There has been an dramatic revolution in the sports optics
industry these last 7 or 8 years. In the past, choice was limited to the
traditional big name optics manufacturers, selection was rather ho hum, and
prices were uniformly high as well.
Today, itís a whole different ball game because the amount of
competition in this field has absolutely exploded. As a result, prices have
gone down, and more importantly, quality has gone up. I have to regularly
shake my head in disbelief when I see the quality of scope you can buy these
days for relatively little money. Value is definitely "in".
The Simmons 22 Mag rimfire scope line is a good example of the
newer generation of optics. The 22 Mag series has been around for a number
of years now and comes in several powers and configurations. Prices have
also been extremely reasonable. The current plain Jane version of this
product is a very nice scope that I wouldnít hesitate to put on a good
quality 22 fun rifle, and it can be had from the catalog outfits for around
"The Simmons 1022T scope
is a good choice for air gun silhouette or general 22 target
The 22 Mag is not one of these scopes that will fall apart at the
drop of a hat either. A good friend of mine has had a 3X-9X 22 Mag on a
fairly expensive Browning 22 WRM rifle for several years and has never had a
problem. He swears by it.
It was primarily because of my friendís positive experience that I
became intrigued with a brand new model of the 3 - 9 version of the 22 Mag
i.e. the 1022T. As you might guess, the "T" stands for target. Because itís
geared toward target shooting, Simmons has upgraded the 22 Mag in a number
of ways to be amazingly competitive with much more expensive scopes. Because
of these upgrades, the price of the new scope jumps to around $125.
The first thing that youíll notice about the new 22 Mag is that it
has an adjustable objective lens. All the older model 22 Mag objective
lenses are fixed and parallex adjusted for 50 yards only. A closer look at
the objective adjusting ring will then tell you that this is a "EFR"
(Extended Focal Range) type of scope. In other words, it will focus and
parallex adjust down to a mere 7.5 yards, and then with a twist of the
wrist, will do the same all the way out to infinity. Right away, this told
me that this scope would probably be a perfect candidate for IHMSA air gun
After doing a little additional checking, I found that while the
1022T is being marketed as a rim fire target scope, the internal
construction is for all practical purposes identical to that of Simmonís
regular rifle scopes. So if you wanted to put the 1022T on a IHMSA Field
Pistol gun or your 30-06 rifle, have at it.
A quick look through the scope revealed a particularly bright
image - especially considering that the 1022T uses a 32mm objective lens. In
a way I guess I shouldnít have been too surprised, as I then discovered that
the 1022Tís lenses were fully multicoated. Other 22 Mag models come with
fully coated lenses but are not fully multicoated like this scope. It
makes a difference.
Besides presenting a very bright image to the eye, it was also
very clear and crisp with no apparent distortions. When I say no apparent
distortions, I mean no apparent distortions. Even at the most extreme edges
of the image, I couldnít find anything except a sharp, well defined picture.
"Geeee, this thing is really look' in good" I thought. With most other value
scopes, the center will look ok, but the as you start moving to the edge of
the image, things start going downhill very rapidly. Eye relief was also
very generous. Even when cranked up to nine power, the eye relief was around
3 inches. Down at 3X, it was in the 3.5-4 inch range.
Investigating further, I found that the scope is rated as being
water proof, shock proof, and fog proof. It has a lifetime warrantee as
well. Another nice feature is the fact that the windage and elevation dials
are finger adjustable, although there is a raised slot available to insert a
coin or a screwdriver if you like. Each turret also has a rubber gasket at
its base to provide a tight seal when the metal cap is screwed down against
it. I found the 1/4" clicks to be nicely positive, although not very loud.
You shouldnít have any problems making click changes however. For those who
want to invest a little extra money, Stoney Point makes target turrets that
will fit Simmons scope. Additionally, while Iím not a great fan of lens caps
which are held together with a single elastic cord, the 1022Tís caps were
well fitted and consequently worked well.
