Review of .308/7.62 Ammo for the M1A Rifle

November 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

What .308 Ammo to choose?

So, having been in the world of the M1A/M14, I have become kind of an ammo snob. Not necessarily out of name recognition for the manufacture, or because I think that only expensive ammo or items will do. This has come from the conclusion that I dropped a lot of money into the rifle of my dreams, and I want this rifle to function for many, many years. I would also like to have great accuracy as well, so I have conducted a test of 3 different types of ammo. I started the visit by shooting some Venezuelan surplus ammo, approximately 20 rounds. This was done to get the rifle zeroed, the barrel warm and fouled a little, in an effort to try to create a non cold barrel environment. I was shooting at a local range, 100 yards, benchrest with sandbags. There was little wind and the temp was about 70 degrees. All rounds were fired from a Springfield Armory M1A Standard 22” with Basset low rise mount, Vortex rings and Vortex Viper scope, set to X14. All shots are taken with the crosshairs set for the center of the bulls-eye.

The first being PPU PRVI Partizan Match Line 308 Winchester 168gr ammo

Ammo is manufactured with Boxer primers, making it reloadable. Found it at a local shop know for its vast reloading supplies and components. If I remember correctly, I think I paid about $15.00 for a box of 20, taking it to .75 cents a round. On inspection, the box is well made, no issues. Once open though, the flimsy holder and inner box did very little to keep the rounds separated. The rounds themselves were nice shinny with no wear or corrosion. Headstamp was legible and easy to read. Loading them into the CMI 20 round mag was flawless. I proceeded to fire 5 rounds at the target in slow succession. The first round hit about 1.5” high and 1” left, second and third hit 2” high and .75” left, fourth was a flinch/stringer hitting 1.5” high and .5” right and the last hit within the second and third grouping.

The second was Federal Sierra Gold Medal 308 168gr ammo

Ammo is made with Boxer Primers, making them reloadable. Found this ammo at the same shop as the PRVI, but was slightly more expensive at around $19.99 a box, taking it to almost a $1.00 a round. The box seemed a little sturdier then the PRVI, but the most drastic difference was in the plastic holder that held the 20 rounds. Each round was secured tightly, and the holder could be reused in the future. Just like the PRVI, the rounds, cases and headstamps are clear and legible. Each round feed easily in the CMI mags. First and second rounds hit in a nice group just 1.75” high and zeroed with no left or right drift, third round was a flinch/stringer hitting .5” high and maybe .15” left, fourth round hit slightly to the right of the first and second round group and the fifth was a flinch/stringer hitting 1.75” high but 1.25” right. Flinching sucks!!

The third was Portuguese Military Surplus 147gr

 The third was Portuguese Military Surplus 147gr, that I found locally at $100 for a sealed battle pack of 200 rounds. I bought 2 sealed packs, and I am seeking more. At just about .50 cents a round, it is great shooting ammo, clean and non-corrosive. The only complaint I have is that it was manufactured with Berdan primer, making it virtually not reloadable, but still fun to shoot. In the sealed battle pack, sealed boxes held 20 rounds with nice legible labels identifying it. The rounds were bright and shinny with no corrosion. The battle pack plastic material is great and if it is truly sealed, will keep out the unwanted efforts of time and environment. Each round loaded into the mag and off I went, but instead of only doing 5 rounds, I went shot 10 rounds in 5 shot sessions. The first shot hit at .5” high and .5” right, second hit .25” high and .10” right, third hit .10” high but 1” right and the fourth and fifth hit in a nice group just 1” high and about .75” right. No flyers, no flinches and no strings. Second session produced a nice grouping, but had a flinch/stringer. First round hit almost dead center with the vertical being dead on but .25” high, second hit 1” high but .10” left, third .5” high and .25” right, fourth was .75” high and 1” right and the fifth and final hitting .75” low and .25” right.

Some things that I gathered from these 3 different types of ammo

First is my rifle is defiantly zeroed for a light round, around 147gr. Second, my rifle holds tight groups with the slightly heavier and match grade ammo. Third, I got to work on the flinching thing. Fourth, I need to work on getting reloading equipment to cut down costs and develop a specific load that my rifle will do great with. Fifth, I need to buy more military surplus ammo as the prices have gone up about $10-$20 per 100 just within a 3 month time frame. Sixth, I need to test out more types and weights of ammo.

