Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 SHOT Show Was Greatest Ever!

In The Photo Above...

Standing, left to right, Toby Bridges (Outdoor Writer/Hi-Lux Product Promoton); John Wu (Hi-Lux Owner & C.E.O.); David Fourtier (Renowned Gun Writer); Timothy Yam (Field Editor of Shotgun News); Mike Sexton (Owner of Ironsighter/Hi-Lux R&D/Hi-Lux Waranty Repair); Alex Sergeev (Hi-Lux Product Engineer); Christy Steigers-Bridges (Toby's Far Better Half), Chris Tully (Hi-Lux Optics National Sales Manager), and, sitting, Mark Krebs (President/Owner - Krebs Custom Arms), during a break in the traffic at the 2011 SHOT Show, in Las Vegas, NV.

This year's show covered more than 600,000 square feet of exhibit space, making it the biggest, and certainly one of the busiest SHOT Shows in history. The traffic at the Hi-Lux booth was definitely the busiest ever, with more interest than ever in the ever growing line up of quality rifle optics.

"At this year's Shot Show, the majority of Dealers and Law Enforcement personnel that visited our booth showed extreme interest in our CMR1-4X24 scope. This year we also introduced our new Red Illuminated Reticle, which gained a lot of interest to the hunting customer. Also, this was the first year we had an actual Springfield M1A on display, with our M14/M1A mount attached. It was well received, and caught the eye of many walking by!. And, as standard every year, our vintage Wm. Malcolm scopes were extremely popular for that Single Shot enthusiast," said Chris Tully.

A lot of extremely serious sporting rifle owners, professional law enforcement & military tactical marksmen, hard-core hunters, and those looking for period correct optics for early muzzleloading and black powder cartridge rifles have learned that you can pay a whole lot more for rifle optics, but even at two or more times the price, you still cannot buy a better designed, better built riflescope than a Leatherwood/Hi-Lux scope.

To see the entire line, go to - www.hi-luxoptics.com

Multi-Range Programmable Uni-Dial Scope

For those long-range shooters who just don’t trust the mechanics or electronics of auto-ranging and trajectory compensating telescopic rifle sights, Hi-Lux Optics offers a great conventional style scope alternative – the Leatherwood Uni-Dial. Here is an exceptional quality scope that can be programmed with up to ten different range settings. And each can be locked in place and easily returned to for repeatable performance.

The Uni-Dial elevation turret features ten moveable indicators, or flags, allowing the shooter to set specific zero points at specific different ranges. This can be done using available ballistic and trajectory data…or the old fashion way, and getting out and shooting. Or something of a compromise…relying on data and then refining by putting in a little range time. Once each point of impact at a specific range is determined, it can be locked in place and precisely marked with one of the flags – which are numbered 1 thru 10. Using the Uni-Dial is then just a matter of knowing the range, or using a rangefinder, and turning the elevation turret to the proper flag.

If you like the idea of a programmable long-range scope, but prefer something “less automated”, the Uni-Dial is your scope…with enough elevation adjustment for shooting from 100 to 1,000 or more yards with most popular center-fire rifle calibers. Each click of the elevation turret makes a 1/2” adjustment at 100 yards, each click of the windage turret moves point of impact 1/4” on the target.

Like all Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics riflescopes, the Uni-Dial comes with multi-coated lenses that have been polished to photographic quality, for unsurpassed brightness and clarity. This model is offered in a great range of variable power magnifications, including 2.5-10x44mm, 4-16x50mm, and 7-30x50mm scopes. All are built with the all-new “All Terrain Riflescope” construction that can handle anything that Mother Nature or hard recoiling rifles can dish out. Features include “Tri-Center” internal spring tension and Fast-Focus ocular lens. Each comes with a Limited Lifetime warranty. Suggested retail prices are $299 for the 2.5-10x44mm model, $385 for the 4-16x50, and $475 for the 7-30x50mm model. Each comes with sunshade extension.

For more information, go to www.hi-luxoptics.com, or call 888 445-8912.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Toby Bridges HPML Scope Takes The Guess Work Out Of Long Range Muzzleloader Shooting

High Performance Muzzleloading is exactly what muzzleloader hunting has become these days. Loaded with one of today's hotter black powder substitutes and a sleek spire-pointed saboted bullet, modern primer ignition in-line rifles are amazingly accurate - and have more than doubled the range of the muzzleloaders from the past. Still, one thing that plagues the muzzleloading hunter once shots extend to 200 yards, and farther, has been bullet drop. Today's rifles and loads can easily maintain more than enough energy to cleanly take big game out past 200 yards, as long as the shooter can contend with 10...20...30 or more inches of bullet drop at extended ranges.

