March 25th, 2018

How to Avoid ‘Scope Bite’ (Scope Placement Tips)

Kirsten Weiss Video YouTube Scope Eye Relief

This helpful video from our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss explains how to avoid “scope bite”. This can occur when the scope, on recoil, moves back to contact your forehead, brow, or eye socket area. That’s not fun. While common sense tells us to avoid “scope bite” — sooner or later this happens to most shooters. One viewer noted: “I have come close. I had a Win Model 70 in .375 H & H Mag and I was shooting over a large rock in a strange position. The scope hit my eye glasses hard enough to bend the wire frames and cause a little pain on the bridge of the nose from the nose piece. [That] made a believer out of me.”

Kirsten offers a good basic principle — she suggests that you mount your rifle-scope so that the ocular (eyepiece) of the scope is positioned at least three inches or more from your eyeball when you hold the rifle in your normal shooting position. From a technical standpoint, optical eye relief is a property of the scope, so you want to purchase an optic that offers sufficient optical eye relief (meaning that it allows you to see the full circle of light with your head at least three inches from the eyepiece). Then you need to position the optic optimally for your head/eye position when shooting the rifle — with at least three inches of eyeball-to-scope separation (i.e. physical eye relief).

NOTE: You should mount the scope to provide adequate eyeball-to-scope separation for the actual position(s) you will be shooting most of the time. For an F-TR rig, this will be prone. For a hunting rifle, your most common position could be sitting or standing. Your head position will vary based on the position. You can’t assume the scope placement is correct just because it seems OK when you are testing or zeroing the gun from the bench. When shooting from a prone or kneeling position you may find your eye considerably closer to the eyepiece.

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
February 9th, 2018

When and How Scopes Fail — How to Diagnose Optics Problems

Riflescope Repairs

Riflescopes are mechanical contraptions. One of the sad realities about precision shooting is that, sooner or later, you will experience a scope failure. If you’re lucky it won’t happen in the middle of a National-level competition. And hopefully the failure will be dramatic and unmistakable so you won’t spend months trying to isolate the issue. Unfortunately, scope problems can be erratic or hard to diagnose. You may find yourself with unexplained flyers or a slight degradation of accuracy and you won’t know how to diagnose the problem. And when a 1/8th-MOA-click scope starts failing, it may be hard to recognize the fault immediately, because the POI change may be slight.

When An Expensive Scope Goes Bad
A few seasons back, this editor had a major-brand 8-25x50mm scope go bad. How did I know I had a problem? Well the first sign was a wild “drop-down” flyer at a 600-yard match. After shooting a two-target relay, I took a look at my targets. My first 5-shot group had five shots, fairly well centered, in about 2.2″. Pretty good. Everything was operating fine. Then I looked at the second target. My eye was drawn to four shots, all centered in the 10 Ring, measuring about 2.4″. But then I saw the fifth shot. It was a good 18″ low, straight down from the X. And I really mean straight down — if you drew a plumb line down from the center of the X, it would pass almost through the fifth shot.

Is My Scope Actually Malfunctioning or Is This Driver Error?
That was disconcerting, but since I had never had any trouble with this scope before, I assumed it was a load problem (too little powder?), or simple driver error (maybe I flinched or yanked the trigger?). Accordingly, I didn’t do anything about the scope, figuring the problem was me or the load.

Scope Failure mechanical Point of Impact

Even expensive scopes can fail, or start to perform erratically — and that can happen without warning, or for no apparent reason. Here are some signs that you may be having scope issues.

1. Click count has changed signficantly from established zero at known range.
2. Noticeably different click “feel” as you rotate turrets, or turrets feel wobbly.
3. Inability to set Adjustable Objective or side focus to get sharp target image.
4. Shot Point of Impact is completely different than click value after elevation/windage change. For example, when you dial 2 MOA “up” but you observe a 6 MOA rise in POI.

Problems Reappear — Huge POI Swings Affirm This Scope is Toast
But, at the next range session, things went downhill fast. In three shots, I did manage to get on steel at 600, with my normal come-up for that distance. Everything seemed fine. So then I switched to paper. We had a buddy in the pits with a walkie-talkie and he radioed that he couldn’t see any bullet holes in the paper after five shots. My spotter said he thought the bullets were impacting in the dirt, just below the paper. OK, I thought, we’ll add 3 MOA up (12 clicks), and that should raise POI 18″ and I should be on paper, near center. That didn’t work — now the bullets were impacting in the berm ABOVE the target frame. The POI had changed over 48″ (8 MOA). (And no I didn’t click too far — I clicked slowly, counting each click out loud as I adjusted the elevation.) OK, to compensate now I took off 8 clicks which should be 2 MOA or 12″. No joy. The POI dropped about 24″ (4 MOA) and the POI also moved moved 18″ right, to the edge of the target.

