Preparing for Your First F-Class Competition

The legacy of long-range precision competition shooting began in 1903 when a government advisory board called the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety, Inc. developed the National Matches to encourage national defense preparedness and improve our military’s marksmanship.

Woman shooting a rifle
F-Class shooting competitions are fun and easy to learn.

Often called CMP/NRA High Power, these shooting competitions have developed substantially over the years. Traditionally, NRA High Power rifle competitions were conducted using only iron sights; however, in 2016, the association started allowing optics. There are also quite a few different divisions so, depending on skill level and devotion, most shooters can find a competition that appeals to them. One of those is F-Class.

F-Class is a long-range rifle shooting competition which measures your marksman’s skills from distances 300 to 1,200 yards. A Full-Bore competition shooter from Canada, George Farquharson started F-Class in the 1990s in his elder years when his eyes aged to where he could not shoot accurately using iron sights. In 2005, it was officially recognized by the NRA.

From the prone position, F-Class shooters fire usually 3 relays in sets of 15 to 20 rounds at a six square foot bullseye target at either various distances or one fixed distance. Divided into two classes, competitors have the choice to shoot Open Class or Target Rifle Class.

Open class allows any rifle .35 caliber and above that weighs less than 22 pounds—including bipod and optic. Open Class participants can use front and rear rests. Target Rifle Class is reserved to unmodified rifles chambered in .223 Remington or .308 Winchester only and aren’t allowed to weigh less than 18.18 pounds including accessories. The only equipment allowed on Target Rifle Class rifles is a bipod or sling and optic. Target Rifle Class competitors can only use a rear rest. Muzzle devices are not allowed in either Class.

F-Class competition shooting doesn’t have many rules, that is why it is such a growing shooting sport. It is easy to learn, fun, challenging and affordable!

Here are the two major things you need to know before joining an F-Class competition.

Gear Up

For both classes, you want an accurate rifle, a clear optic with at least 20x magnification, a rear shooting bag or rest, bipod and high-quality match-grade ammo.

Rifle

Most successful F-Class shooters use a bolt-action rifle. There are plenty of affordable, good factory rifles that achieve sub-MOA accuracy. Check out the Remington 700, Savage Model 10 or 12, and Ruger M77, just to name a few. Popular F-class calibers include 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, and .284 Winchester. Just don’t go too big, because recoil can affect your follow up shots. A 24-inch target barrel is ideal.

Ammo

Most experienced F-Class competitors reload their own ammo, but for the beginner F-Class shooter, using pre-loaded match-grade ammo is acceptable. You want a bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient of at least .450 to .500 or better with a minimum velocity of 2,650 feet per second. Hollow point boat tail is recommended.

Scope

The lack of a quality scope can ruin you in F-Class. However, there is no need to drop thousands on your first long-range scope. All you need is clear, crisp glass, a 30mm or larger tube, at least 40 MOA target turrets, a useable reticle and at least 20x magnification.

Sightmark Latitude F-Class riflescope
The Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60mm long-range scope has an elevation range of 110 MOA.

We Suggest…

The Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60mm F-Class riflescope is quite substantial with its extreme magnification range of 8x up to a staggering 32x; oversized 60mm objective lens; large, tactile, distinct-click turrets; single-piece 32mm tube, perfect ¼ MOA-per-click adjustability and an overall elevation range of 110 MOA—the windage range of adjustability also does not slouch at 70 MOA. For razor-sharp clarity, the nitrogen-purged Latitude boasts premium, fully multi-coated, anti-reflective glass and a fine-etched red/green illuminated, second-focal-plane F-Class reticle with five brightness settings.

Practice

An accurate precision rifle and clear scope certainly help increase your scores, but a lot of it comes down to you—the shooter. The key to high scores is knowing how to compensate for bullet drop so you can make your adjustments accordingly. Before competing, you will want to practice using a spotting scope, ballistic calculator, and wind meter. Begin by boresighting and zeroing your rifle and scope. Then, experiment with different types of ammo to find the best one for your rifle. Keep a shooter’s log of all your shots during practice so you can always refer to the proper adjustments.  When you practice, focus on breath and trigger control, aim and overall rifle handling.

To get started in F-Class Shooting Competitions, you will need the following equipment:

  • Rifle
  • Ammo
  • Scope
  • Comfortable shooting mat
  • Spotting scope
  • Bipod
  • Shooting rest—front and rear or just rear for Target Class
  • Timer
  • Wind meter
  • Ballistic calculator
  • Marksman’s data book

F-Class competition long-range shooting allows you to challenge yourself and push your equipment to its limits. There is a short learning curve and once you understand how to compensate for bullet drop, is a very rewarding sport.

