DarkLordOfOptics
Politics • Science & Tech • Sports
Guns, Optics, 2nd Amendment and resisting the Left in everything they touch.
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LPVO Value Proposition?

I received a really good question on LPVOs via a private message and I think it is worth digging into a little more in a future livecast. Let me know if this is something you want discussed.
The question itself was rather detailed, which I like, and I will leave the details in a private conversation where they were asked. However, the gyst of it is as follows: "With Low Powered Variable Optics of today, at what price point do you get the most for you money?"
The same question can be asked about prismatic scopes (and I am looking at a whole bunch of them right now trying to answer that) and non-focusing sights (I spent part of the last two years trying to answer that, so I am pretty up to speed there).
Naturally, the discussion gets really complicated by the "Made in China" question. Are you willing to buy a Chinese made product or not?
I take a pretty dim view of Chinese Communist Party, as you may imagine, but I am also a realist and a lot of stuff is made in China. Moreover, I have to be honest with you and admit that sporting optics are not exactly something that makes any difference in the great power competition between the US and China. Now, high tech stuff, like 5G technology, high tech military technologies and semiconductor stuff is a different ballgame. On top of that, I also have to differentiate between the Chinese Communist Party and normal Chinese engineers and technicians who just want to live their lives and trust the CCP about as much as you an I do.
Ultimately, I do not pretend to have any sort of an answer on whether we should be buying Made in China optics and that is something you should answer for yourself. I own a good number of Chinese-made products and I make it a point to note where things are made, so you can make a decision for yourself.
I do try to stick to brands that also have some sort of a presence in the US and that are trying to grow their operations here, but as I said, you have to make your own decisions there. I am happy to make recommendation either way, as long as we define the boundary conditions the right way.
Perhaps, I'll do a livecast on where I think the value curve tops out for different types AR optics, i.e. price point beyond which you run into diminishing returns.
With LPVOs, it really depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a true do all scope, I think $2k for Vortex Razor Gen3 1-10x24 is where it is at. It is a lot of money, but FFP LPVOs with bright reticle illumination are still expensive.
If you are willing to compromise on a few things here and there, you can save a lot of money. For example, if your typical use is restricted to mid/close range or at least you do not need engage targets beyond 500 yards or so on a regular basis, you can save a lot of money by sticking with several excellent options in the $800-$1200 range (Delta Stryker 1-6x24, Vortex Razor Gen2, Sig Tango6, etc). That is the price range that better Chinese scopes are really pushing into and seem to offer a lot of value.
For example, SwampFox Arrowhead 1-10x24 surprised me with how competent it is for under $600 and there are several new models coming from multiple manufacturer that will likely take a step above that.
Thankfully, there are a lot of options in the $500-$1200 range made in China, Phillipines and Japan, so if you are clear in terms of feature you are looking for, it is not terribly difficult to come up with something.
I plan to continue looking at LPVOs in 2021 and the under $2k segment is what interests me the most.
I am really curious about the Sig Tango 6t that is assembled in the US.
Athlon has a new Ares ETR 1-10x24 coming out that I really should look at.
I am sure SwampFox has something interesting up their sleeve, but like most makers they have a hard time keeping up with demand with their current products.
I am looking at a few very compelling red dots and prismatics from Primary Arms, and I am considering re-visiting some of their LPVOs as well.
Burris is definitely due for a new LPVO since they discontinued the 1-8x24 XTR II. I am sure they have something coming.
Their sister company, Steiner, is doing some really clever things with thermal scopes and I wonder what they have planned for LPVOs.
Crimson Trace is a company to watch. They have some new stuff coming out and they understand how important the AR market is.
Vortex already has one of the most complete LPVO line-ups in the business, so I am not sure what to expect from them in 2021, but time will tell.
Leupold is a little weak at the moment as far as LPVOs go and a lot of their recent designs have been very good. I am very curious to see what they are planning.
Bushnell is also a little weak there, especially in the mid-to-high end where they discontinued just about everything they had. I am sure they are cooking something up.
And the list goes on. I suspect that four years of Kamala Harris in the White House will keep the gun market very lively with shortages of damn near everything. It will be difficult for optics companies to balance out the need to manufacture existing products with the need to develop new ones. 2021 will likely tell us in which direction different companies will lean.

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PA GLx 2x Final Resting Place

Here is a final, likely, wrap up of where I think the GLx 2x from Primary Arms belongs.
It is likely the best general purpose optic for AKs and ARs I have seen in a while for shooting inside of $200. Definitely the best for the money and per ounce.
Now, when I say "inside of 200 yards" I do not mean trying to shave a hair of of a mosquito's left testicle. Assume shooting at typical subjects the size of a human torso, or a hog's vital zone.
Most of the time, I have the GLx sitting on a 300BLK pistol. I used it to teach one of my kids to shoot and it was a very easy and forgiving optic to use for a 7 year old. It is equally easy and forgiving for adults as well. It is just that easy to get behind and moderate magnification helps with the ease of use tremendously.
Now that pistol braces are verbotten, the GLx ended up on a 7.62x39 AK (a somewhat tricked out WASR-10) and I think it is going to stay there permanently.
https://alnk.to/ge40PLW
The ACSS reticle on this one is done just ...

