Posts Tagged ‘rifle scopes’

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!

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

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

Part 1

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

I’m on the road today to Ohio to Pyramyd Air and the Flag City Toys That Shoot airgun show this coming Saturday. If you plan to be there, please stop by my table and introduce yourself.

And while I’m gone on this huge road trip (there’s more driving ahead before I return home), I would ask the veteran readers to help answer the questions posed by the newer readers. I will only have about 3 hours each evening to exercise, answer emails and write the next blog — and I usually get 150-200 emails a day.

Today, I’m testing the UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope for accuracy. It’s mounted on the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic that I tested for you awhile back. So, I have the data on that rifle using open sights.

I selected the 3 best pellets from that first test for today’s test. The distance was 10 meters because the groups I got before were not that small. Had they been small enough, I might have tested the rifle at 25 yards.

RWS Hobbys
The first pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. In the previous test at 10 meters with open sights, 10 Hobbys gave me a group that measured 0.858 inches. With the scope mounted, I got a group that measured 0.928 inches at the same 10 meters. So, no improvement.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Hobby group
Ten Hobbys fared no better with a scope than with open sights at 10 meters. In fact, at 0.928 inches between centers, this group is larger than the one shot with open sights. But, the scope was much easier to use.

I found the scope’s thin reticle quite easy to pick up and hold on target. The optics seem clear and bright, although my test conditions were perfect. I would like to test this scope in the field under variable lighting.

H&N Finale Match Pistol
Next, I tested 10 H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. In the last test, they gave me a 1.299-inch 10-shot group, but 9 of those went into just 0.399 inches. I suspected at the time that the one pellet was somehow off, so I decided to try this pellet again.

This time, using the scope, 10 pellets went into 0.548 inches. That’s better than the last group and not much larger than the 9 pellets that grouped so well on the other test. Up to this point in the test, the scope hasn’t improved my results — but it has been much easier to use! My shooting went much faster because I wasn’t guessing where the top of the front sight was.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope H&N Finale Match pistol group
Yes, these 10 H&N Finale Match pistol pellets are in a smaller group than before, at just 0.548 inches. But I feel the one stray shot in the open-sight test may have been a damaged pellet.

After this group, I adjusted the scope to center the group in the bullseye. It’s easy enough to do, and the locking ring means there’s no fear of anyone messing up the settings.

Air Arms Falcons
The final pellet I tried was the Air Arms Falcon dome — a lightweight dome that has proven very accurate in a number of different airguns. This time, the results were better. Ten Falcons went into 0.839 inches in the first test with open sights and just 0.425 inches in this test. Nine of the 10 pellets went into just 0.154 inches — rivaling a 10-meter rifle!

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope Air Arms Falcon group
Believe it or not, there are 9 Falcon pellets in the larger hole! The one pellet strayed up a little (shot 7), opened this group to 0.425 inches.

Impressions of the scope thus far
I’m thoroughly impressed with this scout scope. It’s clear, sharp and easy to use. I want to test it on something else — maybe a firearm. This is a scope I can recommend if you’re looking for a good scope.

The benefit isn’t better groups, but a clearer picture of the target. On a rifle with real precision, that can mean something!

I do plan on another test with this rifle ay 25 yards. The Falcon pellets have earned their way into that test, and perhaps some similar premium pellets, as well.

Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout scope: Part 1

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

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

And now for something I really want to talk about – Leapers UTG Accushot 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope. I’ve been watching this scope for a year, wondering how I could work it into the blog. Most air rifles have no need for a scout scope, so it was a challenge to find one that did. Finally, I quit wondering and decided this is such a fine scope that I’ll talk about it whether there’s a huge need for it or not.

What is a scout scope?
To understand the scout scope, you must first understand the scout rifle concept. A scout rifle is meant to be carried on long treks, away from normal transportation. In other words, a rifle you have to carry most of the time. Therefore, scout rifles are light weight — especially for their calibers, which are often large to take long-range shots or drop dangerous game.

Many scout rifles do not lend themselves to having scopes mounted at the conventional location, which is just above the action. They require the scope to be mounted further forward, either to clear the path of the ejected cartridge, such as on an M14, or to provide room for a straight bolt handle, like those found on Mausers and Mosin-Nagants.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope on Mosin Nagant
This image from the Leapers website shows the scope mounted on a Mosin-Nagant. The scout scope goes forward of the receiver, almost to the middle of the rifle.