Janet Raab, former manager of the NRA’s High-Power Rifle says, “F-Class is the fastest-growing type of high-power competition because it offers the challenge of long-range shooting in a format that is fun and easy to learn.”

So, gear up and go out there and start competing!

To find F-Class Matches in your area, click here.

For more on F-Class competition shooting rules, click here.

Do you shoot F-Class or any other long-range precision competitions? If so, leave readers your pointers in the comment section.

 

 

Sightmark to Attend CopsWest 2018

(Mansfield, Texas 2018/09/14) – Sightmark will attend the California Peace Officers’ Association’s CopsWest Conference. The conference is scheduled for September 17 – 19, at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California. Sightmark (booth #933) will showcase top-of-the-line products such as the Ultra Shot M-Spec, Mini M-Spec and prominent other optics.

The most durable and advanced sights in the Ultra Shot line, the new M-Spec LQD (SM26034) and FMS (SM26035) were designed for law enforcement. This cutting-edge reflex sight has an integrated retractable sunshade that reduces lens glare and protects the optic during rain or snow.

The Mini Shot M-Spec series are versatile and compact-sized reflex sights designed for a variety of firearms including shotguns, pistols and AR-15s. Included with the Mini M-Spec are a riser mount and low-profile mount allowing shooters to choose the right height for their firearm. The Mini Shot M-Spec is available in two models; LQD (SM26043) and FMS (SM26044).

Sightmark Mini Shot M-Spec reflex sight
The Mini Shot M-Spec is made for a variety of firearms.

Sightmark manufactures award-winning products including riflescopes, gun sights, laser sights, night vision, flashlights, boresights and other cutting edge, premium shooting accessories. Inspired by military and law enforcement technology, Sightmark products are designed for competition, target shooting, home defense, hunting, personal safety and other tactical applications.

The California Peace Officers’ Association serves California law enforcement leaders by providing a resource for leadership development and personal growth and advocates on behalf of all peace officers to support the mission of law enforcement and ensure the safety of our communities.

Upgrade Your Riflescope with Sightmark’s New Cantilever Mounts!

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/09/13) – Upgrade your riflescope rings to Sightmark’s new line of cantilever mounts. The new cantilever rings deliver rock solid holds for your riflescope for better performance in competition shooting, hunting and even law enforcement.

The cantilever mounts are a great alternative to regular riflescope rings, with a primary use for AR-15s. The mounts are constructed out of 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum for a durable body while designed to fit any Picatinny rail. All cantilever mounts feature a matte black, non-reflective finish to reduce glare. Available in three different mount designs, Sightmark Cantilever Mounts fit the needs of your preferred mount including a fixed mount, LQD and a fixed mount with 20 MOA for better long-range shooting.

The new cantilever mount is available in two sizes 30mm and 34mm to fit your scopes needs while being the perfect mount to secure any shooters riflescope.

Available new Sightmark mounting rings models:

  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 30mm fixed mount (SM34019)
  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 30mm LQD mount (SM34020)
  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 30mm Fixed mount w/ 20MOA (SM34021)
  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 34mm Fixed mount (SM34022)
  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 34mm LQD mount (SM34023)
  • Sightmark Tactical Cantilever Mount – 34mm Fixed mount w/ 20MOA (SM34024)

Click here to shop mounts and rings.

Boresighting vs. Zeroing

It’s important for all shooters to learn that boresighting and zeroing in your weapon are not the same thing. Some learn the hard way and end up wasting time, money and ammo before they figure it out. But once you understand a little bit about external ballistics, not only will the difference become simple, but in the meantime, you can also become a better shooter.

What is boresighting?

Boresighting is a method of adjustment to a firearm sight to align the firearm barrel and sights.

What is zeroing?

Zeroing is a method of adjustment to the sights so that the point of aim is the point of impact.

Although you can manually sight the bore yourself, the more modern method is with a laser that either attaches to the muzzle or is inserted into the chamber. The laser will emit a strong enough beam to see up to 100 yards away so you can easily align the bore.

While boresighting will get the scope aligned with the bore, it is not 100% aligned with the point of impact from a bullet, as outside factors such as wind and gravity will affect the trajectory of a flying object. The goal of boresighting is to get on paper. The goal of zeroing is to make the correct adjustments to guarantee the bullet hits where you’re looking.

