OPTIC OF THE WEEK: SWISS ARTILLERY RANGEFINDER

The optic for this week is not a gun sight but a range finding device. It’s probably something you may or may not have seen before on the internet but its not something younger shooters are familiar with. While it looks large and not at all handy, it was at one time one of the must have items for series precision long range shooters. I first became familiar with them via the ultra long range varmint shooters who demanded precise ranging to hit prairie dogs at extreme ranges. This was in the 80s into the 90s.

Back then there was no laser range finders. Well, other than military models which essentially means none for the rest of us. To get long ranging capability some one got the idea to start using these babies. They don’t use batteries or lasers and they don’t fit in your pocket but man do they work. And they are old world superb quality.

You don’t look through one in and out the other like a scope but through this eye piece on the right. You Just to the far right eye piece you can see what looks like a set of scaled down rifle iron sights. You use those to aim at what you want to range. Then you look through the eye piece at some landmark or structure that is hopefully 90 degrees to the ground. Say it is a phone pole. In the viewer it will look broken. You turn the wheel by the hand holds until the pole lines up and looks unbroken. Then you look into the left side eye piece and it gives you the range in meters. If memory serves the range finder is accurate to within 1 meter when used right and will range out to 10,000 meters. It works very well and we used it for years for accurate ranging.

The artillery range finder comes with a small tripod for obvious reasons like needing to lay prone and be low profile. These small tripods lock onto the optic and can be inserted into a larger set of tripods like seen in the photos.

The optic has a leather strap attached for carrying since it was intended to be man portable. It comes in a tubular water proof sealed carrier that has side pockets and straps for attaching the two tripods and a cleaning set with it. A very nice set up even if it is bulky.

Back in the day these were sold by a company called Deutsche Optik for $399. Be nice if you could get them for that now. A company that has that name still exists with a website but they ran out of the range finders many moons ago and do not sell them anymore.

I don’t know how practical or useful one of these would be to long range shooters anymore. We have GPS, laser range finders and all manner of things to make a long range shot easier. It is definitely a tool adapted by long range shooters from a time that now seems like the dark ages now a days. But it still works and we still use it sometimes.


Optic of the week: Leupold MK6 1-6 CMR-W 7.62

This is the most awesome optic that I am not going to recommend.

I’ve been selling off some of the stuff I wasn’t using. I ended up getting this scope in trade for a scope I wasn’t using and wasn’t going to use. I wouldn’t purchased this scope outright, but now that I have it, I really love it.

The MK6 1-6 is kind of an odd duck. It is most often seen with the CMR-W reticles which are most like an ACOG BDC with addition milradian hash marks and wind hold marks. It has a very bright daylight visible illumination, great turrets, an awesome 1x setting, a really nice battery cap, etc. But the list price is insane, and it is build for to be used in a way that I think makes it less preferable for most people.

There are two issues which I think makes the MK6 1-6 the wrong choice.
First is cost. MSRP is $2859.99
I’ve seen them sold used, with a mount for less than half that. Even so, that is pricey. While this scope is great, I wouldn’t pay that much for it. I only have once because I traded a much cheaper scope for it.

Second is the role of the scope.
There is a spectrum between speed and precision. A reflex sight is built for speed, and that 42X bench rest scope is built for precision. As magnification increases, users tend to want something geared more towards precision. This scope has a course BDC reticle and coarse adjustments, it is more like an ACOG+ than a mini-sniper scope. Most people I’ve talked to would rather have a mini-sniper scope these days. Now we have all sorts of new 1-8X and 1-10X that better fit that role over this scope. It is as if this scope is obsolete before it came to the market.

The glass is imported, so it doesn’t say “Made in the USA” I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t agree that foreign glass is better.

The turrets on this scope lock at zero and have a button to release them. If you press the button and turn it away from zero, they are no longer locked and you can turn them normally. Each click is clearly felt and barely audible. I found it really easy to set the zero on these as once I loosen the cap, turning it to zero locked the rotation, allowing me to just re tighten the screws. I would be perfectly happy if all my scopes had turrets like these.

