Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"If you can't see it, you can't hit it..."

There have been several posts here lately that were, at least tangentially, optics related, from the Aimpoints that both my carbines wear, to that ultra-sexy new Mark 6 Leupold on the AR at the Crimson Trace media day, to the big Loopie on the AR in the picture below.

Thus, I should probably take this opportunity to link a good post at Mountain Guerrilla on optics and the fighting rifle. JM knows of what he speaks. He that hath ears, let him hear.

Heck, even Clint Smith has decided that maybe glass on a working gun isn't some newfangled tool of the devil.

Personally, I'm thinking about going either ACOG or to a low-power variable if I... I don't know, find a winning lottery ticket in the gutter or something. It's only the lack of funds and the dearth of >100yd sightlines in my area that keep switching over to magnified glass from being a higher priority.


Paul said...

Yes, sight lines are important. In my neighborhood I have ranges from 20 to 200 yards for threats to be engaged.

I have one line that allow for 1000 yard shots, but that is in the general direction of a park.

I have optics on all of the long guns except for the 22's. On the BR I have co witness sights. I
m not sure that's is a good idea as the manual are a little hard to see.

Optics are good and good optics are better.

Course MG has been there and done that and he is of the opinion that accurate fires are best. Or at least that has been my takeaway.

Blackwing1 said...

My Ruger Mini-30 wears a relatively inexpensive 1.5x-4x variable scope with a good-size objective (a Bushnell "dusk-to-dawn" scope, from back-when). At the ranges for which a 7.62x39 is good (out to about 200 yards) it's a pretty good match-up between scope and rifle.

With it dialed all the way down to 1.5 power the front sight actually sticks up into the scope view a little bit. It's easy to use both eyes since the magnification is so low. I've got it sighted for 100 yards, and the longest range at which I've taken a deer has been about 125 yards, which was a pretty long shot for whitetail here in Minnesota. At that low power the field of view is huge, and the eye relief is very, very forgiving (it doesn't "black-out" like a high-power scope can if your head isn't positioned just right).

Crank it up to 4x power, and it's still a pretty good scope, but not nearly as FAST to use at low-power. About the only time I do that is if I have the luxury of time in the deer stand to check out that deer at the edge of the clearing to see if it's got a rack or not. Usually it's just dialed all the way to minimum.

The setup is robust (I used the Ruger rings), but still cheap enough that if I do something stupid like drop it from my stand or otherwise bash it around the woods I'm not going to cry. It's held zero for all the years it's been on there, despite being crunched through woods, tossed into trucks, and otherwise abused.

With my eyes iron sights just aren't much of an option any more. Would I love to have something a little nicer? Sure, but this has worked for the past umpteen years, so I haven't got much motivation to change it.

TBeck said...

I have a Burris TAC30 illuminated 1x4 that I like a lot. The reticle is painted on the glass, so even if the illumination dies it still gives a sight picture. It has aiming dots for a 62-gr bullet. Since I haven't been able to shoot the rifle at ranges beyond 100 yards I have no idea if they are correct.

But the 30mm tube is nice and bright.

Blackwing1 said...

I realize looking at my comment that it was all about hunting, while the discussion will be tactical. I've found that what works well for snap-shooting a whitetail while walking the woods can be a fair proxy for "tactical", too.

Good optics are better (I've got good stuff on my bolties, Leupolds, mostly) but why bother with good optics if the rifle can't shoot better than angle-of-pie-plate at 300 yards?

Firehand said...

My first real work with optics on a social-purposes rifle was when I put a red-dot on my M1 Carbine; it sold me.

Critter said...

Way back beyond recorded history, in me yoot, I sneered at anyone so feeble as to need any sort of scope on a rifle. For instance my hunting rifle was a surplus Chilean Mauser in 7mm, completely stock. Now, however, all my rifles, and a couple of pistols, sport glass of some kind.

Tam said...

We were all young and dumb once. ;)

Boat Guy said...

The durability of these optics has certainly been a factor in folks taking them into harm's way.
While Mr. Smith does seem to have "seen the light" I'm glad he insists folks at least learn old-timey aperture sights first. Bride didn't get her EOTech till AFTER she qualed through TR.
Still love my ACOG atop my AR-10, but I will never have a real "flat-top" anything - especially anything glass can be broken, 'specially by me...

Murphy's Law said...

I was a slow convert to optics myself, but now most of my AR-types sport one. I even have a spare ACOG TA-01 that I like so much that I'm about to build another rifle just to mount it on.

And that new-ish Aimpoint PRO is definitely a winner for low-cost quality.

Matt said...

I like using iron sights on rifles, it is a challenge and lots of fun making good hits using old tech. On my serious rifles their if glass of one type or another. I really like a red dot on a ruger 10-22.

Current favorite scope is an old Leupold scope originally on a "dangerous" game rifle. Very low power compact scope, amazingly clear with great field of view. Cost almost as much as the rifle it is on. It made me a believer in quality scopes.

Lewis said...

I've become a pretty big fan of the Leupold VX-R 1.25-4 30mm tubed wonderscope. Plus, it's lighter than the competition---seems that most tac 1-4s run about 16 ounces, the Leupold is 12.

Scott J said...

My Highpower days and perhaps reading a bit too much Jeff Cooper makes me one of those bitterly clinging to my peep sights.

I've been struggling to get past that as range time shows me my eyes are well past prime. I got my first pair of glasses ever about a month before my 44th birthday back in 2012.

Part of trying to get past it was buying a Nikon P-223 and mount for the m4gery. Once I get the barrel broken in and carry handle irons zeroed to my satisfaction I'll mount up the scope and see what I think.

Reading that article a couple days ago has me thinking perhaps I need to invest in an Ultimak rail and Leupold IER scope for the Garand and maybe kit the bone stock except for GI flash hider Polytech M1-A out like a designated marksman's rig.

So many toys. So little money to go around.

Frank W. James said...

I've been a long time user of ACOG's (I have 2), but having said that I can say they aren't perfect.

In daylight conditions, they are pretty damn good, but they suck big time for work with night vision.

To start with you have to mount the NG device in FRONT of the ACOG which makes focusing problematic and then if you change the NV eye relief focus (even accidentally) you CHANGE the point of impact even if you haven't touched the ACOG. That sucks even worse.

AIMPOINTS are good, but not as good during daylight as the ACOG (in my opinion) but a hell of a lot better for use with a NV because you mount the NV BEHIND the Aimpoint and once the Aimpoint is sighted in the point of impact/point of aim doesn't change regardless of what you do with the red dot sight system.

EOTECH has the best combination in my opinion in terms of daylight optics and coordiantion with NV equipment. Unfortunately, I find turning the EOTECH unit "ON" a hassle. I just flat don't find it 'quick'. It always takes a second or more and that to me on live moving targets is inexcusable. Yeah, yeah, I know the batteries are supposed to last forever, but I believe in Murphy and when you're a bunch of miles from nowhere I know Murphy is my compoanion and the damn battery is going to die for no reason at all.

What I would like to see is an EOTECH type of scope that was activated with a forearm mounted pressure switch in terms of turning it "ON". Actually, of all these I've mentioned the EOTECH seems to be the best fit for use with Night Vision but I have yet to actually use it in the field against 'live' targets.

But that should happen this coming winter sometime...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Scott J said...

To clarify how Cooper factors in: I know he was a pioneer of the scout scope but he was also a big advocate of ghost rings.

For some reason the latter stuck with me but the former didn't. Again probably the Highpower influence and my 20 year old eyes did good enough with irons to be able to dismiss the scout scope as needlessly expensive. Back in the 90's there weren't nearly as many options as we have today.

Frank W. James said...

Error Correction: When you mount the Night Vision BHEIND the optic de'jour, generally speaking whatever you do with the NIGHT VISION device (not the red dot as mentioned in the previous post) doesn't affect the point of aim/point of impact situation.

Apologies for the rapid typing and poor proof reading...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Jon said...

Love my 3x ACOG. I try not to think too hard about the fact that it effectively doubled the cost of my rifle.

It is a ton of fun to shoot and is functional at both close and long range, though it does take a little practice.

Alien said...

Shot 3-gun for years with an EOTech, and it worked great, once I added enough layers of hard rubber to the stock to speed up making the cheek weld (old typewriter pads worked great). Then the club moved the rifle stages to the 300 meter range from the 35 yard range and some #@&% decided it was a good idea to use all 300 meters. Exit the EOTech, enter a 2X7 Bushnell ($$ were important because I didn't have many). Left on 5X it worked fairly well, except it was too slow for the <50 yard targets. So, I added a 45 degree offset Bushnell red dot, a la Miculek. Took a while to learn the different cheek welds and tilts, but the combination works surprisingly well once the brain adapts.

What I'd really like to see is a 1.5-6X with a big light gathering objective (I'm too poor to afford NV), a 30MM tube, 300/400/500 drop gradations and an extended power handle for rapid power changes. For a price I can afford...

Scott J said...

I just did a quick mental inventory and came up with 7 iron sighted rifles in my collection.

Going optics for all could get expensive.

One of those would be pure sacrilege scoped though. An old Remington Targetmaster.

You might could say the same about the '03-A3 but it's already highly customized away from issue condition.

Anonymous said...

"...lack of funds and the dearth of >100yd sightlines..."

My takeaway from that and most of the comments here:

I can get twice the guns for the same money if I stick with iron, which except for range shooting and long hunting are faster/simpler/better anyway.

Huh. Your post made my choice easy. Sorry Leupold etal, I'll take another shootin' iron any day.

Just My 2¢ said...

There are many good folks running red dot sights on their duty gear. Pat Rogers runs Aimpoints on his carbines and DocGKR runs MRDS on his carry/duty pistols. Properly chosen red dots are good to go.

Mike said...

