I began this series at the end of March with an article about building a precision sniper rifle on a reasonable budget. This article is going to be highlighting some products and services that will further the performance and capabilities of our budget build. I would also like to add that some of these products would not fall under the “budget” category. The products and services that I will be discussing are quality high-end solutions and they are priced accordingly.
In part 1 of this series I discussed the importance of good glass. I will now highlight some quality solutions that are an upgrade to the optics that were discussed in part 1 of our series. The two optics that I will be discussing are both in the same price range and they are also two optics that I have had the opportunity to review and use extensively. Both have their strong points.
Vortex breaks new ground with the Razor HD tactical riflescopes. Built literally from the ground up to meet the demanding needs of precision shooters. The Razor HD 5-20×50 is a state-of-the-art long-range performer built on a solid 35mm one-piece tube and packed with more than a dozen unique performance and optical features including a precision-etched first focal plane reticle.
My experience with the Razor was an impressive one. It is a very durable optic that I wouldn’t be afraid to field in an austere environment. The glass was of high quality and the internal mechanism seemed to be of the highest quality. The one I was running had the EBR 2B reticle with MRAD turrets. I was initially thinking that the reticle would be to “busy”. That was not the case at all I really found the reticle to be useful especially when it came to follow-up shots.
The feature that I was the most impressed with however was the zero stop. It was extremely easy to set and was very handy especially in low light conditions. The last thing I would like to say was the Razor comes with all the extras you could want from the factory. The extras include a bubble level, sunshade, and rings to name a few. This is a nice touch when MSRP is $2499.99
IOR Valdada 6-24 x 56 35mm FFP MIL/MIL SF TACTICAL ILLUMINATED MP-8 DOT MOD
The IOR is another great product. It is a larger optic, which could be a downfall to the scope depending on its purpose. The upside is the amount of light gathering ability it provides. I will say that the glass quality on this optic rivals the very best on the market. The IOR is equipped with some great features also, my favorite being the secondary point of impact variable index. This feature allows you to have two zero points on your elevation turret. That might not sound important but I can tell you from experience if you travel between locations for hunting, competitions, or just plain old “business” your zero will change for a number of environmental reasons. So it is nice to have a solid “home zero” all of the time. The other nice advantage about the secondary point of impact variable index is the ability to rotate between supersonic and subsonic ammo with the added ability of an index point for both types of ammo quickly and efficiently without having to fumble through your notes or a ballistic computer.
The internal mechanism and its adjustments are precise and solid. The MP8 Dot Reticle is also a very effective solution. Once again I was highly impressed with the clarity and light gathering capabilities of this optic. I did have the opportunity to engage some targets at night while utilizing this optic and I can’t speak highly enough about it. The MSRP for the IOR is $2295.00 that is a bargain in my opinion for the quality of this optic.
The next big upgrade that I would suggest is a custom stock to lay your barreled action in. There are a good amount of stock manufacturers to take a look at when you go to make this purchase. I highly recommend if at all possible to get behind the stock that you are interested in before you purchase. Aftermarket stocks are not cheap and it would really hurt ones moral if you were to drop a nice penny on a stock and find out you are not pleased with the fit and feel.
There are a number of things to take into consideration when picking out the perfect stock solution for your sniper rifle. For instance what will the primary purpose of the rifle be? If you are going to be using it for elk hunting in the mountains you might not want to purchase a big bulky stock that is mostly made for shooting in the prone position. Now if your shooting lets say f-class comps this might be more up your ally.
The new stocks on the market have made giant leaps and bounds in the last decade. They have all sorts of options built into them that makes the shooter as comfortable as possible pulling the trigger which in turn means less fatigue and more hits on target. Here are a couple of my personal favorites for you to check out.
One last subject I’d like to cover when it comes to the selection of a quality stock is you will need to have it properly fitted and bedded to your barreled action by a reputable gunsmith. For the most part you can’t just purchase a stock off the web and drop your action into it and torque it down. Well I guess you could do that but I can promise you that your rifle would not perform correctly in most cases. Bedding a stock to your action is extremely important when it comes to your rifle being accurate and performing consistently. By bedding your stock you are virtually relieving any stress that the action is under which leads to consistent hits on target.
There is one stock in particular that I have mentioned above that does not require a smith to do his magic on and that is the Mcree Chassis by Mcree Precision. I absolutely love their product. I won’t get into this too much because I plan on doing a full review on the Chassis but I am extremely happy with their product and highly recommend it.
Dropping a match grade trigger into your precision sniper rifle is one of the easier ways to improve accuracy. There are a number of aftermarket drop in systems available on the market today. I prefer a single stage trigger on both my AR and Bolt gun platforms. A lot of people prefer a two-stage trigger. Once again I would suggest before buying a custom trigger do your best to test out a couple you have in mind and see what you prefer as a shooter. I like a single stage simply because that is what I have been training and working with for the majority of my life. My muscle memory is programmed around a single stage and I’m not going to change it now.
Most of these aftermarket triggers have some nice features to them that allow the shooter to personalize their trigger pull. If you are a new shooter I would recommend purchasing a trigger that could be adjusted until you figure out as a shooter what you prefer. I like my Bolt Guns set at a crisp 1.5 lb. “break”. If I am using an AR and doing let say 3 gun competitions where I’m doing a lot of moving and shooting I like my trigger set at 3 lbs. The reason for this is because for me I would rather the trigger be set a little heavier for safety reasons. I don’t want an accidental discharge because my fine motor skills have deteriorated due to my heartbeat going through the roof.
The bottom line is there is an application for each type of scenario and you as a shooter need to do you’re your homework and fully understand what the capabilities of your rifle are going to be used for. Once you have that figured out there are a ton of products that will fit the bill.
Here is a list of trigger manufacturers that I have worked with in the past and feel are quality products. Timney Triggers is my personal favorite because I have used them for a very long time and have never had any issues with their products. They are a small family owned company with a top-notch customer service department that has been in business since 1946. They also carry trigger solutions for not only bolt guns but semi auto’s as well.
The products and upgrades I have highlighted in this article don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to what’s offered on the market. This truly is a great time to be getting into the art of precision shooting. If anyone has any questions they would like to ask feel free to ask and I’m sure others will add their favorites and why to the list.