The goal of boresighting is to get on paper. The goal of zeroing is to hit where you’re looking.

These are both essential steps before you start shooting seriously. Those who don’t boresight their weapon will go out to the field and waste round after round just trying to get on paper because their sights aren’t aligned. Others believe the misconception that boresighting will automatically zero their gun, so they hit a bullseye at 25 yards but are then frustrated that they’re multiple inches off at 100 yards. This happens because they don’t take external ballistics into account.

External ballistics deals with factors affecting the behavior of a projectile in flight.

Once the bullet leaves the barrel, gravity will start to affect its vertical movement, and wind will affect the horizontal movement. The farther your bullet goes, the more it will drop. This is why zeroing your weapon at 100 yards won’t zero it for 200 yards as well. Most firearm optics and sights come with adjustable knobs for elevation and windage for this very reason, and the MOA (Minute of Angle) measurement will tell you how much you need to adjust the scope at a certain yardage.

When you’ve both boresighted and properly zeroed your weapon, you’ll be prepared to shoot any target or game that comes your way.

Click here to buy a Sightmark Boresight.

How to Choose a Reticle

Written by John Shellenberger

One of the most important aspects of choosing a riflescope is deciding which reticle to use. The reticle is the aiming point for your scope, and they are available in many different looks and varieties for improved shooting performance. Once you’ve established what type of shooting you’ll be using the scope for, you can choose the reticle most fitting for your hunting, tactical, or competitive shooting needs.

Crosshairs are perhaps the most famous reticle due to their appearance in pop culture classics like James Bond. Commonly made by two intersecting perpendicular lines, crosshairs provide a reference for where the rifle is aiming, with the intersection of the lines being the aiming point. Throughout the years, riflescope manufacturers have developed the classic crosshairs, adding features like bullet drop compensation or thinner crosshairs for maximized precision. This means nearly every scope you look through, will vary.

When choosing a reticle, the first step is to define its intended use. Are you a hunter shooting deer at around 100 yards? A reticle with broad crosshairs delivers a clear image to place on your target without having to worry about losing your crosshair in the complex background image. Shooting at longer distances where precision is most important? A reticle with thinner crosshairs ensures the accuracy needed. Once you’ve decided, choosing a reticle comes down to personal preference, so be sure to look at all the options before deciding.

Different Types of Reticles

Duplex Crosshairs

duplex reticle
The classic duplex reticle is good for quick target acquisition and precise shooting.

Duplex crosshairs are lines that start off broader on the edges of the reticle and then become much skinnier as it gets close to the center. The thick bars on the perimeter allow the shooter to quickly focus in on the middle of the reticle, and the thinner lines in the center allow for precise shooting. Duplex crosshairs are the most common type of reticle on the market.

Wire Crosshairs

Wire crosshairs are flattened out wires to provide a durable reticle that does not impede light passing through the scope. Once the only way to make reticles, wire crosshairs are becoming less and less popular due to etched-glass reticles which are far more accurate and durable.

Etched-Glass

Etched-glass reticles are the result of carving a reticle into a thin plate of glass using a diamond point. They can have floating elements, such as complex sections for bullet drop compensation or range estimation.

Illuminated

Red and green illuminated riflescope reticle
Illuminated reticles are good for low-light shooting situations.

Reticles can be illuminated, usually by internal mechanisms like battery-powered LED lights. Red is the most common color because it is the least destructive to your night vision, however, some products use yellow or green. Typically, illuminated reticles can be turned on and off at will and have brightness settings.

First or Second Focal Plane

Another factor to consider before buying a scope is whether you want your reticle to change in size proportionally to the target as you zoom the scope in or out. If you do, then you will want a first focal plane riflescope, where the reticle is at the front of the erector tube, allowing it to be affected by the magnification. If you want your reticle to stay the same size while the target is enhanced, then a second focal plane riflescope is for you. On a second focal plane scope, the reticle is at the back of the erector tube, meaning the image of the reticle is not enhanced as you zoom in. In general, first focal plane scopes are more expensive; however, their markings on the reticle are always accurate at any range, while second focal point reticles’ markings are only true at a given magnification—usually the highest.

Now that you know the terms associated with reticles, let’s look at a few.

• The Sightmark Hog Hunter Reticle can be found on some of the Core HX series scopes. This scope has duplex crosshairs along with lateral hash marks to allow the shooter to make quick adjustments on moving targets with ease.

