Saturday, February 20, 2016

Survived the Week!

Man, this week was a grinder! But a very successful grinder…we got a lot done. I think the episode of SHOOTING GALLERY on the Ruger Precision Rifle is going to be fascinating to you guys. It was neat to have 4 RPRs on the line, each one set up differently. My .308 is pretty much out of the box…I got the rifle just before my accident, so didn't have a chance to do anything with it. I fitted it with a Lucid L5 6-24X, because I wanted to put together sort of the ultimate in inexpensive long-range precision. MSRP on the RPR is $1399, with prices hanging close to that number because of demand. I would anticipate a street price of roughy a grand as the pipeline fills up.The Lucid is $449 MSRP.

I was extremely impressed with the Lucid. It's a simple MOA "measuring tape" with hashmarks 2 MOA apart:

The Lucid reticle is included in the STRELOK ballistic app, available for iPhones and Androids. Basic information on the STRELOK app here and here. Because the L5 reticle is available in the app, program in your ammo (mine was Hornady 168-gr A-Max Match) and the app quickly gives you your hold-offs, and since it's a second focal plane scope, the hold-offs are accurate regardless of the magnification. Clicks are 1/8 MOA.

This sort of goes against my urge to change everything to MILS, but darn, it was easy to use!

I opted for the Lucid as the less expensive choice of scopes because I was so pleased with the performance of the HD7 red dot sight I got a couple of years back. I ran into Jason Wilson, the founder of Lucid, at SHOT when I was looking for "mid-range" red dot optics. We'd gotten a lot of requests at DRTV and from SG viewers for some options between the sub-$100 red dots (and I have a number I use very successfully on .22s) and the high-dollar milspec optics like the Trijicon and the Aimpoint, which range from $500 to almost a grand. The M7 fell smack in the middle of that range, at $229 (current Gen III version is $249). I mounted it on my Tavor, zeroed it and found I really liked it. BTW, The Bang Switch blog did a comprehensive test on lower costs red dots here.

Jason came down for the filming, and he brought one of Lucid's new products, their SC9 compact spotting scope:

It's a 9-27X that weighs in at only 21 ounces with an MSRP just $1 under $500. My credit card actually started vibrating in my pocket. Jason, who lives in Wyoming and is an avid hunter, designed the small, light spotting scope for his own antelope hunts.

[Couple of standard caveats here…Ruger is a long-term sponsor, as is Hornady. Lucid is not a sponsor, nor is Leupold, Burris or Nightforce, the 3 other scopes on the line, although at various times both Leupold and Burris have been sponsors]

The big surprise to me was the fierce accuracy of Mark Passamaneck's .243. Of course the huge advantage of the .243 is its availability and inexpensiveness. The .243, essentially a necked-down .308 dating from the mid-1950s, is right on up there with the 30-30 as the scourge of white-tail deer everywhere. It shot right alongside John Carter's 6.5 Creedmoor.

Of course Frank Galli's custom RPR was just extraordinary. Here's the work-up on Sniper's Hide. I think Frank summed up the RPR pretty well — "It's a laser beam, right out of the box."


Rastus said...

Now not that this isn't a great piece of kit at the price, but the 2nd Focal Plane in the L5 doesn't track like an FFP. Their ad is craftily written that the 2nd FP allow you to use their scope at distances using a holdoff you may not see in a FFP scope due to magnification (i.e. you lose some "dots" or stadia). I don't really get that, but OK.

Michael Bane said...

I have both FFP and 2nd FP. Oddly, I think they both have their place. To me the app makes the 2nd FP easy for hunting and the beginning of precision competition, because you're not frantically trying to remember whether reducing the magnification by half doubles the value of the distance between the hash marks or halfs the distance between the hashmarks. Jason tells the story of his meeting with Chris Kyle, who after hearing about the L5 and the app is said to have replied, "That's cheating."

To me, the genius of the L5/Ruger Precision Rifle combo is that you can get into long-range shooting without making a staggering financial commitment. I don't think I'm the only one who has seen an activity or sport, become briefly enamored, but after a relatively short period of time decided it was not for me. I have met people who saw a couple of USPSA Open matches, were blown away by that part of the sport, dropped maybe $5 grand on stuff, which was for sale, slightly used, in 6 months. It's the way of things…scuba, golf, tennis.

Here's a great discussion on FFP and 2nd FP from Frank Galli, who'll be featured in the show:

The last scope I personally I bought was also 2nd FP, a Swaro X5(i) 3.5-18x, with an eye toward long-range hunting. And no, they didn't give it to me. I smacked my saving account pretty hard for it, sort of a down-payment for the dream of returning to Africa and a couple of other dream trips. I feel like the (relatively) inexpensive Swaro Z3 3-9X, which I believe was a critical factor in my successful NZ hunt.

If I get to a point where I'm serious about long-range competition, I have the Burris 5-25x FFP that I know from a week at FTW Ranch will in fact deliver the mail.

Optics are changing so fast right now it's hard to keep up. The merging of glass,, computer technology and laser range-finding is going full tilt boogie. Look at the Burris Eliminator, now in it's 3rd generation; the Bushnell ARC CONX syeem (you'll see that on SG this season, too), and some skunkwork's stuff I've seen but can't talk about are gpoing to be changing the way we all shoot rifles in the very near future...

bgary said...

+1 to Rastus.

2FP does *not* mean "the hold-offs are accurate regardless of the magnification". A hashmark that indicates 1-MOA at 6x will indicate 4-MOA at 24x.

2FP means you have to know your magnification in order to interpret the markings in the reticle. Which commonly means (at least) coming out of your sight-picture to confirm the zoom-setting and do some mental math, and (at worst) going all the way to your ballistic table (or app) to figure out the right stadia to use for drop and windage.

Michael Bane said...

Bruce…you're absolutely right. Hence the app, Set you load in advance, and a sliding bar at the bottom of the screen adjusts the magnification. Typically, I don't mess with the magnification a lot (i lack the skill, honestly). I do my table (or set the app) at max magnification; hunting, I use min magnification for spotting, but I will go to max (when I can) for the shot. Honestly, on a target I trust my mental math; on game, unless we're looking at a moving target or some other special circumstance, if I'm not at max I'm gonna go to the tables or app.

There's sort of a joke that came out of NZ…on my stalk, my friend Ryan was running the drops on an Applied Ballistics Kestral AND his iPhone….then he would whisper in my ear, "11 inches…down to 8…etc." The PH said, "How much do you have to pay him to do that?"


Anonymous said...

"Hence the app". Hence the "app'"? Maybe for competition, but not for my real world. Anything that has batteries in it isn't something that I will learn to rely on. Call me "old-school", but if I can't make a good shot with what I brung, it's gonna be no-shot. I have a good rifle and a really great older scope with a back-up to that. I'm good to 600 yards on a "plate". Anything more would just for being amused. It would not be to satisfy any challenge to me.

Just sayin'.

Life Member

Michael Bane said...

Anon…truth…I print tables from the computerized programs…and I'm getting better at estimating…only rely on yourself…


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Jason said...

Thanks for the info on the Lucid products, will be checking out the HD7 with the next paycheck!

Jason Wilson said...

Hey folks...Thought I might add some value and be able to dispel some mis-information here by offering to field some questions directly. If you have questions on the LUCID items...feel free to let me

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with doing something something just for being amused?