Accessories

Tech Force TF90 dot sight

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Tech Force 90 dot sight
Tech Force TF90 dot sight

This report covers:

• Tech Force TF90 dot sight
• Description
• How does a dot sight work?
• Parallax?
• Easier to use than open sights
• Not the latest and greatest

Tech Force TF90 dot sight
I was right there when this Tech Force TF90 dot sight was being designed. I watched it evolve over several years of development, as each new model was revealed at successive SHOT Shows. I even tested a forerunner of this sight in the 1990s for The Airgun Letter by mounting it on a Beeman P1 pistol.

The Tech Force TF90 was developed by Compasseco, who used a Chinese optics factory that also made sights for their military. According to Duane Sorenson of Compasseco, the optics and manufacturing details of this sight were superior to similar Chinese-made dot sights because of who built it. In the 1990s Compasseco did a lot of business in China and had enough influence to get products designed to their specifications, and Duane was especially proud of this sight.

Description
You can see from the picture that the outer shell of this sight is square, yet the optics are round. The objective lens is 28mm in diameter, which is in the middle size range for today’s dot sights. Still, when you look through the sight, everything is clear and sharp, because the optics are very clean and there is no magnification.

The base is adaptable to both 11mm dovetails as well as Weaver dovetails. Everything you need comes with the scope, including elasticized square lens covers. It can fit on a wide variety of airguns and firearms.

The base is integral with the sight tube. There’s nothing to do except clamp the sight to your airguns or firearms, and, yes, this sight should work well on firearms of at least the rimfire class. You’ll need a recoil stop if you mount this on a gun that recoils and use the 11mm mount base, because it has no stop built in. The Weaver base takes care of that, of course.

Tech Force 90 dot sight Weaver base
Here, the Weaver base has been installed. Note that the rear screw hangs below the base and engages the Weaver or Picatinny slot to serve as a recoil stop.

Tech Force 90 dot sight 11mm base
The base hardware can be swapped to make the base fit 11mm scope dovetails, too.

This is a very small sight. It’s only 4-1/2 inches long, and the clamping base is just 2-3/8 inches long. That makes it ideal for those vintage air rifles that weren’t really made for scopes but have 11mm dovetails for peep sights. I mounted it on my Hakim rifle and there was room to spare. Now, guns that are difficult to scope – such as the vintage Walthers, FWBs and Dianas — can have this optical sight installed.

The adjustments are the same elevation and windage knobs you’ve used with scopes. I don’t have any information about how far each click of the adjustments will move the 3 MOA dot, but I’ve been adjusting it as though it has quarter-minute clicks, and so far (at 10 meters) it seems to have adjusted correctly.

What appears in the first picture to be the adjustment knobs are really caps. Remove them, and the knobs are adjusted with a screwdriver or coin. The clicks are very precise in both directions. The scales on the knobs, however, have no corresponding reference marks on the body of the tube. So, adjusting the sight is a matter of counting the clicks for each adjustment.

Tech Force 90 dot sight adjustment knob
The dot’s adjustment knobs are operated by a screwdriver or a coin. The clicks are precise, but there’s no reference scale on the sight’s body to register where you’ve adjusted.

The lenses appear to have a ruby coating. The tint is red, and I remember Duane telling me something like that. Ruby coatings are not really made from the mineral ruby. They’re just called that because of the color. The red may help with certain light transmission. Steiner made them famous years ago, but they aren’t commonly seen today. They can leave the other colors looking washed out, but they don’t look like that to me. I am red-green colorblind, so I’m not the best judge.

The dot is a 3 MOA dot, which means it covers approximately 3 inches of area at 100 yards. But there are 7 different rheostat settings, so the dot can be made very bright. I find this sight to be many times brighter and more visible than the cheaper sights that sell in the same price range. This is more in line with my vintage Tasco Pro Point sight, as far as visibility is concerned.

As the light is intensified, the dot expands in size. There’s no good way of measuring this, so don’t ask how much. You use only as much brightness as you need to see the dot against the target, and I believe that cancels the expansion tendency. In other words, if the dot is just bright enough to see, it will always me about 3 MOA.

Tech Force 90 dot sight dot
This image shows the dot larger than it appears. This is a camera reaction to the shutter remaining open long enough to see the dot. The image you’ll see is crystal clear.

How does a dot sight work?
A dot sight works like a telescopic sight. When the adjustments are changed, the internal mechanism (an LED aimed at a lens with a reflective surface on one side) moves the dot without apparent movement to the user. The dot remains centered in the window as long as your head is on the stock at the same place every time.

