March 19, 2007
A Heartwrenching Tale Of Human Folly
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
(Note: A Mr. Sinky O notes in my previous blog that I may be less than inclined to tell the whole truth about guns for fear of losing ad bucks. The fact is that Field & Stream gets no more than a small percentage of its ad revenue from the makers of hunting and fishing equipment, so there is no pressure on me to say only nice things for fear of people pulling ads. Second, we have changed our long-standing policy of not criticizing gear in the magazine and on this website, and have begun hammering what deserves it.
However, kindly remember when reading what follows is that I screwed up, not the Bushnell product.)
A couple of weeks ago I got one of the first laser-ranging, range-compensating-reticle scopes from Bushnell. There are a few similar scopes on the market, but they are either huge, heavy, expensive, horrifically complicated, or all of these. This one is not, so with a high heart, I mounted it on a .30/06 to try it out.
The bottom of this scope forms a rail, and near the front of the rail is a series of grooves. The rear “ring” for this scope clamps onto the rail by screw pressure alone, but the front one has a lug that engages whichever of the grooves you find convenient. It is this lug that takes up the recoil and prevents the scope from sliding. The directions that came with the scope stressed this: the lug has to engage a groove.
The two rings I was sent both looked like rear rings as neither had a lug, but I thought “What the hell, would Bushnell packers screw up that badly?” and mounted the scope anyway. Then I drove 80 miles (one way) to a private range where the friend of a friend had allowed me in for the afternoon to shoot at 500 yards. I couldn’t hit a thing. I mean, I couldn’t have hit a tent if I was inside it. And after maybe 10 rounds, the reason why was apparent. The scope had slipped forward along my rifle’s Picatinny rail by about 6 inches and was barely hanging on. End of shooting session. I drove 80 miles home and sent the scope back to Bushnell with a stern note about packing the correct rings. Quicker than you can say “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” they sent me another with all the right parts.
There are two morals to this story:
First, no matter how experienced you are, or how much you think you know, you are going to do dumb s**t.
Second, if something seems wrong, it probably is. Do not go blindly ahead on trust alone.
Both of these morals come with lifetime guarantees.