Update: I brought this back up to provide a link to a YouTube video by an MDT rep showing use of an RDS on a precision rifle.
This is something I discovered just yesterday from a YouTube interview of a top Precision Rifle Series shooter.
The interviewer noticed he had a RMR type sight on his competition rifle and asked why that was. The shooter explained that it was an aid to getting on target quickly. He said that because the red dot had no magnification it was easy to find targets in its field of view and because it was zeroed with his scopesight, if the dot reticle was centered on the target, then so was the scope reticle. That’s especially useful with higher magnifications because it eliminates the need to try to find the target in the restricted field of view of the scope.
Intrigued, I tried it myself today with a couple of red dots that I have mounted on precision rifles. One sight is an Aimpoint ACRO and the other is a Docter. Both were mounted on the rifles to serve as backup sights for examination of concept purposes—and because I don’t currently have any other use for them. Although the shooter being interviewed said he zeroed his red dot at 600 yards, mine are zeroed for 50 yards (and some distance beyond, I believe*).
And the results? They worked just as he said they would. Put the dot on a distant target, hold it in position, look through the scopesight and voilà: there the target is, centered under the crosshairs at 15× and 18× of the two scopes.
When I thought about it, the concept made perfect sense, but it wasn’t one that ever occurred to me. Even with the magnification of my scopes turned down, at the distances I shoot most of my drills it’s often a chore to find the target, especially in the prone with a 75-YO body cooperating reluctantly at best. (Now I’m thinking I need to do something like that with one of my spotting scopes.)
That interview was the first time I’d ever heard of anyone’s using a red dot sight like that, and now my interest is piqued: does anyone else do that?
Yes or no, what do you think of the idea?
* Added: According to the Applied Ballistics solver, with my preferred ammunition and the ACRO mounted 4 inches above the bore line, with a 50 yard zero, the second zero point would be about 300 yards under my typical atmospheric conditions.
Follow-up regarding using the ACRO with the scope dialed up for farther targets. Changing the scope setting does, as expected, change the relationship between the red dot reticle and the crosshairs of the scope. But even dialing the scope up 6 full mils keeps the target well within the field of view of the scope at 15×, and close enough to the center of the crosshairs to be picked up easily. If the red dot were going to be used only when finding far distant targets it would make sense to zero it for a longer range as the shooter who was interviewed does. For my purposes, though, the 50 yard red dot zero works fine.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,
confused, you mean the RMR is collinear to the scope? Or you mean there was a backup RMR that you transitioned then to the primary optic? hoping of course your POA has not moved in the transition? I can't even imagine seeing a 600y target in an RMR. Not that I have even tried something remotely close to that.
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
I can’t speak to what sort of target would be visible at 600 yards for the shooter in question, but the ones I’m accustomed to engaging at that distance are visible with the unaided eye. Therefore there is no problem with sighting using the red dot. The sighting does not have to be precise enough for shooting with the red dot, merely close enough to get the target into the field of view of the scope.
The way the RMR type sight and scopesight are used is that they are zeroed together (colinear?) When I use the RMR, I am able to quickly find a small, distant target and put the dot on it because the sight has a large field of view with no magnification. I then switch my view from the RMR to the scopesight and if I haven’t moved anything very much, the target will be under the crosshairs of the scope even at high magnification. When using just the scope normally, and especially at high magnifications, it’s often difficult to find a small target, and particularly if there’s nothing else in the field of view to help with adjusting the aim.
I experimented today with the setup and standing with the rifles supported by a tripod and nothing else, the technique worked well for very small targets to several hundred yards. I have just started experimenting with all this, so for longer ranges is may be necessary for the red dot to be adjusted for farther than the present 50 yards.
This is the setup with the ACRO. So, yes, I switch from looking through the ACRO to the scope.
So you can see the target with your unaided eye since the rds is not magnified. but having the dot on it makes it easier to then find in the scope? again assuming you are so stable that moving between the two is not an issue?
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
Yes, because both the dot and the crosshairs are aligned together.
This concept has been used on astro telescopes for a long time.
"I enter a swamp as a sacred place—a sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength—the marrow of Nature." - Henry David Thoreau
Encourage you to time yourself with and with out the red dot.
To your point on adding a red dot to your spotter. For the type of shooting I believe you are doing, suggest not using a spotter. Spot for your buddies with your scope. Put your rifle on a tri-pod if needed for comfort when spotting for others for long periods of time. Spending that much more time on your scope I strongly believe will help you aquire targets faster.
I had seen the use of small guide scopes, but not a red dot sight, and the latter never occurred to me.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity of doing much precision rifle shooting with others. I will keep that advice in mind, though. It isn’t anything that I had thought about before, but like anything, practice has to help.
The project of putting a red dot on a spotting scope is more about general viewing, not shooting. Once a fixed target is set up on, it won’t go anywhere. When I was using my best spotting scope to view the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, it was a challenge to find them, even at 20 power.
