Ever been frustrated by “black clouds” when you’re trying to look through a scope? Here are a few thoughts on preventing that…
Source: Barbara Baird for NRA Family
First, remember that your eye is the rear sight. You have to place it in the same place with regard to the rest of the gun every time to avoid a parallax error when using the scope. So…what is parallax?
Parallax is an apparent displacement against a background, or a difference in orientation of an object, when the object is viewed along two different lines of sight. Parallax is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines. In a riflescope, parallax is an optical illusion. Parallax occurs when the “primary image” of the object is formed either in front of, or behind the reticle (crosshair) of the scope. When you move your eye from its proper alignment with the scope, the resulting parallax moves the image in relation to the crosshair, causing your aim to be off.
Think of it this way. You’re sitting in the passenger seat of the car and you look over at the speedometer. It will read differently to you than to the driver, and that is because you’re not lined up with the steering wheel and gauge in front of it, so you’re not getting the true reading.
Every scope has a quality called “eye relief.” That’s the distance behind the eyepiece lens that your eye should be placed to be able to see through the scope effectively. You have to place the cheek of your shooting eye against the stock; move your head forward and backward along the stock-always with your cheek against the stock-until you get the best view through the scope.
The best view is when sight picture in the eyepiece lens fills the entire lens. As you move your head forward from the best viewpoint, the picture collapses, and when you move your head back from the best viewpoint, the picture starts to get smaller and then goes black. If it’s possible, it’s very important to position the scope itself so you attain correct eye relief using the head position you are most comfortable with. Do that by moving the scope mount or the scope within the mount forward or back. Whether this can be done depends on the mounting system.
If it’s not possible to choose a new scope mounting position, find the right spot to allow full view through the scope, as described. Either way, then practice getting the same “cheek weld” (the position and pressure of your cheek against the stock) every time you shoulder your rifle and you will be one step further in taking a good, clean shot.
Addition from Midsouth Editor Glen Zediker: One of the reasons I usually test from position (prone) rather than from a benchtop when I’m wringing out a competition-use load has a lot to do with scope positioning. Two things: if there’s already a scope mounted, I don’t want to change its position, and, if there’s not, the difference in my shooting position prone and from a chair could well influence my on-target impact results. Almost always, the scope needs to be scooted farther back firing from sandbags and farther forward for prone or offhand. I offer this as a caution to those who might take a new rifle with a new scope to the range and get it sighted in from a rest, and then get out into the field with it and find out they’re having to pull their head back to see through the scope properly.
If you’re in need of an out-of-the-box long-range tack driver, and don’t want to pay thousands, this Savage proved a great choice in this test. Read more…
by Patrick E. Kelley
The Savage Arms BA10 “Stealth” is anything but stealthy! This rifle shows up “in your face” ready to put bullets in little groups up close, or where the real test is — way out there!
CUTTING TO THE CHASE…
Lets start at about “half way” to way out there. This AICS (Accuracy International Chassis System) compatible box magazine-fed turn-bolt is accurate! While many may claim half-minute accuracy, this stick actually is that precise, and it can do it right out of the box. Take a look…
Now I would love to take credit for those groups, but knowing my longer-range skill set was less than what I expected the rifle could shoot, I enlisted the help of my shooting buddy Bill. As an F-Class competitor, he knows his way around long range shooting. It took a few shots to get him settled in behind this rather lightweight (9.2 pounds) long range bullet placement tool, but settle in he did. Yes, I included ALL 5 groups! We got to take the good with the bad, but I would ask you to really look at those groups…this rifle wants to shoot 1/2 MOA or better! Thanks Bill!
With the Savage carrying a MSRP of $1207 I thought it would be a good idea to marry this rifle up with a comparable scope. I chose one that, like the Stealth itself, has value well beyond its modest price: the Burris XTRII 5×25. I tell people, “Don’t buy cheap scopes!” Buy good glass and then put them in the best mounts. You will break a scope someday, but a good mount will last though several scopes! The scope base is part of the Savage BA10 package and is made by the good guys at EGW, and the scope rings I supplied are 34mm units from Xtreme Hardcore Gear. “On right stays tight” — use a proper inch-pound torque wrench!
HITS This bolt gun’s “chassis system” is made by MTD and is a solid, well-made unit. I popped the barreled action out of the stock before the first rounds went downrange and looked it over. It is very nice and beautifully machined. I mentioned using an inch-pound torque wrench for scope mounting, well it is a good practice to use one when installing the barreled action back into the chassis. I did 60 inch-pounds.
I could not just watch my friend Bill shoot so after he completed his session with the Hornady factory ammunition at 450 yards I tried my hand at 300 yards with some Federal American Eagle 140 grain OTM (Open Top Match). Even with me behind the incredibly nice 22-ounce Savage AccuTrigger, sub-minute of angle groups were the norm. Norm…that is not normal! Sub-MOA groups from a factory-fresh rifle without any tuning or tweaking or even barrel break-in with off-the-shelf factory ammo! I think I am going to like this long-range game! Thanks Savage!
We covered most of this, but let me point out a nit-pick or two. You knew I would have at least one… The EGW scope rail appears to be a “flat” rail, not a 20 or 30 MOA rail that is common in long-range circles. If you have enough elevation adjustment within your optic you might be okay, but give me a 20 MOA base any day.
