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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July 9th, 2013
If you need a riflescope at a bargain-basement price, Natchez Shooters Supply (Natchez) is running a big sale on Weaver Scopes right now. You’ll find huge savings on scopes big and small, ranging from a 1.5-4.5x24mm all the way up to an 8-32x50mm. The discounts off MSRP are really pretty remarkable. For example, a Wever 6-24x50mm Classic Extreme Scope with illuminated reticle (and 30mm tube) is now just $339.95, marked down from $579.00. (That’s a 41% price cut). The Weaver 2.5-10x56mm Classic Extreme scope, a good general-purpose 30mm-tube hunting scope, is marked way down to $299.95. Original MSRP on this scope was $926.88, and it sells elsewhere for over $550.00. Most of these scopes are discontinued models, but they still carry the normal Weaver warranty.
Scope Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
NOTE: to find particular on-sale models, we suggest you type “Weaver” plus the scope power description in the Natchez home page search field. For example, type “Weaver 2.5-10×56″. That should bring up the item with the low sale price.
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May 18th, 2013
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
Recently, 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.
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.
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.
For 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.
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