Riflescope RepairsFor the next 20 shots, we kept “chasing center” trying to get the gun zeroed at 600 yards. We never did. After burning a lot of ammo, we gave up. Before stowing the gun for the trip home, I dialed back to my 100-yard zero, which is my normal practice (it’s 47 clicks down from 600-yard zero). I immediately noticed that the “feel” of the elevation knob didn’t seem right. Even though I was pretty much in the center of my elevation (I have a +20 MOA scope mount), the clicks felt really tight — as they do when you’re at the very limit of travel. There was a lot of resistance in the clicks and they didn’t seem to move the right amount. And it seemed that I’d have four or five clicks that were “bunched up” with a lot of resistance, and then the next click would have almost no resistance and seem to jump. It’s hard to describe, but it was like winding a spring that erratically moved from tight to very loose.

At this point I announced to my shooting buddies: “I think the scope has taken a dump.” I let one buddy work the elevation knob a bit. “That feels weird,” he said: “the clicks aren’t consistent… first it doesn’t want to move, then the clicks jump too easily.”

Convinced that I had a real problem, the scope was packed up and shipped to the manufacturer. So, was I hallucinating? Was my problem really just driver error? I’ve heard plenty of stories about guys who sent scopes in for repair, only to receive their optics back with a terse note saying: “Scope passed inspection and function test 100%. No repairs needed”. So, was my scope really FUBAR? You bet it was. When the scope came back from the factory, the Repair Record stated that nearly all the internal mechanicals had been replaced or fixed: “Replaced Adjustment Elevation; Replaced Adjustment Windage; Reworked Erector System; Reworked Selector; Reworked Parallax Control.”

How to Diagnose Scope Problems
When you see your groups open up, there’s a very good chance this is due to poor wind-reading, or other “driver error”. But my experience showed me that sometimes scopes do go bad. When your accuracy degrades without any other reasonable explanation, the cause of the problem may well be your optics. Here are some of the “symptoms” of scope troubles:

1. Large shot-to-shot variance in Point of Impact with known accurate loads.
2. Uneven tracking (either vertical or horizontal).
3. Change of Point of Impact does not correspond to click inputs.
4. Inability to zero in reasonable number of shots.
5. Unexpected changes in needed click values (compared to previous come-ups).
6. Visible shift in reticle from center of view.
7. Changed “feel” or resistance when clicking; or uneven click-to-click “feel”.
8. Inability to set parallax to achieve sharpness.
9. Turrets or other controls feel wobbly or loose.
10. Internal scope components rattle when gun is moved.

Source of Problem Unknown, but I Have a Theory
Although my scope came with a slightly canted reticle from the factory, it had otherwise functioned without a hitch for many years. I was able to go back and forth between 100-yard zero and 600-yard zero with perfect repeatability for over five years. I had confidence in that scope. Why did it fail when it did? My theory is side-loading on the turrets. I used to carry the gun in a thick soft case. I recently switched to an aluminum-sided hard case that has pretty dense egg-crate foam inside. I noticed it took some effort to close the case, though it was more than big enough, width-wise, to hold the gun. My thinking is that the foam wasn’t compressing enough, resulting in a side-load on the windage turret when the case was clamped shut. This is just my best guess; it may not be the real source of the problem. Remember, as I explained in the beginning of this story, sometimes scopes — just like any mechanical system — simply stop working for no apparent reason.

Permalink - Articles, Optics, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 1st, 2018

How Scopes Work — Understanding Lenses and Light Paths

Accurateshooter.com optics rifle scope Swarovski

The Swarovski Optik website features a blog with interesting technical articles. In the “On Target” series of blog stories, Swarovski has provided a handy explanation of how optics systems work, with exploded diagrams of rifle scopes, spotting scopes, and binoculars. CLICK HERE for Swarovski Optics Blog.

Accurateshooter.com optics rifle scope Swarovski

Scope Terminology
Focusing Lens
The focusing lens is an adjustable lens inside the optical system for focusing the image at different distances…. In the case of rifle scopes, apart from focusing, the focusing lens also facilitates parallax compensation.