Sightmark hog hunting reticle
The hog hunting reticle allows you to make quick adjustments on moving target.

• The Sightmark Venison Hunting Reticle can also be found in the Core HX series. Like the HHR, this scope has duplex crosshairs and longitudinal tick marks that allow for bullet drop compensation at long ranges. Notice how the eye is quickly drawn to the middle of the scope on both scopes due to the thinning of the crosshairs.

Sightmark Venison Hunting reticle with bullet drop compensation
The Venison Hunting reticle compensates for bullet drop at longer ranges.

• The Dual Caliber Reticle can be found on some of Sightmark’s Core TX series. This reticle can be illuminated with the twist of a knob, choosing from 1 to 10 brightness settings, thereby allowing the shooter to get a clear view of the reticle and deliver optimal shot placement. The reticle can be illuminated in either red or green and the shooter can choose from six levels of brightness. This reticle also has duplex crosshairs that get thinner as they move towards the center.

Sightmark dual caliber reticle for .223 and .308
The dual caliber is a duplex BDC reticle and is calibrated for .223 and .308 ammo.

• The CDC-300 Circle Dot Chevron Reticle is not a duplex reticle. The ballistically-matched CDC-300 is on a first focal plane, meaning the reticle stays in the same visual proportion to the target across any magnification range. The red or green illuminator helps the shooter to see clearly in all lights, allowing you to accomplish holdovers from 100 to 800 yards. The CDC-300 Circle Dot can be found in Sightmark’s Pinnacle series.

Sightmark CDC-300 circle dot chevron reticle first focal plane
This first focal plane scope isn’t duplex-based. it allows for holdovers.

• The TMD Tactical Mil Design Reticle could be considered a duplex. The markings on the crosshair allow for bullet drop compensation, helping the long-distance shooter effectively make holdover shots without changing the magnification. This reticle is in the first focal plane, meaning it stays visually proportional to the target at all ranges, and comes with 1 to 6 brightness settings for its red/green illuminator, meaning it can provide unparalleled clarity in bright and low light situations. The TMD reticle can be found on scopes from Sightmark’s Pinnacle series.

Sightmark TMD (tactical mil design) reticle
The TMD reticle is made for long-distance shooting.
If you were to invent a reticle, what features would it have? Describe your dream reticle in the comment section.

Since you’re now all set on how to pick a reticle, click here!

Sightmark to Make its Mark at TacOps East in Washington, D.C.

(Mansfield, Texas 2018/09/05) – Sightmark is set to make its mark at the 2018 TacOps East Tactical Training Conference (booth #140,) scheduled for September 5 – 7, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The Ultra Shot M-Spec and Wolverine red dot sights are just a few of the optics to be featured at Sightmark’s booth.

Sightmark’s Ultra Shot M-Spec FMS (SM26035) reflex sight is designed for quick target acquisition and repeatable accuracy in any environment. The M-Spec features a wide lens with scratch-resistant, anti-reflective red coating, integrated sunshade and an illuminated red 1-MOA circle-dot reticle with 10 brightness levels.

Sightmark’s Wolverine red dot sight is available in two models; the FSR 1×28 (SM26020) and CSR 1×23 (SM26021) Wolverines deliver uncompromising crisp clarity in a compact, rubber-armored housing. Both models are night-vision compatible and feature an advanced scratch-resistant lens. The FSR model includes a 28mm objective lens and the CSR features a 23mm objective lens. Both feature unlimited eye relief.

TacOps East is a tactical training conference and exposition that helps balance training, networking and trade show experiences in a three-day event. The show will host over 40 training courses that will consist of instructor level certifications, armorer certification, classroom instruction and practical application.

8 Factors to Consider Before Buying Your First Riflescope

Deciding to buy a riflescope is a good choice. Scopes make hunting, competition, target and long-range shooting easier and more accurate. However, there is almost an endless amount of choice. How is one supposed to choose? This how-to guide to buying a riflescope will help you narrow your choices.

Written by John Shellenberger

  1. Magnification

    Sightmark Latitude riflescope
    The Sightmark Latitude riflescopes help with precise shot placement and have fine-etched illuminated reticles.

Magnification is one of the most important aspects of a riflescope. Magnification is the range to which you can multiply the naked eye’s vision. In other words, a scope with 2x magnification power is twice the power of your unaided eye.  Magnification is referred to in power level increments and is represented by the first numbers in a riflescope’s name. For example, on a variable zoom 1-4x32mm scope, the magnification would be 1-4x what the naked eye sees. On a fixed scope, like a 4x32mm scope, the magnification is fixed at 4x what the human eye can see.

