Friday, April 4, 2014

Part 2 - Testing The New 3-9x40mm M40 Tactical Hunter Riflescope


                                                                                        Click On Targets Below To Enlarge

Yesterday (April 3, 2014) was a great day for shooting in Western Montana.  The high temperature for the afternoon was 55 degrees, humidity was right at 50-percent, and the light 3 to 4 m.p.h. breeze was mostly right in my face.  During the entire 3 1/2 hour shooting session, I put a grand total of 29 rounds downrange - giving the rifle plenty of cool down time between shots.

Since I was shooting at 400...500...and 600 yards, far more time was spent walking downrange to post new targets...and to move the portable target board ever farther back...than shooting.  The purpose of this test shooting was to determine how well the BDC reticle of the Hi-Lux Optics 3-9x40mm M40 Tactical Hunter printed hits at those distances.

During my earlier testing (and March 17th report on this blog), I had done my shooting at 100...200...and 300 yards, loading the .300 Winchester Short Magnum cartridge to get a .475 b.c. .308" diameter 168-grain boat-tailed polymer-tipped Hornady A-MAX bullet out of the muzzle at approximately 2,850 f.p.s. (2,874 f.p.s. actual avg.).  The BDC reticle of the M40 Tactical Hunter has been designed around the ballistics of the .308 Winchester.  The purpose of my testing has been to determine how compatible the BDC hold-over aiming marks are with other popular big game hunting cartridges.  So, I picked up where I had left off during my earlier testing of the scope.

Sighted on at 100 yards, I found that the 200 yard aiming point printed hits on the average just about 3 inches high at 200 yards...and that the 300-yard aiming point would group, on average about 3 1/2 inches above point of aim at 300 yards.  This was when shooting the 168-grain A-MAX at approximately 2,850 f.p.s.  So, when I shot my first group at 400 yards, with the 400 yard hold-over of the scope's reticle, shooting the same load, I wasn't too surprised to find that it printed 4 1/2 inches above point of aim...and at 500 yards with the 500-yard hold over, hits averaged 5 1/2 inches above point of aim.

I've determined that the continued rise above point of aim is due to shooting such a high ballistic coefficient bullet at a higher velocity than typical with a .308 Winchester.  The load I was shooting produced the ballistics of a .30/06.

I had a healthy supply of loads along that would put the same bullet out of the muzzle at 2,782 f.p.s., which is within the ballistics of the .308 Winchester.  A couple of shots at 100 yards allowed me to tweak the scope to put hits "dead on" at that range.  Then I went to the 400 yard target board, using the 400 yard BDC mark, and my first three shots printed just 2 1/2 inches above the bull.  (Center-to-center, the group went 2.550" across - shown at right.)


At 500 yards, using the 500 yard BDC hold over, my group opened some - to 3.826" center-to-center - shown at left.. Now, I'm not complaining at all.  After all...we're talking about shooting at 500 yards...and even with the scope at 9x...that tiny 1-inch dot in the center of the target is pretty much covered up by the aiming mark.  At that range, I was basically holding as close as I could to what I felt was the center of the target.  As you can see in the accompanying photo, the hits were a bit more scattered...but all would have taken the game being hunted - at 500 yards.

I had kind of forgotten what it was like to shoot at 600 yards.  To walk out and move the portable target board to 600 yards...walk back to the bench...shoot the first shot...then walk back out to see where it hit...then back to the bench to shoot two more shots...and to retrieve the target and target board after the last shot...means having to walk 3,600 yards - just to shoot those three rounds at that distance.  That's more than 2 miles of walking.  My first shot at 600 yards had been 2.8" below the center of the target.  The second round printed on the outer lower left edge of the paper, 5.115" from the center of the bull.  And shot No. 3 printed at about 2 o'clock, 2.115" from the center of the bull.  On average, the three hits were less than 3.4 inches from the center of the target - which is outstanding.

Now, it looks as if I am faced with one more long afternoon of long range shooting...to determine where those M40 Tactical Hunter longer range (400 to 600 yard) BDC hold overs do put the hits pretty much on when shooting at 2,850 to 3,050 f.p.s.

It's a Dirty Job...but someone has to do it! - Toby Bridges, Hi-Lux Optics    
 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

301 Yard Shot Thanks To The Hi-Lux Optics TB-ML Muzzleloader Hunting Scope



"Watching with the binocs, it seemed as though time stood still in the quiet valley. I wondered as he stood there “Was he hit...and why did he stay out in the open?”  After about 5 seconds, he staggered sideways and fell down dead. I wondered, Could it really be?”   The feeling was unbelievable. After 30 minutes of seeing no movement, I pursued the animal and thought about how until 2 years ago I was afraid to ethically black powder shoot past 125 yards. The information on the NAMLHUNT.COM website and the multi-range reticle of the Hi-Lux Optics TB-ML scope have been game changers for me."

