Tag Archives: Optics

Samson flip to side Aimpoint 3X magnifier mount

Samsun FTS Aimpoint

I pickup an Aimpoint 3X mangifer in a Samson Flip To Side mount to play around with.

Samsum FTS Aimpoint

The Samson FTS mount has a cross bolt so you screw it onto your rail. A lever is on the left side to flip the magnifier over.

I had to swap out the Matech rear sight I was using with a KAC 300m rear sight. The Samson mount did not have enough height to clear the Matech sight.

Samson FTS Aimpoint

The spring in the mount quickly pushes the magnifier out of the way. It also hold the magnifier off on the side pretty well. If you violently shake the rifle, the magnifier will move, but it stays out of the way pretty well.

Samson FTS Aimpoint

After playing with this mount a bit, I don’t like it. It appears to be well made, but it isn’t right for me. Flip to side mounts like the LaRue can be used by either hand while this one has its lever on the left side. I also don’t like how it screws to the gun, I would prefer to be able to take the magnifier off quickly. For me, this mount isn’t right, but I would recommend it to someone who wants a dedicated FTS mount.

MOA and Mils summed up nicely.

Often at the range I have had to explain to people what Minute of Angle (MOA), and Milradians mean. Today I was reading about the Nemo .300 Win Mag ARs and I found they had a nice explaination of the two in their rifle’s manual.

Quoting from the Nemo manual:

Mils and MOA differ from an inch because they are angular, not linear, measurements. An inch equals an inch no matter how far away it is.

What is MOA? MOA stands for minute of angle. There are 360 degrees in a circle and each degree is divided into 60 minutes. If we round to the nearest 1⁄100 of an inch, at 100 yards 1 degree measures 62.83 inches. One MOA, 1⁄60 of that, measures 1.047 inches. While 1 MOA at 100 yards equals 1.047 inches, at 200 yards it equals 2.094 inches (2 x 1.047). To calculate MOA at any distance, multiply 1.047 by the distance in yards and divide by 100.

What is a MIL? MILS (milliradians) is another angular measurement. There are 6.2832 (π x 2) radians per circle. There are 1,000 mils per radian so, there are 6,283.2 mils in a circle. There are 21,600 MOA in a circle, so a little quick division determines there are 3.4377 MOA per mil. At 100 yards, 3.4377 MOA equals 3.599 inches (3.4377 x 1.047). Rounded up, one mil equals 3.6 inches at 100 yards. A mil is so large, it’s broken into tenths in order to make precise adjustments. If you have a riflescope with mil adjustments, each click equals 1⁄10 mil. A tenth of a mil equals .36 inch or .9144 centimeter at 100 yards. Since 1⁄10 of a mil is an angular measurement, it will be slightly larger at 100 meters than at 100 yards because 100 meters equals 109.361 yards. At 100 meters, 1⁄10 of a mil equals .9999 centimeter. Practically speaking, 1⁄10 of a mil equals 1 centimeter at 100 meters. Because mil, like MOA, is an angular measure, the length it represents increases with distance. For example, 1 mil at 100 yards equals 3.6 inches and 7.2 inches at 200 yards. To calculate how many inches are in a mil at any distance, multiply 3.6 times the distance in yards and divide by 100.

Their manual does an excellent job of summing up what the two are. Sometimes I have a hard time explaining this to new shooters.

Then question then arises, “Which is better?” Neither, they are two options with various pros and cons. If you shoot paper targets at known distances, MOA is usually preferred. You can measure or see how many inches of adjustment you need on paper, convert number of inches to minutes, then convert adjustment that to clicks. Mil adjustments are usually 1/10 mil per click, making the math similar to when you use SI units(metric system).

Both systems work well, the only main suggestion I have is don’t use a scope that mixes the two. It used to be common to have scopes with a Mildot reticle, and MOA turrets. This can make the math a pain.

For example:
If I am shooting at 565 yards, and I am using a MOA scope and I see I am impacting a foot low I know that.
1 foot = 12 inches.
1 MOA at 565 yards is about 5.6 inchs.
So 2 minutes of adjustment would be about 11.2 inchs, so I would want to come up about 2 and 1/4 MOA.

Or.
If I am using a Mildot reticle and a 1/10 mil turret, I can use my Mildot to measure the angular distance from my point of aim to my impact. So if I see its 1.2 mils low, I dial up 12 clicks.

But when I used a mixture of the two, I usually have to break out my calculator.
So once again I am shooting 565 yards, and I see I am impacting 1.5 mils low. I have to convert that mil measurement into MOA. So if I am in a hurry I would times 1.5 by 3.5(rounding) which is a little over 5 minutes. 5 and 1/4 MOA to be exact. Then I would dial that 5 1/4 MOA into the turrets of my scope. The math conversions can quickly get annoying. This is why I got rid of the Super Sniper 10x scope I had, and something I find irritating when I use my Leupold TS30-A2.

