January 30th, 2014
Nightforce makes great scopes — just ask the man who owns one. Here’s your chance to get a Nightforce NXS, Benchrest, or Competition scope at a big discount. Bullets.com has acquired a large selection of 2013-model Nightforce scopes, and these are now being offered at sale prices. You can save hundreds of dollars on a scope (compared to original retail prices). For example the 5-22x56mm NXS is on sale for $1495.00. This same 2013 optic retails elsewhere for $1830.00 or more. The 2013 15-55x52mm Competition scope is $1840.00. Compare that to $2352.00 for a 2014-edition 15-55 Comp scope.
These special offers are limited to scopes in inventory. When they’re gone, they’re gone. When shopping online, go to the Bullets.com Nightforce Promo Page, and click on a particular model. In the detail page that opens you will see full specifications, including objective size, turret click value, and reticle type. Here are the specific Nightforce scopes on sale at Bullets.com:
Before placing your order with Bullets.com, be sure you are 100% certain about the model you are ordering. Some scopes with the same magnification range come with a choice of either 50mm objective or 56mm objective. Likewise, there are various reticles offered for each basic model, and Nightforce offers 1/4 MOA clicks on some scopes, with 1/8 MOA clicks on others.
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December 27th, 2013
Nightforce Optics has introduced a new medium-magnification, second-focal plane scope for hunters and tactical shooters. Described as “the most affordable Nightforce riflescope [offered] to date”, the all-new 4-14x56mm SHV will sell for $995.00 (non-illuminated model) or $1195.00 with an illuminated reticle. The “SHV” stands for ShooterHunterVarminter™, reflecting this scope’s versatility — it can be used for a wide variety of applications. The SHV has plenty of travel for long-range use: 100 MOA of elevation adjustment and 70 MOA of horizontal (windage) travel. Two reticle options will initially be offered, the basic IHR (Int’l Hunting Reticle) with floating center cross-hair, and the popular MOAR reticle with 1-MOA vertical and horizontal hash marks.
The 4-14 SHV scope represents a new direction for Nightforce. The optics-maker kept the price under $1000.00 by “limiting some options, offering simpler controls, and using a less complex manufacturing process.” Nightforce said the goal with the SHV was to offer a scope priced “within the reach of a wider range of hunters and shooters who don’t need the ‘overbuilt’ characteristics of our NXS™ series, most of which were originally created to withstand actual combat conditions.”
The 4-14x56mm SHV weighs 26.8 oz. for the basic version, and 28.5 oz. for the illuminated model. Full specifications are listed below. CLICK HERE for 2014 Nightforce Catalog.
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November 2nd, 2013
Many folks struggle when they sight-in a scoped rifle for the first time. A very common mistake is clicking the turrets in the wrong direction. That’s frustrating and it wastes ammo. Another common problem occurs when people sight-in at a distance other than 100 yards. People sometimes struggle to figure out how many clicks they need to correct point of impact if they’re zeroing at 200, 250, or 300 yards.
To make the sight-in process more fool-proof, AccuScope has released two handy Apps for smart phone users. Whether used for initial sight-in or in-the-field adjustments, these smartphone Apps can get you zeroed quickly and reliably.
Using the Apps is easy. First, boresight the gun to get on paper. After the gun is fouled-in (so it is shooting normally) shoot a carefully aimed 3-shot group. Then go to the target and measure the vertical and horizontal distance from the 3-shot group center to your aiming point. Input those numbers into the App, along with your sight-in distance (from muzzle to target). The App then calculates exactly how many elevation and/or windage clicks you must crank into your scope to move point-of-impact to point of aim. Put in the specified clicks and then take a fourth shot to confirm your zero. The fourth shot should impact right on your point of aim (within the limits of the gun’s inherent accuracy.)
Given Murphy’s Law, a shooter can still mess things up if he inputs left clicks when the App calls for right clicks, or inputs down clicks when he needs up clicks. But as long as you look at the “R/L” and “Up/Down” labels on your turrets before spinning the knobs, you shouldn’t have any problems.
AccuScope is available in two versions, Standard and Premium. The $4.99 Standard version works for 1/4 MOA-click-value scopes. The $9.99 Premium version works with all scopes and any click values. The Premium version works with 1/8 MOA clicks, 1/4 MOA clicks, Metric clicks, or Milrad segment click values. So, if you have a scope with 1/8 MOA clicks, you’ll need the Premium version.
AccuScope iPhone Apps are available through Apple’s App Store: Standard | Premium
AccuScope Android Apps are available through the AppBrain Store: Standard and Premium
Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Editor’s Comment: Does this App really provide a solution you can’t figure out yourself with simple arithmetic? No, but some math-challenged guys may find that the App prevents errors. Additionally, following the step-by-step process used by the App will probably help some shooters avoid confusion, and avoid wasting ammo clicking in the wrong directions.
