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May 27th, 2022

Cut-Away View Reveals Complex Interior of Modern Riflescope

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.

A few seasons back, we had a chance to look inside a riflescope thanks to a product display from ATK, now called Vista Outdoor, parent of Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Speer, Weaver Optics. The Weaver engineers 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.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 9th, 2021

How to Range Targets with MIL-Reticle Optics

NRA Video Milrad MIL mil-dot range reticle

MIL-system scopes are popular with tactical shooters. One advantage of MIL scopes is that the mil-dot divisions in the reticle can be used to estimate range to a target. If you know the actual size of a target, you can calculate the distance to the target relatively easily with a mil-based ranging reticle. Watch this helpful NRA video to see how this is done:

Milliradian Definition and Yardage Ranging Formula
“MIL” or “Milrad” is short-hand for Milliradian, a unit of angular measurement. The subtension of 1 mil equals 3.6 inches at 100 yards or 36 inches at 1,000 yards. (In metric units, 1 mil equals 10 centimeters at 100 meters or 1 meter at 1,000 meters.) Knowing this subtension and knowing the size of the target (or a reference object near the target) allows the distance to the target to be estimated with considerable accuracy. The formula used to calculate range (in yards) based on MIL measurement is:

Height of Target in inches (divided by 36) x 1000, divided by the number of mils.

NRA Video Milrad MIL mil-dot range reticle

For example, if a 14″ tall target spans 3 mils from top to bottom, the distance is 129.67 yards calculated as follows: 14/36 x 1000 = 389, then divided by 3 = 129.67. You can also use a different conversion to find distance in meters.

Can You Estimate Range with an MOA-Marked Reticle? Yes You Can…
Reader Josh offers this handy advice: “It worth noting that the ability to measure range is not unique to mil-based systems. A MIL is just another unit for measuring angles, and any angular measurement will work. Considering that just about everybody knows that 1 MOA is about an inch per hundred yards, similar formulae can be developed for ranging with MOA marks. The advantage with mils is the precise relationship between units — the MOA-inch measurement is imprecise (being off by 0.047″) — so in principle MILs are a better unit”.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 29th, 2021

Protect Your Expensive Optics with ScopeCoat “Flak Jackets”

scopecoat scope optics protector cover neoprene padded

ScopeCoat Scope ProtectorWith the price of premium scopes approaching $3400.00 (and beyond), it’s more important than ever to provide extra protection for your expensive optics. ScopeCoat produces covers that shield scopes with a layer of neoprene rubber (wetsuit material) sandwiched between nylon. In addition to its basic covers, sold in a variety of sizes and colors, ScopeCoat has a line of heavy-duty 6mm-thick XP-6 covers that provide added security. CLICK HERE to review the full line of ScopeCoats on Amazon.

Triple-Thickness XP-6 Model for Added Protection
The XP-6 Flak Jacket™ is specifically designed for extra protection and durability. The 6mm-thick layer of neoprene is three times thicker than the standard ScopeCoat. XP-6 Flak Jackets are designed for tall turrets, with sizes that accommodate either two or three adjustment knobs (for both side-focus and front-focus parallax models). To shield an expensive NightForce, March, or Schmidt & Bender scope, this a good choice. XP-6 covers come in black color only, and are available for both rifle-scopes and spotting scopes.

ScopeCoat Scope ProtectorThe heavily padded XP-6 Flak Jacket is also offered in a Zippered version, shown at right. This is designed for removable optics that need protection when in storage. The full-length, zippered closure goes on quick-and-easy and provides more complete protection against dust, shock, and moisture. MSRP for the XP-6 is $30.00, but you can get them on Amazon for $21-$25.

Special Covers for Binos and Red-Dots
ScopeCoat offers many specialized products, including oversize covers for spotting scopes, protective “Bino-Bibs” for binoculars, rangefinder covers, even sleeves for small pistol scopes and red-dot optics. There are also custom-designed covers for the popular Eotech and Trijicon tactical optics.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »
July 13th, 2020

X-Ray Vision — Inside Look at Riflescope with Cutaway Weaver

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.