Well known muzzleloading expert Toby Bridges fired more than 1,000 rounds to help Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics develop this manufacturer's HPML muzzleloader hunting scope - to determine the location of lower cross-bar long range reticules for shooting at 200, 225 and 250 yards. Bridges settled on powder charges that would get saboted 240- to 300-grain spire-pointed or spitzer style bullets out of a .50 caliber primer ignition in-line rifle at velocities of 1,950 to 2,000 f.p.s. And once a rifle is sighted "dead on" at 100 yards with the primary crosshair, these lower cross-bar reticules do a surprisingly great job of keeping the various bullets of this type in that weight range within 2 inches of point of aim at those ranges. The bullets tested include the Hornady SST (250- & 300-grain), the Parker Ballistic Extreme (250- & 275-grain), the Barnes Spit-Fire TMZ (250- & 290-grain, and the Harvester Muzzleloading Scorpion PT Gold (260- & 300-grain), plus other similar bullets with a .210 to .250 ballistic coefficient. And using a dead on hold with the appropriate reticule, hits at 200, 225 and 250 yards can be easily kept in the kill zone of deer sized game.

The Leatherwood/Hi-Lux HPML scope is a high quality 3-9x40mm scope that incorporates the company's All Terrain Riflescope construction, and this scope is built to take anything that Mother Nature can dish out. This is one tough recoil proof muzzleloader hunting scope. Features include bright fully multi-coated lenses of photographic quality, Tri-Center spring tension on windage and elevation adjustments (1/4" click), fast focus eyepiece, one-piece aluminum scope tube, and wear resistant finish - all backed by a limited lifetime warranty. The blued model retails for $179.00, the silver finished model $189.00.

For More Details & Specifications Go To - www.hi-luxoptics.com

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Top-Angle Focus "Professional" Models

You can pay a lot more for a quality riflescope, but you'll be hard pressed to buy one that is better built than the new Top-Angle Focus 30mm tube "Professional" ATR* Series scopes now available from Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics. One thing is for certain, you won't find a scope with as many great features - even at twice the price!

Every "Professional" model starts with a premium quality one-piece aluminum tube, featuring heavier walls than used by other scope makers. The erector housing is larger in outside diameter, adding to the overall rigidity of this scope. Plus, it permits additional machining inside to allow for added windage and elevation adjustment, as well as forming a recoil shoulder against the front ring for heavy recoiling rifles such as the .338 Winchester Magnum, the .375 H&H Magnum, or even a .50 caliber BMG long-range tactical rifle. The internal erector is much beefier than that found in "standard quality" scope construction, providing a more solid mounting for internal lenses.

A great new feature of this model is the Top-Angle Focus adjustment, which makes it easier than ever to adjust for parallax and keep the sight picture and target crisp and sharp at all ranges. Located just forward of the elevation adjustment turret, and off-set at a 45-degree angle, the Top-Angle Focus turret is much easier to reach than objective lens mounted parallax adjustment…or even the side-mounted parallax focus adjustment of a few other scopes. Being mounted at an angle also makes it easier for the left-handed shooter to reach.

Another great feature of this scope is the "No-Math Mil-Dot" reticle. Determining range has never been easier. Brackets on all four sides of the juncture of the crosshairs allow the shooter to zoom in the power of the scope until a target of known size is framed by the crosshair and bracket (or between two brackets for larger targets), then all the shooter has to do is look at the range on the eyepiece and hold accordingly to allow for bullet drop. The system is quick…and accurate.

Other standard features include Leatherwood-designed "Tri-Center" spring tension on the erector housing for positive windage and elevation click adjustment; photographic quality lenses that have been fully multi-coated for 99-percent light transmission to insure a clear, bright sight picture; quick focus eyepiece; covered target-style windage and elevation adjustment turrets; and Leatherwood/Hi-Lux's wear resistant PermaCoat finish for long lasting good looks.

The 3-12x, 4-16x, 6-24x, and 7-30x Top-Angle Focus "Professional" ATR Series scopes all feature a 50mm objective lens. Each scope comes with a front lens shade extension and flip up front and rear lens covers. Suggested retail prices are $299.00 for the 3-12x...$349.00 for the 4-16x...$449.00 for the 7-30x.