Note however, that there is an even simpler way to zero, if you have a very solid front and rear rest that will hold the gun absolutely steady while you click. After bore-sighting, fire a couple rounds (with the same point of aim). Then place the rifle so the center of the cross-hairs is exactly on your original point of aim. Next, without disturbing the gun in any way, dial your turrets so that the center of the cross-hair moves over the center of your group. That’s it. You’re now zeroed (though you may want to repeat the process for confirmation). Again, this only works if the gun doesn’t shift one bit when you’re clicking. Having a helper steady the gun as you click the turrets will make this “no-math” method work more effectively.
Click-to-Initial POI Zeroing Method Demonstrated
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October 28th, 2013
Want to guide one of America’s leading optics companies? Well here’s your chance. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. is seeking a Chief Executive Officer. Leupold is seeking a new CEO to “lead the company as it continues to expand into new markets and experience record growth.” Here’s the job description:
“The CEO at Leupold & Stevens, Inc. partners with the Board of Directors and Corporate Executive Team to ensure short- and long-term organizational goals are achieved. This position is responsible for the strategic leadership and direction of the business, with the objective of providing optimum financial results while maintaining the vision and values of the company.
The Chief Executive Officer also has a key responsibility to ensure that the interests of customers, owner-shareholders, and employees are served in a manner that supports business objectives and in a manner consistent with Leupold & Stevens, Inc. core values. A strong outdoors background is preferred for this highly visible role within the organization and industry.”
Candidates should submit resumes via the Leupold Career Page at Careers.Leupold.com by November 15, 2013. For questions, contact Kimberly King, VP of Human Resources/ Organizational Development. King can be reached at (503) 526-1433 or by email at kking [at] leupold.com.
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October 18th, 2013
Based on its external appearance, a modern riflescope may seem simple. It’s just a tube with two or three knobs on the outside right? Well, looks can be deceiving. Modern variable focal-length optics are complex systems with lots of internal parts. Modern scopes, even ‘budget’ optics, use multiple lens elements to allow variable magnification levels and parallax adjustment. We had a chance to look inside a riflescope thanks to a product display from ATK, parent of Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Speer, Weaver Optics. ATK sliced open a Weaver Super Slam scope so you can see the internal lens elements plus the elevation and windage controls. We thought readers would like to see the “inner workings” of a typical modern rifle scope, so we snapped some pictures. The sectioned Super Slam scope was mounted inside a Plexiglas case, making it a bit hard to get super-sharp images, but you can still see the multiple lenses and the complex windage and elevation controls.
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October 9th, 2013
A while back your Editor was in New Mexico, on a prairie dog expedition. While in the field, my companions and I used two pairs of Steiner 8x30mm Military/Marine binoculars to spot the critters. Finding the Prairie Dogs (PDs) could be challenging in the high grass. Often, a PD would reveal only its head — a small target at distances approaching 400 yards. We really needed sharp optics with high contrast to spot the dogs hiding behind tufts of grass or dry brush.
The Steiner Military/Marine binoculars performed superbly. I came away very impressed with these armored 8x30mm binoculars. The glass is bright and super-sharp. And the rubber-armored body is truly rugged. These binoculars offer both right and left diopters — important for me as my right eye requires more correction than the left eye. One great feature of the Steiners is the focusing system which keeps everything you can see in focus. This really is a big deal. You don’t have to constantly fiddle with focus — everything past about 20 yards is in sharp focus all the time. As one Steiner owner reports: “Focusing set-up is worth the price of admission. Set it and forget. Amazing. This single feature makes these worth owning.” And the sharpness is impressive. I compared the Steiners’ image with a 6.5-20×40 Leupold EFR riflescope set at 8X. Both 8×30 Steiners were brighter than the Leupold scope, and the Steiners resolved individual blades of grass and fine details better than the Leupold. Of course, comparing a binocular optic with a riflescope is like comparing apples and oranges. The advantages of binoculars (compared to a monocular scope) are well known — the brain combines the two images (left eye and right eye) to create a more vivid, 3D effect, with greater perceived contrast.
Good Binoculars are a “Must-Have” Item for Hunters
After three days in the prairie dog fields I came away convinced that a good set of binoculars is absolutely essential for any varmint hunter. As the PD population was fairly thin where we were shooting, we probably spent five minutes glassing for every minute actually behind the trigger. Over 90% of the dogs were first spotted with binos rather than riflescopes. We had a fixed (non-rotating) bench so it was difficult to swing the rifle more than about 30° from one side to another (60° total arc). With the binoculars, and their wide field of view, we could quickly scan a much wider arc.
