Working to Perfection

Leupold scope rings and Nosler bullets that do what they’re meant to do

Periodically, you hear loud, self-righteous screeches from those who know not of guns but are perfectly willing to regulate them, that all handguns must have “safe” technology. Somewhere in the grip, they say, must be a mysterious electronic brain that will know if the hand holding the firearm belongs to the owner, and will allow the gun to go bang.

If these things work as well as my Mac, or the grid for Central Maine Power, you had best get right with God before you carry a pistol for self-protection.

This is just one example of a firearms invention that’s not going to work. There have been many in the past, and I’ve gotten crosswise of a good many, so much so that I’m always surprised when something does work, and incredulous when it works perfectly. Here are two that do.

Leupold Mark 4 steel scope rings. They’re made to mount on a Picatinny rail. They weigh a ton. They’re not an aesthetic triumph. They cost three times what lesser rings do. But, on the other hand, they’re made to survive a direct hit from an RPG, or take a round from a 12.7mm machine gun, or fall down a cliff, and not budge.

As it happens, they also align perfectly. Recently, I converted my Powerful Assault Rifle from competition mode to social mode, and to do this, I installed a vertical handle and replaced my big, powerful scope with a smaller, less powerful one. The latter had previously been sighted in, but for reasons too complicated to go into here, I mounted it with a different set of Mark 4 rings.

The elevation was perfect. The windage was 1 inch to the right of where it should have been. This means that both sets of rings were absolutely identical. The one inch to the right was probably caused by a difference in screw tension, because I go by feel rather than use a torque wrench. It’s why Mark 4 rings cost $140 and up. It’s precision manufacture with a vengeance.

Nosler RDF bullets. These are Nosler’s ultra-streamlined, 140-grain, super-high-BC bullets that debuted this year. I reported a little bit ago that they were ultra-accurate. They’re also very, very flat shooting. My handloads start them off at 2,550 fps, which is the same velocity as the 175-grain Sierra MatchKings and Berger Long Range Competition Target Bullets I run in my two .308s.

However, the Sierras have a BC of .505, which is high but not interstellar; the Bergers’ number is .512. The Noslers are rated at .658. Anything that aerodynamic ought to have Kirk and Spock on board. And, due to the extreme streamlining, the Noslers shoot 4 inches higher than the others at 500 yards, and 8 inches higher at 600.

This is no knock on the Sierras and Bergers, which I consume in mass quantities. But it is nice to see that when you take the perfectly good time and trouble that Nosler has to make a bullet as streamlined as the RDF, the thing obeys the laws of ballistics and works exactly as it should.