What defines the scout scope is its longer eye relief (the distance from the sighting eye to the first lens in the scope). It’s usually in the range of 9-11 inches, where the eye relief of a conventional scope might be around 3 inches. Even a scope with long eye relief might only go out as far as 5 inches. So, the scout scope is definitely different.

As difficult as it is to imagine, when your head is in the correct position on the rifle (9 to 11 inches behind the scope), you actually see the fully magnified image, just as if your eye were close to a conventional scope. It appears as a bright, magnified picture of your target with the reticle superimposed over it. Until you experience it, this is a difficult thing to envision.

Because of the extended eye relief, scout scopes do not magnify as much as conventional scopes. This one goes from 2x to 7x magnification, which is actually very high for a scout scope.

This scope is one of the largest, if not the largest scopes in the scout scope market. Other companies make their scout scopes with smaller objective lenses of 28mm to 32mm, and this one dominates them all at 44mm. Of course, that and the 30mm scope tube do add weight to the instrument, so consider that when you shop. Also, think about the clearance of the objective lens over the barrel of whatever rifle you’re scoping.

Leapers packs a pair of medium-height Weaver rings with this scope, and I used those rings to mount the test scope on a Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic, which has a long, flat Picatinny rail. Mounted this way, the objective lens has clearance underneath and even clears the flip-up scope caps. Clearance over the gun should not be an issue unless there’s something sticking up in the way, like a sight or a handguard.

UTG 2-7X44 Scout SWAT scope on MK 177
Mounted on Crosman’s MK-177, the scout scope goes to almost the front of the rifle.

I hope this explanation plus the above photo have convinced you that there’s a need for a scout scope. Some airguns and firearms cannot use anything else! It isn’t the mainstream scope; but if you need one, nothing else will do.

Getting specific
Let’s take a look at this specific sight. Obviously, the power varies from 2x to 7x magnification. The scope tube is 30mm, which means the lenses in the package can be a little larger than if this was a one-inch scope. That — plus the emerald lens coatings Leapers scopes are famous for — are an aid to the transmission of light. I will say that with the scope farther from your eye, more light that’s not part of the sight picture can enter your eye, making the sight picture appear darker by comparison. But under most conditions, this scope is as bright as needed.

This scope has a range of eye relief from 9.5 to 11 inches. That’s almost the entire range in which scout scopes operate!

I found the thin reticle lines of this scope hard to pick up against a darker background, which is where the built-in illumination comes in handy. Just press one of the buttons atop the rear of the scope, and the reticle lights up. This scope gives you the possibility of 36 different colors and hues, so there’s always something that will work for your current situation. This scope has an etched-glass reticle, so the central reticle appears unconnected to the thicker lines on the edges of the duplex. And the central lines have mil-dots on both axes.

The windage and elevation adjustments are both quarter-minute clicks, which means they move the strike of the round by approximately 1/4-inch at 100 yards. Both knobs have locking rings at their base that allow you to sight-in the scope and then lock it down so no one can mess with your zero.

The combination of thin reticle lines and illumination give you the best of both worlds — a scope that can be very precise on a paper bullseye in bright light, plus a reticle you can pick up fast in a darker woods setting.

The proof is in the testing, so that’s what will happen next. I’ll back up to 25 yards and shoot the MK-177 with this scope as my sighting tool.

But I’ve already made up my mind about this scope. I like it so much that I’m going to look for a firearm on which to mount it, just so I can have it in my collection. Unless something odd happens during the accuracy test, this scope is a winner!

Scope dope — I hope! Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This is an ongoing series about scope questions and issues. Blog reader David Enoch asked for it originally, but many other readers have jumped in since it began. Today, I’m going to give you some scope tips I’ve learned over the years.

Tom’s scope tips

1. Get good glass!
You can’t hit what you can’t see! The quality of the glass in the lenses; the coatings on the glass; and the perfection with which the optics were ground, finished and handled during production are all more important than superfluous features like illuminated reticles and mil dots.

I look for clarity in a scope long before I consider anything else. I’ve been known to select a 4x scope over a 4-16x just for this reason.

If you have a chance to test a scope before buying, test it by trying to focus at close range and read fine print. Look out at the edges of the image. Are they as sharp? Point the scope into a dark area and see if it highlights what’s there or just muddies the image.

