Category Archives: Product review

Products and equipment

Steiner Optics T6Xi 5-30×56 riflescope

Being an absolute precision rifle junkie, there are a few things that get my excitement up. Besides precision rifles themselves, riflescopes are probably my biggest affinity. Today we are looking at the Steiner Optics T6Xi 5-30X56 riflescope, an American made riflescope by the international optics giant.
Steiner started mid last century on the American side of post war Germany, and has since been working on making the highest quality riflescopes and other optics they can. I have long been a fan of Steiner’s optics, though I have only recently been able to take one home for my own use. I was excited for the chance to shoot behind one of these scopes that I had fawned over for so long.

The T6Xi 5-30×56

The T6Xi is a variable scope based on a thirty-four millimeter tube, and up front is the industry standard fifty-six millimeter objective lens. The power of six-times magnification is where the T6 gets it five to thirty power range, which is no insignificant thing. The all important erector housing carries a great deal of additional features, twelve MRAD per revolution turrets with an intuitive turret lock. The elevation turret also incorporates a very interesting rotating number scroll to prevent you from ever being off a revolution on the turret. A typical side parallax adjustment knob, with the illumination rheostat stacked on top. Inside the erector itself sits the MSR2 MRAD reticle, after just a few trips I was quite pleased with this reticle and its subtensions. At the back of the scope there is the magnification ring to adjust the zoom from five to thirty power. In addition to the great features of this scope, it also came with a few extras I wasn’t expecting. Including a factory made throw-lever (or cattail) to make adjusting the magnification faster to execute, as well as a sun-shade, and Tenebrex scope-caps.

T6Xi Features

-6x Zoom Range
-Locking windage and elevation turrets
-Low-profile never-lost turrets
-Second rotation indicator
-Locking diopter ring
-Optional throw lever
-Tenebraex cover
-Illumination – 4 night / 7 day levels
-Waterproof / Fogproof / Shockproof

Mounting the T6Xi

I planned on installing the Steiner on my Desert Tech SRS M2, wherein I do most of my precision shooting. I have used a plethora of excellent riflescopes on this rifle, so I figured it would be a great match to see how it compared to the others I’ve used.
I mounted the T6Xi into a 40 MOA canted scope base, and leveled in on the rifle. My very first impressions were regarding the size of the scope, I prefer scopes that don’t come across as “dainty”. The Steiner was in my opinion just the right size, smaller than some but big and robust enough to stand beside most competitors.
With the scope mounted to the rifle, I set it on a bench and put myself to bore-sighting the scope. I grabbed the hex-key wrenches from the box to zero the turret once I had the rifle zeroed properly, all that remained was grabbing the rest of my kit and ammunition and heading into the hills.

On the range

In a short time, I found myself in my fortress of solitude. The silent and vacant white canyons of the Rocky Mountains are where I spend my free time, and this time of year the blanket of sound soaking snow are spectacular for shooting.
I had brought two barrels for my SRS, the first was a .223 Remington match barrel I planned on zeroing the scope with. Even though I get paid to shoot, I still try to save money where I can. Once the rifle was zeroed with the .223 barrel, I would switch over to my 7mm SAUM barrel for shooting at more significant distances that would actually test this Steiner’s abilities.
I was immediately enamored with the view through this scope, it was crystal clear and a beautiful image to behold. I typically avoid running scopes at maximum magnification due to the fact that many of them seem to darken or lose clarity, but the T6Xi was still an excellent view even at 30X. The MSR2 reticle was an instant hit for me, I love the tiny center dot. It made perfect aim-point definition easy, and in just a few shots I had confirmed a good zero, after shooting a quick five-shot group to ensure I hadn’t lost my touch.

