The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of one of the few Canadian designed rifle scopes available on the market. Scorpion Optics was kind enough to provide TPF-Online with one of their scopes for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his expertise on optics. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
Scorpion Optics Venom Hi-Grade 6-24 x 50mm Rifle Scope
Scorpion Optics has a complete line of hunting and sporting optics with a full range of magnification options. The model provided for review was a Scorpion Venom Hi-Grade 6-24x50mm long range rifle-scope with a one-piece 30mm tube.
Statistics indicated for this particular optic:
6-24 Power range
50mm Objective lens
Side focus adjustable from 15 yards to infinity
One-piece aluminum tube construction
30mm One-Piece Main Tube
Fully-Multi coated lenses
Trajectory Compensating Reticle
1/8 MOA windage & elevation adjustments
>50 MOA adjustment range
For this review, the rifle-scope was mounted to a Robinson Armament XCR-M, a semi-automatic, non-restricted, rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. This particular rifle has a picatinny rail running the full length of the monolithic upper which allows for a wide range of mounting positions and optic styles and designs. A set of extra high Weaver Tactical rings were required due to the space requirements of the optic’s 50mm objective lens. With these rings there was just enough room for the scope’s objective bell to clear the rail.
Initial sight-in was done at 25 yards, with the point of impact being approximately 4 inches low and to the left. Windage was adjusted by simply looking through the optic and turning the adjustment dial until the cross-hair was inline with the initial shot. The adjustments dials are graduated in 1/8 MOA, which means one click moves the point of impact 1/8″ left or right at 100 yards. This allows for a very fine level of adjustment, which can be of benefit for a very accurate varmint rifle. Adjustment knobs are of the finger click type, and yield both a firm and audible click when being turned. The turrets indicate which direction they must be turned in order to adjust the point of impact, but, are not re-settable to zero once adjusted.
At 100 yards, the optic was dialed up to its maximum power of 24X. Power adjustment was very smooth and quick, made easy by an oversized tab on the adjustment ring. The Venom line of optics from Scorpion have fully multi-coated lens surfaces, which is a key feature in maximizing the amount of light gathered and transmitted to the eye. This, coupled with the 50mm objective lens results in a very bright image, with it darkening only slightly at the highest magnification setting. When fired at 100 yards, elevation only needed to be adjusted a minor amount, and it should be noted that windage remained spot-on from being set at 25 yards, and after making adjustments to the elevation at 100.
This optic includes a side focus dial for parallax correction at different distances. The Scorpion 6-24×50 is capable of being adjusted down to 15 yards. Most optics with this feature have a low-end limit of 50 yards, which usually limits their use to outdoor settings where there is more room to shoot. Having the ability to focus down to 15 yards means that this optic can be used at much shorter distances, such as an indoor range where one might wish to practice at a closer distance. The side focus adjustment is very firm, requiring a fair bit of effort to turn. This level of friction ensures that it wont turn if rubbed up against a shoulder while being carried with a sling. There was a slight bit of backlash noticeable when fine adjustments were being made to the focus, but, this did not take away from the rifle scope’s ability to be focused at any distance desired.
As a standard feature, the Scorpion Venom 6-24×50 includes an etched-glass “TCR” reticle. TCR stands for Trajectory Compensating Reticle, and includes hold-overs for distances out to 500 yards. When zeroed at 100 yards, and employed at 200 yards using just the TCR reticle, I had no difficulty hitting the 8 inch metal swinger shot after shot. When using the TCR for your rifle, be sure to verify where your rifle hits at the different distances, as, this type of reticle is of a one-size-fits-all variety. This is common, and you should find that your specific load will be within an inch or two of the hold overs at each distance.
Some final things to consider with this rifle-scope include a stated mass of 860 grams (30 oz), and an overall length of 400 mm (15 in). This is no small rifle scope, and will be ideally suited towards a long range varmint rifle where a bipod, shooting stick, or other stabilizing method is to be used. The model provided for review came in a smooth matte black finish, but on Scorpion Optic’s website, there are options that indicate it is also available in a silver finish. Eye relief is a short 75-81mm, however I found there to be plenty of room behind the eyepiece when shooting, and had no issues positioning my head for a clear image.
