December 28th, 2017

Magnified Service Optics — Scope Options for All Budgets

Service Rifle Presidents 100 match camp perry
In the 2016 President’s 100 Match, Match Winner Keith Stephens, runner-up SFC Evan Hess, and third-place Hugh Reich all used scopes, making for an All-Optics Podium. Both Stephens and Reich used the 1-4.5x24mm March.

Are you a Service Rifle shooter or would you like to give Service Rifle competition a try? The big news in this discipline is that magnified optics up to 4.5 max power can now be used. You can still use classic iron sights, but most serious Service Rifle competitors have moved to optics — and nearly all the “top guns” at major matches are running optics. Our friend Dennis Santiago, who is doing a long-term test of the Nightforce SR 4.5x24mm scope, says magnified optics are the future of the Service Rifle Game. If you want to win these days, you need glass.

nightforce 1-4.5x scope Service Rifle
The Nightforce SR Competition 4.5x24mm fixed-power scope retails for $1892.00.

Optics Options from $120 to $2400
You have many optics choices running all the way up to a 1-4.5x24mm March at $2338.00. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good optic. Our Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson, will be trying the Konus XTC-30 1-4X24mm sold by Creedmoor Sports and the CMP. Priced at $495.00, the Konus has good glass and parallax set at 200 yards. And if you want the best deal going for a Service Rifle scope, right now Cabela’s offers the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x24mm scope for just $119.88 with Free Shipping (Promo Code 2017FREE). That’s an incredible deal on a scope that can do double-duty on your hunting rifle. This same Vortex 1-4X optic sells for $188.88 on Amazon.

Super Deal — Vortex 1-4x24mm Scope for $119.88

Service Rifle Optics Vortex Cabela's bargain cabelas Crossfire II

Service Rifle Optics — How They Will Change the Game

Under NRA and CMP Rules first promulgated in 2016, Service Rifle competitors can use a scope with up to 4.5X magnification, and 34mm max objective. This rule revision to allow magnified optics will be a game-changer says Service Rifle shooter Dennis Santiago.

Dennis explains: “Per the 2016 Rulebooks of the CMP and NRA, today’s Service Rifle is now defined to include an M-16/AR-15 variant with an optical sighting system not to exceed 4.5X magnification. So, this optic-equipped rifle goes head-to-head with the match-tuned M-16A2/AR-15A2 iron sight guns in the same class. The rules were updated to take into account that some military branches no longer train service members to shoot iron sights as their primary marksmanship method and have switched to reliance on combat optics. The rules were debated and tried in 2015 and codified at the beginning of 2016. The 2016 Nationals were the first where the old and new generation guns compete side-by-side.

Here is my personal prediction: There will be improved scores by Expert Class shooters who figure out how to work with optics jumping into Master class. At the High Master level, there may be a slight rise in numerical scores but there will be a massive jump in X-Count. EICs will remain the all-out race they’ve always been; whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins the day.”

What to Look For in a Service Rifle Optic

by Johnny Fisher
2016 brought with it a long-anticipated rule change that allows for the use of optics in Service Rifle competition. Thus far, it seems the biggest concerns that Service Rifle shooters have when considering an optic are: quality, repeatability, parallax, reticle choices, and durability.

Parallax Considerations
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. [Editor: However, we have talked with a number of Service Rifle shooters. Most would like adjustable parallax. If the parallax must be fixed, they would like it set at 200-300 yards. 100 yards is too close.]

reticle service rifle reticle

Reticle Choices — Something to Consider
My Nightforce 1-4X 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.

Editor: Unlike PRS competitors who (mostly) shoot bright-painted steel plates, Service Rifle competitors aim at traditional black bullseyes. The bullseye target design makes sense for iron sight shooters. With magnified optics you have some kind of black reticle that may not stand out at well against the black bull at 4.5 max power. You probably want to look through a number of different scopes to chose a reticle that works best for your eyes and aiming procedure.