It doesn’t really matter if you use MOA or mils, but which ever you use, train to be competent and confident with them.

First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane

Often I have had to explain to people the difference between the first and second focal plane scopes.  Now Primal Rights has a nice article explaining the difference between the two.  The article can be found here.

Personally I prefer first focal plane as my reticle and my target will always stay the same proportions to each other.  One thing to note is that newer FFP scopes have much better designed reticles then older scopes.  Many of the old FFP scopes used reticles designed for SFP scopes, so the reticle would end up being very thin or very thick on one or both extremes of magnification.  Most newer FFP scopes have well thought out reticles that remain useful thoughout their entire power range.

But in the end, the important thing is to know your scope.

More sillyness: bridge rails.

Above is pictured a Beretta I owned, on it is a Survival Consultants International WOR4 rail.

Every so often someone pushes the bridge rail for pistols as a new invention.  Mounting an optic on the fixed rail is easier on the optic, and the bridge rail does not require permanent modifications to the gun.

Then come the downsides.  You end up with a pistol nearly impossible to holster, unweildy and sometimes awkward to manipulate.  There are several very major reasons why you don’t see many people use bridge rails on pistols.  Outside of competition race  guns and toys, they are just not practical.

Buyer beware: stolen or surplussed military optics.

Sometimes you can stumble across a deal that is too good to be true.

For example, not to long ago one dealer was selling used Aimpoints, Eotechs, and ACOGs very cheap.  Aimpoints were running about 100-200 dollars including a Wilcox mount($90 MSRP), $300 dollar TA01NSN ACOGs and Eotech 553s.

Needless to say these were all used and abused military equipment.  But we don’t know if these were legitimately surplus of if they “fell off the truck”.

There are a few major issues with buying surplus optics.  The first is that there is the chance it is stolen.  If it is stolen, and there is an investigation, you have have to turn it back over to the government with out compensation.

The second is that if you have an issue with the optic, the manufacturer may not offer warranty or repair it.  Companies like Aimpoint, Trijicon, and L3 do not have a way of knowing if an optic was stolen government property or if was properly surplussed out.  Because of this, most of the time these companies will not service these optics.

I bring this up because Law-Guns were selling military Eotech 553s.  Some people were buying these and sending them in to Eotech to be rebuilt.  Finally Eotech said these are government property, and confiscated the ones sent it.

Thoughts on the Short Barreled AR15.

Some years back I decided I would convert one of my AR15s to a short barreled rifle.  After paying a 200 dollar tax stamp and waiting a long time, I started with a LMT 10.5 inch upper.

The first time I shot that short upper I decided I wanted a suppressor.  That ended up costing me a great deal of money.

That picture shows two products I ended up having issues with.  My Eotech 512 had the battery contacts fail on me.  I also found out that the threads on my LMT upper were not cut concentric to the bore.  That issue lead to a 10 minute of angle point of impact shift between suppressed and unsuppressed.

My first silencer was a Gemtech M4-02.  The can performed great but it was a thread on can.  Each time I screwed it on or off the rifle I was worried about damaging the threads and I had to keep a flash hider or thread protected around for when I wasn’t using the can.  So I did more research on suppressors and I ended up buying a Surefire 556K can.

I found I preferred using ACOG optics on my SBR.  The ACOG gave me better target recognition and the bullet drop chart aided in shooting farther distances.

In the above photo my rifle has a Surefire muzzle break.  That break stayed on my rifle for one whole range session.  I find the increased flash and blast of a muzzle break on a short barreled rifle not worth the minimal amount of reduced recoil.

Around the time I decided I would have to do something about the major point of impact shift with my LMT upper I found out about a new rail on the market, the Daniel Defense MK18RISII.  I bought one along with a 10.5 inch medium contour match barrel.

When the above photo was taken I was trying out an early production Magpul UBR.  Many people on gun forums were claiming this was the ultimate rifle stock.  I found it to be awkward and heavy and very quickly got rid of it.  They don’t seem to be that popular any more.

Since then I have had a SBR AR15 in 9mm, 5.45.  I also had a LWRC PSD in 5.56.  The pistol caliber carbines are fun, but lack the usefulness at longer distances.  The LWRC with its 8.5 inch barrel and piston system was heavier then my 10.5 inch direct impingement uppers.

The 10 inch 5.56 SBR is the shortest I prefer to go.  Shorter then that you give up a great deal in ballistics and terminal performance.  A longer rifle starts to get awkward when using a suppressor.

I really love the short barreled AR15, but it is not something I would recommend to everyone.  Unless you are using suppressors I don’t think SBRs are that worth while.  If your thinking about getting into a short barreled AR15, look at the Colt 6933 and the Colt 6945.  I’ve purchased a Colt 6945 and am eagerly awaiting it.