I’m discovering that figuring out a way to do that without its being a total kludge job is going to be more difficult than I thought, but it’s one of those projects I like for the challenge. I may end up using hose clamps or zip tie handcuffs. (Yuk!)
I regularly see RDS on an RO's spare spotting scope at larger steel matches -- especially if the spare spotter has an angled eyepiece. This is primarily to help competitors find the targets quickly prior to shooting, and to keep the match moving.
I saw an RDS on a precision rifle in only one match -- the Raton 2-rifle match, which requires both precision bolt actions and carbines. A 3-gun shooter had the RDS on his bolt gun, on a 45-degree offset. He assumed the RDS would help him on the closer targets. It didn't and he shot all bolt-action targets through his scope.
If any shooting discipline would benefit from an RDS on a bolt action rifle, it would be PRS/NRL/steel matches. But I've never seen a competitor with one. Some stages in Competition Dynamics' matches have up to 8 targets, at distances of maybe 300-900 yards, across a lateral vector of up to 90 degrees, often with substantial vertical variation, and on the clock. Never seen an RDS here. IMO, having one probably would slow down target acquisition. If I can see the target with my bare eyes of if I can't but know where the target is, it will be faster to find it one time via my scope.
I agree with offgrid. Time yourself with and without the red dot. Use your riflescope for spotting.
Never have understood the RDS on a precision rifle.
"It helps me get on target faster." Try the simple method of using the scope itself as an alignment on target. As you are above the scope and dropping into the rifle, align the scope with the distant target. Of course dialing back the magnification helps as well.
I've never seen anyone "make up time" by using a RDS.
Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
Thanks. I don’t recall seeing one used for the purpose I described in any of the many videos I’ve watched, so it obviously hasn’t caught on.
I did some limited shooting today (13°, 15 mph wind*, blowing snow), but wasn’t using either of my rifles with the red dots. The next session will probably be with one, so I’ll start keeping track of whether it helps me acquire the targets faster.
* Yeah, I know: You guys travel to hurricane country so you can shoot in windy conditions, but that’s the most wind I’ve had to put up with for a while.
For anyone still interested in the topic, here we have the shooter who prompted my question originally.
Lack of a jersey with his name on the back and countless sponsors plastered all over it explains things, he's not a Pro!
Not a precision rifle but it's shown here.
Goes into it at around the 24 min mark.
The scope mount I have coming from Swampfox has 45 deg offset RMR mounts.
I doubt I'll use them, it was the only one available in the height I wanted so I picked it up.
My kid’s telescope has a red dot attached to it for exactly what you are describing. It works.
"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.” Robert A. Heinlein
“You may beat me, but you will never win.” sigmonkey-2020
“A single round of buckshot to the torso almost always results in an immediate change of behavior.” Chris Baker
The shooter in the orange shirt is Trevor Wells. From watching him shoot a couple of stages, he definitely has skills shooting from barricades. Don't think he's on the top of the PRS/NRL food chain, but he does know his stuff.
In a video he states the RMR is zeroed at 600 yards, and he pretty much keeps his scope magnification around 14x. So if he's not willing to change his scope magnification here and there, then yes some form of getting on target might help him. IMO it's a system that works for him. If it were the best thing out there, and if it were the difference between doing well and winning, a boatload of competitors would be doing it.
Note that his RMR is mounted 45 degrees to the left, which still allows him to see over the top of his scope. I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of us line up our rifles as we do large movements between targets by looking over the top of our scopes. Placing an RMR at 12 o'clock makes it more challenging to look over the top of the scope.
It's your rifle and your choice. But testing doodads on the clock is how you gauge if they help. Repeated testing, over time, under different conditions, with different targets. Time will tell, but I recommend ditching the RMR. Better yet, come to our regional matches and test it live, with and without. And see if anyone uses an RMR -- especially the ones with the best scores.
That's correct, not a precision rifle. It's a completely different concept of use on a completely different rifle. The video shows him shooting at relatively generously-sized targets, in the 5-25 yard ballpark, at a fast pace, shooting on full auto.
He's using the red dot as a primary sighting device and completely ignoring his LPVO for such shooting. His red dot is zeroed up close, so he can shoot at those close targets with limited hold over/under issues. He is not using the red dot as a method to get the bore on target, then transition to the LPVO. In the start of the video, it's quite possible that he never uses the LPVO for any shots.
A red dot on a 45-degree offset works for an AR15, for quite a few shooters. I just don't see it on a precision rifle.
I have one mounted at a 45 degree angle next to the ACOG on my AR for CQB purposes, but it never occurred to me to mount it on a precision rifle scope for rapid target acquisition at distance. Hmmm, more toys to buy...
CMSGT USAF (Retired)
Chief of Police (Retired)
Well then go for it. Buy the bestest, most expensivest, most uber coolest red dot for your bolt action. Put yourself on the clock. Shoot a bunch of different targets. Shoot off barriers like a NRL/PRS match. Then report back with your times and hit rates, both with and without the red dot.
Or you could spend the same money on ammo, training, and maybe even competition. This option will help you more.
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