Magnification is largely preferential. If you are a hunter who shoots moving targets under 100 yards, 3-9x would perform well. If you want to hit bullseyes from 750 yards, then a scope with a larger magnification range like 5-30x might suit your style.

  1. Objective Lens Size

The objective lens size is the diameter of the lens closest to the barrel of the rifle, and farthest away from the stock of the rifle. The objective lens diameter is the number after the x in the riflescopes title. For example, a 1-4x32mm scope has an objective lens with a diameter of 32mm. The size of your objective lens affects how much light the scope will be able to transmit. A larger objective lens lets in more light, producing a brighter image, but at the expense of being heavier than a scope with a smaller objective lens.

Citadel riflescope
This smaller Citadel scope has a 1-6x magnification
  1. Weight

Weight is a factor you want to consider before you make your purchase. Think about where you will be doing most of your shooting. If you are shooting long distances at the range where you’ll have a bipod or sandbags to fire your rifle from, then a heavier scope probably won’t affect you very much. If you are stalking deer in the mountains and have to do a lot of hiking in between shots, it could be beneficial for you to choose a lighter riflescope since constantly raising and holding a heavy rifle takes its toll after some time.

  1. Elevation/Windage Adjustment

Windage and elevation adjustment turrets are used to adjust the position of the bullet’s impact. Windage adjustments have the ability to move the bullet’s point of impact to the left or right in relation to the reticle. Elevation adjustments are used to move the bullet’s point of impact up or down. Scope adjustments are either made in minute of angle units or milliradians. For the beginner hunter, once you sight in your rifle, the windage and elevation turrets won’t need to be adjusted again. These adjustments are extremely helpful for tactical shooters making long distance shots.

  1. Lens Coating

Next, to the objective lens size, lens coatings are the most important aspect of light transmission. When looking through the scope, you want to see the brightest and clearest image possible. This is affected by the amount of reflected light coming through the lens and the amount of light transmitted through the lenses. The goal of optical coatings are to reduce the glare and the loss of light caused by reflection. More coatings generally result in better light transmission. There are four main categories of optical lens coatings:

  • Coated– at least one of the lenses has a single layer of anti-reflective coating
  • Fully Coated– on every air to glass lens (the outer lenses) there is a single layer of anti-reflective coating
  • Multicoated– at least one of the lenses has multiple layers of anti-reflective coating
  • Fully Multicoated– multiple layers of coating have been put on all air to glass lenses

Keep in mind that with higher quality comes a higher price; however, spending the extra money to get quality coatings can greatly impact your shooting experience.

  1. Reticle

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Also known as the “crosshair,” the reticle is the part of the riflescope that predicts where the bullet will go. Looking at a reticle through the riflescope is similar to lining up your shot in iron sights. Reticles are a matter of preference and a huge variety is available for shooters to choose from. On a very basic level, the crosshairs’ thickness is going to affect the precision of your shot. Larger reticles are easier to see in low-light situations, but can sometimes dwarf or cover up the target if the target is far away. Thinner crosshairs allow the shooter to be more precise but are more difficult to see in low-light.

Many reticles come with posts or scales on their crosshairs. These small ticks are minute of angle or milliradian measurements used to compensate for the bullet’s drop at greater distances. However, not every tick mark is always accurate at any range, because the reticle can be affected by what focal plane it is set in.

  1. Focal Plane

Focal plane can be found in two forms—first or second. In a second focal plane riflescope, the reticle is at the end of the erector tube near the end closest to the butt of the rifle. This means that the magnification is changing behind the reticle in relation to the shooter, so the reticle image maintains its original size. The reticle is not always proportional to the target, only at a certain magnification (often the greatest magnification possible). As you zoom in, the reticle takes up more and more of your vision, appearing larger though it is actually staying the same size it always was.

In a first focal plane riflescope, the reticle is located in the front of the erector tube—meaning when you zoom in with the scope, it also zooms in on the reticle as well. This creates a proportionate changing of size between the target and your reticle. Since everything is proportional, the reticle’s tick marks are accurate at all ranges, not just the most zoomed-in range. First focal plane riflescopes are more expensive in general, but allow the shooter to make adjustments much faster than changing the windage or elevation adjustments.

