March 5th, 2014
Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.
How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.
Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.
Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.
Position shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position -- this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]
These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.
This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.
Article Find by EdLongrange.
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March 1st, 2014
It’s not easy to place a first shot on target at 1500 yards. You must measure the wind speed with precision, know your exact muzzle velocity, and have a sophisticated ballistics solver. In this short video from Ryansrangereport.com, the shooter manages a first-round hit on a steel silhouette at 1500 yards. He used a Kestrel 4500 NV Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics software to figure out the trajectory for his 6.5 Creemoor rounds.
The Kestrel recorded a wind velocity, and the internal software calculated a solution of 17 Mils elevation (that’s 928 inches of drop) with 2.5 Mils windage. “Bang” — the shooter sends it, and 2.6 seconds later “Clang” he had a hit (flight time was 2.6 seconds). Bryan Litz observes: “This is the science of accuracy (in the form of an Applied Ballistics Kestrel) being put to good use at 1500 yards”.
Later in the video (1:05-1:15) the shooter places three rounds on steel at 1000 yards in just 10 seconds. The three shots all fall within 10″ or so — pretty impressive for rapid fire. The shooter reports: “[In my 6.5 Creedmoor] I’m using a 136gr Lapua Scenar L. This bullet has impressed me. It screams out of my barrel at 2940 fps and holds on all the way out to 1,500 yards.”
The rifle was built by Aaron Roberts of Roberts Precision Rifles (RPRifles.com). Chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it features a Leupold Mark VI 3-18x44mm scope.
Roberts Precision Rifles
19515 Wied Rd. Suite D
Spring, Texas 77388
Email: rprifles @ gmail.com
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February 3rd, 2014
Here’s an interesting product, offered by Creedmoor Sports. The innovative MOA Tactical Shooting Bag (MOA TSB) combines plastic pellets with an inflatable, inner air chamber to provide a very lightweight (and adjustable) rear support for your rifle, when shooting prone. Designed for “tactical” shooters, we think the MOA bag would work equally well for hunters and varminters. Costing $59.95, the MOA inflatable bag is priced competitively with basic rear sandbags, but it weighs much, much less than a leather or cordura bag filled with sand.
These MOA bags are built tough, with a durable inner air bladder, surgical-quality tubing, and rugged outer fabric. To help stabilize the bag, lightweight polymer (plastic) pellets are used inside. The air pump then inflates the air bladder to the degree of hardness/softness you prefer. An air valve allows you to deflate the MOA bag for more compact transport and storage.
We did try one of these bags, and it worked pretty well for prone shooting with bipod. The rear bag-rider of an Eliseo Tubegun settled nicely on the bag, and yes we could “Pump it Up” to add firmness, and raise the rear. Likewise it was simple to bleed air from the bag, lowering the bag-rider. Yes you could adjust the bipod leg height instead (raising/lowering the front relative to the rear), but it was faster and easier to make small changes with air pressure. This item will not replace a heavy sand bag for a serious F-TR shooter. However, for a tactical competitor who needs to move rapidly from one position to another, this patent-pending MOA Tactical Bag makes sense. It is a durable, well-designed product that can shave many pounds off your load-out weight (compared to a heavy sandbag).
Though this is marketed toward “tactical” marksmen, we think the MOA Tactical Shooting Bag would also be handy for hunters who walk long distances in the field. Hunters need to be concerned about weight as well. The air+pellet-filled MOA bag offers a lighter alternative to a bunny-ear bag or heavy sand sock.
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January 18th, 2014
Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) has introduced a new line of modular SABRE chassis systems for Savage model 10 and 110 rifles. These chassis systems are completely modular, upgradeable, and reconfigurable. Sporter models start at $995.00. APO President Morris Petersen explains: “Our customers said ‘Hey, you need to build a line for Savages’. So we built a series of SABREs for Savage [short action and long action rifles]. We have a composite version (Sporter), the Super-Sport Alloy, and the Carbon Fiber version. They are all fully adjustable (as all of the SABRE Platforms are) so they can fit any type of shooter.” New model calibers include .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Mag in Sporter Composite and Quattro Alloy series with 5-round and 10-round AICS-type magazines.