Then there’s the buttstock… I don’t like it. It is okay for an AR but this one lacks two elements that I want (need): first, the cheek rest sits too far back to get proper eye relief, and second, for use with a rear bag the bottom of the buttstock ought to be flat. Small nits to pick, and both are easily remedied through the aftermarket.
The BA10 Stealth has proven itself to be accurate and reliable with a trigger that has me wishing every rifle I own were so equipped! It does this “right out of the box” and it does it within the wallet of a “working man.” Ultimately, Savage Arms has assembled an excellent long-range tool that in capable hands shouldn’t have any problem running right along side guns with price tags several times the Stealth price. Stealthy?…not a chance. This one screams “I am a winner!”
Click here for MORE information on the Savage Stealth series
About the author: Patrick E. Kelley is a competition shooter, instructor, gunwriter, photographer, and videographer. After four years as a featured competitor on 3-Gun Nation he was hired as the Expert Analyst and commentator for the show. He started to compete actively in 3-Gun in 1999, placing Top Tyro in his first championship, the Soldier of Fortune 3 gun match. Patrick has earned numerous first-place finishes at major matches in 12 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. He has mastered several shooting disciplines, from NRA Bullseye and Metallic Silhouette to the world of Practical Shooting. Patrick is also a member of the NRA 2600 Club and was ranked in the USPSA’s top twenty early in his shooting career. Patrick’s articles on shooting and firearms, as well as his photography, can be found within the pages of Shooting Illustrated, Outdoor Life, and 3 Gun Nation Magazine. His YouTube channel includes instructional and exhibition shooting videos, including the series “Patrick’s Tac Tricks” produced in concert with the NRA. Check one out HERE
Looking for a durable, practical, effective AR15 optic useable over any realistic range? And one that’s not going to break the bank? Read about this Burris…
by Major Pandemic
According to the US Army Laboratory Command (Small Arms Technology Assessment: Individual Infantryman’s Weapon, Volume I, March 1990, to be specific), 98% of all targets across all terrain are engaged at less than 600 meters, 90% at less than 400 meters, and in urban terrain 90% at less than 50 meters. With this in mind we need the ability to be able to reach out to targets beyond the 15-25 yard lines but it is unlikely we will ever shoot out beyond 600 meters in a defensive or even hunting situation.
Adding even a marginally magnified optic enables more precision, faster target acquisition, and will deliver all you need to place hits quickly even way out there when yards adds up. More than a few serviceman and Designated Marksman know that the 4X Trijicon ACOG very positively transformed hit ratios within all ranges of combat engagement out to the 600 yard line; however, it also comes with a steep $1400 price tag. Burris to the rescue with a great $350 option.
BURRIS AR-332 3X PRISMATIC OPTIC
Burris is well known for building rugged, bulletproof optics. The AR-332 is a mil-spec brute of an optic which has stayed compact with a prismatic design. The design is a really nice crossover optic for CQB and scout rifle distances in a durable fixed power optic. Essentially the AR-332 is an ACOG but for 60% less money plus it includes a dual red/green illuminated BDC reticle. According to Burris, with the explosion of AR15 sales, they have been selling truckloads of these along with their 5X model.
FIT, FEEL, FINISH & FEATURES
Like all Burris optics, the AR-332 is excellent quality from the fog- and weather-proof construction through the very clear optics. At first I was wondering what I had committed to with the AR-332, however after a couple range visits I am sold on the design. The “donut” reticle definitely grows on you and in my experience is way faster up close and allows more precision than a more conventional duplex reticle at varied distances.
There are a significant amount of refinements and extras on this scope. The Burris AR-332 comes ready to mount right out of the box with a picatinny base included ($50-$100 extra on other scopes here), scope caps that flip open all the way out of field of view, and wire retained windage/elevation caps. If you have an A2 AR15 with a carry handle, the AR-332 will work right out of the box after your unscrew the included picatinny base. On top of those features, the AR-332 is a very clear optic with an etched reticle visible as a black reticle after the illumination is turned off. The runtime is expected into the months range, but even when the standard CR2032 battery is dead you still have 100% of the reticle to work with.
The illuminated reticle works and is brilliantly bright that can be seen in direct sunlight. The donut reticle is very fast on target even at distances under 25 yards or even at 2 yards. Dedicated points from 100-500 yards can make this a bit more precise than optics with just a single duplex style reticle or wider dispersed hash marks when the yards add up. Burris also includes picatinny accessory rails around the optic to bolt on things like lights or lasers. The circle hold marks for 200+ yards work great and allows small distant targets to be centered quickly.
The eye relief needs to be more forgiving as it does not have a wide workable range compared to others. Plan on mounting the AR-332 at or very near the rearmost position. My stock position is always one detent in; however, longer-armed shooters may have to dispense with a rear back-up iron sight to mount the AR-332 in a proper position.
Burris needs to add a super-low illumination setting as even at the lowest option is still just a bit too glary when the lights go out. The reticle is still perfect for CQB ranges at night using the CQB Optic but a little annoying for shooting night dwelling critters in the pitch black.
With a variety of Hornady and Winchester 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington rounds, the Burris delivered all shots on 12-inch steel plates all the way out to 500 yards;, however point of impact did vary with each round. As with all BDC reticles, the aiming points will get you within a few inches; however, each round’s ballistics is different.
Designed for a 100-yard zero with BDC index points for 100-500 yards. This is a fixed power optic that is actually exceptionally good at CQB work thanks to that glowing donut. The Burris AR-332 is a great all-purpose optic for an AR15 owner to extend the range to allow confident placement out to 500 yards. That big glowing dot provides a great aiming point even at room-clearing distances. The more I use this optic the more I like it as a combat defensive scout optic covering the US Small Arms study ranges.