Parallax?
People will tell you that dot sights don’t have parallax, but that’s incorrect. They have the same tendency for parallax as scopes. Because they don’t magnify the target, the movement (of the dot against the target as the aiming eye moves) is hard to see — but it’s there. And the sight will do its best at one range over all others.

Easier to use than open sights
But here’s the deal. The amount of parallax error from a dot sight is less than the aiming error that results from an incorrect sight picture with traditional open sights. Said a different way, it’s easier to be accurate with a dot sight than with traditional open sights. And, as eyesight degrades, this benefit becomes more pronounced. So, people with poor eyesight will often find that dot sights help them shoot better than they’ve been able to shoot with open sights.

Not the latest and greatest
A lot of time has passed since this TF90 was new, and the technology has certainly advanced far in this field. Today, we have dot sights with different colored dots, as well as different reticles to select — all in one sight. The TF90 was advanced for its day, but in today’s market the same features are offered by a number of manufacturers. However, there’s one huge difference. Nobody is selling a sight of this quality at this price! You get a bundle of quality for the price of a bargain-basement sight. That is what you have to consider when looking at this one.

There are a limited number of these available; and when they are gone, there will be no more. If a dot sight is something you’ve thought about buying, you may want to consider getting one or more of these. I have 2 Tasco Pro Points that I’ve owned for more than 15 years. At one time they were considered very good sights. Today, they have been surpassed by technology — but that doesn’t make them worse. They’re still very good dot sights, and so is the TF90.

I’ll be reporting on this sight in future reports of other airguns — with the Hakim air rifle at 25 yards being the next one I do (click to read the Hakim 10-meter test with this sight). While there won’t be a Part 2 to this report, you’ll get to see how well this sight performs. I don’t think I’m sending this one back to Pyramyd Air, because I can always use one more good optical sight!

Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout scope: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

This blog post was mistakenly published a day early, and we got some comments to it before we discovered that. So, for those of you who try to be the first to make a comment, it looks like you’ve missed your turn!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope
Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout scope is a remarkable sight!

This report covers:

• Scout scope on centerfire rifle
• My Mosin Nagant
• A powerful round
• What today’s test is all about
• What about the scope?
• The mount
• Overall evaluation

Scout scope on centerfire rifle
This is a special report I promised several readers who are interested in this UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope. When I tested it on an airgun, I used the Crosman MK-177 Tactical multi-pump pneumatic because it allowed me to mount the scope out away from the eye. That was a good test, but it was also a forced one because I could have mounted any scope on that airgun. Scout scopes are made for those troublesome arms that don’t allow the mounting of scopes in the conventional way. I asked Leapers to send me a mount for my Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifle — a centerfire rifle that needs a scout scope because of its straight bolt handle. While the bolt handle can be bent down to clear the scope, the scout scope is a non-gunsmithing solution that allows you to preserve the rifle in its original condition. Not that any Mosin Nagant in existence today is still in its original condition!

My Mosin Nagant
My 91/30 is built on an early action with a hex-shaped receiver. It didn’t start out as a 91/30 but was converted by an arsenal at some point in its existence. The markings on the metal parts tell a story of numerous overhauls and refurbishments over the past century. Some early marks have been removed by grinding and polishing, while others are new and fresh. The action was very possibly made in the 19th century, yet the barrel is like new, as are many of the metal parts and the wood. The Soviet Union made good use of these rifles and refurbished them as necessary after each conflict, not unlike many countries. As a design, the Mosin Nagant has been in continuous service longer than any other military firearm.

A powerful round
This rifle is chambered for the Russian 7.62X54 rimmed cartridge made for what the Russians refer to as the “Three-line rifle” — with a Russian “line” being equivalent to one-tenth inch. It refers to the bore diameter of the bullet. It was adopted as standard in 1891 and is still in limited service today.

The cartridge is roughly the ballistic equivalent of our .30-06 Winchester cartridge. It’s shorter — though much larger at the base. It is a rimmed cartridge, which means the action has to be made to handle the cartridge case without feeding problems. Rimmed cartridges give repeating actions feeding problems, which is why the majority of cartridges made for repeaters are rimless. But the Mosin Nagant action handles this cartridge reliably.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope 762-54R-and-30-06
Mosin Nagant 7.62X54R on left, .30-06 cartridge on right. Both deliver similar ballistics in military loadings.

This Mosin cartridge exists in numerous different loads. The current sniper round has a 152-grain bullet leaving the bore at 2700 f.p.s. The standard for accuracy at 300 meters is all rounds inside an 80mm (3.1-inch) circle. Of course, the standard military battle ammunition is less accurate — keeping 50 percent of its shots inside a 90mm (3.5-inch) circle at the same 300 meters.

