A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear
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Tag Archives: Valdada

Long Range Scopes: What The Pros Use

Best Long Range Scopes

I recently surveyed the top 100+ shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), and this post reviews the scopes those guys are running this year. For those of you who may not be familiar with the PRS, it’s an organization that tracks how top competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. PRS matches are tactical/practical long-range rifle matches shot in the field conditions. Typical ranges for steel targets are from 300 to 1200 yards, and they are engaged from prone and improvised positions, often under extreme time pressure. It is one of the fastest growing shooting sports, and ...

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Tactical Scopes: Field Test Results Summary & Overall Scores

This is the executive summary and overall scores from an epic scope field test focused on long-range, tactical rifle scopes in the $1,500+ price range. This represents an unprecedented, data-driven approach to evaluating the best scopes money can buy. Over 400 hours have gone into this research, and the line-up and tests are built on advice from some of the most respected experts in the industry. My goal with this project was to equip fellow long-range shooters with as much hard data as I could reasonably gather, so they could see what they’re paying for. I’ve published ridiculously exhaustive details, ...

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Tactical Scopes: Advanced Features Summary

Sorry, guys! I forgot to calculate the scores and post the summary for the advanced features section (e.g. reticles, zero stop, etc). I didn’t notice it until I went to calculate the overall scores! So I’ve gone back and figured that out, which is what this post is about. Don’t worry … the next post published will be the final overall results, I promise. Rifle scope innovation seems to have found a new gear lately, and that has led to a mountain of new features that simply weren’t available a few years ago. While many of these new features are ...

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Tactical Scopes: Mechanical Performance Summary

A great scope is more than just sharp glass. I surveyed 700+ shooters, and mechanical performance was rated as the most important feature of a scope. In fact, mechanical performance received 30% more votes than optical performance. A scope that doesn’t track, or doesn’t have repeatable adjustments seems to be viewed as the biggest flaw a scope could have. Mechanical performance is a critically important topic, but has been largely neglected in the shooting press. Here is what Dennis Sammut, Founder/President of Horus Vision, has to say on the subject: “Yearly, a virtual mountain of written information is spewed forth ...

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Tactical Scopes: Mechanical Performance Part 2

The previous post contained the details of the mechanical calibration test, which I think was one of the most enlightening tests of this entire field test. This post reviews several other tests I ran related to mechanical performance, including: Scope repeatability and whether it could reliably return to zero Reticle cant Reticle calibration Max internal adjustment range (i.e. elevation travel) Elevation travel per revolution Windage adjustment range Magnum recoil box tests Lots to cover, so lets dive into the results. Repeatability & Returning To Zero The setup of this test was identical to the click calibration test I covered in Part 1. Instead of ...

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Tactical Scopes: Mechanical Performance Part 1

This is one of the last posts covering the detailed data collected over the past 4 months for an epic scope field test focused on long-range, tactical rifle scopes in the $1,500+ price range. This represents an unprecedented, data-driven approach to evaluating the best tactical rifle scopes money can buy. Hundreds of hours have gone into this research, and both the scope line-up and the tests I conducted are built on advice and feedback from some of the most respected experts in the industry. My goal with this project was to equip fellow long-range shooters with as much hard data ...

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Tactical Scopes: Where They’re Made & Warranty

So far in this series, I’ve touched on optical performance, ergonomics, reticle options, and other advanced features. This post looks at where each scope is made, and the warranty terms for each one, including where the warranty work is performed. A side-by-side comparison of the warranty terms may shock a few people. Where The Scopes Are Made Many believe where the scope is made somehow reflects the quality you can expect. While there is likely some truth to this roughly speaking, you might be cautious how much weight you put into this. Just think about car manufacturers within the USA. ...

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Tactical Scopes: Advanced Features

So far in this series, I’ve touched on optical performance, ergonomics, and reticle options. This post looks at advanced features like illumination, focal plane, locking turrets, zero stop, and other features like anodizing, and whether it uses a one-piece tube. First Focal Plan (FFP) or Second Focal Plane (SFP) Basically, on FFP scopes the mil/MOA marks are valid at all magnifications, which means the shooter can use the magnification level most appropriate for the situation and still have effective holdover and windage reference marks. While the proportions of the reticle will appear to change when adjusting the magnification, in reality ...

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Tactical Scopes: Reticles

So far in this series, I’ve touched on optical performance and ergonomics, and now this post will focus on reticle options available in each scope. It can be hard to find all of the reticle options for each scope, especially for easy side-by-side comparison. So I’ve compiled the full list of tactical reticles available on each model (at least as of August 2014), and listed them here. Some companies don’t make it easy to even see what options are available, or they don’t publish good diagrams of the reticles. I actually had to make some of these, or at least touch them ...

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Tactical Scopes: Ergonomics Summary

This post provides the overall scores for each scope related to ergonomics and explains what those are based on. Ergonomics Part 1 itemized a ton of measurable aspects of a scopes ergonomics. Then Part 2 & Part 3 took a deep dive into each scope, and highlighted the unique features in terms of ergonomics and overall usability for each. I also included a photo gallery of each scope from just about every angle, and demo the scope from the shooter’s perspective. Summary of Ergonomics & Overall Experience Behind The Scope A great scope isn’t just good glass, or even repeatable mechanics … the experience of actually using the scope ...

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