particular scope, you can’t be sure how much it really moves with each click.
I’ve found the true click value varies not only by manufacturer, but by model and individual unit. My Leupold 3.5-10 M3LR was dead on. So was my U.S.O. SN-3 with an H25 reticle, but other SN-3s have been off, and so is my Leupold 6.5-20X50M1. So, check ‘em all, is my policy.”
From the Expert: “…Very good and important article, especially from a ballistics point of view. If a ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop at 1000 yards for example, and you dial 30 MOA on your scope and hit high or low, it’s easy to begin questioning BCs, MVs, and everything else under the sun. In my experience, more than 50% of the time error in trajectory prediction at long range is actually scope adjustment error. For serious long range shooting, the test described in this article is a MUST!” — Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting.
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