All said and done, the Scorpion 6-24x50mm Venom rifle scope provides the user with everything as promised. Features that stood out when using the optic included a very smooth, fast power adjustment, making it possible to change power on the fly without having to look up from the rifle scope. The TCR reticle makes it very versatile for a number of different ranges, and being capable of focusing down to 15 yards means that this optic can fill a larger variety of roles for the target or varmint shooter.
Scorpion Optics is based out of Manitoba and fields a variety of firearm and bow accessories such as the Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Scorpion Optics Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. For the readers notes, the rifle scope as reviewed has an MSRP of $599.99 CDN which is an impressive price point for a high magnification, large objective lens rifle scope. Scorpion Optics can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Outfitter’s Supply Online. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.
The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Bryan Bolivar for this review of the Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
Blue Force Gear – Vickers Combat Application Sling (VCAS)
The Vickers Combat Application Sling is designed and marketed toward police, military and civilian shooters using modern, ergonomic long arms such as the AR-15 and other similar platforms. The sling is intended to provide a secure means to carry a rifle across the front of the user’s body in a hands free condition, allowing other tasks to be completed without needing to constantly hold onto the firearm.
The particular model of rifle sling chosen for this review is padded with polymer hardware. Non-padded versions are available for lower cost. Also aluminum hardware is available in both padded and non-padded versions.
It should be noted that VCAS sling comes without attachment hardware. Those in the picture above were purchased specifically for use with the reviewer’s rifle. Attachment points and methods on modern, ergonomic competitive sporting rifles vary and the user free to select what works best for them and their equipment. If the user does not want or need a quick release method of attachment, they can simply loop the straps at the ends of the sling through available fixed attachment points that are common on these rifles and attach the sling this way with no extra hardware needed. This means the purchaser is not stuck paying for attachment hardware that they won’t use.
Initial examination of the sling shows that it constructed of heavy 1 ¼ inch nylon webbing. The polymer hardware is relatively thick and is of durable construction. Obviously the aluminum hardware would be even stronger but after discussing with a college who has military experience, the polymer would likely be preferred to reduce sound when the hardware comes in contact with the rifle and other gear. Not that important to the civilian shooter but if polymer hardware is good enough for the military; it is good enough for me.
The sling has three points of adjustment to suit the rifle and user. The upper most section, attached to the rear of the rifle as well as the middle section are designed as “fixed” adjustments. These are set by the user and are not quickly adjustable.
The front section contains a quick adjustment pull handle (shown above) that allows the user to quickly lengthen (and re-shorten) the sling as needed. Following provided directions, the upper and middle sections are to be adjusted to set the overall length of the sling with the front section in the “closed” position. This allows the rifle to be securely hung across the length of the user’s torso. The front section can then be opened to allow for easier weapon manipulation such as switching to the weak side shoulder. This also facilitates moving to the prone position while maintaining the muzzle in a safe, down range direction. The adjustment method is unique in that once the position of the front section is set, it stays in place and does not move on its own. Other quick adjust slings that I have tried have proven to “have a mind of their own” when it comes to quick adjustments and simply won’t stay set.
The VCAS in “action”
Initial testing of the sling was conducted at a local rifle range and frankly my first impressions were not favorable. The sling limited rifle manipulation, magazine changes, safely adopting a prone position and utilizing a pistol with the rifle slung. For the latter point, the sling rifle hung very high with the butt resting in front of the shooters shoulder. This made extending the arms for proper pistol shooting difficult.
Further trials showed that I simply had the sling adjusted too tightly. Once the middle section was adjusted to provide more overall length the sling performed very well. Leaving sufficient slack in the sling allowed for interference free reloads and no longer obstructed pistol shooting as the rifle hung below the shooters shoulder.
Recently the VACS was “fielded” in completion at an Ontario Rifle Association Close Quarters Battle (CQB) match. Frankly, it worked flawlessly. Walking around the range with a slung rifle was effortless and left two hands free for organizational tasks such as scoring, patching of targets and even a bit of range tear down. Magazine changes were not impeded and neither was pistol shooting. Walking around the range with a 20 inch barreled AR did not result in any banged shins, knees or other anatomical regions. The quick adjust front section allowed easy adoption of the prone position while keeping the muzzle pointed directly down range.