A few seasons back, 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.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 11th, 2019

New ZEISS Precision Rings — Premium Quality & Integral Levels

Zeiss Precision Ring Set 30mm 36mm 34mm alumininum mil-spec Picatinny tactical

Now this is smart — ZEISS has just introduced a series of precision scope rings with integral bubble levels. These new ZEISS Ultralight 1913 Mil-Spec Rings for Picatinny Rails are beautifully made, making them a smart choice for mounting all brands of quality riflescopes. The rings are currently offered in 30mm diameter (low, med, high) and 36mm diameter (med, high), with 34mm versions coming out in the very near future.

CLICK HERE for Zeiss Precision Rings Brochure PDF »

We like the craftsmanship on these Precision Rings — they are “micro-radiused” on the machined leading edges to ensure a non-marring design. That special design feature helps prevent annoying marks on your expensive scope. Along with the built-in anti-cant levels, these rings feature an integral bottom recoil lug. That helps ensure the rings align perfectly and hold securely even with the high recoil forces generated by big caliber, magnum rifles.

Zeiss Precision Ring Set 30mm 36mm 34mm alumininum mil-spec Picatinny tactical

Though these Precision Rings are very strong, they are also relatively light-weight. Crafted from Mil-Spec 7075-T6 aluminum (Type III) these rings weigh just 4.4 ounces with screws for a 30mm low set. For durability, ZEISS UltraLight Rings feature a 30-micron hard, matte black, anodized finish. The ring sets ship with a nice hard case, which includes both T15 and T25 Torx driver bits. The Zeiss Ultralight 30mm Rings cost $179.99 while the larger-diameter 36mm rings cost $199.99

Zeiss Precision Ring Set 30mm 36mm 34mm alumininum mil-spec Picatinny tactical

NOTE: These rings are designed for correct, Mil-Spec Picatinny rails (aka MIL-STD-1913 rail or STANAG 2324 rail). Some lower-cost “Weaver-type” rails may not be ideal. ZEISS states: “For optimum performance and flawless mounting, we strongly advise that you mount [these rings] on a high-quality 1913 Mil-Std specification rail[.]”

Permalink New Product, Optics, Tactical No Comments »
May 27th, 2019

TECH Tip: How to Verify Your Scope’s True Click Values

Click Optics MOA turrent verification test

Let’s say you’ve purchased a new scope, and the spec-sheet indicates it is calibrated for quarter-MOA clicks. One MOA is 1.047″ inches at 100 yards, so you figure that’s how far your point of impact (POI) will move with four clicks. Well, unfortunately, you may be wrong. You can’t necessarily rely on what the manufacturer says. Production tolerances being what they are, you should test your scope to determine how much movement it actually delivers with each click of the turret. It may move a quarter-MOA, or maybe a quarter-inch, or maybe something else entirely. (Likewise scopes advertised as having 1/8-MOA clicks may deliver more or less than 1 actual MOA for 8 clicks.)

Nightforce scope turretReader Lindy explains how to check your clicks: “First, make sure the rifle is not loaded. Take a 40″ or longer carpenter’s ruler, and put a very visible mark (such as the center of an orange Shoot’N’C dot), at 37.7 inches. (On mine, I placed two dots side by side every 5 inches, so I could quickly count the dots.) Mount the ruler vertically (zero at top) exactly 100 yards away, carefully measured.

Place the rifle in a good hold on sandbags or other rest. With your hundred-yard zero on the rifle, using max magnification, carefully aim your center crosshairs at the top of the ruler (zero end-point). Have an assistant crank on 36 (indicated) MOA (i.e. 144 clicks), being careful not to move the rifle. (You really do need a helper, it’s very difficult to keep the rifle motionless if you crank the knobs yourself.) With each click, the reticle will move a bit down toward the bottom of the ruler. Note where the center crosshairs rest when your helper is done clicking. If the scope is accurately calibrated, it should be right at that 37.7 inch mark. If not, record where 144 clicks puts you on the ruler, to figure out what your actual click value is. (Repeat this several times as necessary, to get a “rock-solid”, repeatable value.) You now know, for that scope, how much each click actually moves the reticle at 100 yards–and, of course, that will scale proportionally at longer distances. This optical method is better than shooting, because you don’t have the uncertainly associated with determining a group center.

Using this method, I discovered that my Leupold 6.5-20X50 M1 has click values that are calibrated in what I called ‘Shooter’s MOA’, rather than true MOA. That is to say, 4 clicks moved POI 1.000″, rather than 1.047″ (true MOA). That’s about a 5% error.