Diopter Adjustment
For rifle scopes, the reticle can be focused using the diopter adjustment on the eyepiece, thereby correcting any visual impairment. [Editor’s Note: Movable eyepiece diopter adjustment is not offered on all rifle scopes. It is a useful feature on Swarovski and other premium scopes. This allows shooters who need eyeglasses to get a sharply focus image even without wearing corrective lenses. Of course shooters should always wear ANSI-certified eye protection. With the diopter, folks who need correction can use inexpensive, non-Rx safety eyewear instead of expensive prescription safety glasses.]

Reversal System
The purpose of the reversal system is to reverse the image by means of prisms in binoculars and telescopes, and lenses in rifle scopes….The lens reversal system is needed in rifle scopes to control the variable magnification and move the exit pupil[.]

Parallax Explained
What is Parallax? What problems can Parallax create when you are shooting? Many novice shooters can’t answer those questions easily. Likewise, many folks don’t understand how to use their front or side-focus parallax controls most effectively. Yes the parallax control basically sharpen focus at different target distances — but there’s more involved. This video offers helpful insights.

Resource tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Optics 4 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 »
May 31st, 2016

Nightforce 42x44mm Competition Scope Review by James Mock

Nightforce 42x44mm 42X benchrest competition scope James Mock review test
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.

Nightforce 42x44mm 42X benchrest competition scope James Mock review test

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.

Nightforce 42x44mm 42X benchrest competition scope James Mock review test

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.

Nightforce 42x44mm 42X benchrest competition scope James Mock review test
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

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 3 Comments »
May 20th, 2016

Service Rifle Optic Option — Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm

NXS 1-4x24mm scope IHR Service Rifle Compact

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.
NXS 1-4x24mm scope IHR Service Rifle Compact

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.

NXS 1-4x24mm scope IHR Service Rifle Compact

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.
NXS 1-4x24mm scope IHR Service Rifle Compact

RETICLE Options
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.

NXS 1-4x24mm scope IHR Service Rifle Compact

ZERO-STOP (Optional)
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.

For more info and product specs, visit the Nightforce NXS 1-4x24mm Compact Riflescope webpage.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 4 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 »
January 19th, 2014

New Burris 8-40x50mm XTR II Scope for $1199.00 (MSRP)

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Need a comp scope with serious magnification, but have a limited budget? Then check out the new XTR II 8-40x50mm from Burris. Priced at $1199.00 (MSRP), this new scope offers 40X max magnification, and a lifetime, bumper-to-bumper warranty. The scope weighs 31.4 ounces, has 1/8th-MOA clicks, and 10 MOA per turret revolution. With a 34mm main tube, the scope delivers 70 MOA of elevation adjustment and 30 MOA of windage adjustment. New this year, this FFP scope should be available by the end of March 2014. Learn more in the video preview below:

Learn about Features of 8-40x50mm Burris XTR 11:

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Innovative F-Class MOA Reticle with Multiple Center Dots
Burris offers this First Focal Plane (FFP) scope with an F-Class MOA Reticle, the only reticle of its kind to feature multiple illuminated center dots (on the vertical line), the Front Focal Plane reticle keeps the 1/2 MOA grid design constant (relative to target) at any magnification. A second 20 MOA offset 1/2 MOA grid allow shooters to obtain an extra 20 MOA of elevation beyond the capability of the turret adjustments and still have horizontal wind hold-off references. At each 10 MOA section you’ll find an ultra-fine crosshair with 1/8 MOA illuminated dot for maximum versatility.

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Permalink New Product, Optics 14 Comments »
January 26th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Sightron’s Upgraded 10-50X and NEW 1-7X

Alan Orr of Sightron unveiled some impressive products at the 2011 SHOT Show. The first is a fully upgraded Sightron SIII 10-50X60mm LR scope. When first introduced in 2010, Sightron’s 10-50X scope became an immediate “hit” with AccurateShooter.com readers. The 10-50X offered seriously powerful magnification with reasonable weight — all in an affordable package. With “street price” under $1000.00, the Sightron 10-50X was much less expensive than rival “big-name” scopes with comparable magnification. As first released, Sightron’s 10-50X scope was a smart choice for F-Classers and long-range benchresters. For 2011, the 10-50X scope has been made even better, yet the price has stayed pretty much the same. That’s the kind of progress we like.

