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Three scopes on one rifle

 
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Old 05-02-2001, 10:28 PM
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Three scopes on one rifle

Three scopes on one rifle
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Al Talbot's stunningly impressive QD mount and my deep distaste for variable scopes have propelled me into an experiment that may become a practice. After I explain it briefly, I'd like your suggestions about certain aspects.
The rifle will be a .220 Howell on a Nesika Bay single-shot, barreled and chambered bench-rest style by Greg Richards (successor to Harold Broughton), in an H-S Precision Pro Series stock — for prairie-doggin' at up to but rarely far beyond 500-600 yards. (I'm really not worthy of being in this crowd!)

The .220 Howell can launch 75-grain Hornady A-Max bullets (BC 0.440) at 3,500 ft/sec and around 50,000 lb/sq in. At this departure velocity, this A-Max will remain supersonic out to about 1,500 to 1,600 yards (estimated).

The Talbot QD mount does two things as nearly perfectly as any mount so far developed:
• return to zero, every time, even with the scope removed between rounds
• swapping scopes in three to five seconds (once you get the hang of this entirely new kind of mount)

My experiment — my practice, if it works as well as I think it will — will use three fixed-power scopes sighted-in for three distances. Probably
• 8x to 10x for "normal" ranges
• 12x to 16x for long ranges (not as far for me as for you fellows)
• 24x to 32x for what, to me, will be almost like another time zone.

I have some rough ideas of what I'll find to be the three field-practical distances — not fixed in my mind but probably (a) 0 to 300 yards, (b) 300 to 400 yards, (C) 400 yards and beyond.

I realize that I've undoubtedly given you less than what you'd like to know, so please
• ask what else I should define for you,
so you can help me
• determine which three range segments to set up for
• how to determine what distance to zero each scope

At the maximum distances I'm most likely to be shooting prairie dogs, I may be as well off, or better, to use two scopes.

I anticipate shooting where the 'dogs themselves determine for me which scope, etc, is appropriate for where they are at any time during the day's shooting. "Normal" range for a while, then moderately far for a while, finally 'way to H and gone for the rest of that day's shooting.

I don't expect or plan to have to switch scopes five times for any six sequential shots. I don't think the "target opportunities" will arise in that kind of sequence.

Your thoughts, distinguished Amigos

posted April 12, 2001 10:24 PM

Steve Shelp
Member

From: NC
Registered: April 11, 2001
Posts: 7
Ken,
I think you could easily condense 2 of your "select power ranges" into one and move your highest power to lowest yardage. Here's why I say that. Based on my experience and your stated intent of mostly praire-dogging you could probably condense your 8-10 and 12-16 power into 10-12X scope and be done with it. I've personally used my Leupold VarXII 4-12X scope to shoot 1000yd BR on a 300 Win Mag. On 12X the hairs would just cover up the 4" white square in the middle of the aiming black at 1000yds. That's not bad. But the Leupold hairs are much thinner than other makes in the same power range. The thickness of the crosshairs I feel are just as important or more so than the power used. You've probably heard the saying that you can't hit what you can't see, but if your crosshairs cover everything up on high magnification your "!#$@#ing in the wind" as the saying goes. Now if you back up a little into the practical ranges of the 75 A-Max bullet a 10-12X or maybe a 16X power is very good. But I've never shot at a p-dog so maybe I'm underestimating how small they are also. By using a constant straight power, it would give you a constant "field of view" and able to use proportions to judge holdoff at various ranges easily after a little use. By continually changing power you loose that unless your planning on using a special reticle with graduated horizontal "aiming" points also. And each power scope would have to have the same custom reticle in it to maintain consistancy.
But for the 24 - 32X power range to be used for the ATT shots with the mirage that you will most likely see shooting dogs that power is going to hurt more that help you in my opinion. But it is VERY useful at shorter ranges when your testing loads on the bench at 100yds or something. Just slap that 24 or 36X power on and truely evaluate your loads. I use a NightForce 12-42X in competition. Very seldom can I use above 35X. But when testing at shorter ranges just before dark it's on 42X and it's a blessing.

Just some "out-of-the-box" thoughts for you to consider. Welcome to Len's new sandbox. I think we're going to have some fun here playing these reindeer games among our "kind" and hopefully some new blood will join us in time.

Stev

posted April 16, 2001 09:22 PM

Ken Howell
Member

From: Stevensville, Montana
Registered: April 12, 2001
Posts: 5
Good advice, Steve! Thanks! I'll mull and ponder it 'til the cows come home — maybe longer.
A couple of things in your post remind me of something that was really puzzling me for a while. Shooters kept telling me that at those high magnifications and long ranges, I'd have trouble with mirage and with reticles obscuring such teeny critters. I kept wondering why I never had either of those troubles before. Then it dawned on me — wind, from breeze to gale. I couldn't remember when I'd set the hair intersection right on the target and couldn't remember any shimmery Jell-O images in the field of view.