AN OBSERVATION: We all get older and usually with that comes deteriorating eyesight. I have been incredibly lucky that I still have fairly clear 20/20 vision, however I am starting to do that trombone move to focus in on the small print up close. The point is that magnification and sighting aids help aging eyes. A few of my buddies clearly need magnification and this is where even just a little 3X magnification can make all the difference between making a shot and being frustrated. If you are older, I recommend taking a serious look at what these low-power optics can provide you on your AR platform.
CQB OPTIC TIP: For optics with illuminated reticles, a tip to use them in a CQB environment is to close the front scope cover and shoot with both eyes open like you would with a red dot. With the scope objective cover in place, the eyes and brain will conspire to make the illuminated reticle appear as an 1X lit reticle regardless of the magnification, even if it is a 32X scope.
Major Pandemic is an editor-at-large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival-related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com
Maybe yes and maybe no, but if you do need a rail gun you will need it badly!
By Bob Campbell
Among the decisions to be made when purchasing a personal defense handgun is caliber, action type, and size and weight. Also now among the options to be considered is the light rail. A “rail gun” is common parlance for a handgun with an accessory rail. The rail is there to mount a flashlight bracket or a laser sight. Some handguns leave the buyer no choice. All modern Glock pistols, save for the very smallest such as the Glock 42 and Glock 43, have light rails. The Colt 1911 may be had with or without a rail, and the popular CZ75 is another available in both versions.
An important part of owning a handgun is pride of ownership. You have to be happy with the handgun.
Some feel that a light rail isn’t fitting on a traditional design such as the 1911. Others feel that the added weight and the possibility of snagging on the holster are real problems. There are also difficulties in finding a proper holster for a rail gun. As an example, the Springfield Armory Range Officer Operator and the Rock Island 2011 Tactical have different light rail designs and demand different holsters.
But then there are those who like the light rail and some have been in a position where white light has been beneficial to their survival or in situations where they wish they’d had the light. Many handguns feature the technical over the tactical, but the light rail is a tactical improvement. The catch is the pistol is a reactive weapon, when the pistol is drawn in response to an attack. Few, if any, concealed carry permit holsters will carry a handgun with the light attached. They may carry a light in their pocket, but very few will practice quickly attaching the light to the handgun. If you can anticipate a fight, then you had best avoid it or at least get to cover. It is better to have the rail and not need it than to need it and not have it of course. You just have to ask yourself, “Are you are willing to embrace the rail and obtain a suitable light or laser and learn to use it properly?”
The 1911 pistol balances well. Nothing feels better in my hand. Some 1911 rail guns are neutral. The new Rock Island 2011 with its monolithic rail is very well balanced. It isn’t quite muzzle-heavy but it certainly dampens recoil due to extra weight out front. The Colt Rail Gun may be an improvement in balance over the Colt Government Model. The CZ 75 is among my favorite handguns. But after a hard test and firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition I find the CZ P-01 a great compact 9mm that is very well balanced. I can fire the pistol more accurately than the full-size CZ. The P-01 features a light rail on its long dust cover. I like this a lot. Keep an open mind when considering a rail gun.
The best place for a rail gun is home defense. No handgun is too large to keep at home ready! As an example, one of my personal favorite handguns for “just shooting” is the Glock Model 35 .40 caliber. This long-barrel pistol balances well and it is plenty accurate. The accuracy load, the Hornady 155 grain XTP, breaks over 1180 fps from the Glock 35. The pistol has factory night sights, and with an Insights M3 combat light I don’t think there is anything better as a home defense handgun. This brings us to another consideration.
When choosing a combat light make the choice one that is appropriate for the application. A neat compact light such as the Viridian types seem ideal for the Glock 23 class of handguns. No need in having a light protruding past the muzzle. With the Glock 35 this isn’t a consideration but with my compact CZ pistols the smaller lights are best. And it isn’t always lights: it might be the Lasermax Spartan laser for some applications. This is a handy, affordable, and well-designed laser that gives the user a sharp point of reference when the sights cannot be seen. If you do not have a rail gun you would have to purchase expensive laser grips, which are are not available for every handgun.
The rail gun should also be proofed with its attachment in place. On occasion handguns have had their cycle reliability affected with the light attached. I think that this is less likely with steel frame guns. Handguns with frames that give or flex a little in recoil are most susceptible to this problem. This is simply another consideration when you deploy the rail gun, and the answer is simple: test it!
For myself I continue to deploy standard handguns for the most part, usually a Commander .45 or a CZ 75 variant. But I am not blind to genuine progress. I keep a rail gun with light attached and ready to go in the home. Just in case.
Bob Campbellis an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).
Check out the accessories Midsouth has to offer CLICK HERE
This year’s NSSF SHOT Show was gargantuan. This is nothing new. We’re talking about some major real estate being taken up at the Sands Expo Center. Thousands of square feet filled to the brim with booths, climbing 4 levels, not to mention the side rooms full of more booths. Each booth consists of an array of delights spanning everything from our favorite past-time (reloading,) to the uber hip suppressor, to AR builds, coolers, jerky, pistols, rifles, safes, ammo, anything “tacticool”, optics, knives, and more goodies than a guy can see in 3 days.
