June 13th, 2018

Great Video Series for Hunters and Long Range Shooters

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

There an excellent YouTube channel, THLR.NO, that offers videos for long-range hunters and marksmen. The channel’s creator, Thomas Haugland, is a serious, knowledgeable shooter, who takes his rifles out into the field, in all conditions. The THLR.NO channel offers solid advice on scopes, reticles, wind-reading, field positions, and much more. Haugland’s team puts a wide variety of gear through serious field tests — every thing from suppressors to packs to the latest electro-optical hardware. In addition the THLR.NO channel provides good advice on stalking techniques and hunting skills. Here are some recent videos that can help any rifleman.

How to Shoot Better with a Hunting Rifle

This “must-watch” video has great practical advice for hunters. It illustrates proper hand-hold and head position, and shows how to stay steady when breaking the shot. Even competition shooters can learn a few things. One viewer notes: “This was very informative. The footage through the scope showing how one’s position moves the sight alignment was particularly helpful.”

How to Gauge Wind Speed and Hold Off Using Reticles

This field video shows how to observe natural indicators — trees and vegetation — to estimate wind velocity. Then it shows how to calculate hold-offs using the reticle hash-marks. Thomas shoots a fast-cycling Blaser R93 rifle with Norma 6XC ammunition.

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

If you like these three videos, there are hundreds more on the THLR.NO YouTube channel. In addition, there is an excellent long-format video, Longrange Shooting 2, available on DVD or Vimeo on Demand. This impressive outdoors video features Thomas Haugland and Ulf Lindroth. Here is a preview:

Watch Longrange Shooting 2 on Vimeo:

Longrange Shooting 2 from Lindroth & Norin on Vimeo.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
January 17th, 2018

Understanding Milliradians (Mils) and Mil-Dot Scopes

mildot ranging milliradian Milrad

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…

Mildot scope reticleIn 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.

Permalink - Videos, Optics 2 Comments »
March 24th, 2017

Verify Your TRUE Scope Click Values with Tall Target Test

Scope Click Verify Elevation Tall Target Bryan Litz NSSF test turret MOA MIL

Have you recently purchased a new scope? Then you should verify the actual click value of the turrets before you use the optic in competition (or on a long-range hunt). While a scope may have listed click values of 1/4-MOA, 1/8-MOA or 0.1 Mils, the reality may be slightly different. Many scopes have actual click values that are slightly higher or lower than the value claimed by the manufacturer. The small variance adds up when you click through a wide range of elevation.

In this video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics shows how to verify your true click values using a “Tall Target Test”. The idea is to start at the bottom end of a vertical line, and then click up 30 MOA or so. Multiply the number of clicked MOA by 1.047 to get the claimed value in inches. For example, at 100 yards, 30 MOA is exactly 31.41 inches. Then measure the difference in your actual point of impact. If, for example, your point of impact is 33 inches, then you are getting more than the stated MOA with each click (assuming the target is positioned at exactly 100 yards).

Scope Click Verify Elevation Tall Target Bryan Litz NSSF test turret MOA MIL

How to Perform the Tall Target Test
The objective of the tall target test is to insure that your scope is giving you the proper amount of adjustment. For example, when you dial 30 MOA, are you really getting 30 MOA, or are you getting 28.5 or 31.2 MOA? The only way to be sure is to verify, don’t take it for granted! Knowing your scopes true click values insures that you can accurately apply a ballistic solution. In fact, many perceived inaccuracies of long range ballistics solutions are actually caused by the scopes not applying the intended adjustment. In order to verify your scope’s true movement and calculate a correction factor, follow the steps in the Tall Target Worksheet. This worksheet takes you thru the ‘calibration process’ including measuring true range to target and actual POI shift for a given scope adjustment. The goal is to calculate a correction factor that you can apply to a ballistic solution which accounts for the tracking error of your scope. For example, if you find your scope moves 7% more than it should, then you have to apply 7% less than the ballistic solution calls for to hit your target.


CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Tall Target Worksheet (PDF)

NOTE: When doing this test, don’t go for the maximum possible elevation. You don’t want to max out the elevation knob, running it to the top stop. Bryan Litz explains: “It’s good to avoid the extremes of adjustment when doing the tall target test.I don’t know how much different the clicks would be at the edges, but they’re not the same.”

Should You Perform a WIDE Target Test Too?
What about testing your windage clicks the same way, with a WIDE target test? Bryan Litz says that’s not really necessary: “The wide target test isn’t as important for a couple reasons. First, you typically don’t dial nearly as much wind as you do elevation. Second, your dialed windage is a guess to begin with; a moving average that’s different for every shot. Whereas you stand to gain a lot by nailing vertical down to the click, the same is not true of windage. If there’s a 5% error in your scope’s windage tracking, you’d never know it.”

Scope Tall Test level calibrationVerifying Scope Level With Tall Target Test
Bryan says: “While setting up your Tall Target Test, you should also verify that your scope level is mounted and aligned properly. This is critical to insuring that you’ll have a long range horizontal zero when you dial on a bunch of elevation for long range shots. This is a requirement for all kinds of long range shooting. Without a properly-mounted scope level (verified on a Tall Target), you really can’t guarantee your horizontal zero at long range.”

NOTE: For ‘known-distance’ competition, this is the only mandatory part of the tall target test, since slight variations in elevation click-values are not that important once you’re centered “on target” at a known distance.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 13th, 2017

How to Use Mil-Dot Scope Reticles to Estimate Range

NRA Video Milrad MIL mil-dot range reticle

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:

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, Optics 5 Comments »
April 9th, 2012

Mil Radian Defined and Mildot Scope Use Demonstrated

Mildot scope reticleIn 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.

GOOD RESOURCE: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent article The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. This article explains, in considerable detail, the use of U.S. Army and U.S.M.C. Mildot scopes. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 1 radian = 2 PI; 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian; 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.

Permalink - Videos, Optics 4 Comments »
January 17th, 2012

Media Day Report: New High-End FFP Tactical Optics

While we were somewhat disappointed that we didn’t see many all-new precision rifles at Media Day 2012, there were plenty of new riflescopes on display. Among the most impressive new optics were rugged new high-zoom-range, First Focal Plane (FFP) tactical scopes from Hensoldt (Carl Zeiss), Leupold and Trijicon. These new scopes all featured fat tubes, compact overall length, and abundant elevation travel. These lastest top-end FFP tactical scopes offer as much as 26-power in a form factor not much bigger than a “normal” 4-16X scope.

New 3.5-26x50mm Hensoldt Was Outstanding
Hensoldt showcased a very impressive, prototype 3.5-26x56mm FFP tactical scope. Though this scope offers a whopping 7.4X zoom range and 26-power on top, this new Hensold is relatively compact. The reticle in these prototype versions was a very useful (and simple) milradian-based reticle that we hope Hensoldt retains in the production versions. The Hensoldt boasted an impressive 36 Mils of total elevation travel in two (2) turns of the turret. The new Hensoldt still shares the same superior glass and compact size that puts these scopes at the top of their class. We tested a prototype mounted to an Accuracy International AX 338. Expect the production version to be the same size and cost approximately $4000.00.

As you can see in the video, the new Hensoldt coupled with the new Accuracy Int’l AX in 338 Lapua Magnum worked very effectively at 900 meters in some tricky winds. This combination made it fairly easy to break clay pigeons on the bank at 900 meters. Off camera this combination continued to show great accuracy and very effective design features.

New Leupold MK-8
Leupold showed off a brand new MK-8 3.5-25x56mm with a Horus reticle and a beefy main tube. Again, this featured a lot of elevation in one turn as well as a pinch-and-turn locking turrets. This is a big leap forward for Leupold and we feel this will be well-received in the tactical world. Along with the new MK8, we also sampled Leupold’s new MK6 3-18x50mm. This shared similar features as the 3.5-25, and was incredibly compact as well. We expect the MK8 to sell near $4000 and the MK6 to be substantially less, likely under $3000 according to company reps.