I tried a few shots with another shooter's rifle with a Nightforce last summer — so many dots up, so many dots to the right. Got three prairie dogs with four shots at x hundred yards (LONG way but not measured). No one knows how to appreciate sheer dumb luck better that Mama Howell's oldest young'n'

posted April 17, 2001 12:12 AM

Steve Shelp
Member

From: NC
Registered: April 11, 2001
Posts: 7
Glad all that typing was of some help. Yes heavy wind has a tendency to flatten out the mirage to a degree so you may not see the full effect of it. The worst is no wind or right in the very beginning of a letup in what BR shooters call a boil. Like I mentioned I've only shot the eastern barnyard grizzlies which tend to run a little bigger in size in grassy farmland that doesn't radiate as much heat showing less mirage than what you probably see in the west.
I shot in a 1000yd BR competition in Colorado last year... the wind and mirage is a whole different game out there on the wide open praire than anything I've seen here in the east.

Good luck to you,
Ste

posted April 18, 2001 03:36 PM

Fergus Bailey
Member

From: Australia
Registered: April 12, 2001
Posts: 11
Given that you don’t use a lot of magnification (by my standards), you could just go with something like the Leupold 8.5-25 Long Range scope to cover all your requirements. I have one on a 6/284 that can cover close to all distances (100yds to 1000yds) with internal adjustment. For target/varmint reticles, my preferred reticle is a fine crosshair with a 1/8” dot. I have found the dot is quick to acquire and fine enough that I can see a Prairie dog around the dot at 1000yds. On the one session I have had at really long range PD’s (bare in mind that I have to come all the way from Australia to have this kind of fun) I found I could use the scope at 40 power for all my shots.
I have found that for target and varmint work, magnification is addictive – the more the better. I have a Premier Reticles boosted 18-40 power Leupold and a 20-50 boosted Leupold. I find I often shoot both competition and varmints with these scopes set in the top third of their magnification range. I recently tried a few 1000yd BR competitions with a Leupold Long Range 8.5 – 25 x 50mm and fount it difficult to hold off for windage as the score rings on the target were much less distinct than I am used to with a little more magnification.

Don’t know how much this rambling actually addresses your question, but I guess you have my preferences for mid to long range PD optics.

Fergus
http://www.angelfire.com/ab/fergus

posted April 18, 2001 09:08 PM

Ken Howell
Member

From: Stevensville, Montana
Registered: April 12, 2001
Posts: 5
More good input gratefully received. Thanks!
However, I should point out that magnification is not my only interest here. I also want more than one set, known zero (sight-in) range, and I want to explore the premise that I can have those two or three zero points carefully set and checked, using two or three scopes, more conveniently and reliably by swapping scopes than by racking one scope's adjustment up and down, up and down, ....

I'm trying to figure out how to determine two or more zero points so that at the near point, for example, the point-blank range for a two-inch or three-inch vital zone is 53.1 yards to 243 yards (one calculated example for a two-inch vital zone, with zero at 211 yards), and the next point-blank range is, say, 240 yards to — what? — 350? 400? Still trying to figure that one. And the next, if I "need" it.

I too like lots o' magnification. Love clarity more. Adore easy hold-over estimation. Hate clicking and counting (and keeping track of the click counts). Lazy? That too.

Thanks again for your comments

posted April 19, 2001 09:29 PM

IanM
Member

From: Canada
Registered: April 13, 2001
Posts: 13
Check out the Nightforce NXS with the NP-R2 reticle
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Ken,
You should check out the Nightforce line of scopes, there are some big range variables that will cover your need. I like the NP-R2 reticle, it is a super fine crosshair with ten hash-marks on it that allow precise hold-overs. The hash marks are great on the 100 yard range for testing loads, you just put up a tall piece of cardboard and one aiming mark and walk your test groups up in a nice neat line. You don't have to go up and change targets (obviously you never shoot-up the aiming mark, it remains a constant).
I use the 5.5-22 with the NP-R2, would put its optics up against any comparably priced scope on the market. Another point, scopes with true tactical turrets are very easy to set to pre-determined zeroes, much easier than the little target turrets - Leupolds are 15 minutes to a revolution, Nightforce 10, B&L Tacticals 12 minutes - good tactical turrets are amazing things, they just do what you want them to.

When I test target/tactical scopes I zero the scope at 100 yds then I fire one shot on a fresh target. I zero the turrets, then crank down to the last click, return back up to the 100 yd zero and fire another shot, crank up to the last click, return down to the 100 yard zero and fire a shot, repeat this left and right. It is a good test of how repeatable the turrets are, plus it tells you how much adjustment you really have in your scope.

