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Old 11-15-2014, 05:14 PM
Greg Ficklin Greg Ficklin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 594

Gear continued....

- The spotting scope: Next to the rifle itself, nothing will cost more than the spotting scope. This is the "buy once, cry once" purchase that is most associated with this axiom.

But what do we need a scope for anyway?
Well, for the GSMM matches, not a lot, but for XTC the scope is indispensable. For GSMM matches, it is nice to see your sighters on a walk and pace range, and plot shots in the standing slow fire so that you are training with shot calls and getting better at it even during matches. All matches are training, and all training should be conducted like a match.
A good scope on a stable scope stand can also save your bacon in a rapid fire string, if the shooter develops the discipline to use it. A quick look at the first two can save a string of fire, and bring a 90-0 to a 98-8X especially at the 300 yard line. Scoping the first two in my opinion, is why the rules allow 70 seconds instead of 60 like the sitting rapid.

In an XTC, or full NMC match the scope is still used for these things, but on the long line it is used to spot changes in wind direction and speed. It isn't focused to see the target, but at some distance before the target to see the mirage, or layers of air making waves as they are heated by the sun. Reading the wind from the scope is the primary source of information used to make decisions. When you boil it all down, that's what the 600 yard line is all about,... making decisions.
It is a true skill that takes time to learn, but it starts with this simple question that all good shooters ask themselves. " Is it the same or has it changed ?" You must get your eye in that scope and remember the last condition, and look very carefully at the current one to decide what to do. If the answer is "yes", and you like the shot placement, then don't dilly around. Shoot again, and get right back in the scope. If the answer is "no", then you have a choice to make. Do I adjust the sights, or wait ? Unless I'm at the end of the string, and low on time, I will usually wait to see if my known condition will return instead of messing with the sights to chase a new condition.
These timely decisions made correctly will pay off in more points and X's. A twenty shot slow fire string can get uncomfortable, and effect your discipline to use the scope for each shot. You have to develop the habit so that it becomes a discipline of it's own. You need a good scope that will last a lifetime, and survive the rigors of life on the range.

I have found that for me the best scope for high power is the Kowa 661 with 25X LER eyepiece. It has the most performance in a more compact size for the money than the 77mm, and 82 mm scopes.
Remember that the bigger the scope, the more it can catch the wind and blow over. The 60, and 66 mm scopes don't give up anything to the larger more expensive Kowa's in conditions that you will use them. If it's pouring rain, then no scope made will make a difference. The scope has to be rugged, and water proof, with as much eye relief as you can get. This is what makes Kowa the preferred brand for HP competitors.
A scope is only as good as the stand it is used on. I recommend a sturdy 1" pole with at least 2 segments, and a wide three legged base like the Creedmoor Polecat, Ray-Vin, or Ewing stand. Giraud tool also makes an outstanding scope stand.
You are going to pay a lot for a good scope, so don't go cheap on the stand, or adjustment head.
Buy once cry once.
Distinguished Rifleman #2198
NRA HP XTC High Master (service rifle)
NRA Patron Life member
PCGC Junior Team coach
CMP GSM Master Inst.

Last edited by Big_Red; 07-31-2015 at 11:15 PM. Reason: Readability
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