Finally, the scope. If you’re going to go shooting at animals at long range, you can’t get by with the usual 3X-9X. Or let me put it another way: You can, but you’re going to miss a great deal. What you need is lots of power, and a scope with either tactical or target adjustments. By sheer dumb luck, or maybe because God reads this blog, the absolute perfect scope for the 6.5-300 Accurmark arrived within a day or two of me getting the rifle.
It’s called the Meopta Meopro 6.5-20×50 HTR, and in it, and in Meopta in general, I see a number of uncanny parallels with Swarovski in the early 1990s when it began its charge to prominence. Back then, Swarovski was an obscure Austrian company known mostly for its crystal. It made good, but not great, scopes, and had a name that few Americans can pronounce. However, the head of the Swarovski family had bigger ambitions, so he came to the U.S., and listened to what people thought of his scopes, and scopes in general.
Unlike most European makers who try to crack the American market, he really paid attention, and very soon its scopes got better and better and better and this, combined with a truly balls-out publicity drive rocketed Swarovski to where it is now, although people still can’t pronounce the name unless they’re Austrian.
Same with Meopta, which sounds vaguely oriental, although it’s located in the Czech Republic. For a number of years it’s made its reputation on delivering two lines of very good scopes MeoStar (made over there, and the more expensive of the two) and MeoPro (assembled here and less costly). Every year their president comes to the SHOT Show and listens to the ranting of myself, and others like me, and it’s showing up in what they make.
The MeoPro HTR is designed for hunting at long range, and it is damned near perfect. Despite all that magnification, it weighs only 22 ounces. Its 50mm objective lets in plenty of light, but you can still mount the scope with low rings. There’s third-dial parallax adjustment and a reticle called the Windmax 8 which is like a Duplex-style with hashmarks for windage allowance.
This makes particular sense because smart long-range shooters know that if you want to aim with precision, you put clicks of elevation on the scope rather than use stadia wires, but the same does not apply for windage, because wind shifts, and if you go putting in clicks for that, you will very soon become hopelessly lost.
The dials are target style, and have great big white letters on them that even geezer eyes can read without using the magnifier on a Swiss Army Knife (yes, it has come to this). Moreover, the “throw” on the dials is very long and very firm, so if you want to put in one click or 32 you can do it time after time without having to wonder if you just dialed in what you wanted or whether you’re way off.
The optics are first-rate, as they are on all Meoptas, and the real-world price is $999.99. This, I realize, is not cheap, but when you consider that tactical and target scopes of this quality cost three times as much, that puts it in perspective. In the past few years I’ve been able to use a number of Meopta scopes, but this is the best of them. It fits with a long-range hunting rifle like Astaire fit with Rogers, Martin fit with Lewis, and Abbot fit with Costello. If you don’t know who those people are, the hell with you.
One more word about expense and long range. It’s a story Ed Zern was fond of, and it concerns a farmer whose hens wouldn’t lay, so he advertised for a stud rooster, but never really found one who packed the gear. Then one day he felt a peck on his ankle and looked down. There was a scrawny banty rooster looking up at him.
“Who the hell are you?” said the farmer.
“I saw your ad in the paper,” said the rooster, “I’m here to service your hens.”
“Get lost,” said the farmer, “I wouldn’t bother to put you in a stewpot.”
“You’re making a big mistake,” said the rooster. “Give me a chance. What have you got to lose?”
Well, that made sense, and the rooster was as good as his word. Soon there were eggs all over the place, so many that the farmer could hardly collect them all. But the little rooster commenced to look gant (which is how they say “gaunt” up he-ah) and the farmer warned him to start taking it easy because he didn’t want the bird to die from exhaustion.
But there were still eggs all over the place, and one day the farmer saw a little form lying in the Lower Forty, and buzzards circling. Frantically, he ran out to where the rooster lay, and all he could say in his anguish was “Why?”
The rooster popped an eye open.
“Shhh,” he said. “You see those buzzards? If you want to f**k a buzzard you have to play a buzzard’s game.*”
In the wonderful world of long-range shooting, some equipment can do the job and a lot can’t. The stuff that can costs money. If you want to f**k a buzzard…
*Ed belonged to a social order called the Winchester Irregulars, who liked this story so much they adopted that sentence, in Latin, as the club motto. It goes Si vis habere confutuere et alietum, alietum ludere ludum.
Ave atque vale.