The title of this post is my attempt at theatrical exuberance. If that was not clear before, this should really clarify why I never had a snowball's chance of a career in performing arts. Some people are just born to be nerds, I suppose.
I have mentioned here and elsewhere that I am kicking of a new High End Tactical (HET) comparison. Interestingly, although very few people are actually willing to spend this much money on these, quite a few people want to know what the pecking order at the top is and whether one is significantly better than all the others.
I'll try to rank them in some sort of a reasonable way, but the choice between the options is usually not the same for everyone. Barring some potential surprises (and those are usually not good surprises), everything on the high end is very good. However, riflescope design is an art of compromises and different manufacturers make those compromises in different ways. As is most often the case in real life, the answer is more nuanced than a simple ranking from best to worst. The biggest driver for the comparison is the introduction of March 4.5-28x52 and Zeiss LRP 3-18x50. I am really curious to see how they stack up against the competition.
I originally decided to put this together because I was curious how the new March 4.5-28x52 stacks up against the competition. 52mm objective is sort of an "in between" size, but it is closer to 50mm than 56mm and since the scope is compact, it really fits better with 50mm designs.
I have spent quite a lot of time with a near production prototype of this scope and I know it is very nice. What I do not know is how it stacks up against the competition.
While we are talking about nuanced answers, if you were to ask me what the best precision oriented high end scope out there for everything across the board is, I can tell you right off-hand that this March is going to be in the top 3, simply on the strength of it having very wide FOV broadest magnification range of the group, reasonably compact size and light weight. I also have the background knowledge of what they changed compared to the prototype I looked at. However, if you were to ask me whether you should get this new march or the ZCO 4-20x50, I would really struggle with the answer. The easiest would be to find out whether you often use magnification above 20x, which reticle you prefer and how much value you put on locking turrets. Based on answers to those recommendations I can make a perfectly reasonable recommendation, but the dirty trick here, so to speak, is that since I know these two are really nice scopes and whichever one I recommend, you are not going to be disappointed. What I can't yet offer is a sufficiently nuanced answer on how they compare optically and optical comparison will be a really significant part of this effort.
I will obviously carefully look at the mechanical quality, both objective and subjective, but I really do not expect anything within this price range to give me any objective mechanical problems. That is definitely something to check though. Feel will be different, of course, and that is another potential differentiator.
Normally, when I do these, I make the announcement, then vanish into my "dark lord lair" for a few months only to emerge with the results.
I plan to do it differently this time. There will be supporter-only updates as I go along, so that I can get some feedback here and there and make sure I dig into the details that matter to you. Also, if any of you are within a reasonable driving distance of me, we can potentially arrange a meet somewhere for you to look at the scopes yourself.
Here are the contenders:
March 4.5-28x52 with FML-TR1 reticle (on its way here) https://bit.ly/32qOUhj
Zeiss LRP 3-18x50 (should be here in a couple of weeks) https://bit.ly/3nNYZNx
ZCO 4-20x50 with MPCT3x (already here)
Tangent Theta TT315M 3-15x50 (has been here for a few years) https://bit.ly/3p22gs0
S&B PMII UltraShort 5-20x50 with P4F and DTII+ turrets (has been here for a bit). https://bit.ly/3CKequw
Steiner M7Xi 2.9-20x50 with Tremor3 rerticle (got here last week. They only had it with Tremor3, so I had no choice) https://bit.ly/3r5sw7t
US Optics 3.2-17x50 with JVCR (I already reviewed this one, so it will only be here for the optics part of the comparison; I know the mechanics work) https://bit.ly/3l9u9gJ
I also have a mystery contender, of sorts, that I had not mentioned before. I do not think it belongs in this group in terms of features or price, but optical and mechanical quality are very good. One of the things I am looking to figure out while I am doing this is where it fits between these $3k+ scopes and $1500-ish designs that I consider to be the best bang for the buck, like Vortex Razor HD-LHT 4.5-22x50 and Element Nexus 5-20x50.