I love the groupings I got with the more expensive ammo, but at double the cost of the surplus stuff, it is not feasible just for range outings. Since this range test, I have taken my M14 out to 300 yards with the Portuguese ammo. It did very will, hitting almost dead center where I aimed my crosshairs at a 2’X2’ steel plate. Hits were consistent and produced that gong sound that just makes me grin ear to ear. I have also just purchased locally, 1000 rounds of some Austrian Military Surplus Hirtenberg ammo. The ammo is primarily 1980 headstamps, but has some 78 and 73 mixed in. I have yet to take any of it out for testing, but as soon as I do, I will get a review created and posted here.

My next article is going to be a step by step process on how to create a range book, with range cards, target diagrams, Mildot info and much more. Thanks for reading the article and keep shooting.

Review: Vortex Viper 6.5-20X44mm Mildot Scope and Vortex Low Rings

September 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Vortex Ziper 6.5-20X44mm Mildot ScopeLet me start off with this, the customer service and support offered by Vortex Optics in Madison WI is top notch. I originally purchased the Vortex Crossfire 4-16X50 Illuminated MilDot from First outing with the crossfire was not good. 15 rounds into the very first range trip with the scope and new M1A, the crosshairs started to rotate counterclockwise 45 degrees. The range trip was not a total lose, as I was able to dial in the iron sights. The original order was plagued from the get go, with me receiving wrong items and about 2.5 weeks after my mine was laid down, I finally got the original Crossfire.

So I went through the hassle with, and to make a long story short, I ended up with getting my money back. Now being skittish with the Vortex brand, I was not only upset that the scope was a bust, all my research into the Vortex seemed to have been in vane, or so I thought. The day I got my money refunded, I was on the phone Vortex Optics to vent and give them a piece of my mind. Well, I was quickly turned when I spoke with Brian Widder and Scott Parks. Brian was a manager and calmed me down. Scott is their resident “scope guy” and I soon learned also has an M1A. Scott listened to my issues and concerns and suggested I take the plunge again, only on a Viper this time. I hoo’ed and hah’ed for a second, and Scott had me sold. Yes, it was a little more money, but a better scope, and Scott reassured that the Viper was the way to go, as that is what he had on his M1A.

One week later, I received the Vortex Viper in the mail. I felt like a kid on Christmas. The box was packaged well and came with the standard bikini scope cover, lens rag and instructions. In my hands, the scope felt solid. The glass was crisp and I observed little to no fuzziness out to the max 20 magnification. Now, I have great corrected sight and this may lend to the glass being clear, but there is no reason that I would not feel confident with the scope on any rifle in just about any condition. One of the major things I loved about this scope is that the elevation and wind turrets are not secured via allen wrench. They are the style that you adjust for zeroing in, and then pull up and reset. The turret covers were solid as well, with the large threads to avoid stripping.

Some of the other great upgrades/additions is the parallax adjustment is on the opposite side from the wind turret. All other scopes I have used have the adjustment between the eyepiece housing and scope tube. In its place is the magnification adjustment. The adjustment feels great when rotating it in either direction. The rings adjustment is fluid and seems to be “just right” for the amount of pressure needed for movement. The eyepiece has a clarity adjustment that I assume would help correct fuzziness that might occur within the different magnifications. I was able to look out to about 300 yards, viewing through the ranges of magnification and was able to view everything with great detail. The MilDot is clear and will serve its purpose of range finding and sizing targets. The scope came with instructions on using the MilDot and advised to use it set to the 14 power magnification with a set formula. I will try this and also try the tried and true method of 10X with another formula.

Anchoring the scope to the Bassett Machine Mount is the Vortex Brand Low rise Tactical rings. The rings have the normal “tactical” style anchor knob that secures it to the mount. They have a flathead screwdriver slot which makes it a little easier to tighten them down. I really don’t understand why manufactures do this. A socket and ratchet is a better way to torque them down, as the flathead screwdriver required is usually larger then what most people have and leaves more damage then the socket. The thing I found really appealing with these rings is the 6 torx head bolts used to secure the 2 halves of the rings. Vortex also includes a small torx wrench for this application.
At the end of the day, I am very happy with the purchase for the Vortex Viper. The only complaint I have with the Viper, is that it is not offered with the illuminated recital. The only regret I have with the purchase is going through

[phpbay]vortex viper scope, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]