Two Nightforce scopes just performed perfectly, the resulting five shot group was as good as my average for the rifle. Leupold MK4's and 3.5-10 LR M1's also passed this test on our rifles.

posted April 19, 2001 10:11 PM

Len Backus
Administrator

From: Oshkosh, WI
Registered: April 10, 2001
Posts: 21
I have that same scope only without the NP-R2 reticle. I tried that one but switched for the hollow mildot one, whatever the name is.
I really liked the NP-R2 for target work or for hunting against a light, grassy background but found it to be too light or faint for shooting against a darkish, brushy background.

I love my NXS scope. Will probably buy one or two more for other rifles.

posted April 19, 2001 10:48 PM

IanM
Member

From: Canada
Registered: April 13, 2001
Posts: 13
NXS Scopes
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I also have the the hollow Mil-dots in a 3.5-15 NXS and it is superb. It is small enough to use for hunting, still has the good turrets, parallax adjustment in the third turret, illuminated reticle. Has a 50mm objective rather than 56mm. I found that there are situations where the standard Mil-dot reticle is better for Mil-ing, have no problem with the hollow dots but the posts do not go out to the edge of the field of view, you don't have a horizontal reference out to the edge with the smaller NXS "posts". There are now five NXS models. Like Ken, I once had doubts about variable scopes but I am completely confident in the one's being built today. You get what you pay for.
posted April 19, 2001 11:28 PM

Ken Howell
Member

From: Stevensville, Montana
Registered: April 12, 2001
Posts: 5
Progress [?] report
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Been having enough fun playing around with QuickTARGET and other software to make this idea worth something even if it goes no further.
Granted, all this stuff is computer estimates so far, and field results will certainly be somewhat different, as far as precise, hard numbers are concerned. But the concept certainly shows promise for this aged prairie-dog shooter-misser.

First, I played around with hit zones of the same set height at all ranges (two inches high, four inches high). Then I wondered about the practicality and effects of using a variable-height hit zone -- (a) two inches above the line of sight (LoS) to four inches below LoS for the first range (8x Scope A) -- (b) four inches above LoS to six inches below it for the second range (24x Scope B) -- (c) six inches above LoS to eight inches below it for the third range (36x Scope C). The 8x (Leupold) and 24x (Sightron) are loose scopes that I already have on hand. The 36x Weaver is what I'm looking at for Scope C. (Would like a bit more x-oomph for Scope A, too.)

COMPUTER SEZ
-- Zero 8x Scope A at 257 yards. Trajectory two inches high at 153 yards, four inches low at 330 yards
-- Zero 24x Scope B at 395 yards. Trajectory four inches high at 330 yards, six inches low at 460 yards
-- Zero 36x Scope C at 518 yards. Trajectory six inches high at 460 yards, eight inches low at 575 yards

Shots beyond 575 yards would simply require more than eight inches of hold-over with Scope C -- still worlds better than the 37 or more inches of hold-over or scope adjustment with Scope A zeroed at 257 yards!

The usually unacknowledged error in this kind of trajectory calculation is that while the theoretical trajectory is pretty much what the hard numbers say it is, the actual trajectory of each individual round is going to be somewhat different -- and these differences are correspondingly larger as the range increases. (I know YOU know that -- just letting you know I know that!) ;o

[This message was edited by Ken Howell on April 26, 2001 at 03:55 PM.]

posted April 26, 2001 03:49 PM
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2001, 07:19 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Elkhart KS 67950
Posts: 16
Re: Three scopes on one rifle

I see a very interesting topic and the approach with different scopes is unusual but again interesting. Variable scopes vary much in quality. They don't usually vary as much as mounts do when changing them, but I've no experience with the mount mentioned. I will check that one out. IF one is to seek to find a good variable scope please consider what I'm about to propose. Take a boresighter. (the kind with a screen as opposed to the lazer jobs and be sure it is rigid enough to stay put.) Observe the cross hairs on the screen as you change power settings. Then if the scope is so equiped observe each and every one of the turrent clicks. It will be immediately obvious if there is a problem caused by the variance. This does nothing about the optical superiority of some of the fixed power scopes and that is a small but observable factor. By using this method you can spot anything that will cause you trouble and don't be surprised if you find your favorite scope has major trouble in the turrets and power changes. I've seen "tactical" Leupolds that didn't even move the turrets for 4 or five clicks indicating an obvious problem. They are warrantied against such defects but convincing them isn't always easy. Cite the method you use when returning them. You might use the same method to check those scope from mounting to mounting and yes you can see movement of 1/8 moa easily. [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 05-11-2001, 09:42 AM
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Location: Stevensville, Montana
Posts: 14
Re: Three scopes on one rifle

Yote, you've just pinwheeled one of the reasons I don't like variables because I've found over and over that I can't trust 'em.

