The Paradox and Absurdities of Carbon-Fretting and Rewilding

Herschel Smith · 28 Jan 2024 · 4 Comments

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a truly boneheaded move, angering some conservationists over the affects to herd populations and migration routes.  From Field & Stream. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a draft plan outlining potential solar energy development in the West. The proposal is an update of the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan. It adds five new states—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming—to a list of 11 western states already earmarked…… [read more]

Rifle Scope Bleg

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

Let’s say that, hypothetically, you have two rifles, a Marlin 45-70 and a Marlin 30-30.  I think both rifles are close enough in ballistics (even with the massive weight difference) that they can be considered together.  Neither rifle is considered a 400 yard rifle – they’re both effective at 0 – 200 yards or so, with the 45-70 drop more significant further out than the 30-30.  But let’s go ahead and lump the two cartridges together for the sake of argument.

You obviously don’t need a 4X24 scope, and besides, a good one with that power would cost too much for the rifle it would be mounted on to be worth it.

What power would you recommend?  What brand would you recommend?  Obviously, the stipulation is not breaking the bank (no Steiner, no Schmidt and Bender, etc.).  Also quite obviously, this would be best in a SFP scope.  Any shot requiring use of high magnification and subtensions is probably too far for those rifles.  Assume that the scope is for use within and zeroed at 100 yards, but used by folks with failing eyes.

Ryan Muckenhirn on Rifle Optics

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

As I’ve said before, I’d find Ryan interesting if he was talking about watching paint dry for 1.5 hours.  I didn’t intend to watch this entire video, but I did anyway because so many important questions were answered and so many salient issues were addressed.

Holosun Red Dot + Night Vision

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Outdoor Life.

Holosun is known for making reliable, affordable red dots, and their new line of red dots is designed for use after dark. There’s a digital night vision model and two thermal models (standard and high definition).

They optics have a small footprint, a little larger than their AEMS, and are affordable compared to competitive offerings. The night vision optics will be about $1,000, and offer a 1024×768 resolution digital night vision sensor with up to 60 fps. They’ll also have features like 8x digital zoom, video recording, and are powered by two 18350 rechargeable batteries.

The DRS-TH Pro is the high-definition thermal red dot, and it will have a 384×288 resolution with white hot, black hot, highlight, outline and fusion display. The high-definition thermal will be around $2,300. For comparison, Steiner makes a thermal red dot that will set you back $7,500. The bad news is that these new optics aren’t available yet and you likely won’t be able to buy one until the end of the year.

They’re taking a smart approach to the product.  They are overlaying the thermal image over their red dot.  This will be effective for not only night hunting of game like hogs, but for home defense as well.

For $1000.  I see it coming now.  Lawsuits brought by Trijicon and Steiner and whomever else wants to join.  “We thought of it first and wanted to patent it but they beat us to it, we don’t want that product to be legal in the U.S.”

For companies that jack their prices up out of reach to the ordinary citizen and go whoring after military and LE contracts, this is the first reaction.  It all pays for their boats and college for their children, don’t you know.

On the other hand, companies like Holosun keep building products people want for a reasonable price.

Telescopes on Rifles

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago


NEW from Sightron comes their first 40mm main tube optic!

While 34mm and 35mm have become standards in the industry, rarely is a 40mm tube seen. The SVIII from Sightron comes with ED glass, their ExacTrack W&E System, multi-coated lens, and a ton more features.

It’s a 5X40 with a 40mm tube.  It will sell for $2900.

Maybe I’m underestimating your prowess as a hunter, but it seems to me the only people who can use a scope like that are professional snipers.

How about this idea instead.  Build robust and durable scopes with a large tube for good light and clear glass for a reasonable price?  Comparatively few people live in an area where they will need 40X magnification.  Except for maybe .50BMG, what cartridge would be effective on game at a distance where you need 40X magnification?

Comparison of High Dollar and Medium Dollar Scopes

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 3 months ago

No budget scopes were tested.  He does a fine job of explaining the differences in pictures you can understand.  I have to remark that I do not even have the time or facilities to shoot at distances where these effects would be experienced, so the point is moot for me.  I see no need for me to own a $2000 scope where I live.

Scope Mount & Ring Prices

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

Outdoor Life has an article entitled The Best Scope Rings of 2022.  They go the spectrum from Seekins to Night Force, from Zeiss to Leupold.  As for prices, they go from budget (just over $50) to around $500.

That’s what I’ve noticed about this market – the massive divide in price point.  Precision Rifle Blog has a rundown of what the long range competition shooters use, and as anyone might guess, it leans towards the pricey end of things with Nightforce being the most prominent of the choices.

Spuhr makes some very expensive mounts/rings too, mostly in the range of $400, up to $500 for quick detach mounts (which in my book are preferable to fixed mounts and rings).

What are the experiences of our readers?  Do you find much difference between moderately priced rings and the pricey ones?  Which ones do you prefer, and why?

I find that the really cheap ones are really cheap and not much worth having.