Again, this is nothing new…
There were a ton of people in attendance (second most attended SHOT Show ever) with people from over 100 countries mingling in an environment of mutual respect, passion for the industry, and common interest. Everyone in attendance may or may not have walked as far as we did. According to our fancy watches what tell us to move (or else!) we walked an average of 11 miles per day just at the show. Not new.
Some of the booths at this thing are multiple stories high. Not the Show itself, but the actual booths within the show. Not anything new, yet still mind boggling!
The overall message at the show was one of guarded optimism. This, somehow, wasn’t new either. At the State of the Industry Dinner we were told now was the time to work hard, and continue our efforts to ensure our freedoms were never trampled upon, and to be innovators, and to reach new enthusiasts. New? Thankfully, no.
The outdoor/shooting industry is still a leading jobs creator, as well as an economic center of excellence. Want to see the research for yourself? Check out the research center of the NSSF website right here! The numbers are new, but the sentiment is not.
Now, I know what you’re about to say, and the answer is yes, there were a ton of new products at the show. Over 500 brand new innovations for the consumer to adopt as early as this month. Am I going to write about them? No way. I don’t know them well enough to be of any service to you. You’ll find the press releases in the next segment, where we’ll look at what’s new. This is strictly the “What’s NOT New at SHOT Show 2017”
Finally, the best thing which wasn’t new at 2017 SHOT Show was the continuous thread of a shared philosophy. Call us enthusiasts, call us ammosexuals, call us deplorables, call us red necks, call us whatever you want. Just remember, there were about 70,000 of us gathered in the desert for no other reason than to look at the new guns and gear in our industry.
So, if/when a friend undoubtedly asks you what was new at this years SHOT Show, you can unflinchingly say, “Nothing! Aren’t you glad?”
Want to see some other really cool stats on SHOT Show? Click Here for a great infographic from NSSF! The numbers are slightly dated, but you’ll get the idea.
According to the Major, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a truly good red-dot sight…
by Major Pandemic
It used to be that you had to spend the price of your gun just to get a quality red-dot that would endure the abuse dished out in the field. Today we are fortunate that new manufacturing technologies and materials have advanced to the point that a good red-dot can be had for under $100 and a truly high quality red-dot such as this Hi-Lux model are just over $200.
Just after the initial release my then-new Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot sight was mounted on a basic AR15 pistol build and it was later moved to my Sig MPX 9mm pistol. One year and approximately 8000 rounds of .223 and 9mm later, the Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot has performed amazingly well, still holds zero, and I am still on the first factory included battery. From my perspective it is one of the top values for a high quality red-dot sight, so much so that I ordered another one.
This time the red-dot was mounted on a very special Aero Precision M4E1 custom AR15 pistol build. The build has it all — AP M4E1 integrated handguard mount, a unique cool and functional upper design, an ambi-lower, KNS anti-rotate pins, Ballistic Advantage match barrel, HiperFire EDT2 trigger, and Phase 4 Tactical buffer tube, BCG, Charging Handle, and FatMan Brake. It is a heck of tricked out build that needed a great red-dot and the Hi-Lux is the perfect choice offering a lot of features, great optical clarity and a crisp red-dot.
FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, AND FUNCTIONS The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot is typical high quality that you would see on all Leatherwood Hi-Lux optics. The red-dot design is robust and designed to take a lot of abuse. Once upon a time, only Aimpoint could boast about a 50K+ hour run time, but now this $220 red-dot can deliver that same long run-time.
The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot also features a tintless tube which in turn provides an extreme amount of clarity and enhanced low light vision. It is one of the few red-dot sights which gives the shooter clear glass versus a dark sunglasses tint. From a form factor the sight is completely cross compatible with all Aimpoint T-1 mounts which are available everywhere. If you have a favorite Aimpoint T1 mount it will work with the Hi-Lux. A couple of my favorite mounts are the Sampson QR T-1 QD mount and American Defense Manufacturing ADM T1 Micro QD Mount. Hi-Lux offers its own $35 co-witness riser, which is hard to pass up for the price, and is the mount I ordered for this build.
The Hi-Lux Micro-Max is extremely compact 2.5-inch length and comes with flip-up lens covers, screw on/off kill flash filter, and spare CR2032 battery compartment in the battery cover. Dot size is 2 MOA, tube size 20mm. Of note, with the added kill flash filter and lens covers installed it does add a bit of bulk over an Aimpoint T1 or similar Primary Arms Micro Dot but not any significant weight. I think most people will appreciate the snap and screw on features unless they really need to strip all the add-ons off for some reason.
My initial Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot sight held zero perfectly through more than a few bumps bangs and scrapes and thousands of rounds of 9mm and 5.56 NATO. I did have some initial concern that the extremely lightweight Hi-Lux Riser might not hold up well to side hits due to the I-beam steel design; however, I have never had an issue and it is far stronger than it looks.
Instead of the typical rotary setting switch, Hi-Lux decided on using push-button operation instead that provides click ON, hold for OFF, and click UP/DOWN to cycle through the 12 dot brightness settings.
FINAL THOUGHTS The Hi-Lux Micro-Max B-Dot is one of my favorite red-dot sights. It functions perfectly, delivers excellent clarity, and offers plenty of daylight to low-light dot brightness settings. I will not likely be in a situation where I need a Kill Flash attachment, however the lens covers work extremely well. Owning a safe full of red-dot sights, my experience is that they get dirty quick and the flip-up covers really help assure the glass is clean and bright when I need to shoot.
Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. MajorPandemic.com
Several Midsouth Shooters Supply customers have asked for explanations of minute of angle and the measurement term “milliradian” (mil) and how to use a mil-dot scope to measure the distance to your target at the range and in the field. In the accompanying two videos, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Ryan Cleckner explains both concepts and how to put them to best use.
Looking for more long range shooting instruction? Cleckner’s book, Long Range Shooting Handbook, is the complete beginner’s guide to long-range shooting written in simple every-day language so that it’s easy to follow. Included are personal tips and best advice from his years of special operations sniper schooling and experience, and as a sniper instructor. If you are an experienced shooter, this guide will help you brush up on the principles and theory of long-range shooting.
Burris Optics has released a set of ballistic tools to use with its riflescopes, including free software, cartridge and bullet libraries to match to Burris reticles, elements to build a dope card, help in programming an Eliminator LaserScope, and the ability to order custom elevation and windage knobs.
Vice President of Sales and Product Development Patrick Beckett said, “We are a company full of hunters and shooters, and we built these tools knowing we would want to use them ourselves. We believe our passion for the shooting sports and our riflescope and ballistics expertise have created a set of tools that will help anyone become a better, more confident shooter.”
The centerpiece of the roll-out are bullet libraries that contain nearly 7,000 cartridges and bullets from every major ammunition and bullet manufacturer. Rimfire, centerfire, muzzleloader and shotgun shells are included, as well as G1 and G7 profiles (where available) for precise accuracy. Other specific elements include:
This tool allows a user to select ammunition and define exact environmental shooting conditions, such as altitude, humidity, wind speed, and more to deliver accurate aiming solutions for a Burris reticle at any distance. The results are customizable and printable.
The Burris Eliminator LaserScope can range a target, calculate holdover, and provide a wind value to help you estimate the correct wind hold-off, all based on the exact ammunition you choose. The Eliminator Programming Tool helps you determine the correct Drop Number and Ballistic Coefficient, and lets you fine-tune your results by adjusting for your actual shooting conditions.
Southwick Associates, a Fernandina Beach, Fla.–based market research and economics firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor-recreation markets, released what it says are the top brands for many hunting- and shooting-product categories in 2015. This list was compiled from internet-based surveys completed in 2015 HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com panels.
Midsouth Shooters Supply looked over Southwick’s product-category winners and assembled the 10-most-popular category winners for 2015:
In a previous survey of people who said they reloaded, 88 percent cited “saving money” as the key reason. The survey, conducted in September 2015, said that “improving accuracy” was the second largest interest of handloaders at 70 percent. “Obtaining rounds difficult to find in stores” came in third with 40 percent, and “reducing waste” was cited as a reason by only 30 percent. Survey participants could choose more than one reason.
Of the types of ammunition reloaded, 76 percent reload rifle ammo, 64 percent reload for their handguns, and 30 percent reload shells for their shotguns.
“Over time, ammunition can be the most expensive aspect of recreational shooting, so it makes sense that avid shooters see reloading as a way to cut costs without cutting time at the range,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “Of course, a key byproduct of saving money through reloading is a person also becomes more knowledgeable about their firearm’s performance and can even potentially achieve better performance by fine-tuning a specific load to their firearm.”
You can participate in the surveys at HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com.
How do these survey results stack up, in your opinion?
Guest post by Robert Sadowski, courtesy of SHOT Daily.
The influence of 3-Gun shooting has affected all sectors of the industry, including optics. This year, there are numerous compact, low- to medium-power riflescope options for those 3-Gun shooters who have a need for speed. Going long is also a continuing trend, with plenty of long-range scopes with huge tubes and gaping objectives at all price points. Red-dots continue to be popular, with brands offering all types of sights for all classes of firearms platforms. Here’s a look at some of the players in optics and the new gear they have to offer.