After zeroing the turrets on the T6, it was time to run both rifle and scope out to some distance. In less than a minute I’d switched barrels to the 7mm SAUM, and I turned my attention to the distant ridge across the canyon from me. Snow had covered most of my targets, but I could still pick out what I needed to see.
My density altitude and the cartridges I shoot typically keep me from needing the second rotation of most scopes. Many of the cartridges I shoot will reach beyond 3/4 of a mile without even cracking the second rotation, and my 7 SAUM was certainly in that group. I was going to have to shoot beyond fifteen-hundred yards to dial past the 12MRAD mark on the turret.
But before I did that, I wanted to see how the turret values lined up with the known dope for this rifle. I tried a few shots at targets from five-hundred to seven-hundred yards, with very predictable impacts. Spotting impacts at those distances is important, which is why I typically use lower power settings on my rifle scopes when shooting long range. With the power set at about half I was easily watching the 150 grain Cayuga solid bullets impact, and they were hitting with good authority as well.
Increasing the distance to the target made spotting impacts even easier, giving me additional time to get settled back on target before my bullet got there. Watching through the Steiner I was also able to see the trace of the bullet as it arched up over the target one it’s way there. The MSR2 reticle was very useful at measuring and holding corrections, in my opinion it is a perfect hybrid of substantial subtensions, but thin enough not to become cumbersome. Continue Reading Here…

Sig Sauer MCX 5.56

You may have been hiding under a rock if you’ve not heard of the new Sig Sauer MCX Spear, the MCX family of rifles has been a popular stalwart in the Sig Sauer lineup for some time. The industry giant has been bringing all kinds of developments over the decades they have been manufacturing firearms, and the MCX is one of them. At a glance, the MCX appears to be just an AR-15, but a deeper look into the rifle will show something quite different.

The Dawn of Modern Sporting rifles

Since the first Stoner variant of the AR-15, a buffer tube protruding from the rear of the lower receiver has long been commonplace. The buffer tube serves two purposes; first it houses the buffer and spring which are vital parts of the function of the action, and second it serves as the base structure for the buttstock of the firearm. Buttstocks are typically attached around or to the buffer tube itself, which has dominated the design of all the various available buttstocks for AR patterned rifles.
The design of the MCX migrated the buffer spring and its associated hardware into the upper receiver, an in doing so has changed several aspects of the platform itself. Gone are the days of fitting your buttstock to the tube, in fact, you don’t even need a stock with the MCX. There are “pistol” configurations that don’t even utilize a buttstock.
This tubeless design makes the MCX stand out from the AR crowd, but there is more to this gun than just the buttstock.

The MCX

The MCX shares a great deal of parts with most AR-15 style rifles. Magazines, triggers, and such are compatible, but there are also plenty of differences. The bolt carrier in the MCX is driven forward by a pair of springs that ride just above the carrier inside the receiver. The charging handle also sandwiches into the same area as the recoil springs and bolt carrier. The handguard is attached to the upper receiver and features a very skeletonized keymod attachment section, newer models also have MLok compatible handguards. There is a small window in the front of the handguard to access the two-position gas valve.

Bolt carrier and receivers detail

The lower receiver is very similar to traditional AR lowers except where the buttstock attaches, and additionally features an extra magazine release on the left side of the receiver. There is also a small spring plunger mounted behind the trigger, it appears to be an accurizing add-on to reduce the play between upper and lower receivers. The buttstock itself is a skeletonized design with a built in folding hinge allowing the stock to be stowed to the side of the rifle, this of course doesn’t effect the operation of the rifle. All the mechanics of the operating system are contained within the receivers, so the rifle can fire regardless of the stock position.

Rangetime
As soon as I could, I prepared the MCX for the range. I mounted up a fresh Tango MSR scope also from Sig Sauer, the 1-8 power scope would be an excellent compliment to the MCX. I also grabbed a suppressor because I wanted to see how the rifle functioned suppressed. I packed up some PMC Xtac 55 grain ball ammo to shoot in the rifle, as well as a Magpul MS4 sling to use on the rifle. I also brought a couple assorted P-mags and GI magazines to try in the rifle.

