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Dialing up shots on a budget...

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Unread 02-07-2006, 02:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 563
Dialing up shots on a budget...

I know that there must be plenty of us who cannot simply plunk down the cash (or run up the credit card balance [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img] ) for a Leupold Mark 4 or a Nightforce or the like. Sometimes it's hard to afford the stuff that we'd like to have to support our hobby, and at the same time keep the mortgage paid, groceries bought, and good tires on the family car. And I believe, from reading through old posts here and elsewhere, that lots of guys would be out there dialing up shots and connecting (on targets or on game) if they only had the equipment necessary to do such. And again, from perusing posts here and elsewhere it would not be hard to get the idea that a minimum of 800 dollars would need to be invested in a scope before any serious attempt could be made at dialing up accurate long range shots.

But there is at least one excellent scope on the market which can actually out-dial most thousand dollar plus models, and which also has glass which is easily on par with much more expensive scopes.

I have a Nightforce NXS with 110 MOA of elevation adjustment. It's a great scope (as it should be) but let me be the first to say that I really didn't need it (I just wanted it!)... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] The glass is good, the adjustments seem spot on... I can't complain at all about it. That scope set me back 1300 dollars.

I also have a Weaver Grand Slam, 6.5 to 20 power, which I've had for three years or so. I've never had a problem with it, and I've never had to doubt its turrets. The only thing I had against it was the gold numbers on the turret dials wore off fairly soon after I got the scope. Weaver does need to address this (and perhaps they have in more recent models, I don't know).

However, I found a way to mod the existing scope turrets such that they are easily visible, and easy to use.

The dial caps are removable on the Grand Slam which makes it easy to take a small three cornered file and cut grooves in the outer face of the dial. I cut three grooves very close together for the "0", and then cut one groove every 2 MOA around the dial.

By having the hash marks cut at 2 MOA rather than every 1 MOA, it is easier to count by two's when you're dialing up the turret. The 2 MOA hashes are close enough that it's easy to split them visually for 1 MOA increments, and of course the 1/4 MOA clicks can be counted by feel.

I thought of using white paint in the grooves, but decided against it because I thought that the paint might flake out of there. It would probably be fine to put paint into the grooves, but I chose something else... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] which has worked out fine. Desitin. The diaper rash cream. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] It's basically zinc-oxide cream and it's an easy matter to rub some on the dial then wipe off the excess, which leaves the grooves filled. I've not had any trouble with it flaking out (naturally) and it seems to stay put. It seems to be able to take all humanly tolerable temperatures, too. And your turrets will never get diaper rash. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Anyway, there is also the matter of limited elevation travel. But believe it or not, with the right base or rings, you will actually have an advantage over many scopes with 100+ MOA of erector travel. Here's why:

Unless your long range scope with forty-leven MOA of erector travel has a zero stop you might end up losing count of the revs you've turned that thing, and you might end up a revolution too low or too high. Sure you can memorize how far from absolute bottom your 100 yard zero is and then take the turret all the way in and count the revolutions back out. But that takes time and concentration--two things often in short supply when an opportunity presents itself.

But with a 20 MOA base, or simply with a set of Burris Pos-align rings, you can add 20 MOA to the rear of the scope. This will take a scope with 45 MOA of total erector movement (like the Weaver Grand Slam I have) to near bottom for a 100 yard zero. That's a good thing--because you cannot dial the scope a rev too low. Mine will go about 4 MOA below my 100 yard zero and it's out of movement. I can dial it down until it snugs and bring it back up until the three hashes are on the mark, and my zero is there.

Most Weaver Grand Slam owners have already learned that the Micro-Trac turrets are second to none in repeatability. Again, I love my NXS but it has no advantage over the Grand Slam in turret accuracy. The Micro-Trac system is simply awesome.

As can be seen in the photo, I'm using Burris Pos-align rings, and I do have the 20 MOA off-set installed in the bottom of the rear ring, which raises the rear of the scope by that amount. If you were to have a scope that 20 MOA did not quite work out for, Burris offers off-sets in 5, 10, and 15 MOA increments. You can use them front and rear, and in any combination to get the actual amount of elevation you're after.

If you have a Weaver Grand Slam with faint turret markings, you might give this suggestion a try. I find the turret amazingly easy to use (one revolution equals 12 MOA on the Grand Slam, by the way) and seemingly fool proof.

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Unread 02-07-2006, 06:47 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: west of Little Rock ,Ark.
Posts: 1,271
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...

Way to go Green one ,

You are so right , there are other ways . Case in point is my friends leupold 3x9x50 vx3. Just get some aftermarket target dials and dial away ! Just don't try this with a vx2 or under [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] won't work .

Jim B.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 11:31 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 1,375
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...

Excellent post Dan. Thoughtful of you. Don't own a weaver, but I've read repeatedly the micro trac system is perfect. I use a Nikon Monarch 4-12 ao. Bought it on sale at $279. This scope tracks excellent. I've also read the buckmark 4.5-14 sf tracks superbly. Same price.

It can absolutely be done with affordable glass. Personally I doubt I'll ever drop $1000 on a scope.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 12:02 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 654
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...

I would put the Nikon Buckmaster or Monarch up against any scope for dialing in. I have a leupold and Burris that cost way more and cannot dial in like that 4-14 Buckmaster I have. The glass is very good on the nikon's as well.
Fast, Flat, and Accurate
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Unread 02-08-2006, 02:21 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 563
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...

Okay guys, you've got me talked into checking out a Nikon next time out... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Thanks for the read.

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Unread 02-09-2006, 05:06 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pueblo, CO
Posts: 1,244
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...

As always-- great post Dan. The Sightron Exac-Trac is also supposed to be a good turret system, tho i don't have 1...yet.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 09:57 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: SW Idaho
Posts: 1,315
Re: Dialing up shots on a budget...


Last edited by Scot E; 11-12-2012 at 09:59 AM. Reason: posted to wrong thread
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