As upgraded, Sightron’s 10-50x60mm scope has new target turrets, a new reticle option (hash marks with center dot-in-circle), and dual-color, selectable illumination. At around $995.00, this scope is in a class by itself. Looking at the offerings of other scope-makers, you’d have to pay hundreds more to get a comparable 50-power riflescope with reliable tracking and good glass. Yes the Schmidt & Bender 12-50X scope is better, but the S&B costs three times as much as the Sightron. The Sightron 10-50X’s price to performance ratio makes it a very attractive choice for F-Class and long-range Benchrest.

YouTube Preview Image

Sightron 1-7X scopeExclusive ‘Sneak Preview’ of
New 1-7X Sightron ‘Tactical Hunter’

After showing us the updated 10-50X scope, Sightron’s Alan Orr gave us an exclusive look at Sightron’s prototype 1-7X Tactical/hunting scope. This all-new scope offers wide field of view, selectable illumination and choice of 1/3 MOA or Centimeter clicks. This versatile, illuminated riflescope can be used for everything from tactical matches to big-game safaris. We definitely expect to see this compact 1-7X illuminated optic on many multi-gun rigs in the months ahead. The “street price” for the new 1-7X is expected to be right around $950.00. Expect the first units to ship in 120 to 150 days (i.e. at the start of summer).

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December 18th, 2010

Leupold Closeout and Factory Blemished Scope Sale

Here’s a chance to save hundreds on a popular Leupold hunting, tactical, or target scope. Now through 12/31/2010, MidwayUSA has marked down a limited quantity of Leupold riflescopes which either have a small exterior blemish, or are otherwise on close-out. If you need a medium-power hunting scope there are some great deals to be had. CLICK HERE to Visit Closeout and Factory Blem Sale Page.

Here are some specific products on sale. Remember quantities are limited. You snooze, you lose.

Leupold Factory Blem, Mark 4 LRT M3, 3.5-10x40mm Mil-Dot Reticle Matte, Product #620150
Sale Price: $1049.99 — Save $210.00

Leupold Factory Blemished VX-3, 4.5-14x40mm Duplex Reticle, Matte, Product #816128
Sale Price: $439.99 — Save $90.00

Leupold Euro-30mm Tube, 3-9x50mm German #4 Reticle, Matte, Product #976858
Sale Price: $399.99 — Save $100.00

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
October 2nd, 2010

Good Deal on Swarovski Variable Hunting Scopes

Swarovski makes fantastic hunting scopes. They feature extremely high-quality glass, that is bright and razor-sharp. Excellent light transmission ensures good performance at dawn and dusk. Right now, through the end of October, MidwayUSA has clearance-sale pricing on two Swarovski medium-range zooms suitable for varminting or long-range hunting.

The Swarovski PH 4-16x50mm (30mm) with Ballistic Reticle (item #676135) is marked down from $1,849.00 to $1,399.00, a $450.00 savings. The higher power Swarovski AV 6-18x50mm with Ballistic Reticle and 1″ main tube (item #220145) is $929.00 on sale, reduced from $1229.00. Whenever you can get a mid-range zoom Swaro for under a grand, it’s a pretty good deal. Both these scopes feature diopter-type eyepieces offering ample focus correction. That’s a big plus if you normally need glasses but don’t have prescription shooting glasses.

Swarovski rifle Scopes

Both scopes are covered by Swarovski’s 30-year warranty. The AV 6-18x50mm is less expensive, but the PH model should provide enhanced lowlight performance.

IMPORTANT: both these scopes have metric, non-standard click-values. The PH 4-16x50mm moves 0.5 cm per click at 100 meters (about .18″ at 100 yards), while the AV 6-18x50mm moves 1.0 cm at 100 meters (about .36″ per click at 100 yards). Make sure you can live with metric clicks before purchasing either scope.

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May 15th, 2010

NEW Professional Drill Jig for Mounting Optics Bases and Rails

Brownells has added a new Professional Drill Jig to its collection of gunsmithing tools. The $194.99 jig, made by B Square, aligns hole-spacing for popular scope bases on most popular military bolt action receivers. According to Brownells, this jig: “aligns mount hole-spacing for Weaver, Redfield and Buehler bases on all Springfields, U.S. Enfields (not SMLE), Japs, Mausers, Remington 30s and similar bolt actions.” Brownells says this unit saves time and eliminates tedious measuring as it “automatically locates holes in reference to recoil shoulder, and aligns and spaces holes vertically on the centerline of the receiver.”