Mike Ross,
New Virginia, Iowa


To Read Mike's Article On This Great Hunt, Go To -

http://www.namlhunt.com/mladventure3.html 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Testing The New 3-9x40mm M40 Tactical Hunter Riflescope


Most days...I just love my job...especially the part that keeps me on the shooting range a lot.  Unfortunately, like most of the country, where I live...work...and play in Western Montana has had more than its share of cold...windy...and snowy weather this winter.  Even when the weather began to break the first of March, getting to the range was pretty much out of the question as FEET of snow began to melt...turning my range and the dirt road leading to it into a muddy mess.

After a week of warm sunny weather and dry conditions, yesterday morning (3-16-14) I decided to go for it...and see if I could four-wheel myself into the old hay barn where my somewhat portable shooting bench is stored. I was more than a month behind in the testing of the new Hi-Lux Optics black matte finished 3-9x40mm M40 Tactical Hunter scope, which features the same ranging system as the company's recreation of the green anodized scope used by Marine Corps snipers in Vietnam, and which was mounted on the .308 Winchester bolt-action M40 sniper rifle.

Both versions of the scope feature a simple and easy to use ranging system.  All the shooter has to do is
zoom in on a known target of 18 inches, until it fits in a bracket incorporated in the reticle, then read the range on a scale that's inside the scope.  What sets the M40 USMC version of this scope apart from the new M40 Tactical Hunter model is that with the military version, the shooter still must know the drop of the bullet at 200 to 600 yard, and manually apply the correct amount of hold over.  On the other hand, the M40 Tactical Hunter model incorporates a bullet drop compensating reticle (shown above).  Once the shooter ranges the target, and knows the distance, it's just a matter of using the proper BDC aiming mark to consistently place the shot in "The Zone" - insuring a game taking hit.

While the BDC reticle of the M40 Tactical Hunter has been calibrated for the trajectory of the .308 Winchester or .223 Remington, to 600 yards, those same BDC hold-over aiming marks work extremely well with rifles chambered for many other popular cartridges.  It's now my job to determine which rifle calibers are most compatible with the longer range aiming point of this scope - and I figured I would begin with the .30 caliber cartridges.

The rifle on which the scope is shown mounted at the top of this post is one of my favorite rifles - it is a stainless steel Winchester Model 70 chambered for the .300 Winchester Short Magnum.  Using Accurate Arms 4350 powder, I have worked up loads for the rifle, shooting the same 168-grain Hornady .308" diameter boat-tailed  polymer-tipped spire-point A-MAX bullet, that will keep groups inside of an inch at 100 yards, at velocities the same as that achieved with the .308 Winchester (at 2,700 f.p.s.)...the .30/06 Government (at 2,850 f.p.s.)...and at the typical velocity of the .300 Winchester Short Magnum (at 3,050 f.p.s.).

The rifle, being a .300 WSM, had been sighted to print about 1 1/2 inches high at a hundred yards with the bullet at 3,050 f.p.s..  At the upper end velocity, the 168-grain A-MAX has been a stellar performer on deer and similar sized game.  For my testing, I began at the .30/06 velocity (2,850 f.p.s.).  Several shots were sent down range to see how much the 200 f.p.s. slower velocity affected point of impact - and I was surprised to see that it tended to print about an inch higher...probably due to the slight rise of the muzzle during recoil before the bullet gets out of the barrel.

Once the M40 Tactical Hunter sighting had been tweaked to adjust for the slight drop in velocity, the rifle was printing the .475 b.c. bullet right at an inch above the center of the bullseye.  Then, with a new target on the board, I went for a 100 yard group.  Much to my satisfaction, the three shots punched the .555" center-to-center cluster shown here.

The target board had two heavy magic marker drawn lines across it, the inside edges of which were exactly 18-inches apart.  I had a friend move the board back a little at a time, and each time I checked to see how the 18 inch bracket of the reticle fit to match that 18-inch grid on the target.  It took several moves of the board...and finally a minor move of the portable shooting bench before the lines on the target board fit perfectly between the brackets in the scope...with the scope zoomed until the range on the scale indicated 200 yards.

Before shooting at the distant target...I took a reading with a laser rangefinder...which indicated the board was at 203 yards.  The next three shots, using the 200 yard BDC aiming mark, kind of printed a little strung out vertically, at an angle (target at right).  Still, from the center of the lowest hole in the target paper to the center of the top hole, the three shots stayed right at 1.251".  That's a great 200 yard group - and as you can see, it is still near the center of the kill zone of any big game animal.

I was impressed with how closely the range could be determined using the ranging system of the scope.  Knowing that laser rangefinders aren't always exactly right on the money either, I feel comfortable saying that there's a very good chance, that a hunter zooming in on the chest cavity of a mature whitetail buck (appx. 18 inches from the top of the back to the bottom of the chest cavity) can fairly accurately determine the distance of the deer, using the M40 Tactical Hunter ranging system, to within +/- of 5 yards.

Next, the board was moved out to 300 yards, again using the ranging system within the scope to determine the distance.  A check with the laser rangefinder put the distance at 304 to 305 yards - depending on whether you leaned a bit forward or a bit backward.  Using the 300-yard BDC aiming mark, the next three shots printed an average of 1 1/2 inches above point of aim - and center-to-center all three shots averaged just 1.390" across.  Quite honestly, I think this very well may be the best 300-yard group I have personally ever fired.  One thing is for certain - any whitetail buck that had been ranged with the scope at that distance, with a center hold on the chest cavity, would have been pretty much anchored on the spot.