Permalink Competition, Optics 2 Comments »
December 12th, 2016

Vince Eyes an Eagle — Reviews Vortex 15-60x52mm Scope

Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm Vortex Zoom competition scope march 10-60 Nightforce 15-55

Our British friend Vince Bottomley has had a chance to test the new Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope, priced at $1499.00 in the USA. How does this affordable, high-magnification target scope compete with other comp scopes that cost hundreds (or even thousands) more? Very well indeed according to Vince. He says the Golden Eagle can definitely run with other “big name” high-magnification zoom optics designed for F-Class, Benchrest, and Long Range competition. Vince has written a detailed 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle review for Target Shooter Magazine. Shooters looking for a high-magnification zoom optic should definitely read Vince’s review.

CLICK HERE for Full Review of Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle

Vince notes that the Vortex Golden Eagle offers impressive performance for the price: “The stunning March 10-60 is the current choice of the serious F-TR shooter – this hand-built scope weighing just 25 oz. from the Deon Optical Corporation of Japan is as near to perfection as any long-range competition shooter could wish. There are several other scopes which have also stood up to scrutiny against the March — the 7-42 Leupold and the Nightforce 15-55 Competition for example. So, why are we getting so excited about the Vortex? One reason – the price!

Sensibly, Vortex manages to offer a product which ticks all the boxes but comes in at around two-thirds of [Leupold 7-42, Nightforce 15-55]. Fantastic value for a top-quality Japanese/American scope, especially considering the dollar/pound exchange rate following Brexit.”

Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm Vortex Zoom competition scope march 10-60 Nightforce 15-55

Useful Reticle Design and Innovative Windage Knob
Vince liked the scope’s ECR-1 Reticle which provides true MOA-value hold-off/hold-over stadia (hash marks) at 40X. The Golden Eagle also offers an optional new type of windage knob that provides an increasing value count on both sides of the windage Zero. Vince says this was a smart feature: “The ‘both ways’ windage knob was great. At the end of the shoot, it was easy to know which way to turn it back to zero.”

Should You Buy One?
Here’s how reviewer Vince Bottomley answered that question:

“Well, a high-magnification zoom scope seems to be an F-Class essential, judging from the number of 10-60 March and 15-55 Nightforce scopes in evidence at any GB F-Class League match. If these three scopes were all in the same price-bracket, then the decision in choosing the Vortex 15-60 Golden Eagle would be more difficult but, when the Vortex is only two-thirds the cost of the other two. However, weight-wise, there’s a small penalty – at a tad under 29 oz., the Eagle is 3 oz. heavier than the March but, if you choose your rings carefully, you could pull some of that back.

Finally, Vortex offers probably the best ‘no quibble’ guarantee on the planet and, if you had any wavering doubts about buying a Golden Eagle, that should clinch it.”

UK readers interested in purchasing the Golden Eagle should Contact Osprey Rifles on OspreyRifles.com or e-mail Stuart on stuart@ospreyrifles.com

Permalink - Articles, Optics 7 Comments »
January 12th, 2016

New 1-4.5x24mm Scope with ED Glass from March

march 1-4.5x24mm scope optic service rifle 4.5X

Newly-issued CMP and NRA competition rules now allow Service Rifle competitors to use optics with a max magnification of 4.5X. That’s right, Service Rifle shooters can now use scopes, not just iron sights. These rule changes have created a need for a new type of riflescope, one optimized for today’s “optics-allowed” Service rifle discipline.

march 1-4.5x24mm scope optic service rifle 4.5X

March Optics has just introduced a brand new 1-4.5x24mm scope designed for Service Rifle competition and tactical applications. With ultra-sharp ED glass, this new March scope should set the standard for AR-friendly 4.5X optics. This compact variable-power scope offers ideal eye relief for AR-type rifles, along with plenty of windage and elevation range. The new March 1-4.5x24mm scope is a second focal plane optic with 1/4-MOA clicks. Weight, without caps, is 18.7 ounces. The scope comes standard with a speed lever for quick zooming throughout the magnification range.

