Friday, July 6, 2012

A Day At The Range With My New Buckmasters Scope

And what a day we had!
My new Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x40 scope is just what I needed! I can't say enough good things about this scope. Incredibly bright, clear viewing, plenty of eye relief, I can focus it to compensate for my glasses (YAY!), and each click moves the shot the amount it's supposed to.
Well....I was moving it 4-clicks at a time to start, because I needed to move it several inches, and 4-clicks moved it one inch. Each click equals 1/4 MOA, which works out to be 1/4" at 100 yards.
I got settled in with my Lead Sled, and fired a few shots to see where it was hitting, and went from there. I walked it in up/down, took several shots to confirm it was holding the new settings, and then walked it left/right until it was hitting right where I aimed.
Yeah, I "wasted" some ammo getting POA to equal POI, but I'm still pretty new at this, and I'm still learning how to do it, and watching carefully as I changed the adjustments on the scope. I looked at this exercise as not so much in getting the new scope zeroed, but rather as getting a feel for how to do it, and a feel for the how the adjustments reacted.
It turned out to be well worth the 20 or so rounds I spent experimenting.
I brought along some Remington 150gr Core-Lockt, some 150gr Sellier&Bellot, some 150gr  stuff I got from another place, and some 150gr Hornady LEVERevolution.
The Remington and S&B shot extremely consistent, while the "other" stuff was all over the place.
The Hornady was very interesting stuff. The box said that at 100 yards, it should shoot +3". Now, they don't tell you +3" compared to what, but compared to the Remington and S&B, it shoot just slightly above the black circle on my 5.5" targets, which is pretty damn close to 3".
And wonder of wonders, 12-clicks down put it where it was supposed to be!
Compared to the last time I took the Marlin 336 out to zero the OEM scope, this was a joy to do. The OEM scope didn't seem to adjust correctly, and it seemed to change it's zero over the course of the day. I understand that I was basically paying the rifle, and the scope and rings were just gravy. The prices these go for seem to bear that out, as a 336W is $500, and a 336WS is $548.
I don't think $48 can get you a very good scope and a set of rings!
Oh, yeah, the OEM rings. Couldn't use 'em. While I could get the scope and rings off the rail as a unit, I couldn't get the screws holding the top half of the rings loose! To start with, they're metric socket head caps screws, and the only hex keys I have in metric are ball drivers. These screws were in so tight, I was afraid of either stripping the head, or the ball-end of my driver, or both.
Since I had purchased some Warne rings in high, medium, and low, I decided to just use those, and leave the Marlin scope and rings together as a unit.
Since I was into it this far, I tried all three heights to see what best fit me, and wound up using the low rings.

The picture was taken at the end of our session on the long range, and shows some interesting things.
The bottom target shows (on the white paper) where I was walking it in, the top target shows me shooting off-hand standing at 100 yards, and the middle target shows the result of the barrel getting hot. The middle target was shot last, and although I kept it pretty much on center left-to-right, the elevation was changing. By the time I'd finished the middle target, the barrel was too hot to touch!
Yes, a 30-30 lever action rifle is NOT meant to be rapid fired for 10 minutes straight, and boy, I sure do understand that now!
 The bottom target only has two "big" holes from my 30-30, and the rest of the small holes are from my son's Mini 14 with aperture sights. It was the first time I've ever fired a Mini 14, and although that target sure won't qualify me as a Rifleman at Appleseed, I'm actually surprised I did that well at 100 yards with iron sights.
After spending a couple of hours on the long range, we went down to the short/pistol/steel target range for another couple of hours. I had a ball shooting my Marlin 1894C in 357 at the steel targets, and was clobbering them out at 100 yards with those funky "Buckhorn" sights it comes with. Took me a few shots to get the rear sight adjusted for elevation, but after that it was BOOM.........CLANG! My son got quite a kick out of the 1894, too, and said he didn't know how much fun it was to shoot a little rifle like that.

So all-in-all, we spent five hours tromping around out in the fresh air, went through 80 rounds of 30-30, 200 rounds of 223, 100 rounds of 17HMR, 100 rounds of 357, 100 rounds of 45ACP, and 100 rounds of 40S&W.

And we had a ball!


  1. Very nice day, there!

    Your experience with the Buckmaster is the same as mine with a Nikon Monarch, and the old Leupold that was on my used Remmy 700 when I got it. A good scope is a wonderful thing!

    Like you say, the extra money for the OEM scope and rings just isn't worth it. Especially if you take it off and put it on the shelf.

  2. Yep!
    This was my first "real" rifle, and I didn't know squat about scopes and rings and things, so I went with what Marlin installed on it for convenience.
    Now I know better!

  3. You did the sighting in the RIGHT way :-) Now the next time, do cold bore shots (20 min between shots) and see if the zero held... :-)

    Ya taught me well!
    I actually did let it cool, in the shade, for about 30 minutes after I thought I had it zeroed, when I was blasting away with my son's Mini-14 and his 17 HMR. The (relatively) cold bore shots were right where I expected them to be, and as good as I could pop them off with the Lead Sled.
    Now that I understand the HOW as well as the WHY, I could probably get it from on-paper to pretty-damn-close in 5 rounds or so. It was *very* satisfying to see the hits move as predicted by the number of clicks, something the OEM Marlin scope didn't seem to do.
    Plus, this scope has a focus adjustment which makes a HUGE difference if you wear glasses.
    Between getting the new scope properly set up, having a complete ball blasting steel @ 100yds with my 1894C, and doing some training with my son on the pistol range (I got him to break a couple of bad habits), we had a wonderful time.
    Thanks for the mentoring!


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