These scopes turrets are .2 milradian adjustments. So about .72MOA per click. This allows the user to dial in up to about a 900m zero in a single turn, but also clearly shows that this is not a scope for precision shooting. I don’t think of this as a downside, but it is certainly an unpopular choice.

This is the best scope at 1X I have ever used. It felt the most like an Aimpoint than any other.

If you are properly aligned with the scope, the illumination is amazing. At 1X it is the flattest, nicest, most Aimpoint like view I have seen out of a magnified scope. But due to the lighting system this scope uses, if you are slightly off axis it dims greatly.

Lined up and the reticle is very bright
Move your head slightly and it dims.

The CMR-W BDC reticle is in meters. The 5.56 version goes to 900m (about 984 yards) and the 7.62 version goes to 1200m.

The center dot is for 200m. To the left and right there are mRad hash marks and a mRad vertical scale on the left. Along side the bullet drop chart there are wind lead marks for 10 and 20 mile per wind hold. Also on the left side of each distance there is a range finding tool.

A side note, I highly recommend when you are zeroing a scope, that is new to you, to start at close distances. This scope is was set 9 inches low at 25 yards. Had I started at 50 or 100 yards I would have been well off the target.

The battery compartment has a recessed button and flips open

The battery compartment makes for easy and fast battery changes and removes the chance of cross threading a cover back on. For the optics with short battery life, they all should have battery compartments like this.

The 20mm objective lens looks tiny in the 34mm tube.

I really enjoy shooting with and using this scope. But I do not recommend anyone buy one. Doubly so at list price. Optics design and tech is rapidly advancing. Now there are cheaper and smaller 1-8X scopes like the Nightforce NX8. When I first used the MK6 I thought it felt heavy and clunky. I was sort of surprised when I read it is the same weight as some much smaller scopes I own. It isn’t really heavy for what it is, but it is large. I think it feels clunky and overkill for an AR15, but less of a long range precision scope than you would want on a .308 Semi Auto.

It is a great scope, but if I was spending fresh cash, I would rather spend far less cash on newer scopes.

Optic of the Week: ARMS 40 Std A2

Disclosure:  I don’t mean this as a proper review as this was broken and missing parts when I received it.

The ARMS 40 Std A2 rear sight is an older designed BUIS that is spring loaded to flip up and does not lock.  Windage adjustments are .75 MOA.

A few years ago now, I received a disassembled ARMS 40 rear sight.  It was missing the aperture and was reassembled incorrectly.  I had tried contacting them about purchasing the missing parts or sending it in to be rebuild.  If I recalled correctly they never responded to me.

I thought that it would be easy to get an A2 aperture to drop in it and get it operational.  Oh boy was I wrong.

Each time I ordered some part or accessory I needed, I tried to order an A2 aperture to go along with it.  Every time until now the A2 apertures were out of stock.  EVERY TIME!

I even tried to get one from White Oak Armament, they discontinued carrying the standard A2 rear sight aperture.  WTF?  I guess A2 sights are truly dead.

Finally I made an order from MidwayUSA and they had only had a couple DPMS A2 apertures left.  So I got one.

That aperture installed just like how you would install one into a carry handle.  Now I am able to use the sight.

To install one of the ARMS 40 series sights, you unscrew a nut.  This nut has a wide slot on it so that you can use a screw to remove it.  It is suppose to be secured with a wire tether to the sight, but this old abused sight lacks that.  The base of the sight is slid onto the rail, the cross bolt inserted and then locked in place with the nut.

 

On the right rear of the sight is the latch that securely holds the sight down.  It is quick and easy to release the sight and the sight springs up.  You can also easily secure the sight down one handed.