I’ve tested bunches of scopes, and lots have click values which are significantly off what the manufacturer has advertised. You can’t rely on printed specifications–each scope is different. Until you check your particular scope, you can’t be sure how much it really moves with each click.

I’ve found the true click value varies not only by manufacturer, but by model and individual unit. My Leupold 3.5-10 M3LR was dead on. So was my U.S.O. SN-3 with an H25 reticle, but other SN-3s have been off, and so is my Leupold 6.5-20X50M1. So, check ‘em all, is my policy.”

click values scope Mrad moa scope test

From the Expert: “…Very good and important article, especially from a ballistics point of view. If a ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop at 1000 yards for example, and you dial 30 MOA on your scope and hit high or low, it’s easy to begin questioning BCs, MVs, and everything else under the sun. In my experience, more than 50% of the time error in trajectory prediction at long range is actually scope adjustment error. For serious long range shooting, the test described in this article is a MUST!” — Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 10 Comments »
April 30th, 2019

Scope Comparisons — Video Resources on the Web

riflescope optic scope test video comparison review product movie

Are you shopping for a long range optic? Unfortunately, it is pretty much impossible to “test drive” a half-dozen or more optics. Thankfully, there are some video reviews on the internet that are, for the most part, helpful. Pew Pew Tactical (PPT) recently did a lengthy comparison of nine long range scopes. For each model PPT examined clarity, eye relief, reticle design, parallax, and windage/elevation travel. For each optic PPT also provides short videos showing the operation of the controls. FULL PPT REVIEW HERE.

NINE Long Range Scopes Compared
1. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50mm
2. Vortex Viper PST II 5-25×50mm
3. Leupold VX3i LRP 8.5-25×50mm
4. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56mm
5. Burris XTR II 5-25×50mm
6. Steiner PX4i 4-16×56mm
7. EOTech Vudu 5-25×56mm
8. Primary Arms 6-30×56mm
9. Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm

The Firearm Blog — $2500 Leupold vs. $400 Athlon

This is actually a pretty good video. The host, Joel, tests and compares the Leupold Mark 5 vs. the Athlon Argos. Joel considers a variety of performance categories including clarity, tracking, elevation travel, ergonomics, and reticle options. This video asked the question “Can a $400 scope hang with a much higher priced optic?” You might be surprised how well the Athlon actually did.

Kalibre 22 — High-End Tactical Optics Comparison

In this video, Todd Hodnett explains the pros and cons of different brands and types of scopes. Scopes tested include Horus, Leupold, Nightforce, Schmidt & Bender, and Vortex. He uses the scopes in the field, and actually does a pretty good job describing the pros and cons of each model.

Top 10 Reviews — Manufacturer Marketing Videos Compilation

This video covers ten different scope models, from budget to high-end. For the most part the scopes appear in cost order, with the more affordable optics first. This YouTube video is mostly pieced together from manufacturer marketing footage, but it does cover a wide variety of scope options.

Please note, the above video does has some actual review segments, but nearly all the content is provided by the scope makers. So the Top 10 rankings are somewhat arbitrary. Nonetheless it is handy to have ten scopes covered in a single video. In order of appearance, here are the ten scopes featured, with video time marks if you want to “fast forward” to particular models.

TEN Scopes In Order of Display
10. Burris Veracity Riflescope: 00:23
9. Vortex Viper PST Gen II Riflescope: 01:24
8. Nikon BLACK FX1000 Riflescope: 03:18
7. ATN X-Sight 4K PRO Riflescope: 04:29
6. Bushnell Engage™ Riflescope 06:00
5. Leica Magnus i Riflescope: 07:50
4. Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 Riflescope: 08:29
3. Vanguard Endeavor RS IV Riflescope: 10:31
2. Leupold Mark 8 Riflescope: 12:33
1. Swarovski Z8i Riflescope: 14:21

Great Deals on Vortex Now
Looking for a great deal on a new scope? Leading vendor EuroOptic has a wide variety of Vortex Scopes at deeply discounted close-out prices now:

riflescope optic scope test video comparison review product movie

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Optics, Tactical 1 Comment »
March 10th, 2019

Tall Target Test — How to Verify Your Scope’s True Click Values

Scope Click Verify Elevation Tall Target Bryan Litz NSSF test turret MOA MIL

Have you recently purchased a new scope? Then you should verify the actual click value of the turrets before you use the optic in competition (or on a long-range hunt). While a scope may have listed click values of 1/4-MOA, 1/8-MOA or 0.1 Mils, the reality may be slightly different. Many scopes have actual click values that are slightly higher or lower than the value claimed by the manufacturer. The small variance adds up when you click through a wide range of elevation.