For More Details And Specifications Go To - www.hi-luxoptics.com

Friday, March 18, 2011

Building A "Dangerous Game" Rifle & Scope Combo

By Toby Bridges

Short action rifles, like the Model 70 Winchester shown in the accompanying photo, have grown in popularity in recent years - largely due to the fact that the rifles are now chambered for new "Short Magnum" cartridges that can deliver the game taking wallop once only available from rifles built to handle significantly longer cartridges. New cartridge offerings like the .300 Winchester Short Mag, the .300 Remington SA Ultra Mag or the .325 Winchester Short Mag are all capable of getting 150 to 180 grain bullets out of a 24-inch barrel at more than 3,000 f.p.s. - and with 3,500 to 3,600 foot-pounds of energy. In fact, the .325 Winchester can launch a 220-grain bullet at over 2,800 f.p.s., and generate nearly 4,000 foot-pounds of stopping power.

It's easy to see why these calibers appeal to those hunters who often find themselves faced with "going in after" the game they hunt in really heavy cover. And that is especially true when the game is large or dangerous. Before closing the distance on a big bear that could be just a few yards away before it's spotted, a lot of thought must go into the selection of the scope that tops a rifle that also has significantly longer range capabilities. Most of us now tend to over-scope a rifle.

The rifle in the accompanying photo just happens to be one that I've put together to carry anytime I now leave the roadway, to just head out across the country I'm hunting, or hiking a trail that leads into wild back country. I first felt that need just a couple of years ago when walking a trail out of Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, with my black Labrador companion at my side, and came face to face with a 500-pound male grizzly - less than 20 yards away. At that point, the .44 Magnum revolver tucked away in my shoulder holster seemed extremely inadequate.

This rifle is now topped with one of the new 1-4x CMR (Close-Medium Range) scopes offered by Hi-Lux Optics. And any time when I'm on the move, the magnification of this scope is turned to its lowest 1x setting - ready for any such close range encounters.

Keep in mind, this scope was actually developed as a tactical scope for use on AR-type or other similar close to medium range tactical rifles. It has received several great reviews in articles by leading tactical arms writers, and has been thoroughly torture tested. Many of those who have used the scope, especially those who have installed them on rifles that their lives depend upon, compare the scope to several similar competing models that are priced three times that of the 1-4x CMR. This great lightweight and compact riflescope retails for $399.

My stainless short-action Winchester Model 70 is chambered for the .300 Winchester Short Mag, and I have two favorite loads for the rifle. My most accurate load consists of 66-grains of Accurate Arms 4350 behind the 168-grain Hornady A-Max bullet. Before mounting the 1-4x CMR on this rifle, I first shot this combination with a big 7-30x Hi-Lux Top-Angle Professional model locked down on the steel Hi-Lux MAX-TAC rail base. At 100 yards the rifle and load consistently punched sub 1-inch groups - and out at 500 yards, most groups stayed right at 3 to 3.5 inches across.

At the muzzle of the 24-inch medium weight barrel, the sleek boat-tailed spire-point .308" diameter Hornady bullet exited at 3,036 f.p.s., with 3,435 foot-pounds of energy. It shot like a match grade .308 Winchester on steroids...and that's exactly what I was looking for - a rifle that would be effective on coyotes and, when the time comes, wolves out to 500...600...700 or more yards. And, the Hornady A-Max bullet is an ideal choice for targets of that class.

For shots that could become extremely up-close and personal, say under 25 yards, I wanted a scope with as little magnification as possible, and the 1-4x CMR definitely filled the bill. The 1x setting is as true a 1x magnification as I have ever peered through - still, the scope offers enough magnification on the 4x end of the range for shooting out to 200 or maybe even 300 yards. Likewise, if I ever come face-to-face with another 500-pound grizzly when hiking a wilderness trail, I wanted a bullet with a little tougher construction than the match-grade A-Max. My choice for typical western Montana elk , deer and black bear hunting, and for those times when I carry the rifle for protection from extremely large predators, is the 165-grain Hornady GMX - a relatively new "non-leaded" bullet of gilded metal construction.

Sticking with Accurate Arms 4350 powder, I upped the charge to 66.5 grains, and could of (should of) ended my search right there. The Model 70 Winchester was spitting those 165-grainers out of the muzzle at 3,059 f.p.s. - with 3,428 f.p.e., and at 100 yards, with the scope at 4x, most groups shot were right at an inch across. I spent several more sessions on the range with loads that went up and down the scale .5 grains, but nothing else out shot my initial loading.

What I like about the 1-4x CMR scope is the simple reticle. Instead of a crosshair, this scope has a 3/4 circle with a center dot. On each side there is a calibrated bar going nearly to the edge of the view. Likewise, there is a shorter bar running down from the center reticle which features fine and short cross-bar reticles, which have been calibrated for longer range shooting (with the scope at 4x) using standard service round .223/5.56mm or .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO ammunition. The upper half of the view through the scope is wide open and very unclutterd. At 1x, acquiring a target just a few yards away, centering it and taking the shot can be done quickly. After all, this scope was developed as a tactical sight system, which could mean engaging hostile targets at extremely close range.

