April 19th, 2014

Better Viewing at 600 Yards with ‘Negative’ Targets

At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see in the white than in the black. When you’re practicing at long range on high power targets, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target.

How do you create a “negative” of a target image? Many image programs, including the FREE Irfanview software, have a “Negative” function in the pull-down menu. If you don’t see a “Negative” menu option in your program, look for a “substitute colors” option. Many printers also have a “reverse colors” function. If you can’t find a solution with your computer or printer, just take a normal bullseye target to a copy shop, and the staff can easily print you a set of targets with white centers in black fields.

Forum member Watercam uses a Pentax PF-80ED spotting scope. With his 80mm Pentax he can see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards (in very good conditions), but holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice.

Watercam told us: “The view through the Pentax is very sharp and contrasty with great color. Eye relief with the Pentax 10-60 power zoom is 18-22mm (much more than the Kowa zoom), so I can use glasses with no problem. With my 6mm and limited mirage I’m seeing defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, I can see bullets holes at about 400 with my eyes. I am printing reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”

Pentax PF-80 ED scope

Brits Use New White-Field Target for F-Class
In the UK, ranges are now using a “reverse-style” target with a mostly white area. Laurie Holland says this allows shooters to see shots much more easily. Laurie reports: “Here’s a photo of the 500/600 yard F-Class match target we use in PSSA comps at Diggle Ranges with club members Chris Hull (L) and Terry Mann (R). We now use this target form at all ranges up to 1K for F-Class, and, yes you can often see your hits at 600 on the target before the markers pull it. Regards from England — Laurie”.

Day-Glo Stick-on Targets
If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. With a high-quality scope, you can use the small black diamonds in the center for precise aiming. The Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment (item #33928-TSA) offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters. This “value pack” includes 72-1″, 36-2″, and 24-3″ self-adhesive circles.

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April 3rd, 2014

Swarovski Tech Blog Reveals How Scopes Work

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


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[.]

Resource tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
March 10th, 2014

Leica Introduces 1.8X Extender for APO-Televid Spotting Scopes

Leica Spotting Scope Power Booster Extender 1.8xLeica just released an inline power-booster (1.8X Extender) for its APO-Televid spotting scopes. Brilliant! That’s a great accessory we would like to other spotting scope makers offer as well. Hopefully we’ll see the other major brands — Kowa, Nightforce, Nikon, Pentax, Swarovski, Vortex, Zeiss — follow Leica’s lead.

With Leica’s new 1.8X Extender combined with the 25-50X eyepiece, the effective magnification range is 45-90X. That’s right — you can boost the high-end magnification from 50X all the way to 90X. In good viewing conditions (with a solid tripod), we have found you really can use 80+ power or higher on a spotting scope to resolve very small bullet holes at long range. With its 1.8X Extender in place, Leica now offers the greatest magnification of any premium spotting scope. According to the German company: “Leica is the world’s only manufacturer in the premium spotting scope segment to offer such an additional eyepiece for an existing angled spotting scope and such extreme magnification.”
Leica Spotting Scope Power Booster Extender 1.8x

The optical system of the 1.8X Extender consists of a two-lens achromat that mounts securely with an integrated bayonet mount locking mechanism. With the simple push of a button and a quick turn of the wrist, the Extender 1.8x can be quickly and securely mounted between the APO-Televid angled spotting scope and the eyepiece. (NOTE: the 1.8X Extender only works on Leica’s angled spotting scopes — there is no straight version). Leica designed the new 1.8X Extender to be optically, mechanically, and ergonomically matched with the APO-Televid spotting scopes to work flawlessly as a modular kit. MSRP for the 1.8X Extender is $449.00.

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January 29th, 2014

Get Instant Savings on Nikon Optics — $100 Off Monarch Scopes

Now through March 12, 2014, you can save big bucks on Nikon optics products. Nikon’s Long Range Precision Promotion offers up to $200 Instant Savings on eligible long-range riflescopes, rangefinders, binoculars, fieldscopes and mounts.