00:12:30
SwampFox Sentinel red dot sight

This one is a very simple review:
-it is small
-it is robust
-it works they way it is supposed to
-it does not cost a huge amount of money
-the Ironside shield is a good idea
-RMSc footprint is a good idea

I messed up on price in the video. It is about $50 less than I thought at Brownells: https://alnk.to/a41u5D4

Ironsides stainless steel shield adds $40 to it: https://alnk.to/hDo4gJf

00:07:04
Kicking things off with 5x prismatics: SwampFox and Vortex

I plan to examine a few more prismatics as I go along, but here is the first installment that discusses SwampFox Saber 5x36 and Vortex Spitfire Gen2 5x25.
The interesting part is how little they have in common and how they do compromises differently.
Saber used a large CR123 battery, for example, but the housing gets in the way of a conventional offset red dots or irons should you choose to use one. However, the red dot mounted on the body of the sight, I think, works better.
Vortex, unlike the SwampFox comes with two different mount heights, so I was able to use it on both AK and AR platforms. It is more at home on a lightweight AR though.
The approaches to FOV, reticles, packaging and mounting are very different, which makes it all interesting to me.
The next video on 5x prismatics will talk about the Element Immersive 5x30 and Primary Arms SLx 5x Micro in some length.

00:24:28

If the Trijicon VCOG 1-8x FFP is around 23-24oz weight including the mount and getting fixed on some minor issues such as etched the markings on turrets. would it be a good overall option for general-purpose use? Or maybe competitive against the best overall picks such as the Razor 1-10 ?

June 16, 2024

What would be your recommendation for a scope for an accurate .22 rifle used mainly for ground squirrel control in my yard? Shooting distance is under 100 yards.

On Bump Stocks

https://open.substack.com/pub/darklordofoptics/p/atfs-bump-stock-rule-thrown-out?r=y4q3j&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&showWelcomeOnShare=true

It will be very interesting to see how this one pans out for the Trump campaign. Back when Trump's ATF banned bump stocks, I thought it was one of the stupider things they did. Given Trump's propensity to mouth off on all sorts of stuff there was some stiff competition there.

On the other hand, I keep on hoping that if ATF keeps pushing the boundaries, eventually we will get the entirety of the NFA overturned.

The whole thing is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

To be clear, full auto firearms do absolutely nothing for me. It is waste of ammo as far as I am concerned. I do care about SBRs and suppressors though.

2024 Burris Optics Team Challenge, Day 1

This competition is a blast.  Next year, I am going to shoot it.  It is an interesting combination of normal precision shooting with both bolt gun and semi-auto, shooting from unsupported positions with both, and some handgun shooting.   The focus is still on stuff that requires good precision, but it does require a lot of versatility, thinking outside the box and team communication.

Simply watching people shoot was very illuminating.  Field stages are long rifle only.  Assault stages is where things get creative. 

Each team has two shooters.  One carries a bolt gun and a handgun.  The other carries a semi-auto carbine and a handgun.

For example, there was one stage where the first shooter has to shoot several plates with a handgun.  The plates are far enough where you need to know what you are doing.  I tried it with my carry gun (G43x) and struggled a little.  Watching other people shoot at these with full size handguns made me feel a little less bad about myself.  When a pistol shooter missed a target, his teammate had to shoot a hanging plate 250 yards away with whichever long gun he happens to have.  250 yards is not very far, except you are not allowed to use tripods and can not sit or go prone.  You can get on one knee, but nothing else is supposed to touch the ground.

The people who had triple pull Ckye bipod did not have any issues there.  Here is a picture with Dorgan settng up to make it look easy:

 

If you do not have a tall-ass bipod... you improvise.  Here is one of the more creative methods I saw.  It looks odd, but beats the hell out of doing this unsupported. 

After they were all done, we shot a little at that 250 yard plate.  My kids shot it prone and made quick work of it.  I shot it unsupported and only connected on the third shot.  I suspect that doing this on the clock would make things worse.

On long rifle stages, pretty much everyone was shooting off of tripods, some kneeling, some standing.  I think many people unutilized the gear they had and completely forgot that it is a team event where they can use their teammates gear as well (they shoot one at a time).  The whole team aspect makes it even more interesting.