Some preliminary shooting has already told me that the M40 Tactical Hunter scope...the standard hunting rifle being shot...the Hornady 168-grain .308" diameter A-MAX bullet...and charge of Accurate Arms 4350 powder used to get that bullet out of the muzzle at 2,850 f.p.s. will definitely keep hits inside the 8 to 10 inch diameter kill zone of a whitetail deer out to 600 yards.  In April we will cover more shooting with the rifle, scope and cartridge at this velocity at the longer ranges, plus take a look at shooting the same rifle and M40 Tactical Hunter scope with the same A-MAX bullet at 2,700 f.p.s. and at 3,050 f.p.s. to see if the combination can "Keep 'Em In The Zone!"

My guess is that I won't be disappointed. - Toby Bridges, Hi-Lux Optics







  


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Hi-Lux Optics 8x USMC Scopes Are Better Than One!


Bought a second scope because I liked the first scope so much. 

First scope is mounted on a Kimber Model 82 .22 target rifle obtained from CMP. Perfect for this application - good magnification (especially @ normal 50 yard range distance); excellent optics, as I have had several Unertl and Lyman scopes to compare with; mounting was only a minor challenge, as I had a collection of Unertl and Lyman mount bases, two of which worked well (bull barrel on rifle drilled & tapped for scope blocks - just needed right height, and length to get the 7.2"). 

The second scope is mounted on a Springfield 1903, as you guys actually intended. Mounting, of course, was more of a challenge, but I found a video instruction on the Web that helped a lot. Mounted the rear mount first, using a Wheeler scope mounting mandrel, which assured proper spacing and, more importantly, alignment with the fore-aft receiver axis. Next, I built an aluminium jig (clamped the two mounts between two rails) that allowed me to exactly align the front mount with the rear mount, and included precise markings for the 7.2" spacing. Just some drilling and tapping, and the job was well and easily done. 

Have not yet fired the Springfield, but laser bore sighting looks very good, with zero very near to the mechanical center of the rear mount. Anticipate excellent performance, as was experienced with the first scope & mount. Recovering form heart attack, quadruple bypass, triple hernia repair, and am afraid to shoot any rifle with any recoil with a sewed-up sternum. Can't seem to get a straight answer from the doctors, as they don't shoot, thus don't understand the recoil forces involved, and the transfer of those forces to the sternum. Frustrating, to say the least! Looking for another shooter with same experience, but haven't found one yet. 

Only comment I would make is that the threads on the lens covers are extremely fine, and thus always a challenge to replace on the lenses. Thanks for an excellent product at a very reasonable price!

John

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Testing The New Hi-Lux Optics Max-Tac Dot Sight In Extreme Cold Weather


                     One Very Cold Montana Deer Hunt Puts This Electronic Sight Through Its Paces... 


"Using the padded rail that went around the front of the stand as a rest, I hit the "on" button of the Max-Tac Dot sight and looked through it to make sure the reticle was on. The two young deer held their course, coming right along the edge...then about a hundred yards away they began to slightly angle out into the field. Fortunately, they then began walking parallel with the edge of the timber...and as the deer slowly eased past at about 40 yards, I centered the glowing red dot right over the rear line of the front shoulder...cocked the hammer back...steadied my hold...and eased back on the trigger. The big handgun barked...and the makings of one fine roast (and other great eating) went down on the spot. The shot was perfectly placed along the rear edge of the front shoulder..."

To read the entire article on this hunt with the Max-Tac Dot topped .50 caliber Traditions VORTEK Pistol shown above, go to - 

                              http://www.namlhunt.com/doublefeature.html

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Transforming The Standard Short Wm. Malcolm Scope Into A Precision BPCR Competition Scope


Note:  The standard mounts that come on the short 3x and 6x vintage style Wm. Malcolm scopes, produced by Hi-Lux Optics, are copies of original mounts of late 1800's and early 1900's design.  They are extremely reliable, and relatively easy to adjust.  However, they are not designed for being quickly adjusted back and forth during black powder cartridge rifle long range shooting or competition.  The mounts have been built to be sighted and locked (using a friction ring) into place - for hunting or close range (<100 yards) target shooting and plinking.

One solution to installing more adjustable and more precise target mounts is to purchase the precision micrometer click style mounts built for the external adjustment Wm. Malcolm 8x USMC Sniper scope.

Here is a look at how one shooters made that change out...

http://rvbprecision.com/shooting/leatherwood-sniper-scope-mounts-a-review.html  

Leatherwood Rolling Out New Hi-Lux M40 Tactical Hunter Scope


                Here's An Early Review On The New M40 Tactical Hunter Model

"The heart of the M40 Tactical Hunter is the reticle. Instead of using MOA or mils these scopes are marked to estimate the distance to the target based on its size in the reticle. Then the shooter just positions the target on the appropriate hold-over mark and pulls the trigger."

                                                       Click Here To Read The Full Write Up