Long Range Equipment - scopes, stocks and bipods
I have more detailed view at the shooters equipment used in the Long Range competition in May 2018 in Slovakia. Shooters from five European countries competed in three categories from 500m to 1400m. I did also a small comment on individual items again.
The graphs also distinguish the equipment of the shooters who ranked on the podiums of each category. Is, IIs, IIIs for Standard category. Iss, IIss, IIIss for Super Standard and Im, IIm, IIIm for Magnum.
Scopes are an integral essential and very important part of the weapon system. And expensive... Riflescopes are definitely not the part where you can save some money. The displayed list is nicely showing what you can buy in Europe. Unfortunately some riflescopes are not represented more due to poor accessibility. As you can see in this list Europe is quite different from the US. Of course the quality scopes needs to be properly mounted. The system is only as good and accurate as its weakest link. And unfortunately it's often the scope mounts... There's no big difference whether it's a one-piece mount or classic mounting rings if they're good. The rings are lighter. The one-piece mount makes it possible to have further cant - good for platforms with straight rails (like AR platforms).
Types of riflescopes
In this chart the riflescopes types are specified by magnification (exact models are easy to find out). In two cases I could not get the model more precisely (I shot at the same time with them and unfortunately I did not have enough of time to do it). However this chart shows us really interesting data. It is worth noting the three most commonly used riflescopes models.
Kahles 624, magnification 6-24x, lens 56mm, tube 34mm. With price of about € 2,500 it is a scope in the higher class. The Austrian manufacturer has been experiencing a big comeback in the last few years and this is their flagship. It is a scope that scores mainly due to its parameters, price and affordability in Europe.
Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25x56, tube 34mm. Prices around € 2,500 - € 3,500 depending on the equipment (this scope have more variants). Again the higher class scope. For years these riflescopes have been and still are the gold standard to compare the other riflescopes in this class. Not only in Europe but on a global scale. There are many top shooters using them in the US as well and this will not change anytime soon. And that means something...
Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 tube 30mm. The price was about € 1,100 but is no longer sold and produced. Its replacement is just starting to sell at just under € 1,200. It is a middle class scope and for the Long Range it is the good and reliable choice. This may seem like a surprise at the first look that these riflescopes are so much and successfully used. But only at the first look... Vortex made a great start worldwide and offered a very good optics with good parameters at a price where they did not have any competition. Plus with a lifetime warranty. And as the years of use have turned out these riflescopes are of good quality and will last a great deal. I have a personal experience when we bought them for our school rifles and they are still working without a single problem. And believe me the students do not "treat them nicely". In addition we use them for tactics and they really get rough handling. Problems? Zero... New PST II are much better and have great features but they keep the price. It is only a few that finally came and we will definitely keep some! Can be bought for example at Beareka.
It is also interesting to have a relatively large representation of IOR riflescopes from Romania. However you need to realize that a lot of shooters from Romania participated in this competition so it is not such a surprise...
Overall it is obvious that the most common magnification range is about 5-25 times. The vast majority of shooters use magnification somewhere in this range. After all most shooters do not shoot at maximum magnification but usually they shoot the most with a magnification of about 15-18x. It is not just a magnification what we need - but a large field of view for the ability to observe the hits after the shot - and also in the worse light conditions (fog, mirage) we see better at a lower magnification.
Stocks and chassis
Most of the shooters use the original stock but occasionally someone exchanges the stock for another one that suits them more - and here is their list. Stocks are either plastic or wood and have a relatively simple design. The action is placed in a bedding. The chassis have an aluminum base and the action is placed directly in that aluminum block. They have a pistol grip use magazines and have adjustable stocks and cheeks.
Because there were quite a lot of chassis from Accuracy International I split them by type. AI make chassis of high quality for years and they make different types so everyone chooses according to their preferences. Indeed it is such a gold standard that all the others are compared to.
GRS was represented only by the stocks this time - both plastic and wood. The company also produces a chassis.
MDT is a Canadian company that produces more types of chassis but ESS is their latest and also the top model that competes well with AI. They are really good with good price so I'm sure we will see the ESS much more often in the future... I will make a closer and deeper review soon.
Bipods are another important part of the system. At this Long Range competition it must be easy to set them up because all targets can not be shot at the same setting (some are downhill others uphill). Their stability is also the key to success. If the rifle is too "jumpy" after the shot it is difficult to see your own hits.
Harris or Atlas are better for tactics but some heavier and more stable types such as Fortmeier or Czech TST are more suitable for this type of competition where the shooter shoots statically from one place. Here was not many "F-class" bipods that can be seen much more in a precise shooting competitions. It is worth mentioning one "Elite Iron Revolution Bipod" which is very interesting expensive and in the Europe quite rare...
The quality muzzle brake is designed not only to reduce the recoil but also to improve the transition ballistic. In addition to a lower recoil the rifle behaves generally more calmly and does not "jump" so much after the shot.
The vast majority of the shooters use them but it is interesting that among the few people who did not use them were also very successful shooters who finished in a medal positions. It is a bit misleading because these shooters have relatively massive and heavy weapons with long barrels where the weight itself helps to lower the recoil. In the Magnum category it would not work...
This was the view at the Long Range equipment. Next time I will analyze the equipment used by the shooters in two different types of competitions - precise shooting and tactics. Each of these disciplines has its own characteristics and a lot of equipment is specific to it.