All reticles, calibrated bars, the center circle, and especially the center dot are relatively fine, and do not hide anything. Still, in good daylight, the reticle is clear and sharp - even to my 60-year old eyes. However, for those dim light shooting opportunities, this reticle can be quickly illuminated with the flip of a switch. Likewise, the brightness of that illumination can be adjusted for the darkness of an inside situation, or in my case an evening hunt or the thickness of the overhead canopy.

With my .300 WSM sighted right at an inch high at 100 yards, I first checked point of impact at closer range - at 25 and at just 5 yards. Shooting the load with the 165-grain GMX bullet, using a dead on hold, at 25 yards point of impact was about 1 1/2-inch above point of aim - at super close range, 5 yards, point of impact was just over an inch below point of aim. Anything centered in that scope, charging at me at those close ranges, is going to get hit with more than a ton and a half of wallop!

I've been a .308 Winchester fan most of my life, beginning with my days on the range with an M-14 during a stint with the Marine Corps during the late 1960s-early 1970s. I was so impressed with the 500-yard accuracy of that rifle and full-metal jacketed ammo, that even before I got out of the service, I owned a Model 70 in .308 Winchester caliber.

Now, the .308 loads I fired out of that rifle 40 years ago, would get a 165-grain match grade bullet out of the muzzle at around 2,800 f.p.s. Back then, I had topped the M70 with a 3-9x Leupold scope, and the handloads I had crafted would easily group 5 shots inside of 5 inches at 500 yards - on a good day. Knowing that my load for the newer stainless .300 WSM was shooting the same weight bullet at a velocity around 250 f.p.s. faster, and with a higher ballistic coefficient bullet design, I was curious to see just where the rifle and load would print, using the 500-yard cross-bar reticle of the 1-4x CMR scope.

Using the highest magnification, I centered the 8-inch diameter Birchwood Casey "Shoot-N-C" target in the small opening in the center of the 500-yard cross-bar reticle...eased back on the trigger...and was very pleased to see a fluorescent yellowish-green dot appear on the black target...about 2 inches above the center of the target, and maybe an inch right. But, I was just a little disappointed when my second shot didn't show on the target. But my third did, about an inch higher and about 1 1/2 inches to the left of my first shot.

When I walked down range to the target, I suddenly felt better. My second shot had just clipped the top edge of the 8-inch bull. Measured center-to center...all three shots were inside of 3 inches. Using a center-chest hold, any deer or elk would have gone down with any of those shots.

This is the center-fire rifle I will use for pretty much all of my modern rifle hunting through the 2011 seasons. With the lighted reticle for late evening hunts, it's an ideal spring bear rifle. And where I hunt elk and deer, most shots are well within 150 yards. Still, if I can make it back up into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area for elk this next fall, this rifle, load and scope will keep me in the game if I ever have to stretch a shot to 400 or 500 yards. And when it's time to hike out, with the 1-4x CMR scope turned all the way down to 1x, I won't worry so much about coming face to face with another grizzly.

More On The 1-4x CMR Scope Can Be Found At www.hi-luxoptics.com

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's Old Could Be New Again...

Honest 200-yard muzzleloader accuracy and game-taking performance did not begin with the introduction of the modern in-line ignition rifle. Serious muzzleloader shooters and hunters of the 1840s and 1850s turned to newly developed elongated conical bullets, and the new fast-twist bore rifles developed to shoot them, to enjoy that level of performance almost 150 years before the introduction of the Knight MK-85. And to better tap that level of performance, a few of those rifle makers also became the first riflescope makers. Some of the rifles and loads of that period could regularly keep 10 shots inside of 2 inches at 40 rods (220 yards).

Strangely, the muzzleloading industry has practically ignored this chapter of muzzleloading history - even though the rifles and loads of that period are likely the most accurate long-range muzzleloaders of all time. Renowned rifle makers such as William Billinghurst, Morgan James, Edwin Wesson, Norman Brockway, and many others designed and refined the rifles and projectiles that, by the 1850s, had become the most accurate and farthest reaching muzzleloaders of all time. And many of these rifles were topped with telescopic rifle sights (a.k.a. scope) of 6x, 8x, 12x...or even 20x magnification.

These are the rifle makers, rifles, bullets and optical sights that made the patched round ball and rifles that would only shoot a patched round ball obsolete.