M1A Review: Review of the Bassett Machines High Picatinny M1A Scope Mount

July 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

bassett m1a rifle scope mount

bassett m1a rifle scope mount

First off, let me introduce myself. I am Kyle. I am a USAF veteran, was in Law Enforcement in AZ for about 3 years and have since returned to the Telecommunications Industry. I am, at heart a technician. In the USAF I was a Telecom Tech, but I was also a Security Forces Extra. I was basically an extra base cop during exercises and so on. At every qualification, I obtained “Expert Marksman”. In the AZ Academy I placed second (using a Glock 22 in 40SW), with first going to an officer using a 9mm. I grew up around firearms, ranging from 22s to 30-06 and everything in between. I am an owner of a new Springfield Standard M1A 22” in the Walnut stock. I take great care in researching and learning every firearm I have ever owned, with the M1A being no exception.

I researched the M1A for 4 months before getting mine. In those 4 months, 3 months were spent researching scopes and mounts. Lets start with m1a scope mounts. As anyone knows, the mounts for the M1A are vast and really do not sell for under $100, with the top end at $400. I don’t know what some peoples budgets are, but mine was differently not at the $400 range for a mount. Through my research I discovered Bassett Machine, located in Dripping Springs Texas. Their website is really easy to navigate, and I found the mount subsection. They show 2 different styles of m1a scope mounts. One being the “Standard”, in two variants, the second being the “Picatinny” style in two variants. Being a modular kind of guy, I chose to start with the Picatinny style.

Bassett offers a “high” and “low” rail. Both being around the $150 range, now we are talking. I also wanted a mount that would not need to be removed to use the iron sights, I am a big believer in backup plans and options. My wants lead me to the “high” rail style, with the people at Bassett confirming that if the “high” rail is mounted on a SAI M1A, there would be clearance to use the iron sights without removing the mount or scope. From what I was able to also find, is that depending on if the receiver is of different manufactures, that the “low” rail could work, but it was a case by case basis. From the photos on the internet, the Bassett mount seemed very straight forward. It had a single bolt to attach to the rifle, with no other anchors. This intrigued and worried me, as I am a big backup kind of guy. I also had researched that SAI also had a single point mount, which received constant bad reviews. So, my research brought me to the reviews of the Bassett mount. I searched for about a month, looking specifically for reviews, and found nothing bad, only great comments and experiences.

bassett m1a scope mounted

bassett m1a scope mounted

Bassett Machine also had the instructions on how to install the mount on their website. It is very straight forward, hold mount in your hand, mate it to the left side of the M1A receiver, hand tighten the single bolt to the threading and use the included tool to torque the bolt to the machined specs. Ok, so now what was this “tool” they spoke of. Well, during the development of the mount, they discovered that the mount needed to be torque to 22lbs. Well, if I am out at the range or in the field, I will bet I do not carry a torque wrench. They thought of this as well and found that by using the weight of the rifle, and using a small piece of metal attached to the bolt, it would not only create the correct torque for installation, if using the tool every time, the mount would return within ½ moa after removal. The ring mounting area is designed to accept Weaver and Picatinny rings. This is important when putting together an optics package.

While Picatinny rings are great, they are often more expensive then their counterpart the Weaver rings. Both mount use claws and tension for mounting, but the difference is in the angles of the anchor points. Well, looks like Bassett thought of everything. Also, with any other mounts, there is no need to remove the strip clip guide of tighten down 3 or 4 allen head bolts with a tiny allen wrench. I like not having to remove factory items to add to something.

Well, with the price, ease of installation, included tool and great reviews, the purchase was made. I received my new M1A scope mount about 4 days after my web purchase. Out of the packaging it looks and feels rock solid. I have held many of mounts, with the UTG brand mounts feeling rather flimsy and was surprised with it in my hands. It included instructions with pictures and the special tool. Installation was a snap, and using the tool was a dream. First range trip out, it help up the Venezuelan and Argentine Surplus ammo, about 500 rounds and no movement. I was able to first sight the irons in, without removal of the mount or scope then moved to the scope. For the price and the final product, I am very very happy with the Bassett High Rail M1A Scope Mount and would recommend to anyone.

M1A Scope Mounts on Ebay

[phpbay]m1a scope mount, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Hawke SideWinder 30 Tactical Rifle Scope Part 1

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Hawke Optics Tactical Rifle ScopeDisclaimer: I just want to be clear, I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review and all expressions and opinions are my own. Heck, I even have to return the scope as soon as I’m done with this review. 😉

A little while back Hawke Optics contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their rifle scopes. I jumped at the opportunity in order to provide the community some fresh unique content. Since I had the option to select the scope, I chose the SideWinder 30 Tactical Series 4.5-14×42 rifle scope.