After boresighting the scope, I cracked off the first few rounds and they were quite close to my point of aim. It only took minor adjustments to get the scope zeroed and then it was go time. Shooting the rifle at a hundred yards I quickly gained familiarity with both the rifle and scope, hits came easily as the MCX churned away smoothly. The weight felt surprisingly light, I believe they were advertised at six pounds though I think that is a little under what this one weighed naked.
The three-pronged flash hider seemed very effective at reducing muzzle flash, and the recoil of the 5.56 cartridge is very easy to handle in a rifle this size. The rifle was very comfortable in maneuvering and made for a very enjoyable time spending my money. I stretched the rifle out to the three-hundred yard line where I found it to be still quite accurate, I imagined an errant coyote who might have wandered into range would have been easily dispatched.
Shooting from P-mags and GI metal mags both functioned flawlessly as I would expect from this rifle, I figured it was time to install my suppressor to see how the rifle performed suppressed. This required removing the factory flash hider, and installing my suppressor mount. Sig uses a taper on many of their muzzle devices to aid in alignment, since I wasn’t using a Sig suppressor the taper was unneeded. I mounted up my Yankee Hill Machine Turbo 556 suppressor and went right back to town on the targets.

note handguard and gas valve detail

Suppressed shooting made the MCX really shine. The increased weight seemed to calm down the recoil impulse even further making it easy enough to spot my own hits at 200 yards. The reduced noise is always welcome, and hearing steel targets ring without hearing protection is always better.
Accuracy
Accuracy shown here from the MCX wasn’t spectacular, but I can certainly explain that. The included picture shows five shots from 55 grain PMC Xtac ammunition, it shot much better with Hornady Black 75 gr match but I didn’t get it on paper. Shooting from bags at one-hundred yards with an eight-power scope shivering in below freezing temps may not have given the MCX a fair shake. Continue Reading Here…


Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan

Powerful revolvers carry more than just a cylinder full of cartridges, they also carry some mystique. The hero of every old western film always had a big iron to deal justice, while that may not be our purpose here today it’s nice to keep it in mind. Today we are taking a closer look at the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan.

Alaskan?
The Super Redhawk line of pistols from Ruger has a long history of performance, but what does the Alaskan do you might say? I suppose the Alaskan model was purpose built thinking of those who might spend time up north, and prefer not to be without six doses of bear medicine. The Super Redhawk Alaskan is a stainless steel double-action revolver, a hammer forged 2.5 inch barrel, and comes with a Hogue Tamer grip to keep a good hold of the gun. You’ll need a good grip because the Alaskan’s robust cylinder has holes bored for six cartridges in only three calibers; .44 Remington mag, 454 Casull, and .480 Ruger. These powerful choices in chambering are nothing to shake a stick at as my father would say, and certainly enough to make even a brown bear reconsider you as a snack.

Loading 300 grain .454 Casull rounds

Considerate size
Despite the large chamberings for the Redhawk, the pistol isn’t so big as to be cumbersome. The short barrel makes it a reasonable gun to carry in a holster, even if you are engaged in other activities. The Alaskan would be a great choice for fisherman who anticipate potential close encounters with awnry eight hundred pound salmon fishermen, or just someone who is out in rough country.
The Alaskan is big enough to stand up to the tasks of bear country, and yet small enough to bring along on a fly fishing trip. And even if you aren’t in the cold white north, it alway gives some solace to have a good strong pistol close. I’ve spent enough time in the incredibly dark and remote forests of northern Montana and Idaho to appreciate the comfort of that heavy steel piece riding on the hip. The extra 2.75 pounds is worth having to me.
A pair of Super Redhawks, note fluted cylinder of .44 Mag model

Shooting time
Shooting the Super Redhawk Alaskan was going to be expensive in today’s market. Especially since I had both the .44 Magnum model, and the 454 Casull to feed. Both pistols are dual chambered to allow for shooting lighter loads with .44 Special and .45 Colt cartridges. But I didn’t have any of those, so it was full house power loads from Hornady to test these guns.

I have shot plenty of .44 Magnum over the years, so shooting the Redhawk wasn’t significantly new. I did immediately notice the comfortable grip, which allowed excellent purchase to control the pistol. The 454 Casull pistol had a bit more power behind it, and you could feel it. Recoil and muzzle blast from the two are fairly comparable, with the Casull showing a bit more unsurprisingly. I was shooting 225 grain Horandy FTX ammunition in the .44 Magnum model, and in the .454 I was shooting Hornady’s 300 grain flat point.