New Savage SABRE Chassis System (SVS-A3, MOD-1 Alloy Series SuperSport)
APO has been selling the Savage SVL-A2 MOD-1 for the 110 BA for nearly 2 years. The new Savage 10 and 110 models will begin deliveries to APO dealers in the Spring of 2014. Sporter models will come first, followed by the Alloy Series.
APO Showcases the New SABRE Chassis Line for Savage 10 and 110 Rifles
Shooting with APO During Media Day at the Range
Media Day at the Boulder Pistol and Rifle Club was busy all day long. The APO crew let reporters test drive three precision rifles: an ASW .338 Lapua Magnum, a custom M700 .300 Win Mag, and the new Savage 10 FCP/SVS-A3. The winds kicked up quickly and reached 25 mph at times. But everyone still had fun.
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January 16th, 2014
Tab Gear Pollok Mats shown above with Tab Gear Bag below.
Here is a cool product we saw at SHOT Show, the TAB Pollok Shooting Mat. This 72″x30″ mat rolls up into a compact package about 8″ long and 4.5″ in diameter. Once rolled, the mat is secured with either Snap Buckles or D-rings (buyer’s choice). The bottom of the mat has a waterproof, urethane coating. You can stuff the mat inside your pack or strap it to webbing. For comfort, there’s a 12″-wide section of closed-cell foam in the area contacted by elbows. Loops are provided so the mat can be staked down in high winds. This is a good product for hunters or varmint shooters who need to take prone shots on the ground. The mat is light and easy to stow in a day-pack. The D-ring version is $65.00, while the buckled version is $72.50. Order through the Tab Gear Webstore. For more information visit TabGear.com.
Size is 72″ x 30″
Rolled up size approximately 4″ x 8″
Made from 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon
Webbing is all 1″ Milspec
Padded Elbow Rest Area
Stake-down loops on each corner
Watch Video Demo with Tab Gear Roll-up Shooting Mat
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December 4th, 2013
The “Top Guns” of the tactical shooting world will be heading to the PRS Finale this upcoming weekend. This event, the culmination of the 2013 Precision Rifle Series, runs December 6-8, 2013 at the K&M Precision Rifle Training facility in Florida. The PRS Finale is a unique championship-style match for the nation’s best tactical shooters, competing with bolt-guns in four divisions: Pro, Semi-pro, Military, and Law Enforcement. To learn more about the PRS, visit PrecisionRifleSeries.com. You’ll find a good article on the ModernServiceWeapons.com (MSW) website, that outlines PRS rules, spotlights PRS match venues, and lists recommended gear. READ MSW PRS Article.
Below is a great video covering the 2012 PRS Finale from start to finish. Held at the Rifles Only range in Texas last December, the 2012 event drew 55 of the nation’s top tactical shooters, who competed for glory… and thousands of dollars worth of cash and prizes. If you like the tactical game, you’ll love this professionally-edited video. Because this video is over 29 minutes long, we’ve provided a timeline so you can quickly find the highlights:
Watch PRS 2012 Championship (Click arrows icon to view full-screen version.)
Chrono Work: 2:25
Night Briefing: 3:10
Day One: 4:00+
Running Wire: 5:15
Prone Mover: 6:48
Tower Challenge: 7:12
Net Challenge: 8:43
|Tri-Level Barricade: 11:28
1/4-Miler Berzerker: 11:52
Mound Shot: 12:57
Platform Mover: 13:42
5-Target Speed Dot: 14:26
The Rat Trap: 15:00
End of Day One Brief: 16:42
|Day Two Start: 17:22
Ace Challenge: 17:30
Know Your Limits: 18:54
Non-Supported Engage: 19:25
Culverts Only: 20:25
Awards Ceremony: 23:15
Sponsor Credits: 26:50
Interviews with Competitors: 27:24
How did the PRS get started? Rich Emmons, PRS President, explains that the concept was to “accumulate ten or so matches and create a point series” that would determine “who was the best [tactical] rifle shooter in the country”. Rich says that: “It’s a points race, but it’s also a big Finale that brings the ‘best of the best’ all together in one ‘monster’ match.” The winner of the 2012 PRS Series was Wade Stuteville, who also took first in the 2012 Finale. Runner-up in the 2012 Series (with a third-place Finale finish) was Team GAP’s Chase Stroud. Jeff Badley of Team GAP finished third in the PRS 2012 Series (and second in the Finale). SEE 2012 PRS Pro Shooters Equipment List.