  1. Tube Size

Tube size is important to know for a beginner because you want to be able to use your scope after you buy it, meaning you need the right size mounting rings for your scope. Tubes can be found generally in two sizes: 30mm and 1 inch. Other than increasing the adjustment range internally, neither offers greater benefits than the other, a larger tube doesn’t mean it lets more light in. However, you will need to know what size tube you have so when you go to use your scope you aren’t stuck trying to put 1-inch mounting rings on a 30mm tube. If you live in the United States, you might want to remember that more riflescopes are built with one-inch tubes than are not. However, once again, tube size is entirely preferential.

Do you have further questions about riflescopes? Leave them in the comment section and we will do our best to answer them.

Click here to find your new riflescope!

Choosing a 3-Gun Scope

A guest post written by Sellmark marketing intern Camille Middleton.

In the world of shooting sports, 3-gun is arguably a fast growing and exciting competition. It consists of a set of stages requiring the use of three guns—a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. At these different stages, shooters engage various close- to mid-range targets, even up to 500 yards, from different positions. Scoring is determined based on time and hits, with penalties for misses, and each stage is assigned a different degree of difficulty. In a nutshell, the shooter who hits the most targets in the shortest amount of time wins. This competition is exciting and challenging, even for the most experienced shooters.

man competing in a 3-gun competition shooting match
3-Gun competitions are fast, exciting and growing in popularity. Photo By Sgt. Ryan Carpenter

Getting started can seem a bit daunting, but the truth is, if you are already an avid shooter, you most likely already have most of what you need to get started. You need a shotgun (pump or semi-auto,) handgun and some sort of modern sporting rifle like the AR-15. You will also need ammo, a holster, gun belt, shell holders, magazine pouches, spare mags, ear and eye protection and gun oil or lube. However, your optics are arguably one of the most important pieces of 3-gun equipment. Deciding on the right optic is crucial for success in this fast-paced shooting sport. Consider the following six elements when choosing a scope.

Magnification Range

Because there is no set course for a 3-gun competition, shooters must be prepared for anything. Many shooters prefer a scope with a base magnification that is 1x to avoid the disorientation that one can get from even the slightest magnification. With the close range targets, it is crucial for the shooter to keep both eyes open. When using a true 1x powered scope the shooter can keep both eyes open, allowing them to shooter quicker and more precise.

Focal Plane

Some optic companies design first-focal-plane scopes specifically for 3-gun shooters—this is a completely subjective choice. Some shooters complain an FFP reticle becomes so big at full magnification power that it covers too much of the target. For them, a true 1x, second-focal-plane reticle works best. Others do prefer first-focal-plane systems because on longer shots the incremental values of their subtensions are consistent throughout the magnification range.

Illuminated Center

When shooting with both eyes open, having an illuminated dot can aid a shooter tremendously. Reflex sights are almost primarily the only optic you will see on an open class handgun. The difference between a reflex handgun sight and an illuminated magnified scope is, most importantly, parallax correction—your point of aim is effective even when perfect sight alignment has not been established. This helps competitors shoot faster and hit more effectively.

Eye Box & Eye Relief

Some scopes are designed so that the shooter must be perfectly aligned with the center of the lens in order to see through—where others provide more latitude. You don’t want to struggle to see through your rifle in the middle of a competition when you’re lying upside down trying to shoot at clay pigeons with your weak-hand. What’s most helpful when shooting while moving is a large eye-box. While traditional hunting riflescopes have long eye relief, most 3-gun shooters (with the exception of Heavy Metal divisions) will be using a .223 so the recoil is not a serious concern. Thus, they prefer 1x or low-magnification optics with shorter eye relief.

Recommended Optics

Sightmark Citadel 1-6×24

 

Woman shooting an AR-15 with a 1-6x24mm Citadel riflescope attached
The Citadel offers 1x magnification for close-range and a second focal plane BDC reticle.

Combining impressive performance with a stealthy appearance, the Citadel offers a wide magnification range for close to mid-range shooting. Sightmark does a good job with keeping real shooters in mind when designing scopes. The Citadel features a second-focal-plane BDC reticle calibrated for 55-grain 5.56/.223 ammo. The single-piece, 30mm tube and aircraft-grade aluminum construction make the Citadel extremely durable.

Sightmark Core 1-4×24

Sightmark Core 1-4x24mm riflescope for 3-gun, competition, target, and tactical operations
The Core is perfect for 3-gun competitions, but also tactical operations, target shooting or hunting.