Considering the purpose I initially mentioned for these pistols they shoot quite well, a dangerous game defensive pistol like this certainly needs to hit what your aiming at. I found both pistols to be easy enough to control despite the significant recoil from the heavy loads. Obviously that would change if an angry sow was charging at me, but I’d like to think I could shoot them well enough to hit a moving target at danger close distances.

The impressive power of the Super Redhawks wasn’t the only thing that stood out when shooting them. Both models felt fantastic in the hand, the soft rubber Hogue grips made them very comfortable to shoot. The quality of the operation also struck me, smooth controls and very clean breaking triggers added to the superior feeling of these pistols. The adjustable sights of the Alaskan aren’t exactly huge, they come across as pretty simple and no nonsense. That said I found them to be more than adequate for the purposes of relatively close shooting, that is to say anything inside of fifty-yards or so that rivaled the size of a paper plate was bound to be perforated with a big hole.

Ammunition for this article was supplied by Gun Mag Warehouse

Pros and Cons
I have always been a fan of Ruger’s revolvers, so it should come as no surprise that I found a great many things I like about the Super Redhawk Alaskan. First of all, it’s just a plain handsome design. It has all the classic and sexy features of the hero’s gun from the old westerns we watched as kids, and yet it has just enough modern flair to make it appealing as a modern firearm as well.
The simplicity of the Alaskan’s design also makes it very quick to put into service, the double-action design makes it ideal for a gun that needs to be jerked from the holster and immediately fired at inbound danger. The reliable operating system rolls the next chamber full of wrath right into position to deal one blow after another of heavy hitting power.
The quality finish of the pistol also makes it built to last, the Alaskan is built from stainless steel to protect it from the rough weather you’d be sure to encounter up north. The clean breaking trigger, triple locked cylinder, and modern transfer bar allow the gun to serve its power with finesse, precision and safety.

I had a really hard time coming up with cons for this pistol, it has a fairly specific purpose and it serves that purpose extremely well in my opinion. It wouldn’t be ideal for day to day carrying in places where dangerous predators over five-hundred pounds aren’t expected, it would be a bit heavy for a purpose like that. Though I won’t deny having conceal carried one of the Redhawks on multiple occasions, it’s not ideal for that purpose.
There is the obvious downside of having to feed these large and expensive cartridges to such a large pistol, but if you truly need a pistol like this I’d wager you are willing to pay quite a randsome to ensure it has plenty of ammo. Continue reading here

ATN THOR Riflescope

Being in control, or at least feeling like you’re in control of a situation seems to give us satisfaction in our outdoor adventures. Being prepared with weapons and the tools needed to go where we want, and do what we chose are a large portion of that feeling of authority over our immediate surroundings. Until the sun sets, when much of our dominance goes out the window.
Today we are going to take a look at some equipment you can add to your arsenal that will keep you on top of things in pure darkness.

ATN Corp has been in the business of manufacturing low light sport optics for nearly 30 years now. They have been innovating night vision and thermal devices in every imaginable way.
Today we are going to speak about one product in particular, ATN’s THOR 4 640 2.2-25X thermal riflescope.

The THOR

The ATN THOR 4 is much more than just a low light thermal imaging optical sight. It also has an incredible array of smart functions like built in GPS, blue-tooth connection to apple and android devices, video and photo recording, and even ballistic solver built into the riflescope.
There are other more simple features that will enhance your experience with this scope as well. Rings to mount it come included with the scope, low battery consumption make the power last longer than anticipated. And you can even get it in one of your favorite camouflage coatings. There is much more to get into on the features, so I’ll move along.

Unboxing

When I opened the box to see the scope inside, I was a bit surprised. The THOR appeared to be a complete unit, sealed and ready to go. I pulled out the instructions because I’m an idiot when it comes to tech. The directions were easy enough to figure out, but for added help for those of us who struggle they even added some stickers in various locations indicating the purpose and function of each control.