How to Get Started in Tactical Matches
If this fun and challenging tactical discipline appeals to you, head out to the range and get involved. Begin with local matches and develop your skill set. You don’t have to invest in $6000.00+ worth of rifle and optics. GAP’s George Gardner says you don’t need ultra-expensive gear: “The most important piece of gear is yourself. A one-minute rifle [can] win these matches every time… so you’ve got to bring it. You don’t get good overnight, so for someone trying to get into this, just shoot — you’ve got to get out there and shoot. My advice would be to get out and shoot one of these matches. It doesn’t matter how you place — just do it. You have to have a starting point. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish.”
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October 12th, 2013
Harris swivel-model bipods allow you to adjust the cant of your rifle. This is useful if you are shooting on side-sloping ground. But what if you want to traverse from side to side, say to switch from one critter to another during a prairie dog safari? Well normally you would have to pick up the entire rifle and reposition it to the left or to the right. Now you have an option. The Upriser Arms Bipod Swivel Mount allows you to traverse your rifle left to right, without moving the bipod legs.
Video Shows How Traversing Bipod Mount Works, with Locking Plunger Knob:
This rugged, machined-aluminum bipod mount lets you swing your aim point from side to side without having to reposition the bipod. The rubber-padded Upriser Arms Bipod Mount accepts any bipod that attaches to a forward sling swivel stud. There is also a version that fits on tactical rails.
It is easy to engage or disengage traversing capability via the plunger knob on the front of the unit. When you pull down on the plunger (and twist to lock in “down” position), the rifle can swing smoothly on an internal, precision-bearing pivot. To go back to non-traverse mode, simply center the fore-arm and then twist and release the knob so the plunger pops up, securing the bipod in the “dead-center” position. Note: This unit adds approximately 1¼” to bipod height.
This $69.99 bipod mount comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee when purchased through Brownells or Sinclair Int’l. User feedback has been positive. One purchaser wrote: “I take this [traversing bipod mount] on all my hunts and it has impressed me immensely. The part is built strong and has improved my shooting. It is really smooth, easy to use, and helps me stay on scope when my game is on the move instead of having a shaky swivel or having to move the whole bipod. I have recommended this product to all of my friends[.] — Adam, Missoula, MT
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October 4th, 2013
Many styles of bipods were used by F-TR shooters at the F-Class U.S. Nationals and World Championships recently held in Raton, NM. Most featured angled arms — either left/right arms or parallel pairs of arms on either side. With such designs, vertical height is controlled by adjusting the angle of the arms (and hence the distance between the feet). Widen the track and the gun goes down; narrow the track and the gun goes up. One bipod design, Dan Pohlabel’s FLEX Bipod, was very different than the norm. On the FLEX, there are no angled arms — the main blade is a solid piece of metal. Each leg has independent control for height via adjustable “feet” on either ends of the main piece. A ratcheting locking lever controls the cant.
Click photo below for full-screen version
Monte Milanuk, who tested an early version of the FLEX Bipod, explains: “The FLEX bipod is a very simple design — no Mariner’s wheel for vertical adjustment, no joystick head, no changing width as it goes up and down. And the FLEX bipod is very light (as are most, these days), but also very durable. An added bonus is that it breaks down very flat for airline travel. Once I take the feet off, remove the ratchet lever (with screw), the whole bipod nestles very nicely in the bottom layer of foam in my gun case (with cuts for the head etc. in the foam). If someone bashes the case hard enough to damage what is essentially a plate of spring steel, then I’ve got bigger worries.”