Nikon Instant Savings Long Range Precision Promotion

This Instant Savings promotion runs from January 20 through March 12, 2014. The Long Range Precision Promotion covers 49 different Nikon products. Here are some of the deals to be had:

$100 off select M-223 riflescopes
$100 off M-308 riflescopes
Up to $100 off select MONARCH 3 riflescopes
Up to $100 off select PROSTAFF 5 riflecopes
Up to $50 off select PROSTAFF riflescopes
Up to $120 off PROSTAFF 5 Fieldscopes and Outfits
$80 off the PROSTAFF 3 Fieldscope Outfit
$100 off a MONARCH 1200 Rangefinder
$70 off a RifleHunter 1000 Rangefinder
$200 off select MONARCH 5 56mm binoculars

For a complete listing of Long Range Precision Instant Savings eligible products, (with terms and conditions) visit NikonPromo.com. Here is a partial sample of some of the riflescopes on sale:

Nikon Instant Savings Long Range Precision Promotion

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
January 23rd, 2014

New Comprehensive Sports Optics Book from Alan Hale

If you’re thinking of spending thousands of dollars on a new rifle scope or spotting scope, do your homework first. You need to understand key design features, such as first focal plane vs. second focal plane, and turret click values. You should learn about light transmission, resolution, and other factors that distinguish a great optic from a not-so-great one. You also need to analyze your specific requirements before making a buying decision: How much magnification do you really need? Is illumination important? How much scope weight can you reasonably tolerate?

Sport Optics, a new book by Alan Hale, helps you answer all these important questions. Hale, former CEO of Celestron Optics, has more than 50 years of experience in the optics industry. His book, Sport Optics, is an up-to-date, comprehensive guide to Riflescopes, Spotting Scopes, and Binoculars. Hale surveys products from dozens of domestic and foreign manufacturers. Hale explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the technical jargon used by optics-makers. This helps buyers make informed decisions.

The new book is full of good, sound advice. Respected gun writer Chuck Hawks says: “Alan Hale has impeccable credentials in the optics industry. Sport Optics is written for the layman in a clear, understandable and interesting manner.” Bill Thompson, co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest adds: “Alan Hale is one of the Zen masters of sport optics[.] He knows more about how optics work, how and where they are made, and how to put them to their highest possible use than most outdoor sport optics writers. Read this book before you make any optics purchase[.]“

The Sports Optics book is offered at Amazon.com for $24.13. To preview the book, go to the Amazon web page for Sports Optics, and click the cover photo that says “Look Inside”. This lets you see front and back covers, complete table of contents, and many sample pages (such as those shown below):

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November 29th, 2013

Kowa Spotting Scopes and Binocs on Sale at Bullets.com

Bullets.com Kowa Holiday Sale Discount Spotting Scope BinocularsForum members have asked “what’s the best option in a spotting scope in the $500 to $1000 price range?” We’d certainly have to include Kowa spotting scopes on the “short list” for value-priced, high-performance spotters. And now Kowa spotting scopes are cheaper than ever, thanks to Bullets.com’s Holiday Kowa Promotion. Kowa Spotting scope and binoculars are on sale at Bullets.com for up to 26% off regular list prices.

If you need an affordable spotting scope for High Power matches or hunting, consider the 66mm or 82mm Kowas. If you want a no-compromise, ultra-low-dispersion glass, category-leading spotting scope, take a look at the 88mm Kowa Prominars. These have been rated among the “best of the best” in a variety of independent spotting scope comparison tests. Bullets.com is also discounting a wide range of Kowa binoculars.

Bullets.com Kowa Holiday Sale Discount Spotting Scope Binoculars

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November 25th, 2013

Spotting Scope Package Deals from Creedmoor Sports

Konus Spotting Scope Creedmoor Sports package discountCreedmoor Sports is offering two Holiday Specials with complete Spotting Scope systems, including Spotting Scope (with eyepiece), Scope Cover, and Scope Stand. You can choose between two price levels. If you are on a limited budget, go for the Konus 80mm bundle (item ID Konus-bundle). This includes Konus 80mm spotting scope, Scope Cover, and 3/4″-diameter Polecat Stand with two stand extension rods. These items would normally sell for $607.75, but now you can get them all for $545.00 with Holiday Special Pricing.

Creedmoor Sports also has a Holiday Kowa Scope Package (item ID SCOPEPKG) that can save you $112.65 off the regular $1487.65 price. This is really a nice bundle that should meet the needs of even top High Power competitors.

KOWA SCOPE PACKAGE — For $1375.00 you get all the following:

  • Kowa TSN-82SV 82mm Angled Spotting Scope
  • 25X Long Eye Relief Eyepiece
  • Creedmoor Scope Cover in blue
  • Creedmoor 1″-diameter PoleCat Scope Stand
  • Two Extension Rods for Stand
  • Creedmoor Scope Stand Bag
  • See-Through Objective Lens Cover
  • Kowa Eyepiece Cover

Konus Spotting Scope Creedmoor Sports package discount

The regular price for all this hardware is $1487.65, so you save $112.65 with this Kowa Scope Package. That’s a pretty significant savings you can put back into bullets and brass.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
November 19th, 2013

Training Tip: Shooter and Spotter Working as a Team

When shooting at long range, two heads (and two sets of eyes) can be better than one. Teaming up with a buddy who acts as a spotter can speed up your long-range learning process. You can focus 100% on the shot, while your buddy calls the wind and spots your hits and misses.

