Optics for Big Bore Rifles

Discussion in 'Big Bore Rifles' started by Michael458, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    The other day browsing around on Midway checking for any scopes on sale, this sort of thing. I saw this Nikon, never heard of it, Black Force. It was 1X4 and the same length as my beloved Nikon 1X4 Monarch and Africans. One problem, it was 30mm… Big and Fat. But here is the deal, it was on Sale for $199.00.

    The $199.00 on sale part was the HOOK, and it was pretty much set. Wild Ass Reticle too. Reticle turns red but in addition, the reticle is etched into the glass, and if not turned on, or your battery goes dead, you still have a Black Reticle! Huge plus in my book…….

    Here is the Reticle……

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    I could not resist it of course. Had it been $499, I probably would have paid little attention to it, but at $199 I had to see what this was about, even though it was 30mm.

    I didn't have any 30mm QRW Rings on hand. Went in search at Midway, Graf, Midsouth, no one had any QRW LOW Matte Finish. There were no Low 30mm QRWs of any kind....... I have learned however, that if your favorite Gun, Shooting Supply Store or Distributor does not have an item, "Search Amazon"........ Quick search, sure enough, plenty of 30mm QRW Low Matte Black rings available, ordered two sets, had them in two days.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, a couple of days later, and after looking at these scopes on Amazon for $300-$400, I decided to check Midway out again. This time, they had a 1X6 Blackforce, same thing, just 1X6 instead of 1X4, but the price of that was $649.00...... No thanks. And sure enough, the 1X4s were still on sale at $199, I ordered another one! Now I have two of the things.........

    With QRWs in hand and on the scope, I mounted one on my favorite little 458 B&M. Hammer of a rifle, same ballistics as 458 Winchester, but on a small platform, with 18 inch barrel. With Bastogne stock, it only comes in at 7.5 lbs, no scope of course. I put the scope on this gun just to see...... I really didn't like it very much, it just seemed BIG.........

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    After handling the gun some I just didn't like it that much, it is heavy, bulky, fat, and just a bit too big for my taste. I never bothered to shoot or sight it in......... I removed it.

    I decided to try one on a bigger rifle, perhaps a 500 MDM. I did that today and sighted it in and did some shooting with it. I don't have photos yet of the 500 MDM with the scope, but its not quite as big on the 500. But it is heavy. It adds a full 1.5 lbs to the rifle, and this English gun of mine already comes in heavy at 8.75 lbs, now total 10.25 lbs, way too heavy to go to the bush with.

    Today I learned that I love the reticle, it is fantastic, either on or off, red or black. It seems to be very fast on target, and precise enough for serious work.

    But I also discovered today that this can never ever be used on a Dangerous Game Rifle, period, end of story. The large turret for windage is directly over the bolt and magazine. It is in the way, and somewhat of a problem when loading the magazine. You can load, and maybe if you practice enough you can get around it, but in the field it is just one more thing to be aggravated with, and you don't need that in the heat of battle with buffalo or elephant. Since I am retired from that sort of thing, I can use it for other things, so no worries..............

    Next few days I will try and get some photos of the 500...........
     
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  2. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    Did some more shooting yesterday with the Nikon and the 500 MDM. I really like the Reticle on this scope. Indeed it really good for the sort of thing that I used to do, at least ON THE RANGE. Sometimes you get to the field and its an entirely different matter.

    Got some photos. Its still FAT and Bulky, 30mm. And the turrets are in the way when loading. It could cause a real issue loading when in the heat of things in the field.

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  3. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    One thing I have not mentioned, and was reminded of this yesterday is the amount of torque you need to put on these rings to hold the scope. I have one of those Wheeler torque screwdrivers and it works plenty good enough for most anything you want to do along that line.

    I believe that Leupold states you should use 22 inch lbs of torque on the scope rings. Well, that just DOES NOT WORK with these type of rifles. At 22 inch lbs of torque the scope will start turning in the rings, you can't hold it at 22 inch lbs. It takes 28 inch lbs minimum to hold most scopes in place on big bore rifles. Any less, and the scope will start to turn on you. Then your OCD is going to kick in with crooked ass cross hairs. And drive you completely insane.

    Larger, heavier, scopes may take a bit more, up to 30 inch lbs. And I have seen those move too. I have from time to time had to improvise on some, especially 500 MDM. I have taken small strips of duct tape and put them inside the rings and then tighten down. This seems to sort out most of the issues. My buddy Sam in NC has taken pine sap and done the same thing, I tried that too, its messy! LOL...............

    Yesterday at the bench messing with this 500 MDM my imagination told me that the damn thing was starting to turn............ I had to get it off the bench, put it to my shoulder to check it, it was fine, not moving. I mounted it at the my standard 28 inch lbs, so far it is not turning. This is what reminded me to mention this to you. However, I have not heard of anyone of you that is currently mounting a scope on a big bore rifle.... So maybe its a moot point to begin with...... But, FYI anyway...............
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
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  4. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    You’re thinking inch pounds but saying foot pounds. I only mention this in case someone tries it, it’s really hard on the screws, rings and optics.
     
  5. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    HEH...... Yes, thank you Jim, you are correct......... Ft lbs would get a little hard on things.... LOL....

    Went back, I think I have those corrected.....

    Thanks again for that catch
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  6. 17tombstone

    17tombstone New Member

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    Are the Nikon Monarchs still available? I actually have the Leupold 1.5-5 on my two big bolt guns and was surprised to hear about your failures with them.
     
