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The "Ranging Shot" Is A Regular Column In The IHMSA News
Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
Published monthly except November/December - January/February
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Volume 15, Issue 5 June
  The Ranging Shot Email Todd:
  With ( Comments or questions? )
Todd Spotti

     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 $35.

"The Simmons 1022T scope is a good choice for air gun silhouette or general 22 target shooting."

     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 silhouette competition.

     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 perfectly.

     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 handguns.

     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.

"Inhibitor will protect your guns and bullet casting molds from rust even in very humid environments."


     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 corrosion.

     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 measure.

     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 (

Good luck and good shooting. Todd

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Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading and bullet casting, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which IHMSA, The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned. Always consult recognized reloading manuals.