Friday, September 5, 2014

Hi-Lux Optics Introduces New MAX-TAC Dot Sight

The Shooting Wire shares a look at the new MAX-TAC Dot reflex red-dot sight from Hi-Lux Optics.  This is a high quality and full featured electronic red-dot sight at a price that won't clean out your bank account. Here's more on this great sight -



Last fall, I put the prototype of the MAX-TAC Dot sight through some fairly extensive test shooting, and was so impressed with the sight I also used it on a Traditions .50 caliber in-line ignition muzzleloading pistol to fill one of my Montana antlerless whitetail tags.

I was shooting a 60-grain charge of Blackhorn 209 behind a saboted 240-grain Scorpion PT Gold bullet (from Harvester Muzzleloading).  The yearling whitetail offered a perfect 40-yard broadside shot...and when the illuminated red dot of the sight was perfectly behind the shoulder...the trigger slowly came back...the big handgun barked...and the deer went down.  It was -15 degrees that morning.  - Toby Bridges, Hi-Lux Optics

To Read More On This Hunt Go To -

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hi-Lux Optics Buck Country 1.5-6x42mm Scope - An Affordable Classic Scope

                                                               (Click On Photos To Enlarge)

The rifle shown above is something of a modern classic.  It is the Thompson/Center Arms single-shot TCR Model 87.  The company first introduced the rifle as the TCR Model 83, in 1983.  The only real difference between the Model 83 and the Model 87 is that the earlier model, also known as the Aristocrat, featured double-set triggers, while the model shown here, often referred to as the TCR Hunter, came with a single trigger.  The interchangeable barrels fit both models.  From what I can gather, only about 40,000 were produced (both models combined) between 1983 and 1991.

What kept the rifle from being any more successful was the price.  The retail cost of either the TCR 83 or TCR 87 was noticeably higher than popular bolt-action center-fire rifles of the time, such as the Winchester Model 70, Remington Model 700 or Ruger Model 77.

Just finding a fine condition Model 83 or 87 today that's for sale is quite an accomplishment...But, finding one for sale at a bargain price is, well, PRICELESS!

I lucked into the Model 87 shown here a couple of months back on the Montana Armslist on the internet - and bought the rifle with two barrels (.22 Hornet and .30-06), a new riflescope, with two bases and sets of rings already attached, and 5 boxes of .22 Hornet ammo - for a whopping $400. I've since turned down a $600 offer for the rifle with the .22 Hornet barrel - and a $300 offer for the .30-06 barrel.  I've wanted one of these for years, and this one is staying right here.

When I bought the rifle, the .22 Hornet barrel was on the frame, and had a current model Redfield 3-9x42mm model scope mounted on it.  The scope had less than 50 rounds fired under it, and I put another 20 rounds through the .22 Hornet barrel the day I bought it.  The scope seemed to perform well enough, but I just did not like its overly large size.  It was just too big and bulky for the slim and trim lines of the TCR Model 87.  The scope I chose for this barrel is the 1.5-6x42mm Buck Country model from Hi-Lux Optics. The scope is considerably shorter, and looks much better on the rifle.

This has long been one of my favorite scopes in the Hi-Lux line, and it retails for just $129.00.  It's built with much of the quality and ruggedness of higher priced models in the line.  The BC156x42 features multi-coated high quality lenses that are super bright and sharp.  The fingers actuated windage and elevation adjustments are crisp and positive - and the somewhat European styling of the scope simply adds to the overall look of a classic single-shot like the TCR Model 87.

What really impressed me was my very first shot with the rifle with the Hi-Lux Buck Country 1.5-6x scope mounted in the same rings used to mount the previous scope.  Switching out the two scopes took all of about ten minutes.  My first shot out of the .22 Hornet barrel with the new scope at 50 yards, shooting Hornady "Varmint Express" ammo, with the 35-grain V-MAX bullet (at 3,100 f.p.s.), was perfectly left-right center on the target, and about an inch above the center-x of the Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C target.  Two following shots punched a .455" center-to-center group.

A new target was then stapled to the 100-yard target board...and the very next three shots produced a .335" group.  Never before in my life have I been able to pull a brand new scope out of a box, and stick it into existing rings on an existing base - and have a rifle sighted in...without ever turning an adjustment turret.  That group is shown here.