In this video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics shows how to verify your true click values using a “Tall Target Test”. The idea is to start at the bottom end of a vertical line, and then click up 30 MOA or so. Multiply the number of clicked MOA by 1.047 to get the claimed value in inches. For example, at 100 yards, 30 MOA is exactly 31.41 inches. Then measure the difference in your actual point of impact. If, for example, your point of impact is 33 inches, then you are getting more than the stated MOA with each click (assuming the target is positioned at exactly 100 yards).

Scope Click Verify Elevation Tall Target Bryan Litz NSSF test turret MOA MIL

How to Perform the Tall Target Test
The objective of the tall target test is to insure that your scope is giving you the proper amount of adjustment. For example, when you dial 30 MOA, are you really getting 30 MOA, or are you getting 28.5 or 31.2 MOA? The only way to be sure is to verify, don’t take it for granted! Knowing your scopes true click values insures that you can accurately apply a ballistic solution. In fact, many perceived inaccuracies of long range ballistics solutions are actually caused by the scopes not applying the intended adjustment. In order to verify your scope’s true movement and calculate a correction factor, follow the steps in the Tall Target Worksheet. This worksheet takes you thru the ‘calibration process’ including measuring true range to target and actual POI shift for a given scope adjustment. The goal is to calculate a correction factor that you can apply to a ballistic solution which accounts for the tracking error of your scope. For example, if you find your scope moves 7% more than it should, then you have to apply 7% less than the ballistic solution calls for to hit your target.


CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Tall Target Worksheet (PDF) »

NOTE: When doing this test, don’t go for the maximum possible elevation. You don’t want to max out the elevation knob, running it to the top stop. Bryan Litz explains: “It’s good to avoid the extremes of adjustment when doing the tall target test.I don’t know how much different the clicks would be at the edges, but they’re not the same.”

Should You Perform a WIDE Target Test Too?
What about testing your windage clicks the same way, with a WIDE target test? Bryan Litz says that’s not really necessary: “The wide target test isn’t as important for a couple reasons. First, you typically don’t dial nearly as much wind as you do elevation. Second, your dialed windage is a guess to begin with; a moving average that’s different for every shot. Whereas you stand to gain a lot by nailing vertical down to the click, the same is not true of windage. If there’s a 5% error in your scope’s windage tracking, you’d never know it.”

Scope Tall Test level calibrationVerifying Scope Level With Tall Target Test
Bryan says: “While setting up your Tall Target Test, you should also verify that your scope level is mounted and aligned properly. This is critical to insuring that you’ll have a long range horizontal zero when you dial on a bunch of elevation for long range shots. This is a requirement for all kinds of long range shooting. Without a properly-mounted scope level (verified on a Tall Target), you really can’t guarantee your horizontal zero at long range.”

NOTE: For ‘known-distance’ competition, this is the only mandatory part of the tall target test, since slight variations in elevation click-values are not that important once you’re centered “on target” at a known distance.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 11th, 2018

Leupold Scope Detects Rifle Canting with Intelligent Reticle

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensor
New Technology — Electronic Reticle Level. Activate level by pushing illumination button for 15 seconds. The level warning deactivates automatically when you rotate the scope over 30 degrees.

The latest Leupold VX-6HD scopes have a feature we’d like to see incorporated in other optics: a tilt-correction warning system. When the rifle is canted more than 1 degree off level, the VX-6HD’s new electronic reticle level flashes, telling the shooter to square up his rifle. This kind of innovation helps both hunters and target shooters. Even a small bit of cant variance from shot to shot will change the point of impact at long range (Canting Demo HERE). Proprietary MST (Motion Sensor Technology) automatically deactivates illumination after 5 minutes of inactivity, yet reactivates instantly as soon as any movement is detected.

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensorThe electronic reticle level and other advanced VX-6HD features were praised by Petersen’s Hunting magazine, which awarded the VX-6HD an Editor’s Choice award. Leupold put a lot of advanced optics technology in this scope. Leupold says: “We gave it new high-definition lenses for sharpened clarity, Twilight Max Light Management System, an in-scope cant indicator, a throw lever for fast magnification changes, and a more robust erector system.”

