Here's the deal, briefly:
If you know anyone who is either already into the Jeff Cooper "scout scope" concept, or who would like to try it out, please pass on this news. A promising new glass from Leapers is now available, and the outstanding folks at Pyramyd Air have agreed to carry it. It may not be for everyone, but it seems worth trying out.
Here's the story:
It was only recently I found the back-post on Tom Gaylord's blog about SHOT Show 2013, in which he reported on a new scout scope offering from Leapers, a variable-power glass promising a full field of view. (For anyone who has been around the scout scope concept for a while, that is a Big Deal.) I must have missed it the first time around (I've been reading Tom's outstanding airgun blog for over a year now), and frankly I don't remember exactly what it was that caused me to look there so long after the fact, but Hugo Foxtrot Sierra, am I glad I did. :-)
And it now seems that Pyramyd Air will carry the glass. The funny part is that I may have had a small hand in that. At the bottom of the comment stream to the SHOT post (the thread starts here), you can see me getting all excited about it, offering up some reasons I think people might be interested in the scope. And suddenly Tom reports that Pyramyd Air will indeed stock it.
Awesome. I look forward to seeing what they offer it for, if MSRP from Leapers is $200. (I don't have a Spidey-sense yet for how street prices and MSRP relate in the airgun world.) That already seems like a great value for what this represents.
The planning part of my mind has already decided that I may need at least three of these. (That part doesn't bother to wait around for the fiscally responsible part, before making plans. :-) Provided that the glass does what it seems to promise, I'm currently thinking of using it on the following:
- An '03 "Springfield scout" .30/06. I originally conceived this as a backup to the Steyr, and it would remain that, but...with a 2-7x variable that gives up nothing but (a lot of) weight to the fixed 2.5x, this might well become the primary hunting rifle as well. Left at 2x, but with the ability to dial up to 7 if appropriate...with significantly improved field of view and light transmission from a 30mm tube and 44mm (adjustable) objective...with adjustment-friendly turrets and available illumination on an etched reticle (i.e., not subject to breakage, and simply black on any illumination failure)...and for $200 or less? Hell yeah, I'll try that out.
- The Benjamin Marauder .22 air pistol I've got such a jones for right now. The trick will be mounting, but if that can be sorted out this would seem to be a great fit. The "pistol" comes with a carbine buttstock, and I would think the advantages of the scout scope would fit that system very well. Among other things it would clear up the loading area for the rotary pellet magazine. With airguns especially, if I am learning things properly, the advantages of an adjustable objective and adjustment-friendly turrets are considerable.
- An as-yet-to-be-conceived Airsoft bolt rifle. The way discussions are going with Tom Gaylord's commentariat, it seems that a spring Airsoft bolt rifle just might be capable of enough precision to make a viable firearm trainer, and so the idea of building one up as an "Airsoft scout" is up in the fore-brain right now. Again, the trick will be mounting, but I'm hopeful on that. With the magnification left low and/or the target perspective considered carefully (smaller targets for the closer ranges), this might allow a whole lot of practice cycles for a very efficient use of funds.
- A flattop AR .223. As I learn more about the AR platform, I find myself coming back to the idea that it might be possible to set up a carbine with scout features. For a while it seemed like this would be counterproductive, but I'm not at all sure that's right any more. And the Leapers unit would make lots of sense on a gun I see as being a real sport-utility piece (defensive, varminter, and with Barnes X-bullets, some light big game at moderate range): friendly adjustment turrets, a useful magnification range, and all the available speed of the intermediate eye relief concept. The way the AR is arranged, the scout scope is not an essential item the way it is on a traditional rifle (the other AR setup option for me is to use a conventional glass along with the "backup irons" that are offset 45 degrees from the top rail, which is actually more intuitive than I'd have guessed) but the consistency and redundancy of using the same scope style across everything still appeals, and may not give up much in the end.
And of course other ideas percolate as well. The Marauder (air) rifle might also benefit from the magnification range and adjustments; it seems that lots of people put much bigger glass on their "M-rods", but jeez, with the Steyr I can hit reliably at 400 with a 2.5x, so I'm still thinking that an available 7x is going to be plenty for even a long-range airgun. (Do these guys know something I don't?) As well, if I do get serious about Airsoft (and I suspect I will, soon), it would be smart to set up an Airsoft AR the same way the firearm is set up, both with the glass and any backup irons, Ching Sling, etc. (And then there are the .22 rimfire versions of both the bolt-gun and the AR carbine, which would also benefit from setups that mirror the centerfires they support... See where I'm going with this? :-)
The 2.5x Leupolds will still stick around, of course. They work well, at least out to the limits of which I am capable. The Steyr will continue to wear its original glass (I know exactly what I can do with that system, and feel no need to change it), and I like the idea of having quick-detach scout scopes available for rifles whose primary sighting system is irons, like the Marlin 45/70. Clamp the scope on for load development, then remove to set zero and carry afield. Or, hunt with it--certainly wouldn't be the first time!
I'm excited about this new option. (Can you tell?) Call it enthusiastically hopeful. Now, it's certainly possible that the new Leapers glass offers little advantage to someone who already understands the scout scope concept. After all, magnification over 2-3x is usually unnecessary for sighting (since we don't glass for targets through riflescopes, right?), and can even be counterproductive as the disparity of focus between the two eyes (which are both open and tracking, right?) gets larger. And bells and whistles always come at a cost, which in this case isn't so much in dollars, but in weight. They should buy something for that cost.
I have a hunch that they do, here. How much, I'll have to see for myself once I acquire my first example. But the promise of improved field of view, improved light transmission, and the durability of an etched reticle, with the available options of dialing up and illuminating the reticle--and at a cost which seems very reasonable--may make the option worthwhile.
Kudos to Leapers for offering the glass, To the invaluable Tom Gaylord for making me aware of it, and to Pyramyd Air for carrying it.
Edith Gaylord updates us both with a link at Pyramyd Air, and indirectly, with the offering price: $180. Excellent!