2. Don’t shop for a scope by the brand name.
Brand names mean nothing these days. Even Leupold, which does make some superior optics such as the Vari-X III models, also makes mediocre scopes…like the Vari-X II line. The same holds true for Leapers, Hawke and most others. I’ve seen Nikon, Burris and even Nightforce scopes that weren’t very clear. The fact that a scope company can make superior scopes has no bearing on what they put into your scope.

Shop for scopes by the model and look only at reports for that exact model. You may get a sense that some makers put a lot of quality in certain scopes, and if you do, use that information. For example, I’ve told you several times that the Hawke 4.5-14X42 Tactical Sidewinder is a super scope. It stands head and shoulders above many other models and brands in the same price range. I know it’s not cheap, but it’s worth the price.

I have also touted several Leapers scopes in my reports. Leapers has been working to improve their scopes for the past 15 years, and it really shows. The top line of Leapers scopes is the Accushot Premium series, branded as UTG Accushot scopes. The UTG 8-32X56 Accushot rifle scope is an example of a scope that delivers about twice as much value as the price indicates. Yes, it’s also not cheap, but it has all the desirable features.

What should you look for? Look for glass lenses. Look for etched-glass reticles that will automatically have the fine (but visible) crosshairs you need. Look for single coatings of magnesium fluorite or emerald on the lenses. Both will enhance light transmission, where multi-coated optics are always a compromise. Look for 30mm scope tubes whose lenses are larger and also transmit more light. And look for lockable reticle adjustments that don’t need tools to adjust.

3. Don’t adjust any scope above 3/4 elevation or more than 3/4 to the right.
This has become my mantra because I see it crop up every time there’s a problem with “scope shift.” Scope shift seems to be almost non-existent, except when shooters adjust the scope too far up or too far to the right that the erector tube return-spring is relaxed. No scope in the world can hold its zero at that point.

The problem is universal, and the diagnosis is simple. Simply adjust the scope knobs down and to the left a lot, then shoot a group at least 25 yards away (farther is better). Sure, it won’t be in the right place; but if it’s tight and you can shoot repeatedly without any wandering, you know the problem is not with the scope. It’s with the mount. You need to align the scope’s axis with the barrel axis, and the problem will be solved. Either shim the scope or use an adjustable mount…you can stop criticizing the scope and get on with the fix.

4. Pick the power carefully.
Just like you don’t buy scopes by their brands, don’t buy them by their power, either. An excellent 4x scope can often outshoot a mediocre 16x scope. And it’s certainly easier on your eyes.

This is one reason I have so many vintage scopes. They don’t have the power of the modern scopes, but their optics are so clear that it doesn’t matter. This goes back to my first tip: Get good glass!

5. Consider a sidewheel objective adjustment.
It takes only a few minutes shooting field target to make this lesson clear. Instead of reaching out an arm’s length to turn an objective bell that’s probably very stiff to turn, a sidewheel objective adjustment puts the controls at your fingertips. I’d say that it’s the difference between power brakes and manual brakes on a car, but very few who are under 40 know what manual brakes are anymore. You young guys will just have to trust me on this.

6. Think about where the scope will be going.
If you don’t consider where the scope has to be mounted, it may not even fit on the gun you have or are about to buy. The same holds for scope mounts. Will they fit on the gun? Where’s the scope stop located, if you need one?

The biggest mistake shooters make on this account is that they try to mount a short scope on a rifle whose scope stop puts the eyepiece too far from the eye when the rifle is held naturally. This happens a lot with UTG Bug Buster scopes on springers like Gamos and Hatsans. You’re better off mounting a scope with a long eye relief, such as the CenterPoint Power Class 1TL 3-9×42 AO scope, on rifles like this, unless the scope tube is long enough to reach back.

7. Consider target turrets.
This may put some shooters off, but a scope with target turrets is so much easier to work with than one that cannot show you how much elevation and right adjustment has been applied. Target turrets usually cost more because they’re found on better scopes, but they pay you back when you’re setting up a gun or swapping the scope to a different gun.

Scope turrets
Which adjustment gives the most information about the scope’s current state? The coin-operated knob on the right or the target turret on the left?

