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February 16th, 2008

March Unveils 50X and 60X Target Scopes

The March 40X target scope has already made a big splash in benchrest competition. Many of the top shooters have replaced their Leupold Competition scopes with the March. This editor has shot with a March 40X and I can affirm it is brighter than the Leupold Comp 40X, and the March is sharp and bright all the way out to the edges. There are none of the side-focus parallax lash problems sometimes encountered with the Leupold. In competition so far, the March scopes have shown superior tracking and repeatability.

Based on the successful 40X format, March has introduced two new fixed-power target scopes, a 50X and a 60X. (In addition, there is a new 10-60X zoom–but that will be the subject of a later report.) Lou Murdica has been using the 50X in recent matches and he reports “it is outstanding. Even at 50X it is plenty bright. Visually you won’t notice the difference between the 40 and the 50 except you get more power, of course.”

The new 50X and 60X are the same size and weight as the March 40X. All three versions are 14.29 inches long, and weigh 599 grams (21.04 ounces). That’s about 12 ounces lighter than a Nightforce 12×42 BR. Front objectives are 52mm and the main tube is 30mm. All three fixed-power March scopes feature 72 MOA of total elevation and 50mm of windage. Clicks are 1/8th-MOA for 40X, 50X, and 60X.

The primary optical difference (other than magnification), is the size of the exit pupil. (A scope’s exit pupil is the actual diameter of the tiny cone of light that your eye perceives. A large exit pupil is more “user friendly”. With a very small exit pupil, it becomes more difficult to pick up the white circle of light–the position of your head becomes ultra-critical.) In optics there is no “free lunch”. Holding the front objective diameter constant, if you increase magnification, the exit size will get smaller. The March 40X has a 1.3mm exit pupil, the 50x measures 1.04mm, and the 60X has a 0.87mm exit pupil. We think the very small exit pupil on the 60X may undercut the practical utility of the higher magnification.

March Scope

In the USA, March Scopes are sold exclusively by Kelbly’s. Call Hobie Bond at Kelby’s for current pricing and availability. We expect the 50X and 60X to run about $2200.00.


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February 16th, 2008

Benchmark Expands Centerfire Barrel Line

Benchmark Barrels of Arlington, Washington has earned a stellar reputation for its rimfire barrels. Many of the most accurate rimfire BR rigs in the country sport Benchmark barrels. Benchmark pioneered the 2-groove barrel, and its reverse-taper blanks, in 2-groove, 3-groove, and 6-groove, are in high demand. Benchmark is known for the quality of its lapping work and its ability to craft a precise progressive taper (or “choke”) along the full length of the barrel. Typically, Benchmark’s rimfire barrels are hand-lapped with .0006-.0007″ of internal bore taper. This is an even, slight reduction of bore diameter–not just a choke at the end.

Benchmark Barrels

Centerfire Barrel Production
Benchmark offers a full range of centerfire calibers now, from .22 all the way up to .50 caliber. The three-groove, standard land, 8-twist 6mm barrel has been shooting exceptionally well, and Benchmark recently acquired new buttons so it can deliver 1:7″ and 1:9″ twists too. The 6.5mm barrels and 30 caliber barrels have been shooting very well also according to match reports. Benchmark can deliver both canted-land and conventional land versions of its centerfire barrels. Which shoots best? According to barrel-maker Ron Sinnema, “the 6mm 3-grooves with standard lands are working great. Bruce Baer tried one recently and said is was exceptionally accurate.” And for customers who prefer cut-rifled barrels, Benchmark now offers cut rifling in most bore sizes, from .22LR all the way up to rifled shotgun bores.

Benchmark Barrels

Great Value: $250.00 for a Premium Centerfire Barrel
Benchmark barrels are attractively priced. A centerfire blank with 27.5″ finished length costs just $250.00. Sinnema noted: “That’s our highest quality — we only sell one grade”. A variety of contours are available and (at added cost) Benchmark can provide fluting or an octagon barrel profile.

Rimfire barrels cost $325.00. They are more expensive because of the extra hand labor required. Ron explains: “The taper lapping is very time-consuming on the rimfire — but that’s one secret to their accuracy.”

Benchmark has a website “under construction”. For more info, contact Benchmark by phone, fax, or email:

Benchmark Barrels
Ron Sinnema, Barry Graber
1105 Pioneer Hwy East
Arlington, WA 98223
phone: (360) 652-2594
email: benchmarkbarrels [at]

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