Leupold offers six VX-6HD series riflescopes: 4-24x52mm, 3-18x50mm, 3-18x44mm, 2-12x42mm, 1-6x24mm, and 1-6x24mm multigun. All Leupold VX-6HD riflescopes are CDS-capable and include one free Custom Ballistic Dial with purchase.

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensor

The VX-6HD series of scopes also feature a very clever, button-controlled return-to-zero system for both windage and elevation. A visible button snaps out at the zero point, locking the turret. Press the ZeroLock button to release and dial your needed elevation or windage. Simply spin the turret back and the lock snaps into place automatically at the designated zero point. Simple, easy, effective.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
June 14th, 2018

Assess Scope Optical Performance Using ScopeCalc.com

ScopeCalc.com

Zeiss DiavariHunters and tactical shooters need scopes with good low-light performance. For a scope to perform well at dawn and dusk, it needs good light transmission, plus a reasonably large exit pupil to make maximum use of your eye’s light processing ability. And generally speaking, the bigger the front objective, the better the low-light performance, other factors being equal. Given these basic principles, how can we quickly evaluate the low-light performance of different makes and models of scopes?

Here’s the answer: ScopeCalc.com offers a FREE web-based Low-Light Performance Calculator that lets you compare the light gain, perceived brightness, and overall low-light performance of various optics. Using this scope comparison tool is pretty easy — just input the magnification, objective diameter, exit pupil size, and light transmission ratio. If the scope’s manufacturer doesn’t publish an exit pupil size, then divide the objective diameter in millimeters by the magnification level. For example a 20-power scope with a 40mm objective should have a 2mm exit pupil. For most premium scopes, light transmission rates are typically 90% or better (averaged across the visible spectrum). However, not many manufacturers publish this data, so you may have to dig a little.

ScopeCalc.com

ScopeCalc.com’s calculator can be used for a single scope, a pair of scopes, or multiple scopes. Once you’ve typed in the needed data, click “Calculate” and the program will produce comparison charts showing Light Gain, Perceived Brightness, and Low-Light Performance. Though the program is easy to use, and quickly generates comparative data, assessing scope brightness, as perceived by the human eye, is not a simple matter. You’ll want to read the annotations that appear below the generated charts. For example, ScopeCalc’s creators explain: “Perceived brightness is calculated as the cube root of the light gain, which is the basis for modern computer color space brightness scaling.”

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 13th, 2018

Trijicon 5-50x56mm Long Range Scope — New and Powerful

Trijicon 5-50x56 scope accupower March Nightforce 10 times zoom long range optic new

At the 2018 NRA Show in Dallas last week, Trijicon unveiled a notable new scope that should interest Benchrest shooters and Long-Range competitors. The all-new Trijicon AccuPower 5-50x56mm Long Range Scope offers an impressive ten times zoom range, plus an illuminated reticle. This RS50 Series Second Focal Plane scope with 34mm main tube is offered in both MOA and MIL systems. The MOA version features 1/8 MOA clicks plus a reticle with 1 MOA subtensions at 40X power. The MIL version has 1/20 Milrad click values and a ranging style reticle with wind hold dot system. Both MOA and MIL versions have a full 100 MOA of elevation travel.

New Trijicon 5-50x56mm Scope Revealed at NRA Show in Dallas:

Credit Erik Cortina for providing this video.

With a $2700 MSRP, we expect Trijicon’s new 5-50X scope to have a “street price” of about $2400. That lines up with the NightForce 15-55x52mm Competition, now priced at $2352.00 on Amazon.

CLICK HERE for Trijicon Brochure with Full 5-50x56mm Specs »

The new Trijicon 5-50x56mm (RS50 Series) scope boasts some nice features. Employing extra-low dispersion glass, the scope offers high light transmission with minimal chromatic aberration. The magnification control lever can be moved to two different positions to suit the operator. Both MOA and MIL reticle styles are illuminated with 5 red and 5 green user-selectable brightness settings.

We hope to get our hands on one of these new Trijicon 5-50X scopes soon for testing. We’ll let you know how it stacks up against other high-magnification zoom scopes, such as the Vortex 10-60x52mm Golden Eagle, the Nightforce 15-55x52mm, and the March 5-50x56mm.