Monte likes the FLEX Bipod, but notes that it works best if you lean into the gun when shooting: “Not everyone wants a bipod that slides around like a hog on ice. Some people manage to get things tracking straight back and forth, almost like it was constrained by a front rest. Personally, I have a hard time doing that in a repeatable fashion. While the FLEX Bipod shoots quite well with a [loose] hold, it was designed for those of us who like to ‘lean’ into the gun a bit. Quite literally, the idea is that you get the feet to dig in slightly, and push against the rifle butt with your shoulder and the bipod will ‘flex’ or bow forward slightly. It is one of those things that sounds wonky until you try it. It may take a few times to get a feel for it, but once you do, it is surprisingly repeatable.”
The FLEX bipod’s designer, Dan Pohlabel, offers these instructions:
The bipod feet are shipped loose. Note there is a left foot and a right foot. Determine the balance point of your rifle and mount the bipod approximately two inches forward of that point. You may want to move it further forward after shooting. Experiment with its placement to minimize movement of the bipod. When setting up, first grab each foot and ‘dig’ them in to the shooting surface, dirt, gravel, grass, carpet — it doesn’t matter. After making sure each foot has a hold, raise or lower the bipod to your target and use the cant adjustment to level your rifle. Loading the bipod with your shoulder is the preferred method of position. For more info, visit Kreativ-Solutions.com or email flex-bipods [at] kreativ-solutions.com .
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July 20th, 2013
Bushnell 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.
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July 12th, 2013
A popular feature of our Shooters’ Forum is the long-running Pride and Joy thread. There you’ll find photos and descriptions of dozens of interesting rifles — from rimfire rigs to big-bore boomers. Forum member Ryan M. (aka “Dieselgeek”) recently posted a handsome .260 Remington tactical rifle built by Short Action Customs in Wellington, Ohio. The rifle features top-of-the-line hardware. The coated, stainless Alpha 11 action (from Defiance Machine) carries a Bartlein M24-contour 26″ barrel with muzzle brake. The stock is a thumbhole T5A from Manners Composites, fitted with APA bottom metal for AW magazines. On top is a Bushnell ERS 3-21x50mm scope with G2 reticle. Riding on an under-mounted rail is an Atlas bipod with quick-release lever.
Alpha 11 Action (Made by Defiance Machine)
The Alpha 11 action is a collaboration between Defiance Machine in Columbia Falls, MT and Short Action Customs (SAC). This smooth-cycling, Rem-footprint action boasts many nice features including a side bolt-release, and a double-pinned, .312-thick recoil lug. The action’s magwell is designed to work with AW/AI magazines. The bolt features an M16-style extractor. Used in SAC’s complete rifles, Alpha 11 actions are also available for custom rifle projects. The $1200.00 action price includes a scope base with buyer’s choice of zero, 10+, 20+, 30+, or 40+ MOA. Both fluted and non-fluted bolts are available.
Versatile Atlas Bipod
Another interesting accessory on Dieselgeek’s rifle is the Atlas Bipod. This rugged unit can be deployed in a variety of configurations. Locking securely into five positions through a 180-degree arc, the legs can be deployed at a 45° angle pointed either forwards or backwards, in the traditional 90° position, or facing directly front or back. The unique design offers 30 total degrees left to right Pan (traverse) as well as 30 total degrees of Cant (side to side roll) adjustment.
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June 3rd, 2013
By Dennis Santiago
Competition teaches you things. Compared to loading for benchrest bolt guns, producing ultra-reliable and accurate ammo for tight-chambered, semi-auto .308 target rifles requires a different approach to case prep. Smoothness of operation is much more important in a field course gun. Reliability trumps everything (even case life) for these types of guns.