A little about Hawke Optics

Hawke Optics is a UK based company who has been silently making their brand known through the shooting community and are increasing their dealer base here in the United States. You can find a list of dealers who carry Hawke Sport Optics here. Like I said before, in order for Hawke to spread the word about their optics, they contacted me to review their Tactical 4.5-14×42 rifle scope, so here we go!

sidewinder 30 tactical rifle scope

Hawke 4.5-14x42 IR SF Tactical Scope Mounted on my M1A Scout Rifle

The SideWinder Tactical 30 Series

The Specs:

Manufacturer: Hawke Sport Optics
Model Number: Tactical 4.5-14×42 IR SF
Finish: Matte
Magnification: 4.5-14
Objective: 42mm
Tube Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 1lb 11oz/775g
Length: 14.6″/370mm
Eye Relief: 4″/102mm
Click Value: 1/4 MOA
FOV @100y: 6.9′-2.1′ m
Reticule: Mildot
List Price: $429

The SideWinder 30 Tactical Series rifle scopes are one of the higher end rifle scope line for hawke optics. I’m not going to say it’s their highest line of scopes like their Japanese made Frontier series but, according to their sales team, they are becoming one of their hottest sellers to date and I think I know why.

The rifle scope comes packaged well with it’s own rifle scope case filled with cut out egg crate style foam that fits the outline of the scope and it’s accessories. Included within the case is the rifle scope, instruction booklet, lens cloth, screw on lens covers, 2″ side focus wheel, wheel pointer, and 4″ sunshade.


Rifle scope case and contents

Rifle scope case and contents


The single tube scope is  30mm in diameter making it strong and durable. It also comes with a black matte finish making the surface of the scope less reflective. The tube comes nitrogen purged/filled making it water, shock and fog proof. The tube is pretty smooth and there are no over the top features with it’s construction leaving a simple, clean and QUALITY feeling to the scope. The turrets do remind me of the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T style turrets, giving it that mark 4 look and feel.

Rifle Scope Turrets

Rifle Scope Turrets

The turrets have some nice features to them. They are 1/4 MOA and large for easy use. They also have a nice locking feature to them. Pull the turret up or outward and they are unlocked, enabling for easy smooth adjustments. Once your settings are complete, just simply push the turret in or downward to lock it in place. They are resettable but one thing I did notice was the fact that when adjusted, I couldn’t count up or down with these turrets. The parallax knob rotates nice and smooth and ranges from 10yds-infinity. Attached to the parallax knob is the illumination know with 5 levels of brightness for both red and green reticles. I found level 3 to be the best during low light conditions.

Fast ocular focus with lock

The eye piece is also pretty nice. It contains a fast focus ocular lens adjustment with locking ring. Simply adjust until focused, then lock by moving the locking ring back toward the eye. It allows for a nice amount of adjustment before it reaches maximum capacity, allowing for a sharp, crisp view of the reticle and target. The power ring is a little stiff upon it’s first few uses but then moves back and forth smoothly. It’s not too stiff nor too loose but moves smoothly when zooming in and out.

Eye relief and reticle

The eye relief is outstanding. I have this scope mounted on my Springfield M1A Scout and eye relief is a must on my rifle. Once mounted, I took this picture about 4 inches back and the reticle is still visible and crisp.

The reticle is clean looking. It’s a free floating, glass etched, mil dot reticle with hollow bars for easy bracketing with dot and tie aim points. The mil dot and tie aim points are spaced at 1/2 mil dot spacing. The hollow bars are spaced at 0.2 mil spacing and whole spacing.

As you can see, the glass on this scope is superb. The scope comes with fully multi-coated lenses for increased light transmission and low light conditions. It took me by surprise on how clear the scope really was when viewed for the first time.

Ok, now that we have covered most of the specs, we are now going to see how this scope holds up at the range. Once I zero it with my M1A Scout, I’ll fire about 75-100 rounds of .308 ammo. That should be sufficient for testing the recoil hold up.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Hawke Optics SideWinder 30 Tactical Rifle Scope Review.

Rusty’s Rags Gun Cloth Review

August 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Anyone who has owned a gun knows that one of most important factors in keeping a weapon shooting well is proper cleaning and maintenance. It’s just like almost any other piece of complex machinery – if it gets too dirty and doesn’t get cleaned, performance as a whole suffers. This is perhaps even more true for guns, as powder residue and sometimes bullet filings can clog up the works and can lead to problems.