The Primary Arms SLx MD-25 ACSS Red Dot – The Do-Everything Optic

1 year, 5 months ago


The old adage of “You get what you pay for” when it comes to optics is becoming less and less true every year – especially with optics like the Primary Arms SLx MD-25.  We have entered somewhat of a renaissance of electro-optics, which began, roughly in the early 2000s with the wide adoption of optics like the Aimpoint M68 and EoTech by the US military.  The civilian market quickly caught on, especially as the unholy 90s “assault weapon” ban came to an end in 2004, and ARs and other modern rifles came back in a big way.  Now, ‘iron sights’ and ‘back up iron sights’ on an AR are almost synonymous, as almost every AR or AK you’ll find on the range or at a training class is sporting some kind of optic as its primary sighting system.

There once were generally two choices:  A high dollar ($400+) option from suppliers like EoTech, Aimpoint, Trijicon, and Leupold; and a budget option ($150 and under).  The budget options were, generally speaking, of somewhat poor quality and overall lacking in reliability, durability, fit and finish, and features.  Companies like Holosun and Primary Arms have very much bucked that trend in recent years, however offering quality, durability, reliability, and features that can hold their own against many higher-end optics, at a fraction of the price.

Primary Arms SLx MD-25

One such optic is a new red dot from Primary Arms, called the SLx MD-25, which retails for $170 for the 2 MOA dot model.  If you’re short on time, the best way I can describe the MD-25 is that it’s a budget competitor to the Trijicon MRO, with a much more versatile reticle.  The MD-25 is what I would call a ‘mid-sized’ tubular red dot.  It’s dimensionally larger than a micro dot like the 20mm Aimpoint T1 or Holosun 503, but still smaller and lighter than the Aimpoint 30mm models like the CompM4/M68.

The MD-25, like the Trijicon MRO, features a 25mm window, thus giving you an optic with a near micro-like weight and size, but increasing the window size half way to that of a full size 30mm optic.  Going from a 20mm micro dot: what effect does the extra 5mm in glass and viewing area actually have?  When I shot three rifles I had with different sized optics mounted on them – one with a 20mm Holosun 503, one with the 25mm MD-25, and one with a 30mm Aimpoint PRO – I found that my ability to quickly find the dot from awkward shooting positions where my head wouldn’t be perfectly lined up behind the glass was considerably improved going from the 20mm to 25mm optic, but not noticeably better going from the 25mm to 30mm window size.  25 millimeters seems to be a kind of sweet spot of lens sizes for tubular red dots, at least for myself.

If you decide you like the idea of a 25mm red dot and want to know what you can expect to get for that $170 dollars – here are a few for the MD-25:

Many more features and attributes are reviewed at the source. What’s your “best” optic, and why? Of course, the platform matters. We’re using the Holosun 503cu on AR platforms. The price is good for an average self-defense shooter. This reminds, we need to get spare batteries.

Apparently Trijicon Still Hates The Common Man

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

TFB.  They’ve released the new compact ACOG.

  • Model: 1.5x16S (TA44 Series)
  • Magnification: 1.5x
  • Objective Lens: 16mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.4 in. 61.0mm
  • Exit Pupil: 0.42 in. 10.7mm
  • Field of View (in degrees): 7.4°
  • Field of View: 39.0 ft.@ 100 yds. 12.9m @100m
  • Adjustments (Per in. @ 100 yds.): 2 clicks
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) w/o Mount: 4.0 x 1.6 x 2.1 in. (102 x 42 x 53mm)
  • Weight w/ Mount: 5.1 oz. (144.5g)
  • Illumination Source: Fiber Optics & Tritium
  • Reticle(s): Circle Dot, RTR .223 Reticle, RTR 9mm PCC Reticle
  • MSRP: $1,357

I put the MSRP in bold.  Yes, you read that right.  They’ve released an ACOG that doesn’t have the magnification of the classic ACOG, and increased the price.

Ha!  And I had the audacity to recommend to Trijicon that they consider their pricing and whether they really want a share of the American market!

Why on earth would anyone buy this for $1357?  It isn’t a 1X so both eyes open downrange will see some oddball things, and it isn’t powerful enough to really be an LPVO or legitimate prism scope.

The Best Rifle Scopes of 2022

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

At Outdoor Life.

I’m not sure these are the best, and the prices are stunning in some cases.  They range from $2000 in some instances up to $3200 for the Zeiss.  It’s just not clear to me who would drop $3200 on a scope like that except professional shooters in the military (e.g., Army snipers).

Some expected names like Leupold (and whatever model they have up there will doubtless be discontinued within a year), and Athlon.

Some unexpected omissions.  Why wouldn’t they include Arken Optics give the features and reasonable price?

What do readers think?  Would you spend $3200 on optics for a hunting rifle or carbine?

The best deal I ever got on a scope was when Gander Mountain was closing their store in my town.  They wanted big parking lots to compete with Bass Pro Shop for selling RVs.

The last days of the store they had everything for 50% off (not including firearms, which were 15% off sticker).  I also used a membership from a friend which gave me another 10%.

I picked up a Nikon Black FX1000 FFP 6-24×50 for $190.  It was a deal too good to pass up.

Rex Reviews The Primary Arms SLx 3x MicroPrism ACSS Raptor

BY Herschel Smith
2 years ago

BLUF: He likes it.

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