8. Get adjustable parallax!
Parallax does matter to airgunners because we always shoot so close to the target. Parallax changes dramatically between 25 and 50 yards, but almost not at all between 100 and 150 yards. Firearm scope users seldom need parallax correction (what some call focusing) like airgunners do.

Yes, you can change the distance for which a scope is adjusted when it has fixed parallax; but after you do, it’s still fixed. It’s only good (focused) at that distance.

9. Shop for a good dealer
The dealer is the bottom line. One dealer will stand behind everything he sells and another will not. I will pay a premium to do business with good dealers. Yes, I’m talking about Pyramyd Air, but it doesn’t stop with them. There are many good dealers out there, and I make it my business to find out who they are before doing business with them.

Optics can have problems from the factory. More than other items, they’re products that do need to be returned sometimes. Having a dealer support you when that happens means a lot.

Summary
If you were to talk to me in person about scopes, these are some of the things I would tell you. And I would jump up and down about the third tip. That’s the one that hits me every time I’m called in to solve a scope problem. If the scope has target turrets, I can spot this problem from 10 feet away. I can also do it just by listening to the shooter converse with his buddy on the range…”I need more elevation, but I’ve got the scope dialed up as far as it will go!” That’s a problem just waiting to be discovered.

Quackenbush .308: Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Quackenbush .308 big bore is an attractive airgun.

The last time we looked at this Quackenbush .308 big bore was when I discovered that my rifle really likes Mr. Hollowpoint’s 68-grain hollowpoint bullet. I also tested a 150-grain Loverin-design bullet that was just a bit too heavy for the gun. It didn’t want to stabilize and was tearing elongated holes in the target at 50 yards.

If you’ll recall, I was running low on air that day, so I could fill the rifle to only 3,000 psi. That gave a stunning group that was smaller than one inch at 50 yards with the 68-grain hollowpoint, but I wondered whether it would do any better if I filled the rifle to higher pressure. I also wondered if going just a trifle faster would have stabilized the 150-grain bullet. There were a lot of unanswered questions after the last test.

Today, I’ll address those questions. I had a full air tank and a reasonably good day at the range. Certainly for testing something as stable as a .308, the light breeze was no challenge.

Shooting the 68-grain hollowpoints
I decided to fill the rifle to 3,500 psi, to see what kind of velocity that might give. The 68-grain bullet averaged 1051 f.p.s, on that much air and left about 3,100 psi in the tank for the second shot. That’s a muzzle energy of 167.15 foot-pounds.

Shot two averaged 1,010 f.p.s. with the same 68-grain bullet and generated 154.07 foot-pounds of energy. You might think that’s close enough to the first velocity that the bullets will print in the same place. They might if this was a firearm — but it’s an air rifle, and we have to take the flexing of the horizontal air reservoir into account. As the pressure inside the air reservoir changes, the reservoir — which is a long tube — flexes a tiny bit. Since it’s connected to the barrel, this flexing can cause movement in the muzzle.

The first shots printed about two inches higher on the target than the second shots. I knew they would from past experience shooting other big bores, so this came as no surprise to me. I actually shot one group of first shots (after a 3,500 psi fill) at one target and a separate group of second shots at a second target.

After seeing where the shots landed relative to the aim point, it’s possible to use the mil-dot reticle in my scope to shoot both shots into the same group by using two different aim points. This is a technique I learned several years ago with my .458 Outlaw; and with it, I can put five bullets into one inch at 50 yards. I didn’t try that on this day, however, because I was too busy learning the gun.

Neither group obtained this day was as good as the group I shot last time on just 3,000 psi of air. The first group that was shot on 3,500 psi measured 2.72 inches between centers for five shots, though four of those shots landed in a group measuring 1.219 inches.


Four of the five bullets were close at 50 yards on 3,500 psi. Two landed in the same hole.

The group that was fired on 3,100 psi measured 1.953 inches between centers. That’s twice the size of the best group that was shot several weeks ago on 3,000 psi, so I think this bullet is going too fast for best results. It looks to me like this 68-grain hollowpoint wants no more than 3,000 psi as a max charge. That would put the velocity at around 970-980 f.p.s.


Lower starting pressure gave a tighter group. This one was made with 3,100 psi.

Did the 150-grain bullets stabilize?
Again, the 150-grain bullets failed to completely stabilize — even when driven to 825 f.p.s (on 3,600 psi air) and generating 226.75 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.