Shooting Spotter training video NSSF

The NSSF has created a short video that shows how shooter and spotter can work as a team. In the video, the NSSF’s Dave Miles works with Rod Ryan, owner of Storm Mountain Training Center in Elk Garden, WV. As the video shows, team-work can pay off — both during target training sessions and when you’re attempting a long shot on a hunt. Working as a two-person team divides the responsibilities, allowing the shooter to concentrate fully on breaking the perfect shot.

The spotter’s job is to watch the conditions and inform the shooter of needed wind corrections. The shooter can dial windage into his scope, or hold off if he has a suitable reticle. As Rod Ryan explains: “The most important part is for the shooter to be relaxed and… pay attention to nothing more than the shot itself.” The spotter calls the wind, gives the information to the shooter, thus allowing the shooter to concentrate on proper aim, gun handling, and trigger squeeze. Rod says: “The concept is that the spotter does all the looking, seeing and the calculations for [the shooter].”

Shooting Spotter training video NSSF

Spotter Can Call Corrections After Missed Shots
The spotter’s ability to see misses can be as important as his role as a wind-caller. Rod explains: “If you shoot and hit, that’s great. But if you shoot and miss, since the recoil pulse of the firearm is hitting your shoulder pretty good, you’re not going to be able to see where you missed the target. The spotter [can] see exactly where you missed, so I’ll have exactly an idea of how many [inches/mils it takes] to give you a quick secondary call so you can get [back on target].”

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October 8th, 2013

Pentax PF80-ED Angled Spotting Scope on Sale for $684.95

Here’s a great deal on an excellent spotting scope. Right now Amazon.com has the Pentax PF80-ED Angled spotting scope body for just $684.95 with FREE Shipping for Prime members. Supplies are very limited, so don’t hesitate. Mind you, this is just for the BODY ONLY — but the PF80-ED body alone sells elsewhere for $899.00 (See: Optics Planet PF-80ED).

Amazon.com also has the Pentax PF-80ED with straight body for just $629.00 (eyepiece not included). With either straight or angled version, a Pentax 20-60X zoom eyepiece will cost another $240 or so from Amazon.com, but you can find used models for less on eBay.

Pentax PF-80ED Angled spotting scope body

The PF-80ED has a large objective lens with high-definition glass. Focusing is fast and precise. You will have to purchase an eyepiece separately — but rest assured, the Pentax eyepieces are some of the best available, with large-diameter, astronomy-style mounts, and wide-angle view with extended eye relief. We use a Pentax PF100-ED and PF80-ED, with both zoom and fixed-focal-length eyepieces. The Pentax eyepieces are outstanding.

We actually prefer the PF80-ED (vs. the PF100) for most duties because it is MUCH more compact, and sits more steady on the tripod. While the PF80-ED has been out for a few years, it still compares favorably with spotting scopes that cost twice as much. To do better, you’ll need to spend over $2000.00 for a Kowa, Leica, Nightforce, Swarovski, or Zeiss spotting scope with low-dispersion glass. And, with most of these brands, that two grand will only get you the spotter body — you’ll then need to spend $400-$700 for the eyepiece. We think it’s hard to beat a PF80-ED at this sales price. Even after purchasing the eyepiece your total cost is about $925.00.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics 4 Comments »
July 20th, 2013

New Bushnell Tactical Spotting Scope with Optional H32 Reticle

accurateshooter.com Bushnell LMSS Tactical Spotting ScopeBushnell Outdoor Products has introduced a new compact, roof prism spotting scope. The new Bushnell Elite Tactical 8-40x60mm Lightweight Modular Spotting Scope (LMSS) features a rubber-armored housing, ED Glass, and an optional (extra cost) H32 ranging reticle. A Picatinny rail is supplied that fits to the bottom of the LMSS.

The Elite Tactical 8-40x 60mm LMSS features ED Prime glass, BAK-4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics. The LMSS is available in both a standard (clear view) model or with the Horus Vision H32 reticle, a highly-regarded ranging reticle. With a minimum 8X magnification, and a maximum of 40 power, the LMSS is extremely versatile.

Sheathed in rubber armor, the LMSS spotting scope is fog-proof and meets IPX7 waterproof standards. It also features the water-repellant RainGuard HD lens coating, a patented Bushnell technology that we have found works very well.

The spotting scope includes a detachable picatinny rail, giving users the ability to quickly and easily mount the spotter to a firearm or tripod system. The Elite Tactical 8-40x 60mm LMSS is available for an estimated retail price of $1699.99 or $2,199.99 with the Horus H32 reticle.