Control panel on top of the housing, note charging port and SD card slot

There was also things such as a charging adaptor and the mounting rings to install the scope on your rifle. After a few hours good charging time, I took the THOR outside to see what I was missing in the darkness. I have used other thermal optics before, and I was perhaps expecting a little bit more because of my previous experience. But to be fair, the units I was comparing to this ATN cost three to four times as much. So there is certainly a grain of salt to take with my expectation.
The THOR was excellent for identifying small animals around the neighborhood inside 300 yards. I zoomed the power in and out using the power wheel on the left side of the housing, and then focused using the rotating objective housing. The resolution was more than adequate for identifying and targeting potential animals.

In the field

I wanted to get this scope mounted and into action as soon as possible. Using the provided rings, I mounted it up on my Desert Tech MDRX 308winchester.
It took some getting used to, but after a bit I had the THOR figured out. I managed to get it zeroed, though it took me more shots than it should have. The “Nuc” feature was an important one to figure out quickly. As far as I can tell, it seems to calibrate the sensor according to the current field of view. I found that significantly changing your field of view would cause some of the resolution to vary some, and by cycling the Nuc feature on the new viewing area would bring back the image. There is also an “Auto-Nuc” that you can set in the controls to have the device re-Nuc itself every so often.
The display was full of information, possibly more than some folks may want to see. It kinda made me feel like I was looking through the heads up display of an F-18. Angles on both vertical and horizontal plans are displayed, as well as a compass heading. There are an assortment of reticle choices you can choose depending on your needs, as well as a simple menu that can be cycled through quickly using the buttons on top of the housing. I had already installed a micro SD card that is used to store images and video clips recorded through the scope.

The Obsidian 4 Application

It was time to get the Obsidian 4 application connected and running, this app is made and offered by ATN for the owners of their products. It allows details entry and customization for some of the more tedious bits of data you definitely want right.
It took a minute to figure out how to properly get it connected to my phone, but after watching a helpful video on ATN’s website I was in business.

The Obsidian 4 app allows you to customize the data used in the ballistic solver that comes in the scope. You can change calibers, bullet weights, velocities and other pertinent information used to calculate the corrections for distance. You can also watch through the scope remotely which is also pretty cool, there is a slight delay in transmission but you can see everything you need to see and record it to your phone if you like.

The app was easy to navigate, and update the information. To be completely honest I found it to be an incredible amount of customization, I am barely smarter than most primates and I was beginning to worry I was going to screw something up faster than anything. But in a short time I had it setup to my liking, and ready to shoot. Continue Reading Here…

Century’s WASR 10: an AK-47 for the streets…

Few firearms are more recognizable than the Kalashnikov family; in this article will be looking at a descendant of that family, the WASR 10. It is a Romanian-made AK-47 imported by Century Arms for the American market.
The formidable AK-47 design is the blueprint for the WASR 10; Century Arms manufactures them from Romanian parts kits. The post-Warsaw Pact production of rifles in Romania created a vast number of highly sought-after imports that are still coming into the US distribution circuit.

Much like its Kalashnikov cousin, the WASR 10 uses an extremely simple and robust construction. The receiver is made from stamped steel, folded neatly into the proper shape, and fitted with the barrel and trunnion. The bolt carrier and piston assembly ride on two rails fit into the receiver, with a captured operating spring assembly fit into the rear of the bolt carrier and secured into a blind slot at the rear of the receiver. The gas tube is secured between the gas block and the trunnion with a cam pin.

The barrel is chambered in the 7.62×39 Soviet cartridge, the hitherto low cost and proliferate supply of this ammunition is also an attractive aspect of the rifle.
Wooden furniture is used in both the foregrip area and buttstock, though the pistol grip is a polymer blend. To be honest, the whole thing gives the feeling of an infantry weapon in post cold war Soviet states, which makes a lot of sense…

The finish is almost non-existent, particularly on the wood, and you can tell that the original manufacture of these guns wasn’t exactly focused on luxurious looks. I’ve seen a great many of these types of rifles, and there is quite a variation in the grading of quality, at least from an aesthetic perspective.