Well, now that we had a chance to see the various features on the
scope, it was time to go to the range and put it through its paces. The
scope was then mounted on a TC Contender with one of Fred Smithís Bullberry
match barrels. The primary thing I wanted to check was how well the
elevation and windage adjustments tracked. In other words, how repeatable
were the clicks. The best way to do this is to shoot a group, move up X
number of clicks and shoot a group, then click right, then down, and then
left back to (hopefully) your original position.
After I got everything set up I invited several fellow "range
rats" to take a look through the Simmons and asked them their opinion.
Everyone commented that the image was especially nice, including my friend
Mike Baggett, a rimfire rifle silhouette competitor who does a lot of scoped
rifle shooting. To make the story short, the Simmonís adjustmentís tracked
The bottom line here is that the Simmons 22 Mag 1022T is a winner.
As mentioned before itís a perfect EFR type scope for IHMSA air gun
silhouette. You can also use it for any kind of rim fire or center fire
shooting - and the price wonít kill you either. Total flexibility at a
reasonable price. Not bad at all.
ProMax PillarLock Gun Case
Whenever I go to the Shot Show I put together a rather extensive
list of "must visit" companies because theyíre the core manufacturers that
most silhouette shooters deal with. This is a lot of fun because because
Iíll be able to see old friends again and people I deal with extensively on
the phone but donít get see very often in person. It takes a minimum of 2 to
2.5 days to visit with everyone on the list. If all goes well, Iíll then
have a half to a full day to just wander around up and down the aisles and
visit with companies that I usually donít deal with or companies that are
brand new to the Shot Show.
It was during this period of casual wanderings that I came across
a very nice booth for Plano Outdoor Products.
Plano is a manufacturer of plastic cases that are used for guns, tackle
boxes, archery, other types of sports equipment, and cases geared toward
being mounted on ATVís.
While there, I became intrigued with a large, well made plastic rifle
case thatís sold under their "Protector" series brand name. The particular model
that caught my attention was the ProMax 1532 double scoped rifle case. As you
know from a previous article, itís my opinion that a well made rifle case can
provide a practical alternative to the silhouette shooter who wants to haul
several handguns to a match or perhaps a combination of a rifle and multiple
The thing that first struck me about this case was the fact that it
just looked really strong - and that really appealed to me. To tell the truth,
Iíve gotten tired of fooling with the tan colored, flimsy cases Iíve been using
for several years now. When the locks started breaking off my old cases, I had
enough. I was ready for some beef and this case looked like sirloin.
The ProMax is made from extra thick polypropylene and has this gray,
heavy duty industrial look to it. It was obvious that this wasnít your typical
$14.95 K-Mart blue light special. As it turned out, this case is even stronger
than it actually looks (which is saying a lot). It was at this point that I
noticed what appeared to be several molded in holes or cavities in both sides of
the case, which seemed kind of odd. When I opened it, I found that each of these
exterior "holes" represented an internal pillar about 2" square that interlocked
with another pillar from the opposite lid of the case. In other words, the top
of one pillar contained a recess that the top of the opposing pillar fitted down
into, locking the two together when the two sides of the case were closed.
Looking more closely, I then saw that there was one of these pillars
located in each of the four corners and an additional more three pillars that
ran lengthwise down the center for a total of seven overall. When the two lids
of the case are closed together and the seven pillars interlock with each other,
the case gains an incredible amount of rigidity and strength. In fact, to
demonstrate just how strong it was, two reps from Plano, who probably weighed
250 lbs each and myself (195 lbs), stood on the case together and bounced up and
down on it. There wasnít even a scuff mark on the surface. Their catalog even
has a photo of full sized pickup truck parked on the same case with no damage
being sustained. I was definitely impressed.
Another thing that got to me was the fact that the case also sported
six snap type, plastic locking latches. Each latch was a robust two inches wide.
Four latches were located on the front of the case, and one latch was located on
each of the two ends. I really liked the end locking latches. This is something
you rarely see and yet itís something that really adds to the security of the
case. Additionally, thereís two molded-in spots to secure the two halves of the
case with a padlock if you wish.