What today’s test is all about
With such power must also come recoil, and that is what today’s test was for. I wanted to see that this scout scope could stand up to the punishment of a heavier recoil. I fired 20 factory rounds and 20 reloads through the rifle, which is not a very big test. But if there are any major weaknesses, they should show up. And they didn’t. After zeroing at 50 yards with the factory loads, I shot a 3-inch 10-shot group at 100 yards, and then rang the 6-inch gong at 200 yards with the remaining few rounds.

My reloads didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. The bores on these rifles can vary in diameter from 0.309 inches to 0.313 inches, so you really need to slug the bore to know what diameter bullet your rifle likes. I haven’t done that yet and was hoping to squeak by with some 170-grain lead bullets sized 0.312 inches, but it was not to be. I did manage to ring the 200-yard gong once out of 5 shots, but that’s not what I’d hoped for.

What about the scope?
You can see in the photo where the scope is mounted relative to my eye. My head looks very erect on the stock, which it has to be to see the scope, but the image fills the eyepiece. The target is sharp and clear, even at the top magnification of 7X. The reticle is thick enough to pick out quickly, even against the deep woods; and, of course, it’s illuminated, which is a blessing on a scout scope.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope mounted
The UTG Mosin scout scope mount clears the action for loading and ejection. The straight Mosin bolt handle can be rotated up without interference.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Tom shooting on rest
As you can see, my head has to be high on the stock to see the scope. This is due to the Mosin’s stock, which drops away, but the scout scope is also mounted very high.

The adjustments worked as they are supposed to, and I got on target very quickly at 50 yards. I used the old standard of removing the bolt and sighting through the barrel to align the scope. The first shot was about 4 inches from the aim point, which is excellent for this kind of rough sight-in.

The mount
I haven’t told you about the Mosin Nagant mount that Leapers makes. It replaces the rear sight blade and leaf, using the rear base to secure a Picatinny rail with 2 side rails. Rubber pads slip over the mount’s side rails to keep them from cutting your hands when you handle the rifle.

Removing the rear sight leaf and attaching this mount was very easy. It took about 20 minutes total to finish the job, which included removing the sight parts first. The instructions are clear and concise, even though they address two different sight base kits for rifles and carbines. Once on the rifle and snugged down, the mount is rock-solid. It remained solid throughout this test.

The base is a tri-rail system with Picatinny rails on both sides, along with the main scope rail on top. These can be used for anything like lasers and tactical flashlights, though on a Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifle such accessories seem out of place. Perhaps hog hunters would like a light, though.

Overall evaluation
I’ve now used this scope on two different rifles — both with success. The first was an air rifle, and the second was this powerful centerfire. This is the first scout scope I’ve ever tested or used, so I don’t have experience with the type – but I do know this one works as advertised.

I wondered if the image would be clear and easy to see, since the eyepiece is 10-11 inches from the eye. No worries there. The image is very large and bright, though your sighting eye can see things other than the target, if you want. Once you focus on the target and reticle, though, nothing else seems to matter.

If you need a scout scope, I can certainly recommend this one from the standpoint of functionality. The size and weight, though, are a different matter. This is a large scope that sits high above the barrel, so you need to give that some thought when making your decision. Most scout scopes are either fixed power or low-powered variables. I believe this one has the highest magnification on the market. If that’s important to you, this may be the best scope out there.

Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout scope: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope
Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout Scope is a remarkable sight!

This report covers:

• What is a scout scope?
• Magnification
• Bright!
• The test

It’s been a long time since we looked at this UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope, and I want you to know that it isn’t because the scope isn’t interesting. It’s very interesting. But other questions and products always seemed to get in the way of this third report. Today that ends, as we’ll take another look at this great scout scope.

What is a scout scope?
Scout scopes are scopes that have very long eye relief. Where a normal long eye relief scope might allow you to position the eyepiece 4-5 inches from your eye, a scout scope lets you get back 9-11 inches. This scope we’re looking at today has an eye relief of 9.5 to 11 inches, so it spans almost the entire length that all scout scopes provide.

You use scout scopes when there’s a reason. Either the rifle’s action has parts that get in the way of a scope being mounted in the normal place — such as the Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifle family whose straight bolt handles rise 90 degrees when the bolt is opened, or there needs to be some clearance for cartridge ejection — such as with the M1 Garand and Winchester model 94 rifles. While there are other ways of mounting scopes on these guns, with the left side mounts being the most popular, a scout scope allows you to look straight ahead, so there will never be a problem adjusting the side angle of the scope’s optical axis to coincide with the bore.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Winchester 94 with scope
If the scope can’t be mounted above the receiver, such as on this Winchester model 94 lever-action rifle that ejects straight up, a side-mounted scope has been the traditional solution. The scout scope puts the scope above and in line with the bore, making alignment issues less critical.

Magnification
Scout scopes typically don’t have much magnification. That’s their weak spot. I guess it’s technically difficult to provide such a long eye relief and also magnify the target image, or perhaps they don’t do it because of how much the field of view diminishes as the scope goes out farther from the eye. What I do know is that Leapers gives us 2-7 magnifications with this UTG scope, which puts it at the top end of today’s scout scopes.

Bright!
A second big plus with this scope is its brightness. I was able to see the target clearly and make fine aiming adjustments at 7-power. That comes in very handy when you’re putting the thin mil-dot reticle on the target. This Leapers scope has reticle lines fine enough to shave with.

On top of that, this reticle is illuminated; so if the black lines are hidden by the target, they can be lit. All things considered, this is one fine hunting scope. I’ll say more about that in a bit, but let’s now test it at 25 yards.

The test
The scope is mounted on a Crosman MK-177 Tactical multi-pump pneumatic rifle. While that rifle doesn’t need a scout scope, it’s one of the few airguns that has a Picatinny rail long enough to mount such a scope at the correct distance from the eye.

I learned in the last test at 10 meters that this rifle does well with Air Arms Falcon pellets, so I used them exclusively in this test. Since I was shooting from 25 yards, I decided to begin with 6 pumps per shot. That should give a muzzle velocity of about 600 f.p.s. With multi-pumps, I’ve found that 5 or 6 pumps are sufficient for good accuracy at 25 yards indoors.

The first group was shot with the scope as it was left adjusted after the 10-meter test in April. The pellets landed high and to the right, with the group’s center being 2 inches high and .75 inches to the right. The first 10 pellets went into a group that measures 0.837 inches between centers. While that isn’t a wonderful group for most air rifles, it’s pretty good for an inexpensive multi-pump like the MK-177.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope group 1

The first group of 10 Falcons went into 0.837 inches at 25 yards.

Following this group, I adjusted the scope 6 clicks to the left 6 and 14 clicks down for the second group. This was also shot with 6 pump strokes per shot. Ten pellets went into 1.063 inches. Again, not the best group but still pretty good for one of these rifles. Note that the pellets did hit lower on the target following the adjustment.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope group 2

Following a scope adjustment, group 2 put 10 Falcon pellets into 1.063 inches at 25 yards.

I adjusted the scope down 6 more clicks and shot the next and final group. This time, I decided to pump the rifle 8 times for each shot — just to see what difference it might make, if any. Ten more shots went into 0.958 inches. The group was lower but also moved to the left. I must not have the scope leveled on the rifle. And that also makes me wonder if a scope level would help decrease the size of the groups. Several times, I found myself wondering if the gun was canted. The MK-177 doesn’t have the clues that a conventional rifle stock would have. It’s like holding a plank in your arms.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope group 3

For the third group, I adjusted the scope again and also pumped the rifle 8 times for each shot. It put 10 into 0.958 inches at 25 yards.

Okay, that’s today’s test. Remember, I was really testing the scope and not the rifle. I found it to be clear, sharp and very easy to use. The adjustments moved the reticle positively every time. Maybe a scope level could help accuracy, but that remains to be seen. I don’t think I’ve done this wonderful scope justice, yet.

I will now look into mounting this same scope on one of my firearms, so we can continue to look at it. This scope can take some of the budget-priced firearms like the Mosins and SKS/AKs and turn them into useful hunting arms for a fraction of the cost of a new rifle. If you’re in the market for a good scout scope, I think you better look at this one!

Plano Pro Max Double scoped Rifle Case

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• Description of the case
• Extreme equipment cases
• Back to the Plano case
• Security
• Size
• Practical considerations

Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case
The Plano Pro Max Double Scoped rifle case holds 2 scoped rifles. It features 7 pillars that keep the guns from being crushed.

Today, I’m writing about a piece of equipment, rather than an airgun. It’s a rifle case that Edith has been watching for some time. I discovered it in a recent transaction and was so impressed that I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

If you’re like me, you don’t give a lot of thought to gun cases. I have more guns than cases, so the cases I do have are mostly for traveling to the range and occasionally to an airgun show. I buy them on the cheap — mostly. But in the past 20 years, I’ve bought a few good hard cases for those few firearms and airguns that I really want to protect. Today, you’ll see a case that dropped into my lap, so to speak. It may be the best hard case I own. It’s certainly one of the three best. It is the Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case.

Description
Omit the words Pro Max, and the title tells you what this is. It’s a hard rifle case designed to carry 2 scoped rifles. Plano says it will carry the 2 rifles scoped with large objective lenses. Well, that’s quite a claim, since air rifles tend to be much bigger than firearms and air rifles scopes do, as well. But we’ll keep an open mind.

This case has 7 internal pillars (one at each corner and 3 down the middle) that keep the case from crushing when it’s run over. That’s one of its claims to fame and the reason Edith bought the case. You see, when Edith bought the Shamal air rifle for me recently, the owner was reluctant to ship it. He was afraid the shipper might mistreat the box since it had that long and narrow rifle-case appearance. So, she looked around for a case that would be strong enough to withstand any foul treatment.

Extreme equipment cases
I own an extreme rifle case already. We bought it years ago when we published The Airgun Letter. It’s a Starlite Gun case that is so tough it can withstand a drop from a 5-story building and being run over by an 11-ton M113A1 armored personnel carrier with only scratches to the outside of the case and no damage to the gun inside. It is completely waterproof and can be submerged to 400 feet without leakage. It has an air-pressure relief valve that allows the case to be opened when the external air pressure changes. Nice gun case, but it costs $190. It’s big and it’s heavy. Comes with wheels as an option that I wish I had bought.

Back to the Plano
I wanted something less expensive, yet still rugged enough to protect that beautiful Shamal. As mentioned Edith was watching this Plano case on the Pyramyd Air website, and we decided to take a chance with it. We had Pyramyd Air ship the case to the man who sent the rifle. I told him to turn the cardboard shipping box inside-out so it wouldn’t be so obvious what was inside, though the length and shape of the box is a pretty big clue.

Bottom line, the rifle arrived in perfect condition, but the case was so impressive that I had to tell you about it. What I saw when I opened the case was the rifle held tightly in place by 2 padded straps. In other large gun cases, the guns can move around inside in spite of the foam; but in this one, the straps make movement impossible. The straps go through raised strap holders in the case lid, and the foam is pierced with several slots that allow you to vary where the straps come through.

Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case Shamal
The Shamal looks tiny inside the big Plano double-scoped rifle case.

Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case strap holders
Under the foam on either end of the case are two rows of raised strap holders — making four in all. You can thread the straps through as many or as few of the loops as you like, and you can use either row on either side of the gun case. Whatever it takes to secure your rifle.

Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case strap
Each rifle is held tight by two padded straps that come up through the foam — one on either end of the rifle. With the two rows of strap slots, there are many configurations that can be made. Once strapped in, the rifle isn’t going anywhere.

If that isn’t enough, this case has 6 latches, rather than the usual 4. There is an extra one on either end of the case, at the place where other long gun cases get very flexible. You can see them in the photo at the beginning of this report.

Security
There are 2 reinforced holes along the long axis of the case for padlocks. If you travel with guns, these are very important!

While this case isn’t waterproof, it does have tongue-and-groove mating edges to keep out water and dust. The case is also rigid enough that it comes together without a lot of twisting and pressing on your part. This may be as close as you can get to a full-blown mil-spec rifle case at this price.

Size
This is a huge rifle case! That said, the location of the straps means you do have to give some thought to securing a rifle. Those central pillars seem to get in the way at first; but once you correctly position the straps, they can be easily accommodated.

To give you an idea of how large this case is on the inside, I secured an M1 Garand and my Remington model 37 Rangemaster target rifle with its huge Redfield scope. As you can see, the case dwarfs both rifles, though they’re larger than 90 percent of rifles available today. The internal dimensions are 52-1/2 inches by 17-1/4 inches, but there are many spots where the dimensions cut in (the case sides are not straight lines), so those are just the maximum sizes.

Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case 2 rifles
Two of the largest rifles I own. The Garand (bottom) isn’t that long, but it is fat and weighs 10.5 lbs. The Remington model 37 Rangemaster and scope dwarfs a Remington 700. Yet, this Plano case swallows them both with room to spare!

Practical considerations
This isn’t a rifle case for your Diana 27 or your Crosman 1077. At $70 plus shipping, it’s a large purchase — even for serious shooters. But if you own really special firearms and airguns that have to be protected, this is a good way to do it. It takes some time to adjust the straps for each different rifle, so I think I’ll keep right on using my $20 hard cases. But rifles like the Shamal and my Ballard now have a secure place to ride when we go to the range.

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