When shipped, Hi-Lux Optics scopes are set at "optical center" - with the same amount of adjustment up and down, and left to right.  The odds of being able to take a scope that's perfectly centered optically, and dropping it into a set of rings on a rifle, and have it perfectly "on" at 100 yards is beyond comprehension.  In my mind, it also says a lot for just how precisely the TCR Model 87 was built - and especially how precisely centered the holes for mounting a scope base were drilled.

I've also put a few boxes of Sellier & Bellot 45-grain soft-point rounds through the Hornet barrel, punching several sub 1-inch hundred yard groups.  The scope took the needed 1/4-inch click adjustment in windage and elevation well.  The rifle tends to prefer the Hornady 35-grain V-MAX, and I was able to easily return to the zero for those rounds by turning both windage and elevation the same number of clicks in the opposite direction.

I'll shoot and bust a few ground squirrels with the .22 Hornet barrel, Hi-Lux Optics 1.5-6x High Country scope, and Hornady's "Varmint Express" ammo until I pick up a set of loading dies for the .22 Hornet. It's been more than 40 years since I've owned a rifle chambered for the .22 Hornet.  I had forgotten how accurate a good rifle in that caliber can be...and how much fun it is to squeeze off a round that tends to have "zero" recoil.

Now, I'm eyeing up that .30/06 barrel for the rifle - and wondering what scope to mount on it.  I'm kind of leaning in favor of the new Hi-Lux Optics 3-9x40mm M40 Tactical Hunter, with a built in ranging system. What do you think?  -  Toby Bridges

                         For More On The Buck Country Scopes - Click Here


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Where Can I Buy Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics Riflescopes?

We know, that compared to other name brand rifle optics, we are still somewhat the "new kids" on the block.  However, when it comes to quality, reliability, precision, brightness, sharpness, clarity and toughness...our products will definitely stand up against any other scope line on the market.

We are expanding our dealer list, making it easier for you, the consumer, to actually pick up and compare a Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics scope with other brands.  However, if you cannot find our products in any of your local gunshops, here is a list of very reputable internet retailers where you can learn more about our some reviews...and actually purchase the great models that make up our line.

SWFA Outdoors 


Midway USA

Creedmoor Sports


Natchez Shooters Supply

Ironsight Inc.

Buffalo Arms

Taylor's & Co., Inc. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Unique Application Of Hi-Lux Optics AR Tactical Scope...

The following is an excerpt from a feature article about the new LHR Sporting Arms .50 caliber Redemption Carbine big game muzzleloader, which was just published on the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING web magazine.  This short and fast handling muzzleloader was designed and built for getting on target quickly...and taking the shot.  To tap the accuracy and knockdown power of this new frontloader, for this report the Redemption Carbine has been topped with one of the Hi-Lux Optics 1-4x CMR scopes for AR style cartridge rifles.  Here's what NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING had to say about the scope... 

"As soon as I realized that the 20-inch barreled LHR Sporting Arms carbine is as fast shouldering as it looks, I knew immediately it was built for hunting the "heavy cover" where shots are generally well inside of a hundred yards - often calling for fast shot placement. Choosing the ideal scope for the short .50 caliber was a pretty easy choice - since I just happened to have one of the Hi-Lux Optics 30mm tubed 1x to 4x variable Close-Medium Range (CMR) tactical scopes on hand...and which needed a home.

This scope is actually an extremely popular scope for AR style cartridge rifles, with the low magnification ideal for fast target acquisition during those up close and personal situations ...yet offering enough magnification for punching some tight 100+ yard groups.

The only way this scope could have been any more perfect for the .50 caliber No. 209 primer ignition in-line carbine would be if those BDC hold-over marks seen below the center circle and dot had been calibrated for the ballistics of the short-barreled muzzleloader. (They are actually to allow for the trajectory of .223 Rem. or .308 Win. rounds.) This illustration shows the center portion of the reticle illuminated (available in either green or red). When the illumination is switched off, the center shows up like every other feature shown here.

The 30mm tube lets in a lot of light, making this one of the brightest scopes I now have on a muzzleloader. When the center illumination is switched "off", the small center dot is fine enough to allow precise shot placement out at 100 yards or a bit farther, yet bold enough that it's not lost when trying to catch up with a running target."

                                                         To read the entire article/report, go to -


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 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 - 

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 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