I spent even more time with the Signature LRF bino.  I like it.  It is going onto my list of recommendations.  https://shrsl.com/4kzs1   10x42 is not my favourite configuration, but it works well enough.  User interface is quite familiar.  All I need from it is to give me the LOS distance and horizontal distance, which it easily does.  Ranging worked pretty well to a bit beyond 2000 yards.  It is probably more along th elines 1000-1200 yards on a deer though.  That's plenty for my purposes.  The binocular is easy to hold.  Rubber coating is just right in terms of giving me a secure hold without getting too sticky.  Collimation quality is good, since I did not have any real eye fatigue to worry about.  Focus wheel is not showing any apparent hysteresis.

I also shot a bit with a handgun that had Burris' new Fastfire C red dot. https://alnk.to/cSHEuuf It is a RMSc pattern sight with a 6MOA dot.  You can either run it in a manual mode or in an autoadjust moode (my preference).  One the Burris guys had a G43x similar to mine excpet with the Fastfire C.  My G43x wears Crimson Trace's Rad Micro (I am wrapping up with a lng term test).  Rad Micro has worked well for me, but in terms of sight picture and dot quality, I have to admit the Fastfire C is a better sight.  Between these two, the only reason to go with CT would be if you have a preference for green dots https://alnk.to/6TzT8NE

There was a lot more to observe and tomorrow I'll head out to other stages and do some more shooting when the competitors are done.

 

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2024 Burris Optics Team Challenge

It took some planning, pulling a string or two and the entirety of my powers of persuasion (on my wife), but the kids and I made it to Burris Optics Team Challenge competition in Wyoming.  The competition officially starts tomorrow morning.  Today started with a tour of Burris' offices and manufacturing facility in Greely, CO followed by a longer than anticipated drive out to Douglas, WY.

I have visited Burris in the past, so I can attest that they are beefing up their capabilities in the US.  Every time I come here, the facility is a bit better than before.  Still, the main purpose of this visit was to show my kids how stuff gets made.  Modern day children are convinced that products come out of an Amazon box.  It was nice to see them develop an understanading of what goes into making these htings, from CNC machines to assembly labs to R&D facilities, etc.

It was also nice for the kids to realize that there are places in this world with more riflescopes than my workshop.

Then, we headed out to Wyoming.  A three hour drive became a 4+ hour drive because we got hit with a massive hale storm a couple of times (my rental car is now all dented up which will make returning it in a few days unnecessarily involved).

It was a perfectly normal summer drive through Wyoming.  Then it got dark.  Rain dropped visibility down to a few feet.  Quail egg sized hail hammered the car (it felt like sitting inside a drum while God wa playing a percussive solo).  A freeway that was dry 15 minutes ago turned into a river of ice.

Eventually, we made it through after having to stop and wait it out a couple of times.  The third time hail hit that day was when we were are the range.

Today was sorta prep day: Burris brought a bunch of stuff for people to shoot.  Competitors were checking their zeros.  Because of the bloody hail, we got there a little late, but we did to a little shooting here and there.  I got to spend some more time with Beretta 92xi that surprised the hell out of me at SHOT.  I really liked it back in January and liked it even more this time around.  I'll have to pick one up.  I did not get a chance to shoot any long guns, but I'll rectify that over the next couple of days.  We are here until Sunday.

It is a nice facility, so I look forward to some shooting once the comptitors are done each day.

My plan is to roam around, watch competitors shoot the stages and take a few pictures.  There are three field stages and four assault stages.  Each team has two shooters, one with a boltgun and another with a semi-auto.  If you are not familiar with this competition, here are the basics:  http://competition-dynamics.com/burris-optics-team-challenge-2024/

I'll do a livestream after it is all done to talk about what I saw.  It sounds like a blast, but it is a difficult competition.

Since we flew here, I tried to go light.  Burris loaned me three binoculars to play with: Signature HD 12x50, Signature HD 10x42 and Signature LRF 10x42.  I have not seen any of these before (outdoors), so I plan to spend some time with them while I am here. https://alnk.to/74uDLld

Since we got soaked earlier today, they ended up going through an impromtu waterproofnes test without any issues.

Today, I was mostly using the 10x42 LRF bino and I have to admit it looks earily similar to Leupold BX-4 Range LRF bino and Meopta Optika LR for a lot less money.

Opticsplanet has the Signature LRF 10x42 for $819 https://shrsl.com/4kzs1 at the moment.

The way the LRF bino is constructed, I bet it is from the same OEM.  I do not have a ton of experience with the BX-4 Range, but quite a lot with the Optica LR.  The Signature LRF looks eerily similar except for a lot less money.  Optically, it is very respectable, especially given that had a built in LRF. 

I have only looked at the 12x50 and 10x42 conventional binos briefly, so I do not have any strong opinons yet.  They looked pretty decent for the $500-ish price.  FOV is not super wide, but the image seemed well corrected.

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Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Y'all!

I tried to sleep in this morning, but it did not work. 

It did become a nice teaching moment about the meaning of the word consequences...

And for all the college kids out there going to elite liberal arts schools and who forgot how this works:

And to wrap up with a little crassness that has really been lacking lately:

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