All that aside, these rifles and their extended family are famous for being incredibly reliable, like a lead pump that knows no defeat. All over the world, they can be found in terrible conditions and disrepair yet still functioning.

The availability, low cost, and that incredibly seasoned service record make these rifles very popular and favorable to American gun owners. For all the pitiful parlance I’ve mentioned regarding the WASR 10 so far, this is the part I love the most about gun reviews. The WASR 10 is exactly what I expected it to be, a lightweight, fast-moving mag siphon.

And just like every other similar AK variant I have shot, this one is an absolute blast to shoot. Low recoil, easily aimed, and way too easy to use up all your ammunition.

The 16.5-inch barrel makes the overall length of the gun quite short and easy to maneuver. The iron sights are straight out of Moscow with no frills, just the traditional adjustable ramp sight hilariously incremented out to a thousand meters. That said, while I have always found it relatively easy to get hits on target with these sights, I really wish I had an optics mount to try using a small scope on the rifle.

Reloads are not as simple as AR-type rifles; perhaps the only flaw in Mikhail’s design was the lack of a lock-back mag catch. This requires you to remove the magazine and insert the new one, followed by drawing back the bolt to chamber the first round of the new magazine. It’s not a huge deal to me, and if you look on Instagram you can see a whole bunch of tier-zero dudes running the drill faster than I can spill my coffee.

The magazines themselves are another great part of the design. Seated properly in the rifle, they feel almost like a solid piece of the receiver; you can hold the gun by the mag and shake it violently with no concern for failures of any kind. The WASR 10 now comes with polymer magazines, nothing wrong with that, but I do prefer the old steel stamped ones that I used to be able to buy for $7.00 each back in the 90s. Continue Reading Here…

CMMG Dissent 5.56 Pistol

I recently wrote a review of the CMMG Banshee, and I was very impressed with nearly everything about it. So I decided I wanted to try another gun from CMMG, and reached out to see if I could get my hands on one of their Dissent pistols. After some waiting I was happy to see the little CMMG box show up at my desk.

The Dissent
The Dissent is not your typical AR-15 type pistol, it utilizes CMMG’s buffer-less compact action. This means that it doesn’t need the bulky buffer tube that comes standard with most AR-15 patterned rifles. The compact action instead utilizes a dual spring pack that runs right above the bolt carrier itself, it carries in between the spring set a rubberized stop if the carrier should reach a full stroke to the rear. The two uneven spring guide-rods are keyed into a steel boss at the back of the upper receiver, but remain independent of the receiver itself. The front of the two springs are captured in a T-shaped housing that appears to be part of the bolt carrier itself.
From there the Dissent is almost the same as a standard AR, using what appears to be a standard bolt, cam pin and firing pin parts. I say almost because there are a few other differences.

Because the spring assembly sits where the charging handle would normally be, they had to move the charging system to the front of the action instead. There is a steel charging block that rides in a groove inside the handguard at twelve o’clock, the charging handle itself slides in from the side of the handguard and rides in its own grove from there. A claw is attached to the front of the charging handle to keep it from reciprocating, and as far as I can tell it is reversible to either side of the handguard but requiring you to purchase a right-sided charging handle. The charging block only pushes on the bolt carrier when pulled to the rear, but remains captured during the cycling of the bolt carrier.
The Dissent is available in 5.56, 300blk, and 5.7.

Initial impressions
As I pulled the gun from its packaging I have to say I was impressed. The Dissent came to me in a handsome charcoal green Cerakote sporting CMMG’s muzzle device and a pair of Pmags. The buffer tube hole at the back of the lower receiver had been covered by a vertical pic rail, to allow for a brace or stock installation should you choose to be infringed upon by the NFA.
The Dissent comes standard with a Trigger Tech AR-D two stage trigger which was crisp as the air on a December morning. I found myself triggering the gun over and over in anticipation of shooting it. Fairly standard controls, with a 45 degree safety and ambidextrous mag release buttons. I found the left side mag button to be a little close to the bolt release for my taste, it seemed like it might be too easy to drop the mag when your trying to drop the bolt. But we’ll see about that at the range. Continue reading here