Bushnell Bulletproof 100% Money-Back Guarantee
Every product in the Elite Tactical series is covered by the Bushnell limited lifetime warranty. The entire product line is also backed with the new one-year, no-risk Bushnell Bulletproof Guarantee. The 100% money-back guarantee is valid up until one year from date of purchase.

Permalink New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
May 8th, 2013

Universal Scope Head from Competition Machine (Gary Eliseo)

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine is now (again) manufacturing adjustable heads for spotting scopes. These work great for High Power, Three Position, Across-the-Course, Prone, and F-Class shooting. The head fits on a scope stand, so it can adjust to any height you need. This is a super-high quality unit according to our buddy Dennis Santiago: “They’re back — the best scope head on the planet is back in production. Direct from Gary Eliseo this time. Uses any 3/4″- or 1″-diameter shaft stand.”

Gary Eliseo Competition Machine Universal Scope Head

Gary tells us: “I had so many people ask me to bring my scope head back into production I thought I’d try a trial run to see how they were received. Well, the first run nearly sold out just by word of mouth! I do have some still available from the first run, and we’ll do another run. Price is $185.00 plus shipping. You can choose from 12 Cerakote colors.”

Eliseo Universal Scope Head Features

  • Scope Head can be mounted above or below scope body.
  • Scope Head works for both right-handed and left-handed shooters. 6.25″ Offset.
  • Scope Head works with 3/4″-diameter and 1″-diameter uprights.
  • Integral dovetail mount (saves wear and tear on spotting scope base threads).
  • Coarse and fine elevation settings require no tools to adjust.
  • Adjustable windage disc brake friction.

The Competition Machine Universal Scope Head is available right now — a few units are left from the first production run. To order, call 714-630-5734. To see other Competition Machine products, including tube gun chassis kits, visit www.GotXring.com.

Gary Eliseo Competition Machine Universal Scope Head

Gary Eliseo Competition Machine Universal Scope Head

Permalink New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
April 30th, 2013

Nightforce’s First-Ever Spotting Scope, Plus New 2.5-10x42mm

Nightforce Optics will unveil new products at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits this upcoming Friday. The big news is an 82mm spotting scope — the first-ever spotter from Nightforce. We knew Nightforce was planning an important product launch, but frankly this announcement caught us by surprise — Nightforce has always been a riflescope company. This is new territory. Why is Nightforce rolling out a high-magnification spotting scope now? Kyle Brown, Nightforce’s Director of Sales and Marketing, explains: “Our customers have asked for many years when we would introduce a spotting scope. The answer was, ‘at a time when we could produce a spotting scope equivalent in performance and quality to Nightforce riflescopes.’ That time is now.”

Nightforce TS-82 spotting scope HD

The new TS-82™ Xtreme Hi-Def™ spotting scope features a large 82mm objective, plus high-quality, European-made APO Fluorite Glass. The “street price”, including a 20-70X eyepiece, should be $2522.00 ($2600 MSRP). Shown above is the straight-body version, but the TS-82 will also be offered with an angled body for the same price ($2522.00 including 20-70X eyepiece). Nightforce promises that, by the end of 2013, an optional wide-angle 30-60X eyepiece will be available. In addition, Nightforce plans to offer an accessory mount for attaching a red dot sight or a laser rangefinder. This is good news for long-range hunters — you can locate your target through the spotter and then instantly range distance-to-target with an LRF aligned precisely with the spotting scope lens. Nightforce will also offer a handy iPhone accessory mount for digiscoping.

At the NRA Meeting in Houston, Nightforce will also introduce a new, side-focus 2.5-10x42mm NXS riflescope. For years, the Nightforce 2.5-10x32mm NXS Compact has been a popular optic. The new Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Compact, with its larger objective, should be more effective in low light. Yet the scope is still fairly light-weight (19 oz.–20.5 oz.) and compact (11.9 inches in length). Expect “street price” to be around $1740.00.

Nightforce TS-82 spotting scope HD

The notable feature of the new 2.5-10x42mm NXS is its side parallax adjustment (25 yards to infinity). It’s unusual to find side parallax control on an optic with 10X max magnification. The new 2.5×10 also incorporates red or green reticle illumination with adjustable intensity settings. Six different reticles are available, including the new IHR™ (International Hunting Reticle). The 2.5-10x42mm is offered with .250 MOA Hi-Speed™ or .1 Mil-Radian adjustments on exposed turrets, or, alternately, enclosed (capped) turrets with .250 MOA clicks. For more information, visit NightforceOptics.com

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »