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December 22nd, 2007

Innovative Tripod with Rotating and Tilting Stock Mount

Alamo Four-Star has released a very important new product, a tripod with a rotating and tilting central platform that holds a rifle stock securely. Called the DCLW (Deros Compact Light Weight), the tripod has been mostly marketed at the military/tactical market so far, but we think it may be even better suited for use with light-recoiling varmint rifles.

The DCLW has many smart, innovative features. First, the tripod legs can be extended almost flat, so the DCLW can be used from a prone position. Raise the legs and you can use the unit while sitting or kneeling. The platform or cradle for the rifle forearm can hold stocks up to 3″ wide. You can either lay the stock on the cradle so the rifle can move rearwards on recoil, or you can adjust the side plates (with optional thumbscrews) to provide side pressure to hold the rifle firmly in place on the cradle. You can easily attach a rail or clamp to the side of the pivoting cradle. This allows you to mount a range-finder or spotting scope in parallel that will track the movement of the rifle exactly. Very cool.

There is a tilt locking lever to control the tilt angle of the rifle cradle. So, you can swing the rifle into position on target, set your elevation, then lock the DCLW in place. We’ve seen videos of the DCLW in use. It elevates and traverses smoothly. The clamping cradle will hold heavy 50 BMG rifles securely at angles up to 95°. The pan/tilt head is also available separately for mounting on any conventional camera tripod with a 1/4-20 threaded post.

The DCLW is so new that its designers are still learning how best to use it with different types of guns. Some rifles, particularly those with slab-sided stocks, seem to work well when firmly clamped in place. Other rifles need to “float” in the cradle. Tripod movement can be an issue with heavy-recoiling calibers.

With time, we expect DCLW owners to devise better clamping/mounting inserts for various types of stocks. The metal cradle definitely needs to be lined with some softer material (e.g. neoprene), for use with high-gloss stocks. And we expect that varminters who want to free-recoil their rifles may need to attach some kind of low-friction guides to the cradle.

Still, the unit has huge potential. For the varminter, here is a simple, compact rig that can replace a heavy front rest and rear sandbag–and possibly eliminate the need for a shooting bench altogether. The DCLW offers the ability to rapidly traverse a field of varmints and make major elevation changes instantly. Because the unit does away with the rear bag completely (and thereby eliminates front rest/rear bag alignment issues), a heavier, “second-generation” version of the DCLW with a longer, wider, micro-adjustable top platform might even have a place in benchrest competition.

We hope to get a test unit soon and try it out in the varmint fields with a 6BR and a .223. We’ve asked Alamo Four-Star for a video so you can see the product in action. Unfortunately Alamo hasn’t updated its website to show the DCLW, but you can call Alamo at (210) 432-7006. Street price for the DCLW complete unit is $279.00.


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December 22nd, 2007

Tell Santa to Wait — New Scopes from Sightron

If you’ve been saving up your pennies for a new high-magnification scope, you may want to wait a few more weeks. Sightron just gave us this exclusive report.

Sightron will introduce two new 30mm-tube target/varmint scopes early in 2008. The first new optic is a side-parallax 6-24x50mm with 100 MOA of total elevation (50 MOA either side of center). It will be available in a variety of reticles, including at least one reticle with ranging features. Sightron expects the street price to be around $775-$790.

The second scope, and this is big news for long-range shooters, will be an 8-32x56mm side-parallax scope with 70 MOA of total elevation. The 8-32 will initially be available only with a 1/4-MOA target dot reticle, but other reticle options may be offered later in the year. The 8-32 should have a street price in the $825.00 range. This means it will cost less than a Leupold 8-25×50 LRT, but have more magnification and a larger front objective (56mm vs. 50mm). Sightron has tested its new 8-32 against the Leupold LRT and Sightron’s engineers believe the 8-32 compares favorably in terms of clarity, resolution, and tracking. This new Sightron 8-32 may even lure some buyers away from the much more expensive Nightforce line.

Sorry, no photos yet. There are only a handful of the new scopes in the country, but Sightron’s Alan Orr has promised full specs and photos in a few days. Stay tuned — we’ll run the pix in the Daily Bulletin as soon as we receive them. And Sightron will be sending us test samples of both the new 6-24 and the new 8-32.

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