  7. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    No, unfortunately the Nikon 1X4 is no longer made, and hard to find. I had 14-15 of the Leupold 1.5X5 in Vari X or newer VX. From 2006-2014 doing data, bullet design and a host of other things I was shooting on average 10'000 rounds of 416 to 510 caliber rounds a year. The Leupold would not hold up to that. I was continuously sending them in for repair.. So much so that it was a detriment to getting anything done. Its time consuming to come in and change a scope out so you can continue the work.

    What Bolt guns do you have them on?
     
  8. 17tombstone

    17tombstone New Member

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    They are both the Ruger 77 Safari Magnum rifles.
     
  9. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    Tombstone.......... Depends on cartridge and how many times it is fired........... I once had a 458 Winchester that went 300+ rounds before the scope busted. Then I had a new VX 3 that busted on the 3rd round fired, on a 50 B&M, new out the box..........cartridges that have a very fast recoil impulse is rougher on the scope. 458 Lott is tougher on scopes than 458 Win because of this. 50 B&M busts scopes like nothing else can.

    When I made the switch over to Nikons, that ended. I never busted a Nikon period. Made a huge difference in my productivity here. I am still somewhat amazed at this. The Nikon was 1/2 the price of he Leupold. It is rare you get more for paying less.....................
     
  10. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    I have a friend in California that is building a Marlin lever gun in 50 B&M Alaskan. He is somewhat limited for range time, so wanted me to put this scope on the rifle for him when it is finished, sight it in for him and then send it out.

    We had been looking for a 1X4 Nikon to put on, but they are just not easily found. So he decided to pick up one of the Nikon Black Force scopes. He bought the 1X6. I have two of the 1X4, and love the reticle, but hate 30mm because of the size. Well little did I know that this scope would be an issue mounted on the Marlin, unless you had a full rail across the top of it. I ordered one from Midway about 10 days ago, it came in finally. Midway, like everyone else in the Virus Crisis is running behind on everything, including shipping.

    The only way you can get the proper fit and eye relief is to mount both rings behind the turrets. I have never done this, but there is no other way, not with this scope. I mounted it up yesterday. Looks a little funny, strange, but if it works and holds it should be fine. This BTW is mounted on MY GUN, as his is not ready yet, but figured I need to try it out before his gun arrives from SSK. When I get his gun I am probably going to spread those rings out at least
    the rear one by one more slot.

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    I love the reticle on this scope. This would make a perfect Dangerous Game scope if it came in a 1X4 1" version instead of the big and fat 30mm size............

    I sighted in with 400 Sierras at 2102 fps. Then I had a couple of Lehigh bullets to test, a 420 at 2037 fps and a 350 at 2251 fps. I really like the 350 in this rifle/cartridge.

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    Once the test work on the Lehighs was done, data recorded, I took some 400 Sierras back to 50 yards to see how the scope would do. Believe me, the rifle and load will shoot a lot better than this, the shooter was not doing his part today.............

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    One of my favorite pass times was to watch Mike mount a scope with a half dozen leveling devices and then pronounce it "Perfect". He would then hand it to me to see what I thought. Without fail I would Always say "croooooked".

    Ya wanna talk bout ya OCD cranking in???? He always snatches it away and rechecks everything!!!!! All the while cussing me Madly!!
     
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  12. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    HEHHEH...... Yep, sounds about right........ I got a dose of crooked scope OCD on the range today, was sure the scope was turning. Came in, got the tools, back out, straightened and tighten up again...... Then had to keep checking as I was shooting to make sure....Drives me insane........
     
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  13. Stobie

    Stobie Stobie-Wan Kenobi Benefactor Supporting Member

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    @Michael458 , have you looked at the SWFA SS Ultralight series? They only have 2.5-10x32 versions now, with a couple of reticles; but they are 1" scopes that only weigh 9.5 ounces. I would be surprised if they don't bring out more versions, particularly lower-powered ones, which would tick a lot of your requirement boxes if they can hold up.

    I don't own one, but have heard only positive stuff about SWFA scopes, which are manufactured for SWFA by a Japanese contractor. The Ultralight series is fairly new, but has been well-received. I'm thinking about getting one to put on a little light-to-medium caliber bolt gun, but have been just keeping an eye on them to see if they expand the line.

    (Edited to add a link)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  14. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    No I have not. But you damn sure peaked my interest. I will check them out. I used to get most of my stuff from SWFA. They were always good to deal with. Thanks for the tip, I will take a look and get back to this......
     
  15. Stobie

    Stobie Stobie-Wan Kenobi Benefactor Supporting Member

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    I edited my post to add a link.
     
  16. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    Just looked, not enough eye relief and Field of view to qualify for DG. But, the 1X4 Tactical does qualify, except for that 30mm fat ass.........I like it, just damn 30 mm.............
     
  17. Stobie

    Stobie Stobie-Wan Kenobi Benefactor Supporting Member

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    Dang, forgot to look at eye relief. Maybe eye relief and FOV will go up if they ever add a 1-4, 5, or 6 to the Ultralight line.

    Sorry for the false alarm.
     
  18. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member Life Member

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    No worries appreciate the thought and I don't always keep up with new stuff....... And yes, if they come to a 1X4 or 1X5-6 let me know, that will have the eye relief and FOV...... THANKS
     
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