The optics experts at March tell us: “This scope was specifically designed for the Service Rifle match shooter. New rules were announced in October 2015 that allow scopes with magnification up to 4.5X power. This 1-4.5x24mm scope also makes a great optic for SWAT work as well as for a sporting rifle. Oversized tactical turrets allow for easy windage and elevation adjustments. The high quality ED lenses provide superior image resolution that make March the best in its class”. The MSRP of this high-end scope is $2750.00. March is offering a 15% OFF special now for regular purchasers*. This scope will be on display at SHOT Show Booth 549.

march 1-4.5x24mm scope optic service rifle 4.5X

* March offers a 20% off MSRP price on this scope for Law Enforcement/Military members (current and retired), Pros, and U.S. Team members.

Permalink New Product, Optics 25 Comments »
August 14th, 2015

Lou Murdica Wins Sniper King Benchrest Match in Tacoma

Berger Bullets Tacoma Rifle Benchrest Lou Murdica Shilen Barrels

As far as we can tell, the first-ever formal benchrest shooting match took place in 1944 at the Tacoma Rifle & Revolver Club in Tacoma, Washington. Known today as the “Sniper King Competition”, this is still a popular event, drawing top shooters from around the country.

Our friend Lou Murdica bested the competition this year to win the Sniper King competition and Benchrest shooting’s oldest trophy. Take a look at that target. That’s a TEN-Shot group at TWO hundred yards. That works out to 0.1299 MOA for ten shots. That’s might impressive…

Berger Bullets Tacoma Rifle Benchrest Lou Murdica Shilen Barrels

We have to give Lou credit for his shooting skills and loading spectacularly accurate ammo. Lou was running a Kelbly action, Shilen Barrel, and March scope. He loaded 6mm Berger 65gr BT bullets driven by Accurate LT 30 powder.

Have you ever shot a smaller TEN-shot group, even at 100 yards? If so, tell us about that, by posting a comment below.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 3 Comments »
October 2nd, 2013

Get a $300.00 Kelbly’s Credit When You Buy a March Scope

kelbly.com kelbly's march scope scale $300 credit promoThe good folks at Kelbly’s have announced a great October sales promotion. If you buy a March scope — any March scope in stock — you’ll earn a $300.00 credit that can be used to purchase any other products Kelbly’s sells. That includes rings, reloading gear, bullets, and many more items you’ll find at www.Kelbly.com.

Jim Kelbly explains how this works:

“For the month of October only, buy a March Scope in stock and get $300.00 of credit towards Kelbly’s products and the Kelbly’s store. Kelbly’s now carries a number of reloading products and bullets. The credit can be used same day as scope purchase to get scope rings or anything else we sell. This sale is for any March Scope in stock. With over 150 scopes in stock there is a great selection of scopes. If you would like to see a inventory of scopes just email us and we will send [that] to you. If you have any questions just email or call. NOTE: Scopes will only be sold to U.S. citizens and shipped to U.S. addresses.”

For more information, email jim[at]kelbly.com or call (330) 683-4674 and ask about the October Promo.

kelbly.com kelbly's march scope scale $300 credit promo

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
December 26th, 2011

March Unveils New 5-40x56mm FFP Tactical Scope for 2012

Here’s a sneak preview of the new March FX 5-40x56mm tactical scope from Kelbly.com. This FFP scope features a 34mm main tube, side focus adjustment (10 yards to infinity), and 24 milrads elevation travel (about 94 inches at 100m), with 0.05-milrad click values. The March FX will be offered in both a non-illuminated basic version (weight: 860gm or 30.3 oz.), and a higher-priced illuminated version (weight: 890gm or 31.4 oz.), with four brightness levels. So how much will these babies cost? MSRP for new March FX has not yet been announced, but we expect to get pricing info at SHOT Show in January.

March FX 5-40X scope

First Focal Plane Reticle and Huge Magnification Range
Yes the FX features a First Focal Plane (FFP) milrad-type Reticle. This means that the ranging stadia (hash marks) remain constant relative to the target at all magnifications. So, you can range your targets using the milrad system at any power settings. That’s a big deal for tactical shooters. This new FX scope also offers an 8 times power range — the highest magnification ratio in any FFP rifle scope made to date. Is that valuable? Our tactical shooting buddies say yes.