I had meh results with a Milett DMS 1-4x in a SWFA mount. It was inexpensive, but not all that clear, and ended up breaking.

Now I'm running a Trijicon Accupoint 1-4x in a LaRue QD mount. We'll see how it holds up, but something tells me it'll make the DMS look like the cheap scope it was...

IMO, this is another case of "if you want to see the future, look to competitive shooters." I hope that everybody is as geeked as I am about red dot optics on duty and eventually carry pistols being the next big thing.

T Putnam said...

Well, I'm 3 Aimpoint Micro H1 or T1 red dots deep right now on my AR15 rifles. I love them, they're tough, and at this point, I trust them more than Tritium night sights, to be working when I pick up the rifle.

That said, my favorite thing to do lately is to go shoot the AR15 that has the 1-4 Burris MTAC illuminated scope. It's not a perfect scope, but it's very close for a 16" AR15. This goes double when an S&B Short Dot or the high-end Leupold is a laughable pipe dream on my budget. It's really clear, bright and user friendly. It cost me about three bills, dealer price. It's amazing how clear even the cheap(er) glass is nowadays.

I put it in an ADM Dual-QD Mount, because the Burris P.E.P.R. Mount looks and feels like a very sturdy piece of Monterey Jack cheese that was carved into a scope mount and converted into cast steel.

Other than that, I have no complaints. The 55Gr PMC X-TAC I shoot has a scary degree of similarity with the yardage marks on the reticle, when I'm doing my part. I think that JM is dead on, as far as the future of fighting optics is concerned. Good, rugged variable optics in use on the fighting rifle of the future look like an MTAC, or a much nicer iteration of an MTAC by S&B or Leupold, probably.

Scott J said...

"I hope that everybody is as geeked as I am about red dot optics on duty and eventually carry pistols being the next big thing"

It's in the back of my mind.

A couple years ago I bumped into one of the better shooters at my club practicing for speed steel.

He had a 1911 converted to deuce duce and either a Leupold or Burris holographic mounted on it.

He let me run a couple magazines through it and the ease with which I could hit with it told me I need to file this experience away for later.

mariner said...

"Heck, even Clint Smith has decided that maybe glass on a working gun isn't some newfangled tool of the devil."

Sounds like Clint's eyes are going the way mine have been for years.

Tam said...

Old or young has nothing to do with it.

No matter how young and fast you are, a car is faster.

Old objections to red dots, like durability and battery life, are pointless these days, with battery life measured in years and the optic being as durable as the gun its bolted to.

With a modern Aimpoint such as a M3 or T1, there's no real need to turn the thing off; just change the battery once a year on your birthday. (You really only need to change it every three or four years, but what the heck; a little over-cautiousness never hurts.)

Critter said...

we certainly have better glass now than at any time in history, and as stated above, even the cheap stuff is better than ever. (all brought to you by Capitalism!) i bought a rifle from a buddy last year. a Remington 700 in .22-250 built in the '70's some time and owned by his father before he passed. the rifle looks new and shoots like a dream and my buddy also sold me the reloading dies his dad used. the only issue with it was the Tasco World Class scope on it that apparently his dad thought was the bee's knees back then. it's absolutely awful. everything looks blue when viewed and even in bright daylight the image is poor. i replaced it with my trusty Simmons Aetech, through which i have viewed much venison over the last 15 years or so.

John Mosby said...

But, you can only carry 1-2 guns at a time, for all practical intents....and No, the takeaway was not that irons are faster/simpler/better anyway. Optics are faster and simpler, because there's only one focal plane that you need to be worried about, instead of 2-3 with irons. As for better, I'd say take a look around, from 3-gunners to combat infantrymen to LEOs, how many experienced people do you see running iron sights as their primary sighting option, by choice? Not very many, and the ones you do see are generally the older guys who are more comfortable with irons because they grew up in a time when optics were not as robust or reliable as they are today.

Mike said...

"But, you can only carry 1-2 guns at a time, for all practical intents...."

Besides, I'd rather have one gun cover as many bases as possible as well as possible than have four or five guns that all cover the same base equally badly.

The only reason I know of that 3 gun shooters use irons is if they have those crazy angled irons for shots so close they could point shoot anyway, and guys who want to participate in a special class like limited, that doesn't allow optics.

I'm sure I don't need to say it but: they don't allow optics for those classes to force folks to use irons, or else the guys running irons would all lose until they switched.

Theother Ryan said...

Tam, I owned an ACOG not too long ago. Sold it and purchased a variable power 1-4 illuminated reticle to replace it. Ended up with the Burris MTAC 1-4x and love it. Almost probably 1.1 out to 10 yards but basically a red dot for close ranges but the ability to have some magnification if I need it. Cost was around $300.

It seems hell for stout also. John eventually broke an MTAC (he had the 1.5-6) but it took more punishment than any optic should be expected to.

Honestly the glass is as good as my ACOG. For the price I'll put one on my next AR build for sure.