ATN Thermal Binoculars THOR 4 2.5-25X

Thermal weapon sights have become extremely popular over the last decade or so, I’ve had the good fortune to play with a few of them. Today we are going to talk about a supplemental thermal device, one I think is just as useful as a weapon sight; the ATN BinoX 4T 2.5-25X binoculars.
I say just as useful because whenever I find myself in the dark looking for potential animals to hunt, looking around through my riflescope is not only cumbersome but dangerous. The BinoX binoculars allow the user to safely scan the surrounding environment to identify potential targets, and it also gives you additional information that will help you make a better shot when the time comes.
The ATN Binox incorporate a rangefinder, variable power settings, video recording and image capture, and even GPS location that can be used to keep track of fellow hunters in the area. An IR illuminator is also part of the device, which allows you to illuminate targets when using in conjunction with night vision optics. It also incorporates wifi that can be paired to your ATN riflescope through the ATN Ballistic Information Exchange (BIX). Using the connection you can also stream to a paired device for additional viewing while recording the stream to the SD card inside the unit.
The ATN Binox uses an armored housing with a control pad on the top with various buttons to cycle through the menus and activate the different functions of the binoculars. At the rear of the binos you have an adjustable diopter to focus the image of the display inside. The front of the sensor lens can be rotated to focus the thermal image of the target, the right side is for the thermal sensor, the left side houses other sensors and needn’t be adjusted for image focusing.
The Center button doubles as a “Nuc” button that resets the sensitivity of the sensor based on the current field of view, as far as I can tell anyway. You can adjust the power magnification of the binoculars by using the arrows on the control pad, and the power button doubles as a rangefinder trigger when the unit is powered on.
The display inside gives you quite a bit of information, with actual readouts of both incline and cant as well as a compass bearing. You can select to use different widgets such as compass and angle displays, or if you like you can keep it simple and see just the image. There are many different settings that you can adjust to better fit your needs such as different shades for showing heat, you can select different colors or shades of black and white. There are different reticles you can use for measuring targets and distances and such, and of course you can change the units from yards to meters and MOA to MRAD if you like.
The Binox come with an extended life battery, which I was happy to hear. Most thermal devices I have used in the past burn through batteries far too fast. There was also a neck band to carry the BinoX with, it was also easy to adjust the two ocular lenses to fit your particular eye width.

Into the darkness
After confirming a bunch of settings around the yard and making my dog uncomfortable with shouting commands into the dark corners of the yard, I decided it was time to take the BinoX into the hills and see what I could find. It took a few minutes to find a contrast setting that I preferred, but I settled on the “Glowbow” setting. As you’ll see from my pictures I neglected to set the time and date.

a deer as seen at around 20X magnification from approximately 250 yards

Once I got into the mountains I began scanning where I figured I would be able to find a deer or two, or perhaps even a unsuspecting hiker. I did find something that quickly became frustrating. There were plenty of rocks in the hills that appeared to retain a bunch of heat, this inevitably gave me too many false ID’s of potential life. When I actually did see something that was clearly alive and warm, it was pretty clear. But often times I would have to watch at some of the more distant targets to see if they moved before I could confirm their identity.
I spent some time getting used to the imagery through the binos, and testing out the different functions. It did take me a minute to get used to some of the controls and understand everything, but soon enough I was finding things and measuring their distance with the rangefinder and even snapping pictures and videos of them.

Much like properly viewing an ultrasound image, it seems there is a bit of a learning curve with looking at images like this. Oftentimes it is easy enough to make out trees, rocks and so forth. You can even make out sunny spots and shadows in the images taken during daylight. I have seen better imagery from other thermal units, but to be fair they cost significantly more than this one.
Finding animals in complete darkness turned out be be everything I hoped it would be, it reduced the eiriness of the darkness. Thermal optics have the benefit of being useful in the daylight just as complete darkness, which is a leg up over night vision optics. I found that using the BinoX during the daytime was also helpful in finding things that were alive in a sea of ambient temperature trees and hills. Continue Reading Here…

Sig Sauer Tango MSR 1-6×24 riflescope

I’ve been on an LVPO kick for a while now, I find them to be very useful for a great many purposes. Despite my focus on precision and long range shooting, LVPO’s still make up a good portion of my optics selection. Today I want to take a look at a new to me LVPO, the Tango MSR from Sig Sauer Optics.