The sight springs up.  It is suppose to lean slightly backwards so that if the weapon is dropped the sight folds.  It does not lock with the intent to hold to prevent damage.  Mine seems to lean a little forward.  Letting it spring up on its own makes noise, but I wouldn’t call it loud.

The sight is notched so that if it is pushed down it has clearance for the latch so that nothing is damaged.

With the A2 aperture this sight provides the same sight picture of any other A2 sight.  The first ARMS 40 models had a cut down peep to make the sight shorter.  They also offer the ARMS 40 STD A2 that has a standard A2 aperture like this one.

I had initially intended to fix this sight and then sell it.  But I think I found a home for it.

I remember a short time back in the day when flat top uppers were first getting popular that the ARMS 40 was considered the best BUIS out there.  But that quickly changed.  MSRP is $136, so there are cheaper excellent options.  The tall height of this sight prevented many optics from fitting over it.  I found I couldn’t put an ACOG or several of my standard scopes over this BUIS when it was mounted to an AR15.  ARMS later made the ARMS40L a low profile version of this sight.

I’d still love to have one of the low profile ARMS 40L-P models, but I’m not going to spend the cash for one.

This was a good rear sight, but when options like the Troy flip up sights came out, these seemed to be quickly forgotten.  Locking sights were perceived as being more durable.  Not to mention many of the good alternatives were cheaper.

Now, the ARMS 40 series is an expensive obsolete relic.

Extreme disappointment in Leupold.

Update-  Finally heard back from Leupold, they acknowledge this is a mistake and will be correcting it.

I have an old TS-30 A2 Leopold scope.  The model is nothing special, but it rare to find one with the military “TS-30 A2” markings.

I’ve been meaning to post up a review of this scope, but when I received it the illumination was broken.  I thought I’d send it in and have it refurbished before I did a review.

It used a 1/3 N battery, like the old Aimpoints.

So I sent it in to Leupold to have the illumination fixed.  I got it back today.

They overhauled it:

They put in the updated illumination that uses a CR2032 battery, a nice upgrade:

But then they gave me a massive downgrade:

They downgraded me to a Duplex Reticle.  That is a major change from the original mildot reticle.  It pretty much makes the scope useless for me.

 

What The Fuck Leupold?  I never would have sent it in if I knew they were going to do that.

I’ve attempted to contact their customer service department and am waiting to hear back.

Optic of the week: HK Diopter BUIS

Ok, I’m phoning it in this week.  I found these old HK BUIS I thought I sold long ago, and I found that the old article on them has all the images missing.

On the HK416/MR556 and their .308 rifles as well the optics rail is higher than the rail on a standard flat top AR15.  Because of this HK fixed iron sights are lower than standard height AR15 sights so they can not compatible to use together.  Not that you would want too.

Under the 200m aperture of the drum, there will be 1 or 2 dots.  If there is a single dot (like this one) the sight is calibrated for a 10.4 inch barrel.  If there are 2 dots, it is the model for the 14.5 and 16.5 inch barrels.

HK Front sights are not adjustable, all zeroing adjustment is done on the rear sight.

The drum apertures are different sizes and set for 100 to 400 meters.  The 100m opening is much larger than the other ones to make it easier to use for close quarters use.

Windage is adjusted by loosing the screw on the top of the sight, and turning the screw on the right side of the sight.  1 full turn will move your point of impact 6 inches at 100m.  Tighten the top screw to lock the sight back in place.

Inside the drum there are two tabs.  Compressing both tabs inwards allows for the drum to turn adjusting the elevation of the rear sight.  You need to turn the elevation drum in 1/4 turn increments for 1.5 inch adjustment at 100m.  If you don’t have the proper sight adjustment tool, you can make adjustments using a pair of needle nose pliers.

Zeroing these sights can be annoying.

They are nice sights, and if you are more familiar with HK style sights than AR sights, it is nice to have this option.  However you can get good AR sights for cheaper that will have a finer and easier adjustments.