During the Civil War, many of these scoped long-range muzzle-loaded "sporting" and "target" rifles were used by sharpshooters (snipers) to pull off some legendary shots. And during later (1870s-1880s) international target competition, many top competitors continued to rely on these muzzle-loaded bullet rifles to shoot at ranges out to 1,000 yards - due to the extreme accuracy of the rifles and loads. And this was during a time when big single-shot breechloading rifles like the Sharps and Remington (rolling block) had nearly made all muzzle-loaded hunting rifles obsolete.

For whatever reason, the traditional muzzleloader industry has balked at reproducing the rifles and performance of this period. Thompson/Center Arms and a few other makers have offered percussion rifles with 1840s-1850s looks, but for the most part these have been rifled to shoot a patched round ball - with a turn-in-48 inches twist. Actually, this rate of twist is nothing more than a compromise. A true .50 caliber "patched round ball" rifle will feature lands and grooves that spin with a turn-in-60 to 72 inches. On the other hand, the super accurate bullet rifles of the 1850s were generally .40 or .45 caliber, and rifled to shoot accurately with 400 to 500 grain conical bullets that were very commonly 3 times longer than in diameter. To stabilize such lengthy bullets, these muzzleloaders featured rifling that spun with rates of twist as fast as one-turn-in 18 to 22 inches.

Muzzleloading has always been about better performance. That's what spurred ongoing muzzleloader development for more than 600 years.

Introduced about 1970, the T/C Hawken rifle was the No. 1 muzzle-loaded big game rifle in this country until the Knight MK-85 appeared on the scene. Somewhere around 1-million of the rifles (in finished and kit form) were sold before the bottom dropped out of the traditional rifle market. Why did U.S. shooters abandon the T/C Hawken and other traditional muzzle-loaded rifles? It wasn't because they were turned off by traditional muzzleloader looks. They simply sought better performance for hunting deer, elk and other big game.

When Tony Knight went to the turn-in-32 inches rate of twist (1986-87), and finally to the 1-in-28 twist in 1988-89, the Knight in-line rifles became ideal for shooting the new saboted bullet concept - opening the door for the muzzleloading hunter to choose from a wide range of bullet styles and weights. The combination allowed the modern muzzleloading hunter to better tailor a rifle and load to the size of game being hunted.

If the traditional muzzleloading rifle makers of the 1970s and 1980s had more closely followed the rifles and bullets of 1840 thru 1860, rather than the earlier patched round ball rifles, the modern in-line rifles would have had a harder time dethroning them. And muzzleloading today would have likely been an entirely different game.

The rifles pictured above are all modern copies of 1850-1860 era rifles. The rifle at far left is a Pedersoli .50 caliber "Missouri River Hawken"...the center-rifle is a .45 caliber Dixie Gun Works copy of the unique hexagonal bore Whitworth "sniper rifle" of Civil War fame...and the rifle at far right is an early percussion ignition breech-loaded Sharps rifle, also dating from the Civil War. All of these rifles have been fitted with the modern Leatherwood/Hi-Lux 6x long Malcolm scope, of circa 1855 design. And all will hold their own with today's modern in-line rifles - and deliver a heavy lead bullet with quite a wallop.

If you've been looking for a traditionally styled rifle which can still deliver honest 200-yard performacne on big game, the two muzzleloaders shown above (Pedersoli Hawken and Dixie Whitworth) will certainly fill the bill. However, they do represdent a considerable investment. Complete with the Leatherwood/Hi-Lux "Malcolm" scope, these mid 1800s styled long-range rifles will set you back $1,200 to $1,400.

If you happen to own one of those "1-million" or so T/C Hawken rifles built and sold since about 1970, there is a more affordable way to enjoy this kind of tradtional muzzleloader performance. Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Co. now offers a .50 caliber replacement barrel that is a true bullet barrel, rifled with a 1-in-24 twist. And this one comes with one of the modern "Malcolm" scopes already mounted. It's called the "Sharpshooter", and the barrel-scope combo retails for $599.

The Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Long Malcolm Retails For $439

For More On Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Malcolm Scope - www.hi-luxoptics.com

For More On Green Mountain Sharpshooter - www.gmriflebarrel.com

Read More On Sharpshooter Barrel - http://www.hpmuzzleloading.com/Fieldtest9.html

Read More On Pedersoli Hawken - http://www.hpmuzzleloading.com/Features3.html

Read More On Dixie Whitworth - http://www.hpmuzzleloading.com/Fieldtest6.html

AND http://www.hpmuzzleloading.com/Fieldtest7.html