Both bullet holes show evidence of tipping. The bullet is not stabilized.

Clearly, this Loverin bullet is too long to stabilize at the velocity this rifle generates. What’s needed is a 120- to 130-grain bullet that’s short, which means it must have either a round or a flat nose.

Some observations
I’m seeing a relationship between soft pure lead bullets and better accuracy. Any hardening alloy seems to open up the group.

Ditto for lubricated bullets. So far, the best, most accurate bullets are those that are completely dry. I see now that I need to cast some more 130-grain bullets in lead that is as pure as I can make it, and shoot them absolutely dry. I’ve seen the performance of pure lead bullets on game, and they hold together far better than hard alloy bullets do. Lead hardened with antimony breaks apart in large chunks, while soft lead mashes up like a wad of bubble gum when it hits game.

I’ve always questioned using a .308 for game as large as a deer. I know hunters who are better shots than I am do it all the time and have great success, but for me the .308 is more of a coyote and bobcat round. I’ll leave the deer and wild hogs to the .458 and keep this .308 for smaller game. It probably has a useful range of 125 yards in my hands. For an air rifle, that’s pretty far!

Quackenbush .308: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Tyrone Nerdin’ Daye is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Tyrone Nerdin’ Day says this about his winning photo: Me and my IZH-DROZD MP-661k Blackbird with Wild Mod Chip, Walther PS 22 red dot sight, quad rails and a UTG Tactical Op bipod. Black SWAT vest with the Walther CP99 Compact, police belt with Winchester Model 11.

Part 1
Part 2


Quackenbush .308 big bore is an attractive air rifle.

It’s been a long time since Part 2 because I was searching for a better bullet for this rifle. Oh, the groups shown in Part 2 aren’t that bad; but when you see what I have to show today, you’ll be glad I stuck with it.

Most of my experience has been with Quackenbush’s larger calibers. My Quackenbush .458 Long Action rifle is so accurate that I was pretty sure I could get better performance out of this .308.

The .308 is the big bore gun everyone talks about these days. Guys are taking deer and goats with them out to incredible distances. At the 2012 LASSO big bore shoot, they were hitting half-sized sheep silhouettes out to 300 yards and making it look easy. But the bullets I had didn’t seem to want to perform like what I saw from other guns. So, I kept searching and trying different bullets.

Blog reader Robert from Arcade even sent me a batch of 150-grain Loverin-style lead bullets he cast himself. They were big and heavy, and my rifle wasn’t doing that well with lighter lead bullets, so I didn’t have a lot of hope for these. But I took them along to the range yesterday, where I tried them along with a remarkable new bullet that I picked up at the Arkansas airgun show this year.

Mr. Hollowpoint saves the day!
At that show, I asked Robert Vogel, who’s Mr. Hollowpoint, for a good bullet for my rifle. He recommended a new hollowpoint he’s casting that has had some good reports. At 68 grains, it’s a featherweight compared to the 115 to 130-grain bullets I’ve been shooting, and I thought maybe the additional velocity I’d get might make the difference. So, I bought a bag to try.

I got out to the range on Wednesday, and the day was very close to perfect. At 88 deg. F, it was a bit warm, but the wind was very low and never did pick up.


The 150-grain Loverin bullet on the left and the 68-grain hollowpoint at the center and right were both tried. Notice the uneven base on the hollowpoint. It seemed to make no difference on the target. That large hollow point lives up to its name!

My carbon fiber tank would soon need a refill, so I was only able to fill the rifle to 3,000 psi, and I held the number of shots per group to 5 instead of 10. The first shot was low and about three inches to the right of the bull, so I cranked up the elevation and put in some left clicks and then shot a 10. It was nothing but luck that the one adjustment put the bullet in the right spot.

It doesn’t get much better than that, so I refilled the rifle and shot again. I was filling after each shot, so every shot had the benefit of a 3,000 psi fill behind it. With the Quackenbush Long Action Outlaw, and to a large extent with all other big bore air rifles I’ve tested, the first and second shots group in different areas — but they do group tight. The trick is to use some extra elevation for the second shot so it goes to the same place as the first. But since I didn’t know exactly how much elevation to use with this new bullet, I refilled after each shot instead.

