This is the second installment in a four-part series of the transformation from MSR-neophyte to “functional expert,” hunter, shooter, and advocate.
In my last installment, I talked about how I decided to take the plunge and join the ranks of modern sporting rifle owners. The choices as to how you “dress up” your MSR are as limitless as your imagination. This time, I will explain the options and my choice of optics.
It’s been fun, and a learning experience; each step seems to bring even more enjoyment. After my purchase of a Ruger SR–556E, my next decision was to choose the sights. Ruger’s MSR comes from the factory with a folding BUIS (Back Up Iron Sight) in front and a fold down peep sight in the rear. They are not factory-sighted, but mine was fairly close. Shots at 25 and 50 yards were on the target, not just “on paper.” I knew I wanted something in addition to the included open sights, but WHAT? Did I want a holographic red dot? A visible laser? Or did I want a tactical or varmint scope? In addition to narrowing down the type of sight to be mounted, I needed to choose a brand. Due to large advances in the production of scopes and technology, it is actually difficult to get a “bad” scope today.
Sure, there are distinct break-points when it comes to price, but for the most part, an increase in price gets you: increased features and better light transmitting coatings.
Today, you just can’t go wrong with names such as Leupold, Swarovski, Zeiss, Meopta, Nikon, and others. After a great deal of reviews and research—and because I am a hunter at heart—I decided on a varmint reticle in a Redfield revenge series.
For those who aren’t aware, Leupold purchased Redfield several years ago, and ever since they have been cranking out what may very well be the best “economical” scopes on the market. The Revenge series from Redfield not only has a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle—it also has a special range finding feature that allows you to bracket the animal between the horizontal reticle and a separate, horizontal line that moves with a turn of the power setting to immediately select a holdover dot. Choose your target, crank the zoom knob to bracket the animal, and choose appropriate holdover. The cool factor alone was a great selling point for me.
It is also available at a very, very economical and “real-world” price of under $250. In fact, Cheaper Than Dirt! has models for about half that price. With a full “no excuses” lifetime warranty that I knew I wouldn’t need to use unless I ran over it; the choice was easy.
Setting the open sights was simple. After a few sight in shots, I was putting every shot in a 2-inch circle at 100 yards. That impressed me. The real proof of performance of both rifle and caliber came when I attached the scope via the “Quick release” mounts: Five shots that I could cover with a quarter at 100 yards; four shots under an inch and one at 1.5 inches at 200. Not bad for an out-of-the-box semi-auto with no modifications. I can’t wait to see what this gun will do at 400 yards, which is about the limit of my hunting range—so far…