Rusty’s Rags is a company that produces specialized gun cleaning cloths used for firearms. Developed by an avid gun collector who has worked with antique guns for over 40 years, Rusty’s Rags do have the benefit of that experience. The product was designed in order to deal with the problem that many gun standard gun cleaning cloths had. Silicone-impregnated cotton cloth couldn’t get into all of the small crevices and nooks in many guns, while sheepskin wipes left behind a lot of residue. The company claims that because they focus entirely on a single product, they can fix these issues and make the best product on the market. We’ll see just how true that proves to be in this review.

Let’s begin by talking about the advantages of Rusty’s Rags. Basically, this gun cleaning cloth tries to combine the best of both worlds between silicone-impregnated cotton

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

and sheepskin wipes. Combining the two methods by infusing silicone into the sheepskin is only one part of the equation; a special proprietary method is used to create optimal results. Rusty’s rags not only can get into all the smallest crevices and niches of any weapon, but it also leaves a shiny luster that will last for a long time. It’ great both for showing guns at a show or just for routine cleaning of a regularly used firearm. Convenience is also a key benefit of using Rusty’s Rags. When using this product, cleaning a gun is easier than ever before. You don’t have to crane around at awkward angles to clean those hard to reach spots on a weapon.

Unfortunately, Rusty’s Rags aren’t without their downsides. While they do make cleaning the tricky spots in and around a gun much easier, the rags themselves are a bit awkward to hold on to. Whether or not this drawback will cancel out the benefits of easier cleaning probably depends on the specific rifle that you’re cleaning and how hard it was to clean in the first place. The other problem is that it does share the same issue as the standard sheepskin wipe – it can leave behind too much residue on the rifle. This can mostly be avoided by just being careful and not over cleaning the weapon.


Click to enlarge

Overall, while some improvements can be made, it does offer an excellent alternative to the other standard options. Since they are very cheap to purchase (about $10.25 USD) and can be found at many gun suppliers, there’s no reason not to at least give them a try. You may find yourself among the many people (like myself) who’ve decided that they never want to use another gun cleaning cloth ever again.

Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope review

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Ease of Setup: 4.8 Stars / 5 Stars

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is generally quite easy to set up.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Usability: 4.4 Stars / 5 Stars
The The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is a serious piece of machinery, but it is user friendly and intuitive for most of its users.

Features: 4.3 Stars / 5 Stars
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope offers more features than any other rifle scope in this price range, making it an excellent buy.

Meets Expectations: 4.6 Stars / 5 Stars
The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope definitely meets expectations as well as exceeding them in certain cases by offering excellent value for the money, plenty of features and an overall great scope with plenty of zooming power.

Manufacturer: Nikon
Magnification: 3x – 9x
Tube Diameter: 1 ”
Objective Diameter: 40 mm
Exit Pupil: 4.4 mm
Eye Relief: 3.6 in
Length: 12.3 in.
Weight: 13.7 oz


The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope features a 100 % waterproof and fog proof scope with a lifetime full warranty. It offers multi colored optics which allows for 90 % light transmission to be achieved. It also features Nikon’s patented anti-reflective multi coating and a precise and repeatable ¼ MOA adjustment. This scope is nitrogen filled as well as O ring sealed. It also offers a BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle that allows for easy hold over for as long as 600 yards as well.

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope comes in numerous colors and finishes including camouflage, silver and matte black. It is a nice length and weight for what it is, at 12.3 inches long and 13.1 ounces in weight. The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope can alternate between 3x and 9x zoom. Finding a similar scope offering the same level of features in this price range is going to be difficult.

The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope is easy to set up and is generally quite user friendly. It offers a number of unique and sought after features, and gives great value for the investment. All in all, the Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope is considered to meet the expectations of its users, allowing it to be a good value and well worth buying for compatible rifles.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Nikon Prostaff Rifle Scopes are serious instruments and are not as user friendly as some people would like. The The Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is feature rich, but some people have found that it costs more than they would like to pay for a rifle scope. The adjustments definitely leave something to be desired, and yardage needs to be marked inside of the scope for an increase in usability but in general the scope works as well as could be expected.


[phpbay]nikon prostaff 3-9×40 rifle scope, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Leave your own review below!