A note about use of this and other two point slings. The selected attachment points at the front and rear of the rifle were generally on the side closest to the shooter. This allows the tension of the sling to hold the rifle flat against the body. Attachment at more conventional bottom of rifle points would tend to cause the rifle to tip over when slung and perhaps end up with the rifle hanging in an upside down orientation.
Further, the sling was wrapped over the strong side shoulder and under the weak side one, so that when the rifle is left to hang, it does so in a generally muzzle down direction so that bystanders are not swept by the muzzle.
Other uses of the VCAS
While targeted at modern style semi-automatic long arms, the VCAS would be an effective for hunting arms as well. By establishing attachment points on the side of the rifle, any style can be slung in the same fashion. For hunters negotiating think brush and climbing difficult terrain, this sling configuration will allow two hands to remain free while walking and maintain the rifle in an easy to reach position should game appear suddenly and a quick reaction is the difference between meat in the freezer and a tale of one that got away.
Further, by changing the method of adjustment, the quick adjust front section could be set such that tightening it “locks” the rifle to the shooters body, keeping it even more tightly secured to the shooters chest and or enabling it to be switch to lay across the hunters back and locked when “out of the way carry” is needed.
Retailing at $62.99 at One Shot Tactical Supply, the Blue Force Gear VCAS padded sling is not going to be the lowest cost option for a two point sling, but it is a quality piece of kit that does what it intends and does it well. The non-padded version retails for $52.99 while the option of aluminum hardware adds $20.00 to the cost of either version. The quick adjust front portion sets the VCAS apart from many other offerings and is a very useful feature. Based on the overall quality of the slings construction I am sure this piece of kit is going to last for years to come.
As the reviewer I purchased this sling with my own cash as a means to try it out after hearing lots of hype. I figured I can always sell it for a small loss if I didn’t like it. Well, this particular VCAS sling is NOT for sale. I think that sums up my impression of this sling most effectively.
Again, thanks to Bryan Bolivar for his submission on the BFG – VCAS. For the readers notes, One Shot Tactical Supply is located in Trenton, Ontario and also has an online presence. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.
How many readers can remember “March Break” as a time when one was glad to be out of the classroom for a week and enjoy what was supposedly the end of winter. It has been a long time for the author since school work and study dominated his daily routine, but “March Break still holds some semblance of freedom and desire, and that is the annual Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. As with each and every year, the city of Toronto becomes a focal point for tens of thousands of individuals who attend a multi-day event which is billed as “Canada’s Biggest Fishing & Outdoor Show”. The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, hereafter referred to as TSS, started six and a half decades ago and has growth to encompass hunting, fishing, outdoor adventuring and to the surprise of many Toronto natives… GUNS!
With the show located on numerous levels and across two buildings at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) from Wednesday the 14th of March until Sunday the 18th, the show was host to several hundred exhibitors and multitudes of individuals. Please allow a bit of reflection however on the history of the TSS. For sixty two (62) years, the Toronto Sportsmen’s show had existed in one form or another as an annual event located at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds (CNE), but due to the unfathomable machinations of, the previous Toronto Mayor, David Miller; forced the show to relocate to the MTCC in 2010. Why Miller’s anti-gun zealotry deemed it necessary to destroy so many decades of history and pride is beyond comprehension. Now on its third year away from the CNE, the TSS is once again running what is now their 65th anniversary. It was estimated that the City of Toronto lost nearly $14 million of revenue when the show shifted locations, the reason being that all revenue from the MTCC flows to the province of Ontario, not the city. Fast forward to 2012 and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is opening the show which he has attended since he was a child and the hunting hall is growing.
As always, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association was present at the TSS and with the help of many volunteers was able to once again have a successful show in terms of membership growth and engaging in discussion with probably thousands of individuals throughout the duration of the show. Many thanks to CSSA Regional Director Gus M. who volunteered far more than what was asked of him and to Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame who brought in his custom centre-fire silhouette rifle and a small video which was a great draw and topic of discussion. The CSSA thanks all who helped them with another successful show and as always the main topic of discussion was the demise of the Long Gun Registry (which TPF is proud to state just passed clause by clause reading in the senate as the author edits this entry).