It was a slow, methodical process of settling into the rest, sighting, squeezing off the shot, then returning to the tailgate of my truck to top off the reservoir for the next shot. My shooting buddy, who witnessed all this, was impressed by how much recoil this .308 has. Of course, it recoils with or without the bullet, because the air that’s exhausting is giving the rifle a rocket push.

By the time the fifth shot had been fired, I could see the results through the scope. The group was tight and well-centered, and the last three shots were in the x-ring, which is in the center of the 10. They can be covered by a dime. So, this 68-grain hollowpoint from Mr. Hollowpoint is the bullet my .308 likes!


Five shots went into this 0.975-inch group at 50 yards. The 68-grain bullets from Mr. Hollowpoint are a real winner in my Quackenbush .308. The center three bullet holes can just be covered by the dime.

The base of the bullet has an uneven ridge extending past the base. It’s the result of sizing the bullet, because Robert Vogel sizes each and every one to .308. Normally, I would worry about anything on the base that isn’t perfectly uniform; but after looking at the target, I can see that this has little affect on how this particular bullet flies.

This bullet loads very easily in my rifle. There seems to be no resistance when the bolt is closed. They’re cast from pure lead, which leaves them soft and prone to deformation. Performance on game is enhanced through the combination of the soft lead and the hollowpoint design. A soft lead bullet holds together better than one that’s hardened with antimony, so these bullets still penetrate deeply in game. Elmer Keith wrote extensively about the performance of soft lead bullets on game with handguns, and the velocity of these big bore rifles is pretty close to what he obtained.

I wouldn’t use such a light hollowpoint on a whitetail deer-sized animal, but it ought to turn a coyote or a bobcat inside-out! And the rifle is now zeroed at 50 yards — huzzah!

From light to heavy
Next up was the Loverin-style 150-grainer from Robert of Arcade. Since the rifle was only so-so with the lighter bullets I’d tried, I didn’t think it would stabilize this long lead slug, but it wasn’t much trouble to try. Robert also casts these from lead as pure as he can get; so, like Mr. Hollowpoint bullets, they’re just right for airguns.

A Loverin bullet has many grease grooves along a relatively long body. It was greatly in favor in the early 20th century. When jacketed bullets came along, they sent the best lead bullet designs into relative obscurity. Only those who cast their own bullets are aware of the differences in designs like the Loverin, and this style bullet is no longer popular with mold-makers today. If I want to get a Loverin mold, I either have to buy a custom mold or I have to watch the auction sites for a vintage mold to come up for sale. This one is Lyman mold 311466.

In contrast to the easy loading of the 68-grain hollowpoint, these bullets were hard to load. They were not sized and measure up to 0.311 inches in diameter. I normally shoot unsized lead bullets in my big bores whenever I can to ensure the best sealing of the bore — a little resistance at loading is normal.

The bullets landed lower on the target, as expected, and they were about a half-inch to the right; but after 5 shots, I was impressed by the group they made.

By this point, the carbon fiber tank was definitely running out of air. On the final two shots, it filled the rifle to only 2,950 psi. Since the resulting group seems elongated up and down, I will attribute some of that to the uneven fill. I think that if I shot this bullet at a higher-pressure fill, the performance might improve.

Notice, also, that the bullet holes seem elongated. There was some tipping going on, and this bullet is probably at the ragged edge of stability at this velocity — whatever that is. A higher-pressure fill will probably boost velocity enough to correct this at 50 yards.


Five shots went into this 2.008-inch group at 50 yards. The Loverin-design bullet did remarkably well, considering its 150-grain weight. The last two fills were only 2,950 psi. I wonder what a higher, more uniform fill might do?

This longer, heavier bullet would be ideal for deer. While the velocity is probably down at the 700 f.p.s. mark, these bullets still shoot all the way through deer unless they’re stopped by heavy bone. I would restrict my shots to very close range with this bullet, but I think it might do the trick out to 80 yards, or so.

What’s next?
Now that I have one good bullet for sure and the possibility of another, it’s time to test both with higher fill levels. I also want to chronograph these bullets so we can see what sort of performance they give.

I also want to cast some of my 130-grain spitzers in pure lead and shoot them unsized and unlubricated. That might be the secret to success in this rifle.

We’re not quite done with the Quackenbush .308. My thanks to both Mr. Hollowpoint and to Robert from Arcade for providing me with these two bullets to test.

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