The 2–6x32mm is a variable-power medium-range tactical scope with a side-mounted red-laser module. The 4x32mm tactical riflescope features a tri-illuminated rapid-ranging reticle designed for MSR platforms and calibrated to the ballistics of the .223 Rem. A simple yet durable fixed-power 3x36mm tactical scope features a tri-illuminated reticle. For hunters, the 3–9x40mm scope features a one-inch tube and covered low-profile turrets. Locking turrets are now available on the XPF line of riflescopes. (aimsportsinc.com)
The Prevo hunting scope line is designed for the diehard hunter. Models include the PV3–9x40mm (SRP: $69.95), PV3.5–10x50mm (SRP: $79.95), PV4–16x44mm (SRP: $104.95), and PV6–24x44mm (SRP: $109.95), all of which feature a 30/30 reticle. (bsaoptics.com)
The military-grade Elite 1-Mile laser rangefinder with CONX technology (SRP: $819.95) provides instant customized holdover and wind-hold data at the press of a button. The unit features Bluetooth connectivity, with a smartphone app that allows users to select or enter custom ballistic curves. It also offers an Applied Ballistics mode that connects with CONX-compatible Kestrel devices. (bushnell.com)
A 10x42mm full-size binocular has been added to the 3D/ED Series and features HD coating, ED glass, and Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity finish body armor. (carson.com)
The LinQ system (SRP: $500) is a laser/light unit designed for the MSR platform that uses Bluetooth-like technology between a pistol grip to control a tactical light/laser module without cables or touch pads. Ambidextrous buttons on the pistol grip allow the user to operate the laser/light module, which can be removed from the MSR and used on another firearm. The Carry 9 Program (SRP: $249, red; $319, green) packages a Blade-Tech Klipt Ambi IWB concealed-carry holster with a Crimson Trace laser sight for either a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield or Glock G43 pistol. Using Shock Stop (SRP: $319, red; $399, green) technology for red and green laser grips on S&W J-Frame Round-Butt revolvers helps reduce felt recoil. New Master Series 1911 laser grips include aggressive textured aluminum and faux ivory models. (crimson trace.com)
3-Gun shooters will like the C3 1–6x24mm (SRP: $1,999) riflescope for the MSR platform. Features include lockable target turrets, with elevation zero stop and an illuminated reticle that is calibrated for a .223 Rem. 55-grain bullet. The Lazer Point MTL-OS is a tiny laser sight for Glock pistols that magnetically attaches over the rear sight. It can be removed or installed in seconds with no tools. (cmore.com)
Adding to the Trailseeker series of spotting scopes are three models: a 65mm (SRP: $238.95 straight, $249.95 angled), 80mm (SRP: $309.95 straight, $319.95 angled), and 100mm (SRP: $489.95 straight, $499.95 angled). Features include a rubber-armored housing that is water- and fogproof. Adaptors for the iPhone 5/5S, 6, and 6+ offer an exact fit for any phone and eyepiece combination. (celestron.com)
The compact Scout III comes in three thermal resolutions: 240×180, 320×256, and 640×512 pixels (SRP starts at $1,899). These are the latest generation of handheld thermal devices. Units can detect and display the body heat of animals, people, or objects up to 1,200 yards away in total darkness, and now feature refresh rates of 30Hz or 60Hz, depending on model. The Scout TK (SRP: $500) thermal handheld camera is designed for campers, hikers, and hunters. (flir.com)
Hartman is a new player in the red-dot optic space and is debuting the MH1 Red Dot Reflex Sight (SRP: $650), an advanced tactical sight with the largest (compared to other similar devices) field of view through the sight. It is waterproof up to 20 feet and night-vision-compatible. It also features ambidextrous activation buttons and a sleep mode. (hartman-il.com)
Debuting is a line of 34mm tube and first-focal-plane scopes. First-focal-plane models include the compact CMR8 1–8x34mm (SRP: $799) and the PentaLux 4–20x50mm (SRP: $599). The 34mm tube models include the CMR8 1-8x34mm and the long-range Vanquisher 6–26x50mm (SRP: $499), as well as the BMG scope and a Uni-Dial series 5–30x56mm (SRP: $599) with 34mm tube and customizable ballistic turrets. (hi-luxoptics.com)
The economical Pro M30 riflescopes are redesigned to provide clearer views for long shots in low-light conditions. Two models include a 2.5–10x50mm (SRP: $219.99) and a 3–12x56mm (SRP: $249.99). Both use an engraved 30/30 reticle with dual illumination. The upgraded SightPro DP (SRP: $79.99) red-dot sight offers 1X power for close-range shooting and a 2X power-booster attachment for medium range. It works on pistols, shotguns, MSRs, bolt-action rifles, and even blackpowder rifles. The affordable Rex 8x42mm (SPR: $169.99) binocular uses a silver coating on the prisms for improved light transmission. (konuspro.com)
The powerful NS-300 Subzero series features two models—NS300-SZ (SRP: $339.95) and NS300x40-SZ (SRP: $389.95)—with a focusable 520mm green laser that can paint targets out to 500 yards. (lasergenetics.com)
The Spartan Laser series (SRP: $99, red; $149, green) features a mounting system designed specifically for handgun accessory rails, with ambidextrous activation and automatic shutoff after 10 minutes. (lasermax.com)
The 8X power T8 Series 2–16x44mm MRC (Multi-Range Combat & Competition) riflescope (SRP: $399.97) is set up for close-, medium-, and long-range distances. Three reticle options include a mil-dot, a circle dot, and a reticle for airgunners. The 3.9-inch Open Reflex Sight (SRP: $199.97) is built for MSRs and offers a large field of view, a Picatinny mount, and dual red and green illuminated circle dot or dot reticle options. The 6-inch ITA Red/Green CQB Dot Sight (SRP: $74.97) offers 1X magnification in either a T-dot or dot reticle option. (leapers.com)
The ER 5 series of riflescopes includes six new models—a 1–5x24mm, 1.5–8x32mm, 2–10x50mm, 3–15x56mm, 4–20x50mm, and 5–25×56 mm (SRP: $749 to $1,429). The ER line features extended 5:1 zoom ratios, 4-inch eye relief, and .25 MOA turret adjustments. The Geovid HD-R 42 laser rangefinding binocular comes in two models—an 8x42mm (SRP: $2,599) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,649)—and features an open-bridge design and accurate ranging from 10 to more than 2,000 yards. Effective Horizontal Range (EHR) technology provides precise shooting solutions based upon distance and angles within .2 seconds of pressing the activation button. (us.leica-camera.com)
Designed and assembled in the U.S., the new VX-3i hunting scope line (SRP: $499.99 to $1,249.99) features the Twilight Max light-management system, which balances light across the visible spectrum for a brighter, crisper image. Scopes are equipped with an easier-to-turn power selector, with bold, tactile power indicators and a dual-spring-adjustment system that provides match-grade accuracy adjustments while maintaining its in-the-field ruggedness. The BX-3 Mojave Pro Guide HD binocular line has two 50mm models—a 10x50mm ($774.99 to $819.99) and 12x50mm ($839.99 to $874.99)—that offer a 15 percent increase in field of view. The open-bridge design is durable but light in weight. Available in Kryptek Typhon and Kryptek Highlander camo patterns or black. Bowhunters take note: The Vendetta 2 (SRP: $439.99) bow-mounted laser rangefinder now has a faster software package and improved mounting system, and it can be used on a crossbow. Leupold’s built-in True Ballistic Range (TBR) calculator automatically compensates for the shot angle, delivering the correct incline-adjusted range instantly. (leupold.com)
The P7 4X optic (SRP: $435) offers fast targeting with a ballistic MOA holdover reticle. The 19-ounce unit runs up to 2,500 hours on a single AA battery, and is waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof. (mylucidgear.com)
The one-inch-tube MeoPro line now has two additional models—a 6.5–20x50mm and 6.5–20x50mm HTR (SRP: $1,092.49 to $1,149.99, depending on model and reticle). The scopes are designed for long-range hunting and precision shooting, and feature a powerful magnification range and side-turret parallax adjustment, and are available with four different reticle options, depending on the model: Z-Plex, BDC, McWhorter HV, and Windmax 8. The MeoPro HD binocular series now includes the MeoPro 8x56mm HD (SRP: $1,034.99), designed for low light with a large objective lens, advanced fluoride high-definition optics, and MeoBright multi-coated lenses. (meoptasportsoptics.com)
The Sting (SRP: $1,557) dual-wavelength laser pointer incorporates two lasers—visible and infrared—in one unit. Features include single zeroing, high- and low-power options, and color-coded LED indicators for visible or infrared modes. Available to LE and military personnel only. (themakogroup.com)
The new ZX5 line of riflescopes features four models—a 1–5x24mm, 2–10x50mm, 3–15x56mm, and 5–26x56mm (SRP: $499.99 to $749.99, depending on model and reticle). Features include a 30mm tube, with or without an illuminated BDC or Plex reticle, and 5X magnification. (minox.com/usa)
The VISM Reflex Sight with Green Laser (SRP: $119.99) is a compact sight system that combines a red reflex sight and a green laser. Both the dot sight and laser are controlled by a push-button control panel and powered by a single CR123A battery. The sight provides a 1/3 co-witness with BUIS. (ncstar.com)
The SHV 4–14×50 F1 (SRP: $1,250) scope is Nightforce’s first first-focal-plane reticle scope and latest addition to the SHV line. The scope features illuminated reticle options, side parallax adjustment, and .25 MOA or .1 Mil-Radian adjustments with 90 MOA of elevation and 70 MOA windage. (night forceoptics.com)
Six new riflescopes, three in the Monarch 3 series—3–12x42mm (SRP: $549.95), 4–16x42mm (SRP: $579.95), 4–16x50mm (SRP: $629.95)—and three in the Prostaff series—3.5–14x40mm (SRP: $359.95), 3.5–14x50mm (SRP: $459.95), 4.5–18x40mm (SRP: $459.95)—will now be equipped with BDC Distance Lock. The new BDC Distance Lock function keeps everything in the first focal plane, which allows the riflescope to maintain its scale and distance proportions on a target throughout the entire zoom range. (nikonsportoptics.com)
The Hunter H1 3–9x40mm (SRP: $294.95) scope is designed for medium and long distances in centerfire and rimfire calibers, and features a D1 reticle. The Varmint Hunter VH 4–16x50mm (SRP: $1,095) scope features a T3 reticle, efficient light transmission, a wide magnification range, and long eye relief. The Tactical T1 6–24x50mm (SRP: $1,295) scope comes equipped with a T3 reticle calibrated in true .25 MOA values at 20X magnification and can be re-indexed to zero after sighting in. (rudolphoptics.com)
SIG has gone all in with a complete line of optics for 2016. All of SIG’s riflescopes feature one custom SBT (SIG Ballistic Turret) elevation dial calibrated to your customer’s ballistics and environmental conditions. TANGO6 6X zoom premium riflescopes were designed for a wide range of uses, from close-quarter battle and long-range shooting to 3-Gun and dangerous-game hunting. Models include a compact 1–6x42mm, 2–12x40mm, 3–18x44mm, and a long-range 5–30x56mm (SRP: $1,749.99 to $2,999.99). These scopes come with the HDX optical system, HellFire fiber optic, and glass-etched illuminated reticles, first- or second-focal-plane designs, and zero stop turrets. With a 4:1 zoom and first-focal-plane design, the TANGO4 riflescope line is intended for mid- to long-range shooting. Models offered include a 1–4x24mm, 3–12x42mm, 4–16x44mm, and 6–24x50mm (SRP: $749.99 to $1,249.99), all with illuminated glass reticles, 30mm tube, and ZeroLock turrets.