In the photo below, there’s a Redding small base body die for bumping the shoulder and making sure the case body is at SAAMI minimum. This body die is not just nice to have. It is vital. There are also a full-length sizing die and a Lee Collet neck-sizer in that turret holder. One or the other gets used after the body size die depending on what rifle the ammo will be used in. The semi-auto rounds always go through the full-length sizing die. After that comes trimming and finally cleaning — then loading can begin. The cases are trimmed using a Gracey trimmer so everything’s the same each and every time. I use an RCBS Competition Seater Die to seat the bullets. One nice feature of this RCBS die is the open side slot that allows you to place bullets easily.
It’s a long path methodology but uniformity is accuracy. More important for safety, controlling “stack-up” errors in the system solution is how one achieves reliability. The chamber-hugging philosophies of benchrest bolt guns do not apply well to AR-10s. Like most things, the right answer is context-dependent. Success is about accepting and adapting.
Dennis Talks About Using a Semi-Auto in Tactical Competitions
I have succumbed to the Dark Side — deciding to put an AR-10 together. For tactical competitions you want a bolt gun most of the time but there are times the course of fire favors the use of a semi-auto. I was using an M1A that gives me 0.75 MOA performance but I heard people were getting almost bolt-gun-level, half-MOA accuracy out of their AR-10s — so I wanted to see if that was really achievable. A quarter-MOA difference in accuracy potential may seem tiny in practical terms but it will make a difference in competition. In a match, the difference between 3/4-MOA and 1/2-MOA can alter your hit probability on a small target by 20-30%.
The AR platform also lets you tinker with triggers, stock ergonomics and muzzle brakes that help in managing the dynamics of a long distance shot better. Well I found out you can get the incremental accuracy but there’s more work to do to get the same reliability. Being a curious sort, it’s worth it to me to explore it. It’s a far cry from as-issued M-1 shooting with whatever HXP is handy. This is definitely swimming in the deep end of the pool.
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April 9th, 2013
Some times nice guys do finish first. Our buddy Vu Pham, co-founder of the NorCal Practical Precision Rifle Club (NCPPRC) took top honors in the NCPPRC monthly tactical long range match on the 1000 yard range at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center. Shooting his .260 Remington in a McMillan A5 stock, built by Spartan Rifles, topped with a Bushnell 4-30x50mm from CS Tactical, Vu beat a competitive field on a breezy day that saw the top 6 shooters separated by only 15 points. The Course of Fire had 27 of the 50 rounds shot from 800 to 1000 yards, where the fast-switching winds at 1000 yards were the deciding factor in the outcome. Vu tells us: “This LR Match win has eluded me for seven years now with these guys. I’ve been in the top five quite a few times, but never took home the win. Our matches are so close these days that it usually comes down to one or two bad trigger presses or ‘blown’ wind calls to separate the Top 10 shooters.”
NCPPRC long range tactical matches are held the first Sunday of each month, and are open to anyone 18 or older. No membership in any organization is required. Registration is at Range 12 of the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center from 07:30 to 08:30 in the morning. Cost is $25. To learn more about the match visit the NCPPRC Long Range Match webpage.
New Bushnell 4.5-30x50mm Tactical Scope
Vu Pham was running an all-new Bushnell front focal plane 4.5-30x50mm XRS scope with an amazing 6.7 times zoom range. This 34mm-tube scope features Bushnell’s G2 DMR Reticle. For a scope offering 30X magnification, is it compact at 14″ OAL (only 3/4″ longer than the HDMR). The elevation turret provides 10 mils per revolution with a zero stop. The scope sells for $2149.00 at CS Tactical.
Vu liked the new Bushnell scope and, obviously, it performed well for him. Vu tells us: “I believe this optic just hit the market… and is still pretty new. After having a few days behind the Bushnell XRS 4.5-30, I believe this optic will be a very viable option for the tactical precision rifle game. One of my favorite features of this scope is the mil-based G2DMR reticle. It makes holding over (and holding for windage) fast and easy. I will be doing a full test and evaluation in the next week or two after I get more time behind the optic.” Mike Cecil with CS Tactical provided the scope for this T&E.” Mike notes: “This is not the 4-30 tactical that’s listed as an XRS in the Bushnell online catalog — that’s a 30mm in the 6500 series line. This 34mm-tube XRS is a whole new animal!”
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