Specifically calibrated for the .223, this riflescope sets the standard when taking close- to medium-range shots. Not only is this perfect for 3-gun competitions, but also tactical operations, target shooting or hunting. Variable 1-4x magnification and a fine-etched bullet-drop-compensating (BDC) reticle, including adjustable red and green illumination, makes target acquisition faster and easier, even in low-light conditions. Ready for the most extreme environments, the Sightmark Core is nitrogen-filled, waterproof, fogproof, dustproof and shockproof.

Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec

The M-spec weighs in 30% lighter than many popular reflex sights from other manufacturers. It is built to adapt to any shooting environment, with a battery life of up to 1,000 hours and submersible up to 40 ft. This is one of the most robust reflex sights on the market, perfect for 3-gun competitions. The M-Specs cast magnesium alloy housing is lightweight and stronger than aluminum. It is equipped with an advanced, parallax-corrected optical lens system, a necessary component for all 3-gun competitors.

Sightmark M-Spec reflex red dot sight
The M-Spec is one of the best red dot sights on the market.
Do you participate in 3-Gun? What optics do you use? Help others to make a choice by sharing in the comment section.

About the Author

Hey Y’all! My name is Camille and I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I’m currently a senior psychology major at TCU. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in the outdoors industry. I grew up hunting, shooting, and fishing whenever I could with my dad and grandpa. Any time I’m not working or studying you can find me in the woods hunting or on a boat fishing.  

Sightmark Introduces Its New Core Shot A-Spec Reflex Sight

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/0814) – Sightmark will be adding two new reflex sights to their already top-of-the-line sights. The Core Shot A-Spec FMS (SM26017) and Core Shot A-Spec LQD (SM26018) bring accuracy and reliability for firearm enthusiasts.

Delivering elite performance, the FMS and LQD reflex sights will enhance your accuracy in recreational, professional and competitive environments. The Core Shot is the perfect reflex sight for anybody looking for a sight sized between a Mini Shot and Ultra Shot, making them a mid-compact sized red dot sight.

Sightmark Core Shot A-Spec FMS red dot sight
The Core Shot A-Spec FMS has a 5 MOA dot and Picatinny mount.
Sightmark Core Shot A-Spec LQD red dot sight with quick-detach mount.
The Core Shot A-Spec LQD comes with a quick-detach mount.

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Spot On: My Great South Texas Axis Hunt

A guest post written by Sellmark marketing intern Camille Middleton.

Before the Hunt

Huntress and Hunter (father/daughter duo) are dressed in camo, prepared for a day of axis deer hunting in Texas.
Camille sharing the hunt of a lifetime with her father at JL Bar Ranch in Texas.

As long as I can recall, I have wanted to hunt exotic game with my father. I grew up watching Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures and my dad and I really bonded when Eva Shockey started appearing on the show. I saw Jim and Eva travel around the world hunting together and I wanted the same for my dad and me. This dream didn’t fade when I moved 1,000 miles south of my childhood home for college. When I came down to Texas I started hunting more than I ever did up north. I showed my dad just how passionate I was about the outdoors and he started to take my hunting endeavors seriously. We decided to go on a daddy-daughter hunt during the summer between my junior and senior year of college. As summer hunting is pretty much limited to hogs and exotics—we decided to go after an exotic deer.

Before any hard plans were made, I did all of the research I could on the different exotics offered at numerous ranches in Texas. I read up about fallow, stag, axis, sika, and blackbuck—where they originated and the time of the rut. I watched numerous shows about hunters pursuing these animals and read reviews about which meat tastes best. At the end of the day, I decided I would be going after an axis deer, also known as a chital in their native India.

There was something about the beautiful spotted coat and big antlers that intrigued me. I learned these animals are similar to cattle, breeding all year round—meaning there is no set time for the rut or fawning. Perhaps one of the most notable characteristics of axis deer is the high quality and succulent flavor of its meat—deemed one of the most delicious of all game animals.

JL Bar Ranch

As I stepped onto the hot southwest Texas tarmac in Sonora, I gazed out into the vast hill country. We were met by our guide Ricky, who was ready to show us around the 13,000-acre ranch. We were chauffeured around to see the 1,500-yard long shooting range, the skinning rack and then the trophy wall. I had seen that wall before, it was where all of the pictures from their website came from and I aspired to be among the hunters who proudly posed with their animal in front of the JL Bar sign.