March FX 5-40X scope

On some tactical courses of fire, you can definitely use the full 40X magnification on precision targets at 800-1000m. However, for target spotting and close-range multiple target courses of fire, the 5X magnification, with its wide field of view, definitely comes in handy. AccurateShooter.com’s “Master Fabricator” Mark LaFevers currently uses a 12-42X Nightforce NXS in tactical matches. He likes the Nightforce but he tells us that: “The NXS I’m using with its minimum 12X does not open up enough for some of the close, multiple-target stations.” Overall, Mark was very intrigued by the new March FX: “I like the March’s 34mm tube and first focal plane design which allows ranging at all magnifications. Depending on the price, this scope would be a contender for the kinds of unknown distance, tactical competitions I’ve been doing. For benchrest, on the other hand, you really need a more finely-graded MOA-based adjustment system, in my opinion.”

March FX 5-40X scope

March FX 5-40X scope

March FX 5-40X scope

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Optics 8 Comments »
December 10th, 2010

New Enhanced Website for March Scopes

March scopes (built by Japan’s Deon Optical) have become extremely popular with short-range benchrest competitors, and we are seeing an increasing number of 600-yard and 1000-yard shooters upgrade to March scopes. The March product line offers high magnification (up to 60X power), a wide choice of reticles, and extremely bright, sharp lenses.

March has also quickly acquired a reputation for reliable tracking and shot-to-shot consistency. In the unforgiving short-range benchrest game, if your reticle shifts just a tiny amount from shot to shot, that can open up your group and drop you from a top place to “also-ran” status. Top short-range shooters have praised the March for its ability to “stay put” with no reticle movement, shot after shot.

March Deon Optical scopes

New Website with All the New Scopes (with Specs)
In the USA, March scopes are sold by Kelby’s Inc., which has a page dedicated to March products on the www.Kelbly.com website. If you need MORE Information about the March scopes, there is now a new March Website, with more models, more photos, more data, and more reticle diagrams. You’ll find the latest Benchrest models on the new March website, including the popular 36-55x52mm Benchrest EP Zoom Scope, the 10-60×52 Zoom, and the 40X, 50X, and 60X fixed-power BR scopes. In addition, the website features March’s new hunting and tactical series of optics, including the 1-10×24, 2.5-25×42 scopes which boast a revolutionary ten times Magnification Ratio.

March EP Zoom March EP Zoom

March Scope Reticles

March Scope Reticles

Permalink - Articles, New Product, Optics 5 Comments »
January 30th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Kelbly's Offers New Products for 2010, including 80-power Zoom Scope

We had a chance to visit with Jim Kelbly of Kelbly’s Inc., at SHOT Show 2010. Jim had all the new March scopes on display, including the amazing 8-80x56mm long-range scope, part of March’s ground-breaking 10 times zoom range series. Jim reviewed the March line-up, explaining the many high-magnification models available for precision shooters.

YouTube Preview Image

Jim also showed us the stainless Grizzly II action and the new Atlas series of stainless actions. The Atlas actions are designed for varminters, tactical shooters, and long-range shooters who want an affordable stainless action with a Remington 700 action footprint. The Atlas actions should be a simple drop-in installation for stocks inletted for Rem 700s. At the close of the interview, we asked Jim about the future of benchrest competition. Jim believes that we will see more cross-over of short-range shooters into the long-range disciplines (and vice-versa), along with growth in the F-Class and tactical disciplines.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product, Optics No Comments »
January 14th, 2010

March Introduces 8-80X56mm ultra-high-power Zoom Scope

We thought we’d seen the upper limit of riflescope magnification with the new 10-50x60mm Sightron SIII, the 12-50x56mm Schmidt & Bender PMII, and the 10-60×52mm March variable. Now March has raised the magnification bar — with a zoom scope boasting Eighty times (80X) magnification at max power.