Steiner 8×30 Military/Marine Binocs are Just $227.98
At the end of our hunt, I told my host that I planned to purchase a Steiner 8×30 Military/Marine Binocular just like the one we used during our hunt. When I arrived home I was amazed to see that the Steiner 8×30 Military/Marine is available for just $227.98 on Amazon.com, with free shipping for Prime members. That’s a great value, considering the ruggedness and optical quality of the unit.
The 10×50 Steiner Military/Marine is also offered on Amazon.com. It has more magnification and better low-light performance. However, it currently runs about $489.98, more than twice the price of the 8×30 Military/Marine! Unless you really need the 10×50′s extra low-light capability, the 8×30 M/M is the smart choice.
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October 2nd, 2013
The 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.
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September 7th, 2013
If you are looking for a spotting scope, here’s a very good deal. The 20-60X Vortex Viper spotting scope (angled or straight) is now on sale at Cabela’s for just $479.99. That’s much cheaper than we’ve ever seen it, and it is currently listed elsewhere for up to $649.00. This spotter features a large 80mm multi-coated front objective, 20-60X zoom eyepiece, and scratch-resistant polymer armor on the scope body. There is a rotating tripod attachment ring, and a Picatinny rail for mounting accessories. The $479.99 Cabela’s sale price includes the 20-60X eyepiece. This is a limited-time offer — price subject to change.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
While Vortex says this scope has “extra-low dispersion” glass, this model should not be confused with Vortex’s more expensive Razor HD line of spotting scopes. Nonetheless, this Viper spotter is all the spotting scope most hunters or iron-sight high power shooters need. If you’re trying to spot 6mm bullet holes beyond 500m, you will want to move up to something better.
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September 6th, 2013
It’s official — ATK is acquiring Bushnell — for a whopping $985 million. ATK (Alliant Techsystems) has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Bushnell Group Holdings, Inc., a leading maker of branded sports optics, outdoor accessories, and eyewear. In addition to rifle scopes, Bushnell makes rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes, GPS units, sunglasses, and more. Bushnell sells a myriad of other products for outdoorsmen through its brands Simmons, Tasco, Millet, Butler Creek, Bollé, Serengeti, Hoppe’s, Night Optics, Primos, Stoney Point, Hoppe’s, and Uncle Mike’s.
Under the terms of the transaction, ATK will pay $985 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Bushnell’s projected sales for calendar 2013 are approximately $600 million. ATK will finance the acquisition through a combination of $900 million of secured financing, borrowings under its existing revolving credit facility, and cash on hand. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. ATK anticipates closing the transaction in the third or fourth quarter of its Fiscal Year 2014.
Mark DeYoung, ATK President and CEO states: “This [Bushnell] acquisition will broaden our existing capabilities in the commercial shooting sports and expand our portfolio of branded shooting sports products. In addition, this transaction will allow the company to effectively enter new sporting markets in golf, snow skiing and camping.”
Bushnell markets 19 outdoor brands in sports optics, outdoor accessories and performance eyewear, including the Bushnell brand and other notable brands such as Primos, Bollé, Hoppe’s, Uncle Mike’s, Butler Creek, and Serengeti. Founded in 1948, Bushnell is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and employs approximately 1,100 workers worldwide.
Bushnell Will Become Part of ATK’s Sporting Group of Companies
ATK will integrate Bushnell into its Sporting Group within its existing accessories business. ATK Sporting Group’s ammunition brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. ATK’s accessories brands include Alliant Powder, RCBS, Weaver Optics, BLACKHAWK!, Champion, Outers, and Gunslick Pro. In June 2013, ATK acquired Savage Sports Corporation, adding centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting, competitive and recreational shooting to its product offering.
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August 12th, 2013
Angled Weaver-style or Picatinny-style scope rails elevation “pre-load” are commonplace these days. But most angled scope rails are non-adjustable. Cold Shot LLC offers a more sophisticated solution — an adjustable scope base that allows the shooter to “dial in” up to +150 MOA of vertical. The M.O.A.B. system works via a horizontal rotary adjuster with 1/4-MOA clicks, positioned on the rear of the unit. The M.O.A.B. 150 can be mounted on any rifle fitted with a full-length Picatinny Rail, chambered for any cartridge from .22 LR all the way up to .50 BMG. The M.O.A.B. system works well on AR rifles — when installed on any flat-top AR, the M.O.A.B. eliminates the need for extra-high rings or riser blocks.