Trijicon 5-50x56 scope accupower March Nightforce 10 times zoom long range optic new

Trijicon 5-50x56 scope accupower March Nightforce 10 times zoom long range optic new

Please note, along with this 5-50x56mm scope, Trijicon has also introduced a 4.5-30x56mm RS30 Series scope. This 4.5-30X optic will be offered in both First Focal Plane and Second Focal Plane versions. SEE AccuPower Scope Brochure.

Product Tip from EdLongrange. Video and Trijicon Brochure from Erik Cortina.
Permalink New Product, News, Optics 6 Comments »
May 7th, 2018

New BDX Electro-Optical System Shows Hold-overs in Scope

SIG Sauer BDX ballistics Data exchange Bryan Litz Doc Beech Laser Rangefinder hold-over

SIG Sauer and Applied Ballistics showed off impressive new electro-optical technology at the NRA Show in Dallas. Bryan Litz says “SIG Sauer’s Ballistics Data Exchange (BDX) is game changer. Imagine lazing a long range target, and having your exact fire solution (hold-over) automatically projected into your scope based on your ballistic profile.”

BDX takes target range info from a SIG Sauer Laser Rangefinder, calculates a ballistic solution using Applied Ballistics software, then displays the hold-over info directly in the optic (via a wireless BlueTooth connection). Just dial and shoot. Put the calculated BDX dot on the target and shoot. This ground-breaking BDX technology enables key ballistic hold-over information to be exchanged wirelessly among BDX-enabled Electro-Optics products.

You can buy this as a package with scope and LRF, starting at just $700.00 for scope and rangefinder. To our surprise, these scopes have a normal form factor. They look completely “normal”, with no clunky receiver boxes or extra turrets. BDX riflescopes aren’t bulky or heavy even though they include built-in electronics, level, and inclination detection.

“Rangefinding riflescopes of the past have had two major shortcomings: they are either big, boxy and heavy, or extremely expensive. The … BDX system packs advanced ballistics technology into a simple platform that looks just like the rangefinder and riflescope [hunters use] today. It is extremely simple to use. Range a target, put the digital ballistic holdover dot on target, pull the trigger — just connect the dot.” — Andy York, President, SIG Sauer Electro-Optics.

SIG Sauer’s Ballistics Data Exchange (BDX) is an integrated system of devices that talk seamlessly to each other, sharing data. Applied Ballistics says this system be expanded in the months ahead. “This system will be comprised of scopes, rangefinders, binoculars, and more. BDX will even be able to ‘talk’ to Kestrels and Garmins as well as SIG Sauer smart-scopes. This is only the start, over the next year you will see increasing levels of tech becoming available.”

How BDX (Ballistics Data Exchange) Functions — Software and Hardware
How does BDX work? First download the SIG BDX App for Android or iOS. Then pair the KILO BDX rangefinder and SIERRA3BDX riflescope, and set up a basic ballistic profile. Once you are in the field, range your target as you normally would, and the KILO BDX rangefinder will utilize onboard Applied Ballistics Ultralight™ to instantly send your dope to the scope via Bluetooth. Using your basic ballistic profile, the ballistic solution is calculated for your target and will instantly illuminate on the BDX-R1 Digital Ballistic Reticle with windage and elevation holds in the SIERRA3BDX riflescope. A blue LED on the riflescope power selector indicates that the BDX system is paired, and when the reticle has received new ballistic holdover and windage data from the rangefinder.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
March 25th, 2018

How to Avoid ‘Scope Bite’ (Scope Placement Tips)

Kirsten Weiss Video YouTube Scope Eye Relief

This helpful video from our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss explains how to avoid “scope bite”. This can occur when the scope, on recoil, moves back to contact your forehead, brow, or eye socket area. That’s not fun. While common sense tells us to avoid “scope bite” — sooner or later this happens to most shooters. One viewer noted: “I have come close. I had a Win Model 70 in .375 H & H Mag and I was shooting over a large rock in a strange position. The scope hit my eye glasses hard enough to bend the wire frames and cause a little pain on the bridge of the nose from the nose piece. [That] made a believer out of me.”

Kirsten offers a good basic principle — she suggests that you mount your rifle-scope so that the ocular (eyepiece) of the scope is positioned at least three inches or more from your eyeball when you hold the rifle in your normal shooting position. From a technical standpoint, optical eye relief is a property of the scope, so you want to purchase an optic that offers sufficient optical eye relief (meaning that it allows you to see the full circle of light with your head at least three inches from the eyepiece). Then you need to position the optic optimally for your head/eye position when shooting the rifle — with at least three inches of eyeball-to-scope separation (i.e. physical eye relief).

NOTE: You should mount the scope to provide adequate eyeball-to-scope separation for the actual position(s) you will be shooting most of the time. For an F-TR rig, this will be prone. For a hunting rifle, your most common position could be sitting or standing. Your head position will vary based on the position. You can’t assume the scope placement is correct just because it seems OK when you are testing or zeroing the gun from the bench. When shooting from a prone or kneeling position you may find your eye considerably closer to the eyepiece.

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
March 7th, 2018

New Kahles K525i Scope for PRS and Tactical Comps

Kahles FFP Tactical 5-25 powder scope Vortex Nightforce $4000

PRS guys — check this out. Kahles has just announced a 5-25X First Focal Plane optic that should be a class leader. If you are thinking of upgrading your tactical scope this year, the new Kahles K525i should definitely be on any “short list” of ultra-premium optics. We predict this will be one of the top-performing tactical scopes on the market. Unfortunately, it will also be one of the most expensive. Kahles lists the K525i at €3,300.00 Euros. That’s $4,093.58 at current exchange rates! You can buy a pair of pretty nice tactical rifles for that. Hopefully Kahles will consider dropping the price a bit for the American market. Don’t know how many PRS guys are willing to fork over four grand for a scope.

Thankfully, it looks like the true “street price” in the USA will be a lot lower. EuroOptic.com is now taking pre-orders for the K525i at $3,299.00 USD — that’s a lot different than the €3,300.00 Euro MSRP. Kahles says the scopes should start arriving in summer 2018.

Kahles FFP Tactical 5-25 powder scope Vortex Nightforce $4000

Kahles FFP Tactical 5-25 powder scope Vortex Nightforce $4000This scope is available in both Mil and MOA versions. Click values are 0.1 MIL, or 1/4 MOA. A variety of illuminated, First Focal Plane (FFP) reticles are offered: SKMR3, SKMR, MSR2, Mil4+, MOAK. Notably the parallax control is coaxial with the elevation turret (meaning it is centrally mounted). You adjust parallax by rotating a large-diameter control that runs around the base of the elevation turret. We know that south-paws really like that feature.

Kahles also offers two windage configurations. You can have the windage mounted on either side — on the left side for right-handed shooters or on the right side for left-hand shooters. The windage knob also features a patented “Twist Guard” rotating end cover, which is easy to control while preventing accidental windage rotation.

Manufacturer’s Product Description
K527i features: Maximum optical performance-field of vision, contrast and picture quality, Exceptional repeat accuracy, precise and clearly defined turret mechanism 0.1 MIL or 1⁄4 MOA, side adjustment left or right, Parallax wheel integrated in the elevation turret, patented TWIST GUARD windage, precise illuminated reticles in the first focal plane and large adjustment range.

“The big brother of ultrashort K318i is the new flagship of KAHLES in the field of tactical riflescopes. It combines … maximum optical performance and highest precision with unique handling and ergonomics. The rugged K525i, with its practical magnification range, has been developed for tactical use and long distances.”

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
.: Maximum optical performance — field of vision, contrast, and picture quality
.: Exceptional repeat accuracy
.: Precise and clearly-defined click mechanism 0.1 MIL, MRAD or ¼ MOA
.: Side adjustment left or right
.: Parallax wheel integrated in the elevation turret (patented) for 20m – infinity
.: Innovative, patented TWIST GUARD windage
.: Precise illuminated reticles in first focal plane: SKMR3, SKMR, MSR2, Mil4+, MOAK
.: Large adjustment range with 2.9m (E) and 1.3m (W) at 100m
.: Zero Stop

Permalink New Product, Optics, Tactical 7 Comments »
February 18th, 2018

The Varminters’ Great Debate — Hold-Over vs. Crank Elevation

varmint scope IOR elevation hold-over prairie dog accuracy

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting AccurateShooter Varrmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View — Click Your Elevation Knob
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.”
– Gunamonth

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Optics 4 Comments »