I have had a couple different experiences with Sig Sauer Optics starting with the Tango series of scopes as well as another LVPO the Tango 6T. I have really enjoyed these different scopes and largely I have had few problems with them, so when the opportunity to check out this Tango MSR I was very excited to get hands on it.

Out of the box
As I opened the box, I was glad to see that Sig even includes a quality ALPHA-MSR scope mount in the box. That easily narrowed down my mounting decisions.
I will say I was surprised with everything included with the scope, and I’ll be honest that going in I had only a vague idea of the price of this scope. The mount, the typical tools that come with it, battery for the illuminated reticle, and some quality flip caps were also included. They are branded Sig but look to be either Tenebrex or a really close knockoff, either way they are very nice and lay flat against the scope when open. The MSR also includes a throw lever or “cattail” as its often called, this is handy for quick adjustments of the magnification.
The Tango MSR is a second focal plane scope, that means the reticle stays the same regardless of magnification setting. The scope adjustment turrets are MOA and have .5 MOA clicks, the scope body has a centerline painted on the exterior of the tube, to help ensure level mounting I believe and it surely did that. In a very short time I had the scope married to it’s mount and ready to install on a rifle.

The Tango MSR was a perfect fit for the Sig MCX
First Shots
I happened to have a Sig MCX rifle in hand at the time, it seemed like a perfect fit for the MSR. I was more correct than I could have known. I dropped the scope onto the pic rail of the MCX, and off to the range we went. The MSR seemed to be made for the MCX as I didnt even need to adjust the scope for a good zero, I just started shooting and everything lined up like they came from the factory that way.
I spent some time shooting the rifle at fairly close distances inside two-hundred yards, but I also utilized the reticle for a few extended distances. The reticle features a typical upside down horseshoe type reticle, with several drop points and wind holds. The name suggests that the MSR is designed specifically for Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR), and the BDC6 reticle is calibrated for the most popular MSR cartridge the 5.56 Nato.

As I mentioned earlier, I purposely didn’t look at the price of this scope before reviewing it. I was previously very pleased with the optical quality of the Tango 6T, this Tango MSR is not quite as high quality, but still very clean and clear. I was surprised to see the price point after playing with it, I would have expected it to come in the 600-800 dollar range. But for the MSRP of $422.99 I think this scope is a great value.
Testing turret values

I also bolted down the mounted scope to a bench, and measured the turret values against the reticle values which all checked out. The reticle values are handy to keep in mind, or you can refer to the owners manual where they are listed. It may not line up perfectly with the drop of your particular ammunition and atmosphere, this is why I typically don’t care for calibrated reticles. That said, if you know what value they represent you can use them for all kinds of shots and hold overs.
note MOA values of the BDC6 Reticle

Pros & Cons
In my opinion, the Tango MSR is a great little scope for its intended purpose. The optical clarity is great, the magnification ring is quick to adjust and its throw lever helps make it even better. The 1X power setting allows for easy both eyes open aiming, without straining to focus. The quality accessories that are included also greatly add to the value of this scope, the mount is a perfect match for the scope as are the the scope caps.
The only thing I would change about the scope is probably the reticle, I’m not a big fan of the horseshoe type reticles. Though it does have lots of detail to allow holdovers and windage etc. which makes it certainly a very useable reticle. I also wouldn’t mind having an MRAD version of the MSR, but to be perfectly fair it’s not the type of scope you’ll be dialing all over with so it’s probably fine.

The Sig Sauer Tango MSR is a great little scope. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for an LVPO in this price range, it has a great deal of value added as well as performance capability.

-CBM