That’s a lot of magnification for a spotting scope, much less an optic designed to sit on top of a rifle. We wonder how useful the 80X max power will really be. At 80-power the exit pupil is a tiny 0.7 mm — what we consider the very lower range of usability. A very small exit pupil makes the viewer’s head position ultra-critical; you’ll need to get your head aligned just perfectly. Still, the extra power may prove useful for ultra-long-range shooting or at middle distances when conditions are ideal (no mirage).

Mach 8-80 scope

The new March 8-80x56mm Tactical/Long Range scope features 1/8 MOA clicks, a 34mm maintube, and 60 MOA of elevation. Weight is a reasonable 29.8 ounces (845 grams), while scope length is 16.0″ (shorter than many 40-power scopes). Five (5) different reticles are offered: 1/8 dot, 3/32 dot, 1/16 dot, MTR-1, and MTR-2.

In addition to the new 8-80x56mm, March will offer another tactical scope with a 10 times zoom range. The new March 5-50x56mm also has 1/8 MOA clicks, 60 MOA of travel, and comes with the same five reticle choices. At 15.67″ OAL and 29.3 ounces, the 5-50X is slightly smaller than its 80-power big brother.

Mach 8-80 scope.

We’ll learn more about the new March ultra-zooms at SHOT Show next week, when we visit the Kelbly’s booth. We’ll try to get a good look at the 8-80×56 and let you know how all that power works in the real world. Stay tuned for our SHOT Show reports staring January 19th.

CLICK HERE for March 8-80x56mm and 5-50x56mm Specifications Sheet.

Permalink New Product, News, Optics 7 Comments »
October 17th, 2009

October Birthday Bash — Bulletin Highlights from 2009

The Editor Speaketh: For the past two and a half years, every day I’ve prepared new Daily Bulletin postings for you guys. Rain or shine, without a single day off — 956 days in a row to be precise. But today’s my birthday, and, well, I decided to take a day off and go shooting.

Don’t fret — so dedicated readers don’t go through Bulletin withdrawal, here are quick links to some of our “Greatest Hits” from 2009 — the coolest videos and the most interesting stories. For each item, click the blue link to read the full, original story. NOTE: when you get to the bottom of the page, click “Older Posts” for even MORE Greatest Hits!

As for me … I’ll be sending some lead downrange.

Greatest Hits: Anschutz Photo Shoot Video — Babes ‘N Arms”
Great-looking blond handling state-of-the-art German firearams. What’s not to like?

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing, News, Optics 6 Comments »
October 17th, 2009

Greatest Hits: Revolutionary March Eyepiece Zoom Scope

LINK: March 33-55x52mm ‘Eyepiece Zoom’ Scope
This is a revolutionary new high-magnification scope, with the zoom in the eyepiece. It provides all a BR shooter could want… from 100 to 1000 yards.

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
June 11th, 2008

March Scopes — Source and Pricing

Right now the March line of scopes represent the “state of the art” in high-magnification Benchrest scopes. They are unexcelled for brightness, sharpness, and perhaps most importantly, shot-to-shot reliability. Many top short-range benchrest shooters, who can’t tolerate even a tiny shift in the scope’s reticle moving the point of impact a few hundreths of an inch, are using the March 40X, 50X, and 60X, and now the new 10-60X Zoom.

CLICK HERE for complete MARCH SPECIFICATIONS


March scopes are made in Japan by DEON. In the USA they are sold exclusively by Kelbly’s. Jim Kelbly reports: “Some 40s and 50s are in stock now. The 10-60X zooms will be in stock in about two months unless the back order list gets longer as it is everyday. If you want a March scope you should not wait till they are in stock. We have a waiting list and you should get on it if you would like one in next two months.”

Current March Scope pricing:
40×52, 50×52, and 60×52 fixed focal length: $2100.00
10-60×52 Zoom: $2400.00

March Benchrest Scope

Permalink News, Optics No Comments »