The WHISKEY-5 series of 5X riflescopes were designed for traditional hunting rifle and MSR platforms. Models include a 1–5x20mm, 2–10x42mm, 2.4–12x56mm, 3–15x44mm, 3–15x52mm, and 5–25x52mm (SRP: $874.99 to $1,624.99). WHISKEY-3 scopes feature low-dispersion glass, a rugged chassis, capped turrets, and one custom SBT elevation dial. Models include a 2–7x32mm, 3–9x40mm, 3–9x50mm, 4–12x40mm, and 4–12x50mm (SRP: $229.99 to $374.99). The prism-design BRAVO series of red-dot battle sights are designed for MSR shooters. These fixed-power sights include a BRAVO3 3x30mm (SRP: $437.49) and a BRAVO5 5x30mm (SRP: $499.99), which are compact and offer 10 levels of illumination intensity. The BRAVO4 (SRP: $1,624.99) features a 53-foot field of view at 100 yards versus the standard 37 feet. The red-dot and reflex sight ROMEO series can fill most shooters’ pistol, shotgun, and rifle needs. The miniature ROMEO1 reflex sight (SRP: $374.99 to $437.49, depending on mounting system) is designed to fit most popular pistols; it co-witnesses with iron sights on SIG pistols with machined slides. Manual brightness controls use SIG’s MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) system, which remembers your last setting after powering off. The larger ROMEO3 reflex sight (SRP: $474.99 to $499.99) is designed for MSR rifles, shotguns, carbines, submachine guns, and full-size handguns. ROMEO4 tube-style red-dots (SRP: $474.99 to $499.99) come in four different models that offer Picatinny and KeyMod mounts, combo solar/battery power, and have either a 2 MOA dot or 65 MOA circle/2 MOA dot reticle options. The ROMEO7 (SRP: $374.99) is a full-size 1X red-dot sight designed for MSR platforms. The KILO2000 rangefinder (SRP $624.99) updates four times a second in HyperScan mode with LightWave DSP technology that is fast and accurate, and can range reflective targets at 3,400 yards, trees at 1,500 yards, and deer at 1,200 yards. The built-in inclinometer calculates range for angled shots.
The rugged roof prism ZULU binocular line combines high-quality glass, Spectracoat lenses, and Abbe-Konig prisms for brightness, contrast, and crisp resolution. ZULU3 models include a compact 8x32mm (SRP: $312.49) and 10x32mm (SRP: $337.49), the single-hinge ZULU5 8×42 and 10x42mm, the open-hinge ZULU7 8x42mm (SRP: $849.99) and 10x42mm (SRP $912.49), and the ZULU9 9x45mm (SRP: $1,437.49) and 11x45mm (SRP: $1,499.99).(sigsauer.com)
The new HX series of binoculars is designed for comfort during extended scouting and uses new lens coatings for better light transmission. These roof prism binoculars include four models: 8x42mm (SRP: $919.99), 10x42mm (SRP: $999.99), 10x56mm (SRP: $1,499.99), and 15x56mm. (steiner-optics.com)
The X5(i) riflescope series was developed with the long-range shooter and hunter in mind. The two models are a 3.5–18x50mm (SRP: $3,432 to $3,666, depending on reticle) and a 5–25x56mm (SRP: $3,666 to $3,888, depending on reticle). The scopes have up to 116 MOA of elevation adjustment inside the 30mm tube body and a 5X zoom range. The improved EL binocular family has six new models, including an 8x32mm (SRP: $2,443), 10x32mm (SRP: $2,554), 8.5x42mm (SRP: $2,832), 10x42mm (SRP: $2,888), 10x50mm (SRP: $3,110), and 12x50mm (SRP: $3,188). The line features SWAROVISION technology and the FieldPro package, which enhances binocular comfort and ease of use. (swarovskioptik.com)
The Miniature Rifle Optic, or MRO (SRP: $579 without mount, $629 with mount), red-dot sight features a large objective lens and shortened optical length to eliminate the tube effect common with so many tube red-dot sights. Comes equipped with a 2 MOA dot aiming point. (trijicon.com)
The TRU-BRITE 30 compact rifle series includes a 1–4x24mm and 1–6x24mm (SRP: $184 to $270) that feature an illuminated reticle and two pre-calibrated BDC turrets for .223 Rem. and .308 Win. The compact ultralight TRU TEC 20mm (SRP: $221) tactical red-dot sight offers a 2 MOA reticle and unlimited eye relief. The larger TRU TEC 30mm red-dot (SRP: $368) offers a larger tube. (truglo.com)
The design of the ER-23 3–23x50mm riflescope was based upon requests from military, LE, and competitive shooters. The scope is compact to accommodate night vision and features locking turrets. Reticle options include the MIL GAP and the Horus H59. (usoptics.com)
The Diamondback binocular line has been redesigned with eight new models: 8x28mm, 8x32mm, 8x42mm, 10x28mm, 10x32mm, 10x42mm, 10x50mm, and 12x50mm (SRP: $189 to $319). Features include a short-hinge design and rubber-armored housing. (vortexoptics.com)
The all-new Victory V8 illuminated riflescope line includes a 1–8x30mm (SRP: $2,888.99), 1.8–14x50mm (SRP: $3,333.32), 2.8–20x56mm (SRP: $3,888.88), and 4.8–35x60mm (SRP: $4,111.10). Select models include the bullet-drop compensator ASV system, which uses nine engraved rings to allow shooters to match the appropriate ring to their specified long-range ballistics. The pocket-size Terra ED 8x25mm (SRP: $299.99) and 10x25mm (SRP: $329.99) binoculars are lightweight and compact, weighing just 10.9 ounces. The Terra ED 32mm binoculars, in 8x32mm (SRP: $411.10) and 10x32mm (SRP: $444.43), are now equipped with an exclusive Under Armour bino harness that features durable, thick hypalon attachments, solid metal hardware, and adjustable elastic straps. (zeiss.com)
Reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. Click here to see full issues. Product pricing and availability are at of time of publication and subject to change without notice.