SDM-style optic for M1A


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MTMilitiaman
July 21, 2010, 06:52 PM
Or rather the lack thereof...

I need to vent a little. I've just spent an hour looking at various websites for possible optics to put on my M1A. I've been trying to set my M1A up as a sort of SDM rifle--an Americanized Dragunov. I want to be able to ring steel out to 600 to 800 yards so I am looking for a variable with a high-end magnification of 6 to 8 power. I also want to retain as much utility in close as possible so I am looking for a low-end magnification of no higher than 3x. This isn't a sniper rifle. I want a math free rangefinding/BDC reticule set up for the standard 7.62mm NATO 147 gr ball round. This means no mil or MOA based hash or dot ranging systems. Something like rangefinder on the Soviet PSO or Trijicon ACOG would be perfect. These systems may not be as precise as mil-dot and similar set ups, but they are much faster, and you don't have to do math or remember formulas. I don't enjoy math enough to want to do it in combat, sorry. Historically, match ammo has been hit or miss for availability, so in my rendition of this concept, I am looking to avoid depending on logistical availability of specialized ammo. Thus, the reliance on standard ball ammo. The reticule should also be illuminated, and preferably on the FFP. Finally, I am poor. While I acknowledge you often get what you pay for in optics, I am not going to be able to afford $1500+ dollar glass. Like a real government contract, lowest bidder to meet the requirements is probably going to win.

I acknowledge that this is a pretty specific criteria to meet, but none of the requirements seem like much to ask--it all seems pretty straightforward to me. I am alone. Apparently, other people are better at math, content to live with flashing Hollywood-esque reticules that add little or no practical utility to the optic, and obviously have a lot more money than me. Because no such scope exists. There are several that come close and show a lot of potential, but the manufactures are content to let the potential go to waste.

For example, I've believe the perfect SDM optic has been sitting in Trijicon's garage for several years now. All they have to do is take their Accupoint line, put a FFP ACOG reticule on something like a 1.5 to 6, with a 30mm tube, BAC, and their dual-illumination, and not triple the price of the optic in doing so. Wa-lah. The technology exists, it's just squandered frivolously for the sake of resting on one's laurels...

Then there's the 2.5 to 8 Leupold MR/T. They are even lazier. All they have to do is offer it in FFP with their own Special Purpose Reticule. Nope...

The 1.5 to 8 IOR comes close. Ideally it would be a FFP so you didn't have to crank it up to 8x to use the BDC, but beggars can apparently not be choosers. This is the current optic to beat for me.

Nightforce would be at the upper end up what I could ever hope to afford. They have a catalog of reticules, none of which interest me in the least as not only do these guys not make a single scope that even comes close to what I am looking for, they actually seem determined to avoid it at all cost. I like the NXS on my bro's AR-50, but Nightforce seems content to ignore every application of rifle that does not involve being prone with a bipod, so I guess I don't have to worry about saving money for them...

US Optics, Premiur Reticules, and S&B are all well out of my price range.

Is it too much to ask for these optics manufactures to stop just chasing each other's tails and actually offer something fresh and new? Am I asking too much here? I really want to put optics on my M1A, but there is literally not a single scope on the market that interests me, or at least one that I can afford.

The new Leupold 1.1-8 looks interesting but at $3K is literally at least twice what I can spend.

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Big_E
July 21, 2010, 07:14 PM
http://www.kalinkaoptics.com/rifle-scopes/posp/posp-2-6x24-black-zoom-tactical-weapon-rifle-scope-w-1000-meter-dragunov-rangefinding-reticle-weaver-version.html

I don't know if you want something from the better known manufacturers, but this is the best I could think of off the top of my head. There are other models available just browse the site. Hope this helps.

pdd614
July 21, 2010, 07:51 PM
not exactly what you are looking for but I run a super sniper 3-9 on my ar15. the reticle is in ffp, standard mil-dot, and adjusts in mils. This scope has alot better glass than I thought it would have. It has been reliable so far. I have gotten hits out to 800 with it, and think its just about perfect for a sdm style rifle. Why not just laminate a small dope sheet out to whatever range you planning on shooting, and then tape it to your stock. That way you can dial the dope if you want, or just simply hold over to get your hits. Bdc reticles are way over-rated, and I wouldn't want to be stuck using only one set type of ammo.

MTMilitiaman
July 21, 2010, 11:25 PM
Bdc reticles are way over-rated

I disagree. I've never had an optic that was faster or more accurate than the RCO on my A4. It is so much faster and simpler than "target size in inches multiplied by 27.778, divided by mils, times 100 equals distance." You can tape all the stuff you want onto your stock. While you're conferring with your data card, I just place the stadia line on your shoulders that fits best and pull the trigger. No math. No formulas. Maybe not quite as precise, but much faster.

Most of my rifles end up using one type of ammo almost exclusively anyways, so that is a non-issue for me.

pdd614
July 21, 2010, 11:45 PM
ok, maybe a standard mildot in the ffp isn't for you.

MTMilitiaman
July 21, 2010, 11:51 PM
O and the Russian optic does meet the general criteria but I am skeptical of Russian optical quality and durability. I have had both a PKAS-V and a Kobra on my AK and while both were acceptable for their cost, neither were on par with Western quality optics.

Al Mack 1
July 22, 2010, 02:25 AM
Looks like your getting plenty of replies on scope choices, so I'll skip that. What about a mount? I think there are only three choices, the Arms 18, the Bassett, and the Sadlak mount. All three of these have a good reputation for holding zero. I haven't used one but the Bassett is the lowest in cost, and it can be taken off and then put back on with out loosing zero. The Sadlak I use and it also can be taken off and put back on and not loose zero. The Arms 18 is top quality, but I don't know if it has the same ability.

Now Rings is another one that can't be skimped on. But I'll leave that for some one else to make suggestions.

LemmyCaution
July 22, 2010, 07:18 AM
Try this:

http://www.horusvision.com/blackbird.php

MTMilitiaman
July 25, 2010, 12:04 AM
I have an ARMS 18 right now. I am thinking about having the Cluster Rail System from VLTOR/SA installed as it adds a full length rail from the stripper clip guide to the front of the handguard, is low enough to still facilitate the use of irons, and is by most reports I've heard of it, pretty solid. I just have no idea what to expect that setup to cost, installed.

Maverick223
July 25, 2010, 01:46 AM
I would choose the Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10x44. I think it has everything you need (good glass, good reticle, matched reticle/adjustments, target turrets, and moderate magnification) in a modest package for a reasonable price. The only thing that I would possibly want to add is a FFP reticle, but that will cost you one way or the other...either with quality or with a significant increase in expense. Unless you need a bulletproof package, I feel it is a better deal than a NF, and if you do manage to damage it they have the best warranty in the business so you're covered.

:)

Sunray
July 25, 2010, 03:11 AM
"...rangefinding/BDC reticule..." Fad that was never reliable.
"...to do it in combat..." Expecting to be in combat? An M1A isn't a battle rifle. It's a commercial sporting rifle. Put a 2.5x to 8X on it with a good solid mount. Or forget a scope altogether and use the iron sights. A scope won't make it shoot any better anyway. I'd be thinking NM type iron sights myself.
"...too much to ask for these optics manufacturers to stop just chasing each other's tails..." That's the marketing types. Vehicle makers do it too. One company brings out some silly whiz bang thing and all the others have to as well or risk losing market share.

HorseSoldier
July 25, 2010, 05:53 AM
I disagree. I've never had an optic that was faster or more accurate than the RCO on my A4. It is so much faster and simpler than "target size in inches multiplied by 27.778, divided by mils, times 100 equals distance." You can tape all the stuff you want onto your stock. While you're conferring with your data card, I just place the stadia line on your shoulders that fits best and pull the trigger. No math. No formulas. Maybe not quite as precise, but much faster.

For a rifle meant to increase the lethal footprint a rifle squad can project, I agree that an ACOG or similar is ideal, for the reasons you mention. It may not be as precise as a mil dot reticle for ranging or shooting, but its quick and for making hits on man/torso sized targets at longer combat ranges it's entirely adequate to get the job done.

LemmyCaution
July 31, 2010, 11:29 AM
I was looking at the Leupold Custom Shop (https://customshop.leupold.com/custom_shop.php) site yesterday and came up with the idea of customizing a VXiii with a BDC reticle for the M852 cartridge and M1 style knobs (mtmilitiaman could specify for the M80, if desired). In either 1.5-5x20, 1.75-6x32 or 2.5-8x36, the price is a very reasonable $560.

The setup lacks rangefinding and illumination, but otherwise presents a viable SDM optic for the M1a on a budget.

BillCh
July 31, 2010, 03:01 PM
Maybe you can work something like this in.

http://www.kentonindustries.com

B

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