I got home yesterday and fished Steiner MPS from the mail. I am going to go live in an hour, right here, with some early impressions of it.
I originally planned to do a live show on the Rittenhouse verdict take-aways, but figured you'd want to get the scoop on the MPS first. It is an interesting new option for compact red dot sights and the last thing I needed for the red dot comparison I have been working on.
Let's talk about optics today and touch on the political stuff tomorrow.
Here is a review of the 15x56 "Big Eyes" binocular from Tract.
I ended up liking it a lot more than I expected given the price.
Here is the third installment of this series, recorded after a rather long break.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Here is the rough parts list:
VC Defense billet lower
BCM upper https://bit.ly/3wcHIQX
Proof Research 16" CF barrel https://bit.ly/3whEg7I
Odin tunable gas block https://bit.ly/3EJk8hO
Bootleg adjustable BCG https://bit.ly/3BLeQAl
Q HoneyBadger 12" handguard https://bit.ly/2ZRt7hr
ACE UL Stock https://bit.ly/3mIWpbc
Vortex Razor Gen3 1-10x24 https://bit.ly/3BJkR0j
Hiperfire 24 4Gun trigger https://bit.ly/3bCaykj
Zero Bravo offset sights
Crimson Trace CMR-301 light/laser https://bit.ly/2ZPQrfy
ACE UL stock
Riflecraft RS-3 sling
Here is how I chose to build a general purpose AR-15. That does not necessarily mean it is ideal for everyone. If you are thinking of doing such a build, this is a good starting point. Take a close look at my reasoning and see what you need to change to make it fit you.
During the last couple of livecasts, multiple people brought up a recent article in the Recoil magazine that discusses the MPVO concept. MPVO stands for Medium Power Variable optic, similarly to how LPVO stands for Low Power Variable Optic.
The article in question is this one: https://www.recoilweb.com/medium-powered-variable-optics-mpvo-the-optic-you-dont-know-you-need-170236.html
It is generally a well written piece that makes a reasonable argument. I agree with some parts of it and disagree with other parts, so there is some nuance there.
Before I get into the specifics, there are a couple of things to point out:
1) It will occasionally sound like I am attacking the author of that article. I am not. However, I also have to call a spade a spade sometimes and if I think he has no clue about something specific, I will say exactly that. I have never heard of the guy until today. I did look up a few of his other articles and he seems like a good writer and a competent gun guy. I did not, however, find anything resembling an understanding ...
There is a very fair chance that your e-mail is filled with hundreds of "once-in-a-lifetime" or "today only" deals. If you are not careful, you can end up with a once in a lifetime credit card bill next month.
I am generally not hugely pre-occupied with deals and I do not wait for a particular season to buy something. If I am looking for something specific, I usually need it and I am unlikely to spend months analyzing what deals are out there.
There are some exceptions to that, most notably with backup optics (see my earlier post on Primary Arms) and tools.
I have a good assortment of tools to use, but I have been keeping an eye out for deals on Fix-It-Stick kits since I like to have a few spread around different bags/backpacks/etc. It turns out that I am pathologically incapable of remembering to move one from bag to bag, so I ended up accumulating a few here and there I am picking another one up this time since they have a healthy Black Friday discount going on: https://bit.ly/3nTqzsL
They seem to have a...
Rather than inundate you with a long list of things we are thankful for this year, I'll just leave you with a couple of points
We should all be grateful for our families. I certainly am. I really am blessed and I wish you all to be as fortunate.
All of us who live in the US, should definitely be grateful for that. It is the greatest country in the world (I know people from other countries may disagree, but everyone has the right to be wrong) and I am truly fortunate to be here.
I made a long drive to California yesterday with my kids, so I had some time to think. As irritated as I am with Big Tech at the moment, I have to say that I truly am grateful for the modern marvels of technology. They did not give me a voice, but they sure extended its reach.
Happy tryptophan day, ya'll!