That night my dad and I devoured a nice steak dinner as we mentally prepared for the next morning. There is something about the night before a big hunt that makes it hard to sleep. I hardly got any rest that night—lying awake consumed by nerves and jitters about wanting to have the perfect hunt with my dad. The 4:30 wakeup call came early but I was up and ready to go. We sat in the lodge with Ricky and discussed our plan over a cup of coffee. As we loaded up the truck and set off on our adventure I couldn’t help but notice the excitement on my dad’s face. We sat in a blind 100 yards away and admired the axis that came into feed. It was the first time in my life seeing an axis in-person and my dad and I were both mesmerized by its beauty. It was a massive buck, clearly bigger than any whitetail I had ever seen, but Ricky was not impressed—he was confident we could find a much bigger buck.

Most of the time trophy axis don’t come into the feeder, so we climbed down out of the blind and decided to spot and stalk. The grueling sun beat down on us as we stalked these big-antlered beauties. Through thick mesquite, their coats blended almost perfectly. To spot them we watched for the big white patch on the front of their neck. I did not have any idea how difficult axis deer are to stalk. If a doe sees something she doesn’t like, she will bark, triggering the rest of the herd to run off.

Huntress Camille Middleton walks down a hunting path in Texas holding her rifle
Hunting is not about the kill, sometimes viewing beautiful animals from afar is all your going to get.

As the hunt progressed, my legs ached and my arms fatigued from carrying my rifle. I realized I didn’t have a ton of time to get a deer on the ground. I was having such a fun time looking at these beautiful deer from a distance with my binoculars but we just couldn’t get close enough to the big ones. I didn’t want to come home emptyhanded, but my dad reminded me that hunting is not all about killing. Every hunter knows the frustration of putting in hard work and time and coming home with no success, but for some reason, this hunt was such a big deal to me because it was with my dad.

The hunt was winding down and the sun was starting to set when Ricky said the upcoming pond would be the last place we would check before we would have to night hunt. Before I could even gather my thoughts about night hunting deer, Ricky stopped in his tracks. My heart raced as I looked through my binoculars and saw a big axis 300 yards in front of us. Ricky held out the shooting stick and asked if I wanted to shoot from here or try to get closer. We crawled about 25 yards forward while my dad stayed back to capture a video. I rested the gun on the stick and looked through my scope. Buck fever has never hit me as hard as it did in that moment—it felt as though my entire body was shaking. My breathing became heavy, my hands sweaty and I felt weak in my knees. This was the first time during the entire hunt I actually had my rifle on a buck. Adrenaline coursed through my body as I tried to steady my breathing. With every breath, the crosshairs bounced all over the place. The buck began walking away and I felt my stomach drop as I watched. Just as hope was lost, my luck changed and the buck turned broadside. I took two deep breaths, reached a comfortable respiratory pause and then squeezed the trigger.

I lost the deer under recoil—he was nowhere in sight. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about missing such a bruiser. As I was beating myself up, Ricky turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and said, “You got him.” Immediately I felt a rush go through my head. I looked back and saw my dad walking towards us, we embraced and I tried to hold back the tears I could feel welling in my eyes. Ricky led us towards where the deer was when I shot so we could find the blood trail. We couldn’t find a single drop of blood or hair and I instantly felt the pain in my stomach come back. Ricky reassured me that he was positive I hit the deer, but I didn’t understand why there was no blood. As we started walking into the brush I turned to ask my dad something and saw my buck tucked behind a tree.

My head started to spin as I walked up on my trophy axis buck—I wasn’t sure if I was going to cry, laugh or just smile. Ricky dragged my deer out from under the tree and I gave my dad the biggest hug. He told me how impressive of a shot I made and how proud he was of me. When I finally got a closer look I saw the shot entry but there was no exit wound—this explains the lacking blood trail. Seeing that I had made a perfect shot from 275 yards back had me beaming with pride. I was proud because I sighted in my scope, I went to the range by myself to practice and I made a great shot on the back end of my comfort zone. My 143-grain bullet went straight through both lungs and lodged into the opposite shoulder. Words can’t describe the emotions I felt as I stood there looking at my buck. I was happy, relieved, proud and most importantly thankful that I could take such a stunning deer with my dad by my side the entire time. I proudly posed with my beautiful axis and JL Bar even hung my photo on their prized trophy wall.

Father and daughter posing with hunted axis deer
An impressive axis deer taken by Huntress Camille Middleton with the perfect shot.
Have you gone on the hunt of a lifetime? We’d love to hear your stories. Share them in the comment section.

 

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