Another one of the most impressive features of the
case is the carrying handle. Many others skimp here - even on premium cases. For
instance, I have a fancy, really heavy duty, welded aluminum double rifle case
that even when sold at discount on the internet, goes for over $200. Itís really
a great case except that it has this small, narrow, hard plastic handle which actually
hurts my hand if I carry two rifles in the case. However, the handle on the
Plano case is a beefy seven inches long, three inches high, at least an inch
wide, and covered in soft, tacky rubber - and it doesnít hurt my hand when Iím
carrying a heavy load of guns.
The interior foam is the standard egg crate type which is of
sufficient density keep your stuff from rattling around under normal conditions.
However, the case has a feature that will keep things in order under severe
conditions as well, i.e. four tie down straps that are anchored under the foam.
The straps are then passed through precut slots in the foam and then buckled
around your firearms. They can be used to secure either long guns or our
silhouette pistols. This is a good idea.
This is a very nice, particularly strong plastic case with a number of
very innovative features. It retails for $69.95 which would put it around the
top end of what I would call the inexpensive range. When I first saw the case, I
honestly thought it cost more. If the retailers in your area donít seem to carry
Plano Outdoor products, email Plano through their web site and theyíll tell you
what dealers in your area do sell their products. If there aren't any, the
factory will sell to you direct. If youíre looking for a strong case at a
reasonable price, this is it.
will protect your guns and bullet casting molds from rust even in very
Unless you live in the dry Southwest, rust on our firearms and other
outdoor gear can be real possibility. Plano Outdoors also makes "Inhibitor" VCI
rust protection products. As it turned out, Iíve been using this product for
some time now but never realized that it was owned by Plano Outdoors. Itís
especially useful for gear that is stored in enclosed containers like gun safes,
gun cases, tackle boxes, tool boxes, etc. Once applied, the VCI material will
slowly evaporate its chemical components and provide a protective atmosphere
inside the closed container to short circuit the chemical process that causes
You can protect your gear a number of different ways depending on what
Inhibitor product you want to use. The most versatile is the spray. This is a
blend of light, gun type oil and the VCI chemical. I spray it on a soft cloth
and then wipe it on the metal surfaces of the guns that I have stored in my gun
safe. It wonít harm wood stocks or forend's. If you like, you can also get a
Inhibitor gun cloth already impregnated with the material. If youíre shipping
your guns anywhere, a good rub down with an Inhibitor impregnated cloth is a
must because you have no control over the conditions your firearms will be
subjected to while in route. Believe me, neither UPS nor the airlines give a
hoot about protecting your property. I know.
The Inhibitor "Pro Chips" are perfect for tackle and tool boxes that
are kept out in the garage or tool shed. These are little strips about 1 inch
wide and a little over 3 inches long. Just cut the strips into 3, one inch
squares and scatter them around inside the box and the metal contents are now
well protected. Each little square will protect around one cubic foot of storage
area, but Iíll use all three from a strip in a given storage box just for good
Additionally, the chips are GREAT for protecting your iron or steel
bullet casting molds. Just throw one square in each plastic storage box with the
mold and youíll never have to worry about rust again. Sure beats spraying them
with oil or WD40 to protect them. This is my favorite use for this VCI product.
Since I used the chips, Iíve never had a rust problem with my molds.
If you store rifles in a zippered cloth gun case, a "Gun Shield" is
also available. As you know, cloth can attract and retain humidity for a long
time. The shield is a essentially a long sleeve with a heavy craft paper liner
thatís been treated with the VCI material. Slip your gun into the Shield, close
it, and then feel free to store the gun in your cloth gun case. Itís now
completely protected. If you have shot guns, a plug that somewhat resembles a
shot gun shell inserted from the chamber end of the barrel will provide similar
protection. Inhibitor is really a good product that has worked for me. Learn
more by going to