When I worked for the Army, I mounted and bore-sighted scopes free for anyone on the post, irrespective of whether they'd bought the rifle, the scope, or the mount from me. Also, as president of the proving ground's rod-and-gun club, I took my "portable shop" to the post small-arms range each sighting-in day just before hunting season, and bore-sighted a passel of scopes there. So I think it's safe to say that during those years, I bore-sighted and checked hundreds of variables, from more makers than I ever knew there were.

When bore-sighting a variable, I ran the magnification up and down, noticing whether the reticle stayed "on point" at each magnification. Very, very, very few did! Most carved a circle on the grid, like a filet knife coring an apple.

That was disturbing enough. Even more disturbing was the fact that neither price nor name nor reputation was any index to whether or how nearly the reticle stayed "on" at more than one magnification. Some of the most expensive, big-name scopes were among the worst, and some of the cheapest (ever see soft aluminum screws in a scope?) stayed right on (THAT DAY no telling how they'd do a day later).

I now have three methods of checking scopes this one, modified, and two others. Instead of just noticing the movement of the reticle with a change in magnification, my new variation of the above is to note for record, with dots on a grid chart, where the intersection of the cross-hairs lies on the grid at each magnification.

FWTW, the other two checks are
(a) how many numbers on an optics test target I can see at x hundred yards (numbers 1 through 6, ranging from a 60% gray for the "1," down to a 10% gray for the "6"), and
(b) two densitometer readings on a white card a direct reading on the card, taken over or alongside the scope, and a reading on the image of the card, taken through the scope.

When you just take a squint at a scene through a scope, you can't tell by eye alone what's in that scene that you can't see through the scope, or how good that scope is, relative to another one. Also, just looking at a scene through a variable, it's almost impossible to see the reticle move with magnification change unless you have a rigidly fixed reference grid to show that movement.

Trouble is, my checks show some shooters a few things they don't really enjoy seeing!
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Old 05-11-2001, 12:30 PM
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Location: Elkhart KS 67950
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Re: Three scopes on one rifle

Ken; you zactly right. I use variables but I sure have gone through a passle of them to find a very small number that work fairly well. My favorite scope is a fixed 12 Leupold. I wish they would make this in mil-dot matte finish. Another thing I might touch on is the feeling that a scope has to be low power to use on moving targets. (the main cite for using variables by most folk) Tain't true either. If one follows the target correctly you may find you kill more movers with higher powered scopes although the short ranges are a bit of a focus problem in coyote hunting. That 12 Lupy is a very good exception as is the 6X. They both focus 25 meters or less very good.
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Old 02-18-2002, 03:17 PM
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Re: Three scopes on one rifle

Been a looooooong time, guys -- and it ain't over yet.

I promised up-dates but had no suspicion back then what the up-dates would have to report.

The Nesika-Richards-HS rifle I described is finally here, with the latest incarnation of the Talbot mount -- and with four scopes (8x Leupold, 12x US Redfield, 24x Sightron, 36x Blount Weaver) instead of three. But I'm not all here anymore. Had a stroke 1 July 2001 that almost killed me, then three surgeries, with forty days in three hospitals and a couple months of home therapy. Both sides are partially paralyzed. Can't swallow anything -- "eat" through a tube sticking out of belly (THE ONLY WAY to eat lutefisk, otherwise the pits). Lost about seventy pounds, mostly but not all excess, from original 204 pounds.

After loss of swallow, next-worse is loss of equilibrium -- can "stand" about as steady as a stack of beads with no string, and "walking" looks like an over-acted vaudeville act. In three words, I stagger, fall, and (sometimes) crawl. Some loss of coordination makes typing a bitch (but at least I don't have to have some bitch do my typing for me!).

Haven't shot anything but revolvers since the stroke but hope to do some serious p-doggin' come season for 'em.

This thing has slowed me down and may kill me, but it won't lick me. I'll let you know -- someday -- how this experiment with several scopes works. If it works.
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Old 02-18-2002, 07:42 PM
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Re: Three scopes on one rifle

Damn Sir, I hope this finds you "better"! Better back off the lutefisk and have fresh caught, pan fried walleye with your Lefse instead!

No, you don't know me, but from one scandahoovian to "da udder", "Chust go chootin an ya ket bedder"!!!

Respectfully

Rod Vigstol [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
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Old 02-18-2002, 08:10 PM
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Re: Three scopes on one rifle

Ken: Glad to see you back. Since reading your initial posts, I have been thinking of doing the same with two scopes and my Sako. First, I need to find mounts/rings for a 30-year old Sako. Hope and will pray that your health gets better. Dan
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