Over the five (5) days of the TSS, several tens of thousands of attendees were able to experience a full gambit of outdoor pursuits as the show caters to the public and the newest wares and a “One stop shop” for nearly every outdoor need. In fact many attendees left the show in possession of products which were impulsive purchases in the first place. TPF however will concentrate this TSS review in the Hunting Hall aspect of the event. As always the primary focus of the Hunting Hall aspect was for Outdoor adventures such as hunting, hiking, boating, with additional luxury products as well as some interactive displays and pavilions being present.
This year was a slight departure from the norm, not only were there far more firearms on display for sale by retailers, this year represented the first time in many years which restricted firearms were for sale, let alone on display. Many thanks to Tactical Imports, whom took the first step, with the assistance of Mr. Tony Bernardo and the CSSA, were allowed to bring in some of there more “exotic” firearm products for the public to not only view order from them. Initially the TSS was refusing to allow Tactical Imports into the venue as it did not fit in with the traditional “Hunting” definition. When pointed out that many of the exhibitors, such as that depicted in the previous luxury product image, had little if anything to do with “Hunting” and that a firearm is a firearm, the TSS removed their objections and Tactical Import set up their display. Showing both non-restricted and restricted firearms in their booth, Tactical Imports has started what may be a growing trend by other exhibitors/retailers at the show. At least that is the hope of TPF-Online and many attendees whom we talked to.
As always some things never seem to change and that is a good thing in the case of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Association (TSA). The TSA crew has been coming to the TSS for many many years, and has always been the ones who have run the air-gun and archery ranges at the show. They are a truly exceptional group of individuals who continuously are to be thanked for exposing the future generations to the shear enjoyment that is available in shooting sport disciplines. Many thanks to Mr. Edwards and his volunteer crew for all his time and efforts over the past several years for continuing to provide exceptional public awareness and hands-on experiences like these for our youth.
The Canadian Military has been present as well in the last few years with an ever increasing display of equipment and public outreach. The author ensured that every one of our men and women in uniform whom was met at the show was thanked for their service and their efforts. TPF-Online will side step here briefly and state for the record that Support The Troops ribbons, pins, and decals are not being pro-war, but pro-survival. One does not have to believe in the circumstances which led to Canadian military involvement, but we should all wish our fellow brothers and sisters in uniform to come home safely and with as due speed. A full gambit of military hardware was present for display for TSS attendees to look at, ask questions about, and receive answers.
The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show is an annual event and it looks as though it is starting to grow out of the “traditional” mold of what constitutes our hunting aspects of outdoor recreation. That being said, the TSS is a huge endeavour which caters to the outdoors-man in most people in the Toronto region. So if you do not mind paying for parking and what some claim are excessive admission fees, you too can experience “Canada’s Biggest Fishing & Outdoor Show” every year. As TPF-Online looks forwards to next year’s show once again, we put forward the standard question: Is the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show; Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?
Sincere apologies for the delays, the individuals behind TPF have had very poor luck with a variety of things lately, including health, holiday time, and being overworked in both professional and volunteer endeavours.
HOWEVER! Now that the CSSA has an official fund raising account for Canadian Gun Nutz, the list has been created for the selling of reviewed products. The official list of products offered can be found in this thread at CGN.
If you have questions please email TPF-Online. Your email will be answered within 24 hours.
Thank you all for your support, especially the companies which have helped TPF-Online become a reality and want to help the Canadian firearms user become familiar with products that are available.
It has been a distinct privilege to be supported by SOG, Gerber, Hornady, CRKT, ATI and so many others.
Many thanks for the CSSA for this opportunity to help other Canadian firearms owners as well as the CSSA itself. Also, many thanks to the folks at Canadian Reload Radio, specifically Andrew Craig and Chris Anderson, for without their influence and example, TPF would have never existed.
A snippet of what is to come:
Products from Chiappa, Hornady, CRKT, SOG, etc…
Thank you all and on behalf of TPF please enjoy the holiday season.