Brownells Scope rail jig

Brownells’ Drill Jig features all-metal construction. The jig bars, base block and top piece are gold-anodized aluminum while the bore arbor and “V” bushings are blued steel. For the $194.99 price, the Pro Drill Jig includes two bars (Mauser and Spgfld/Enf/Jap,), complete mounting assembly, and an interchangeable No. 31 drill bushing.

Editor’s Comment: In the past, we haven’t been particularly impressed with B Square consumer products, particularly B Square rails and rings, but with CNC machining these days, the Professional Jig should be a quality tool. Remember that Brownells offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on everything it sells: “If you aren’t completely, 100% satisfied with any purchase you receive from Brownells, for any reason, at any time, return it for a full refund or exchange. No hassle, no problem.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
February 4th, 2010

Long-Range Scope Comparison: Schmidt & Bender, Leupold, Zeiss

Forum member Thomas Haugland (aka “Roe”) from Norway has created an excellent video comparing the features on four long-range scopes: Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12x50mm, Schmidt & Bender PMII 12-50x56mm, Leupold MK IV, and Zeiss Diavari Victory 6-24x56mm. Thomas shows how the adjustments function, he records the available vertical elevation, and he takes apart the turrets to show how the weather seals work. While the Leupold MK IV has MOA clicks, the three Euro scopes tested by Thomas have mil-based or mil/cm adjustments. These mil-based clicks work well with first focal plane reticles that have mil or half-mil hash marks.

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Thomas explains:

These films emphasize the shooter’s Point of View (POV) and ‘user friendliness’. ALL these scopes get the job done, but they have some similarities and differences in the details and your own personal preferences would decide what scope can be labeled ‘best’. The perfect scope doesn’t exist, you’ll have a compromise somewhere — be that economy, magnification, reticle, turret, optical quality, sturdiness…

In these films I’ve set the Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12×50 as the benchmark for comparison. Not because it is ‘best’ (it isn’t!) but because S&B is one of the manufacturers which first recognized the needs of professional Long Range shooters and put together products [optimized to work well] in high stress environments. The features that are important are: First focal plane, MIL reticles and MIL turrets, plenty of adjustment and suitable magnification.

Note that S&B and Zeiss scopes are also available in the USA with MOA-based turrets and/or second focal plane (SFP) reticles, for those shooters who prefer the MOA system, and SFP. A first focal plane reticle is best for ranging, but a target shooter working at known distances will probably prefer a second focal plane reticle that doesn’t change in size with magnification.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
January 25th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Sightron's New 10-50x60mm and Rear-Parallax Fixed-Power Tacticals

At SHOT Show, Sightron rolled out its much-awaited 10-50x60mm, and it looks good. Currently available in either a Fine-Cross-Hair (FCH) reticle, or FCH with target dot, the new unit has 1/8 MOA clicks and 50 MOA of windage and elevation. Priced under $1000.00, this is a good value compared to other premium optics with similar max magnification.

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Affordable High-Magnification Long-Range Optic
With a “street price” under $995.00, the Sightron 10-50 could become hugely popular in 600/1000-yard benchrest and F-Class shooting. The big new zoom features a jumbo 60mm objective, 30mm maintube, and 1/8 MOA clicks. Nearly 17″ long and weighing 28.9 ounces, make no mistake, this is a BIG piece of glass. If the new 10-50×60mm SIII Sightron is as good as the 8-32×50mm LR SIII we tested in 2009, this should be a fantastic scope for the money.

Sightron 10-50x60mm long range scope

New Tactical Scopes with Rear Parallax Control
Sightron had another much smaller, but equally impressive, scope on hand. It was the 10X model from the new SIII Tactical series which includes 16X and 20X versions also. The new SIII fixed-power Tactical Sightrons feature a modified mildot (MMD) reticle with 1/4 MOA clicks. These scopes (10X, 16X, and 20X) all boast an amazing 150 MOA of total elevation (and windage). We repeat: 150 MOA of total up/down travel. That allows you to shoot well past 1000 yards without needed an angled scope base. The parallax control is at the back, where you’d normally find a zoom ring. The position is actually very handy. With the parallax (focus) control near the rear eyepiece, you can easily set the parallax with your firing hand without moving out of position. These new fixed-power Tactical Scopes will retail for about $550.00.

Sightron 10-50x60mm long range scope

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