With the M.O.A.B. 150, a shooter has more than 150 minutes of angle (i.e. vertical adjustment) calibrated in 1/4-MOA clicks, with a handy zero-stop. This allows you to stay centered in the vertical elevation range of your scope. In addition, the amount of elevation travel is sufficient to adjust for drop at extreme long ranges — a mile or more.
Some users will employ the dial-in adjustment just to set an elevation pre-load for a shooting session (more preload for longer range). However, because the M.O.A.B. offers precise 1/4-MOA clicks, you can actually use the M.O.A.B.’s click-wheel to fine-tune elevation settings, just as you might use the elevation turret on your scope. This saves wear and tear on your scope’s internals.
The price for the M.O.A.B. 150 is $399.95. Note: a +300 MOA version is also available for the same price — but we don’t know why anyone would need that much elevation. Made in the USA, the M.O.A.B. 150 (and 300 MOA version) come with a lifetime warranty on materials and craftsmanship.
Editor’s Comment: We are intrigued by this system. We like the idea of external elevation adjustment with 1/4-MOA clicks. However, the precision of such a system is dependent on the fit of the front hinge cross-bolt and the tolerances of the rear rotary riser. With a design like this, if there is any “slop” in the system, you could see a POI change from shot-to-shot. We have NOT tested the M.O.A.B. 150 so we cannot evaluate if the tolerances are up to snuff — this is just something you should consider before shelling out your hard-earned cash.
Bolt-On Version for M1A and M14 Rifles
Cold Shot also offers an adjustable scope base for M1A and M14-platform rifles. This unit has front and rear attachment points for a “no-gunsmithing” installation. Like the standard M.0.A.B. 150 scope base, the M1A/M14 version offers up to +150 MOA elevation travel in 1/4-MOA clicks.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 31st, 2013
When shopping for a new riflescope or spotting scope it’s easy to get confused by all the technical terminology. Do you wish you had a better way to compare scopes — beyond just size, weight, and price? Well Swarovski Optik can help. The Swarovski Hunting Blog offers a helpful guide to technical terms used when comparing scope specifications. Here are some important definitions, expressed in layman’s language:
Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens diameter determines the size of the optical system’s entrance pupil. The bigger the objective lens diameter, the more light the system can capture. However, the size of the objective lens does not determine the size of the field of view.
The size of the Exit Pupil is determined by the objective lens diameter and the magnification. If you look at the eyepiece from a distance of around 30 cm (11.8 in), the Exit Pupil appears as a bright disc.
For calculating the Exit Pupil the formula is:
Exit Pupil = objective lens diameter ÷ magnification (expressed in power number).
The larger the Exit Pupil, the more light will reach the eye.
Field of View
The Field of View is the size of the circular section of the area which can be observed when you look through a long-range optical device. In the case of rifle scopes, it is specified at a distance of 100 meters or 100 yards. For example, 42.5 m at 100 m or 127.5″ at 100 yards. As an alternative, the Field of View can also be stated in degrees (e.g. 6.6°).
NOTE: The technically-feasible size for the Field of View is essentially determined by the magnification. The higher the magnification the smaller the Field of View.
The Twilight Factor defines the optical system’s performance in poor light. The statement “the greater the twilight factor, the better the suitability for twilight” only applies if the exit pupil is larger than or at least as big as the eye’s pupil. The pupil in the human eye can only open to around 8 mm. As we get older, our eyes become less flexible, which limits our ability to see things in twilight or at night. Therefore [an optic's] exit pupil cannot always be fully utilized.
For calculating the Twilight Factor the formula is:
Twilight Factor = root of ( magnification x objective lens diameter ).
NOTE: Spotting scopes have extremely high twilight factors because of their high magnification and large objective lens diameter. But [when used at high magnification] their small exit pupil can make them [somewhat difficult] to use in twilight.
CLICK HERE to Read Full Article (with more illustrations).
Photos copyright Swarovski Optik Blog, all rights reserved.
Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 31st, 2013
Forum member Jacob spotted this simple, but effective set of scope ring inserts on the Brownells Website. With these inserts, you can use a scope with 1″-diameter main tube in 30mm rings. Non-marring, matte black Delrin sleeves surround the scope tube so it can fit larger-diameter rings. Each sleeve comes in two parts for easy installation around your scope tube. This way you can use the same 30mm rings for all your scopes.
Ring Reducers are sold as front/rear kits. Cost is just $19.99 for the 1″ to 30mm converters, item 084-000-091. There are also sets that reduce 30mm rings to 25mm, and 1″ rings to 3/4″ or 7/8″.
Note: These Brownells units simply function as plastic bushings. Unlike Burris Signature Ring inserts, they do not allow you to “pre-load” windage or elevation. If your rings are misaligned, the Brownells Ring Reducers won’t correct that problem.
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