March 23, 2011
Red Dots for Sure Shots, Part II
By David E. Petzal
The Aimpoint H34L has no parallax. Eye relief is unlimited. There is no vertical crosshair to align and there are no internal mechanical parts to come loose under recoil.
These are fearsome assets for an optical sight, but what I wanted to know was, how well could I shoot with one on a rifle? To find out, I needed a rifle with an actual history of scores shot, and as it turned out I had one—a Savage Model BTVLSS .22 rimfire. Offhand, with a scope set at 4X, shooting at an NRA 50-yard slowfire pistol target at 100 yards, I regularly get scores of around 84x100. So I pulled the conventional scope, installed the Aimpoint, and found, once I got used to the lack of magnification, I could actually shoot better with the Aimpoint, averaging 88. Kneeling, with a military sling, I could score in the mid-90s.
The reason for this is, I believe, that while the target looks smaller, your sight picture is four times steadier than it is at 4X. Absent magnification, your formerly quaking, palsied view of the target seems now almost rocklike.
I’ve been told by a number of African professional hunters, who have considerable knowledge of the subject, that a good shot with good iron sights can do about as well on game to 200 yards as a man with a scope. Since the Aimpoint is considerably easier to use than iron sights (it puts your sight picture in the same optical plane) I think it could handle shots on deer-sized game with ease at 200 yards. This encompasses a lot of hunting.
I think the H34L is a natural for a .22, or a slug gun, or a brush gun, or a dangerous-game rifle, or even a general big-game rifle if you’re willing to pass up the super-long shots that are fashionable these days. Its advantages are many, and they are profound.
Read Part I here.