Trijicon made a departure from their standard fare and jumped into the tactical scope world with a beefy Front-Focal Plane 3-15x50mm. This featured a well-executed MOA-based reticle and turrets with 30 MOA per turn (a Milrad version offers 10 Mils per turn). The Trijicon showcased the “short and fat” appearance that seems to be the latest design trend in tactical scopes. But though the Trijicon had a fairly short OAL (for its zoom range), it was still quite heavy at 47 ounces. The glass in this prototype version was disappointing for a scope that will retail in the $4K range. Reps told us the production version glass would be much improved. (It had better be, if Trijicon hopes to play in this stratospheric price range.)

It was apparent at Media Day 2012 that scope companies have worked hard to provide more features and more performance in their high-end tactical scopes. Consequently, the latest generation of scopes offer some very interesting and useful innovations — wider zoom range, more compact size, more elevation travel per rotation, and “goof-proof” turret mechanisms. We can only hope that, with more competition in this market, prices may become more reasonable. $4000 is an awful lot of money to pay for a scope.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 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 »
November 27th, 2011

Review of Vortex PST 4-16x50mm FFP Mildot Scope

Mike of CS Tactical has released a good video review of the Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 FFP (first focal plane) rifle scope. Mike praised many of the scope’s features, and he believes it is a good value for the money (about $850.00 street price.)

The Viper PST 4-16×50 PST (Precision Shooting Tactical) FFP riflescope offers a lot of features for the money, including low-dispersion XD Glass, glass-etched illuminated reticle, ArmorTeck scratch-resistant, anti-reflective lens coatings, and a zero-stop turret system. Vortex delivers all this with a street price around $850.00. The hard-anodized one-piece 30mm tube, machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, offers ample adjustment — 21 millirads both elevation and windage. First Focal Plane subtensions remain consistent throughout the magnification range — that’s important if you use the scope to range objects at unknown distances. Vortex claims its argon-filled scope is waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof (O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the tube). The 4-16×50 PST comes fully equipped with 4-inch sunshade, CR2032 battery, and CRS shims.

Vortex 4-16x50mm First Focal Plane Scope

Vortex 4-16x50mm PST Specifications
Magnification: 4-16X
Objective Lens Diameter 50 mm
Eye Relief: 4 inches
Field of View: 27.4-7.4 feet/100 yards
Tube Size: 30 mm
Turret Style: Tall Uncapped – CSR Zero Stop
Reticle: Milrad type in First Focal Plane (FFP)
Adjustment Graduation: 0.1 mrad
Max Elevation Adjustment: 21 mrads
Max Windage Adjustment: 21 mrads
Parallax Setting: 50 yards to infinity
Length: 13.7 inches
Weight: 22 ounces

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Optics 2 Comments »
September 22nd, 2010

New 34mm-tube Mark 4 Scope with Horus Reticle for M24E1

Our readers were very interested in the recent announcement that Remington Arms was selected to build the new M24E1 Sniper Weapon System, the successor to the venerable M24 Sniper Rifle used by the U.S. Army for many years.

Leupold MK 4 ERT M24E1

Leupold MK 4 ERT M24E1New Leupold Scope for M24E1
A key component of the M24E1 system is the new Leupold Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm Extended Range/Tactical (ER/T) M5 riflescope (34mm locking version). This scope features First Focal Plane (FFP) Horus ranging reticles (H27 or H58), side parallax adjustment, and a beefy 34mm maintube.

Other key features of the new ER/T include M5 windage and elevation adjustment dials with audible, tactile 1/10 (0.1) milrad clicks to match the mil-based Horus reticles. An elevation zero-stop helps prevent under-rotation in high-stress situations. The eyepiece offers long eye relief and it employs a “lockable” fast-focus design to ensure that the reticle remains in sharp focus. The scope has an auto-locking elevation adjustment.

Horus H-37 mil ranging reticleWith either a Horus H27 or H58 reticle in the front focal plane, the scope can accurately range at all magnification settings (the reticle magnifies with the image). The 34mm maintube allows for ample windage and elevation adjustment — a full 100 MOA of elevation and 100 MOA of windage adjustment.

The Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm ER/T M5 Locking Adjustment riflescope is waterproof, fog proof and shock proof. With its M5 Locking Adjustment, the scope’s platform is unique in the Mark 4 ER/T line. It is controlled under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and limited to domestic and international government sales only.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
May 24th, 2010

MidwayUSA Introduces Weaver-Made 3-10x40mm Mildot Scope

MidwayUSA has released a new 3-10x40mm MIL/MIL Tactical Grand Slam scope, made exclusively for MidwayUSA by Weaver. The scope features 1/10 mil radian (MIL) clicks, with a claimed 56 MOA (16.5 MIL) of BOTH windage and elevation adjustment. On sale through May 31, 2010 for just $299.00, the scope is regularly priced at $399.00. Even at the $400.00 mark, the scope is one of the most affordable optics combining a mildot reticle with mil-based clicks — a smarter system than what you find on so-called “tactical” scopes combining mildot reticles with 1/4-MOA clicks.

With the MIL/MIL arrangement you can directly translate what you see in the scope to click values. For example, with a MIL/MIL scope, a shot 1.5 mils low would require an elevation turret adjustment of 1.5 mils (15 clicks). This eliminates MOA conversions and allows the shooter to make adjustments quickly without having to do any math.

MidwayUSA Weaver Tactical Grand Slam

This tactical scope features Weaver’s Micro-trac® adjustment system, resettable 1/10 mil radian (MIL) windage and elevation turrets and a Mil-dot reticle. The scope has a one-piece tube and is claimed to be waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. The new Grand Slam 3-10X boasts a fast-focus eyepiece adjustment, and Weaver claims the multi-coated, Japanese-made lenses afford 94% light transmission. That’s a pretty tall claim regarding light transmission; if it’s true, then this scope should have very good low-light performance. We suspect the true average light transmission (across all visible wavelengths) is quite a bit lower. 94% transmission would put the new scope on a par with premium optics costing $1200.00 or more — which is unlikely. As noted above, the new 3-10x40mm scope is on sale for $299.00 for the rest of May, 2010. The scope is covered by Weaver’s Lifetime Warranty.

Permalink New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
February 2nd, 2010

Nightforce Adds High-Speed Elevation Adjustments for 2010

Nightforce Optics has enhanced their elevation adjustments in this year’s lineup of high-magnification Nightforce scopes. Now you can get DOUBLE the elevation travel with a SINGLE TURN of the elevation knob. For an NXS with 1/4-MOA clicks, this means you can get a full 20 MOA of elevation travel with a single turn of the knob.

Bravo, Nightforce — this simple enhancement can make a BIG difference in the field. With most “high-performance” calibers, 20 MOA will get you to 700 yards or beyond. This means that the varminter can zero at all likely hunting yardages within the same revolution of the turret. That makes life much simpler, and reduces the chance of being way off in your elevation. No more confusion about which revolution you’re on….

Likewise, a tactical shooter, moving from near to far targets and back again, can likely stay on the same revolution at most target yardages. Even if you shoot out to 1000 yards, you will be able to get all the way out to 1K within two complete revolutions. This upgrade — doubling the elevation travel in each turret revolution — gives Nightforce scopes practical performance (inside 700 yards) similar to much more expensive scopes fitted with a single-turn or double-turn elevation systems (such as the U.S. Optics EREK knob). The new high-speed adjustment system will be offered in Nightforce’s 15x, 22x, 32x, and 42x series of scopes. Anticipated delivery date for scopes with the high-speed adjustment is May, 2010.

YouTube Preview Image

What About Retro-fitting Older NF Scopes?
Nightforce plans to provide an upgrade path for existing Nightforce scopes “eventually, but not right away”. The upgrade would allow installation of the “high-speed adjustment” system on older NF scopes. We don’t have any more specifics. Nightforce has NOT revealed how much the high-speed conversion would cost or when it might be available for pre-2010 scopes.

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »