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There are many accessories that can be added to a scope to enable it to perform more efficiently in certain weather conditions and/or hunting situations. What some feel necessary other won’t but the ‘kit’ detailed here, many airgun hunters will find useful.
‘FLIP UP’ SCOPE LENS COVERS
Butler Creek lens covers are available in sizes to suit virtually all optics and are pretty much the industry standard in lens covers when it comes to quality and ease of use. They also offer ‘push’ button spring release eye-piece covers – which some don’t use as its one extra cover to release should a shot present itself.
Manufactured using a semi-flexible rubber collar for fitting over the front or rear lens housing with a hard ‘plastic’ flip up cover attached via a strong ‘steel pin’ hinge point. They can be positioned so the cover ‘flips’ up vertically or to the side depending on preference. The inner friction fit hard plastic rim keeps them securely closed when you require protection from the elements.
Hawke Sport Optics also offer a selection of flip up covers that not only compliment their scopes but fit many other models. Based on the Butler Creek ‘front lens cover’ design, they’re available with either a clear or amber see-through lens.
Deben’s comprehensive catalogue has a size chart enabling you to order the one that fits for your particular Hawke Scope - check your scope lens housing diameter as some fit other brands of optic.
Many quality optics now come with metal sunshades – while other manufacturers offer them as an optional extra. Some even come with two different lengths. All are designed to screw into the front of the objective lens housing. Useful for times you can be shooting at an angle where ‘glare’ from the sun can hinder your sight picture, help reduce sunlight glinting off your front lens to alert quarry as to your presence and guard against drizzle hitting the lens. A downside is they can’t be used with scopes fitted to many break-barrel rifles because the barrel will hit the sunshade on cocking the rifle.
ROWAN PA LEVERS
Rowan Engineering Ltd not only manufacture many retrofit parts for air rifles but also optics such as the universal side wheel and larger target style turret adjusters for certain popular FT scopes. For the hunter, they have a range of PA Levers to fit virtually all models of MTC Optics – these being the Mamba range, the Viper series including both Viper Connect and Genesis LR.
CNC machined using 6082 grade Aluminium they simply slip over the outer rheostat drum to clamp onto the side-focus dial and secure in place with two recessed grub screws. On the Genesis it fits straight onto the outer edge of the side-focus dial.
When fitted the lever extends out approximately 30mm from the scopes integral side-positioned PA dial allowing faster and easier access to fine focus. They don’t hinder removal and replacement of any magazine system on a multi-shot PCP as a side-wheel often does. Also if shooting at night (lamping), once accustomed to the position of the lever in daylight in relation to pre-set range markings, where the lever’s end ‘nub’ is positioned when you’ve fine focused in on your target helps give a good range indication to work from.
Similar PA levers will soon be available for certain popular models of Hawke Sports Optics. Available in natural or black anodised aluminium.
LASER & MOUNT
This is a very useful accessory for assessing the range to the target. Once you’ve set your scope’s zero you adjust the laser so the projected ‘dot’ corresponds with the centre of the crosshairs at your zero. Depending on how the laser is mounted to your rifle (the most popular being above the scope) then if the dot strikes the target higher than the crosshairs then you’re closer than your set zero. If it shows lower the target is further away. If the laser is mounted beneath the scope then the opposite applies.
Beamshot are the most popular brand and have a good selection of models for airgun to centrefire use. The difference between is the range they project the dot, brightness and the dot size at a given range. All come with a single CR123A battery to power the laser plus a pressure pad switch with length of coiled lead. For general airgun use I recommend the 1000U which gives a dot size of approximately 1⁄4” at 25-yds. Windage and elevation are adjusted using two recessed Allen head screws – while another grub screw acts as lock.
A very handy item for cleaning lenses in the field is the Spudz 6” x 6” lens cloth. What makes it so unique and convenient is the design. The cloth stays attached inside the small waterproof storage pouch when not required – this also has an integral ABS ‘clip’ attachment for securing to anything so it can be kept close to hand. I often clip one to my rifle sling.
When using a bipod as a steadying aid, if you tilt (cant) your rifle from being truly vertical, your shot will veer off to one side or the other from where you are aiming the crosshairs. Sportsmatch UK have a choice of spirit levels that at a glance remedy this problem. The SP4 is a popular choice as it screws into the side of one of their scope mount bases and in most cases can be seen in your peripheral vision (that’s if you’re not using an eye-piece extension or cover), while sighting through the scope. Visit the company’s website to see other options available.
For mounting a gun torch to a scope there’s possibly nothing better than the ‘Dual Gun Mount Kit’ from Cluson Engineering Ltd. This synthetic ‘ball & socket’ system fits straight onto the scope’s body tube via a G-clamp and can be adjusted in all directions – length, height and angle. It’s included with all their gun lights and can also be purchased separately. The main clamp has a 1” insert for smaller scope body tubes and the torch mount section can be set at whatever angle/position you need and locked off with twin thumb screws. This multi-purpose mount can also be attached onto ATV’s, bicycles and for many other independent uses.
There are many other types of torch to scope/gun mounts with the basic Fig-8 being the most numerous, along with those with a Picatinny base.
BISLEY SCOPE MAXIMISER & EYE-PIECE EXTENSIONS
When the sun is unhindered by cloud cover or due to the angle it’s shining from in relation to your shooting position, extraneous light can interfere with the sight pictureat the eye-bell. Most FT shooters use an ‘accessory’ that cures this problem - the Bisley Scope Maximiser being a prime example. When fitted it works by ‘cupping’ the eye and is designed so the cut away section extends back further to rest against your face, therefore obliterating all exterior light at the ocular. It also ‘forces’ the eye to dilate to obtain the maximum amount of light coming back through the scope. This helps your eye adjust to make maximum use of the sight image viewed. The one-piece flexi-hard rubber build eye-piece has a 3” straight run of 1/8” wall tube ending in the cushion rib with one side extending as mentioned previously, yet leaves an ideally formed 3” diameter eye-cup. It holds in place on the eye-piece by ‘Friction fit’ and is suitably sized for most popular scopes.
Some shooters (particularly spectacle wearers) prefer what are known as ‘scope extensions,’ as these allow you to press your eye into a flat surfaced ‘cupped’ eye-piece. Bisley also supply these in lengths of 60mm & 90mm.