Wisdom often comes with age, at least it used to. As years pass we learn new things and experience new practices, and despite the semi-conservative nature of many gun owners we should never miss out on an opportunity to improve on what we can.
Our equipment can also improve as we learn new tactics and skills, and today we are discussing how you can breathe new life into an older rifle by upgrading the scope.
But why tho?
Why fix something that isn’t broken you might ask? We either are the person or know one that seems to religiously keep one or more firearms in a certain configuration or style. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there are also great gains to be made with upgrades.
Technology has made great advances in a very short time. Modern riflescopes incorporate an incredible amount of features and new tech, so much in fact that a good scope from years past can and have been easily eclipsed by modern designs. It also rings true that they don’t make them like they used to, but sometimes they do it better.
Upgrade to what?
To actually qualify as an upgrade, there needs to be added value or performance by replacing your riflescope. That could mean better optical quality or a different variable power range. It also could mean added features that increase your ability to hit more targets.
A perfect example of this comes from my father’s first hunting rifle. A sporterized 1903 Springfield from the post war era, part of it’s post service alteration was to drill and tap for scope mounting. And Dad had put a 4X Weaver on it much like everyone else did back then, making the rifle into a venerable deer rifle for these rugged Rocky Mountains. The old Springfield can still put five shots into a sub MOA group, making it certainly capable of doing more and better shooting than the 4X scope would allow. Removing the old Weaver scope, and replacing it with something a bit more modern could greatly improve the capabilities of this old rifle.
Installing something like a Leupold VX Freedom 3-9X40, would do several things to improve the rifle’s performance. The greater magnification will offer the shooter a more detailed view of the target and its surroundings, in addition, the newer optical lens coatings will surely outperform the old scope. Furthermore, with the ability to dial corrected elevation for more distant targets the old Springfield could easily reach targets as far as five and six-hundred yards or more. Something as simple as a change in scope can put new life and action into an old rifle.
Another example of what can be done comes from an old model 70 I have. It’s probably had the same Leupold VXIII 3-9X40 on it for the last 30 years or so, its not one of Hathcock’s Model 70’s but it does shoot well. The old duplex reticle that has inhabited Leupold scopes forever can be useful for sure, but I was thinking something a little more useful was in order. I have a little Vortex Crossfire 3-9X40 that would easily drop into the same rings, and instead of the plain jane duplex it has a few added points. The elevation post has 1.5, 4.5 and a 7.5 MOA drop point on it, which give perfect holdovers for 180, 315, and 410 yards for that rifle. Not that you couldn’t shoot those ranges with a duplex, it just makes it more consistent to have a fixed point you can hold for those distances.
Something that simple can greatly effect your ability to hit targets, and we haven’t even had to mess with your rifle or load at all. I could keep going all day about other ways to improve the performance of your old rifle, but we’ll stay on topic.
A discussion on optics upgrades would be incomplete without mentioning some of the electronic advancements that have been made over the past decade. Simple electronic advancements like the Level-plex system from Sig Sauer give the shooter real-time leveling indications to ensure the rifle is on a level plane prior to making the shot. Also from Sig come the BDX riflescopes that include illuminated holdover points that are calculated from a rangefinder’s measurement. There are also night vision and thermal riflescopes that will allow nighttime hunting opportunities that include digital recording and other data hunters will find useful. While many of these gizmos may seem foreign to some, they can greatly improve your old rifles performance and your experience shooting them. Continue Reading Here…
Don’t overlook the new and better mounting options for your optics. Canted optics bases help with long-range optics, allowing the shooter to better use the internal adjustment of the scope to their fullest capacity. Things like Picatinny rails allow for easy changes between optical options, so you can quickly swap from one scope to another without worrying much about losing zero. Or, if you have a favorite scope, you can switch it between multiple rifles that use the same kind of mounting system.
There are countless ways you can improve your favorite old rifle. A fresh look at the scope or sighting system can make genuine improvements by increasing your effective shooting range and providing better accuracy, taking your shooting to a whole new level.
These are just some of the tips you can use to improve your rifle-shooting experience. There are plenty of others, but improving your riflescope game is one of the simplest and can have a drastic impact for you with minimal effort.