Recently, the Davide Pedersoli arms making firm of Brescia, Italy shipped me one of the coolest looking modern in-line ignition muzzleloading rifles I've ever seen for test shooting. What makes this rifle so different from other No. 209 primer ignition in-line rifles on the market is that it is actually built to look like something that "could have" existed back in the 1860's. This .50 caliber modern muzzle-loaded big game rifle is being built on a modified variation of the old Remington Rolling Block type of action. In fact, Pedersoli refers to the rifle as their "Rolling Block Muzzleloader".
While the rifle may have something of an 1860's retro look ... the rifle is built for producing optimum velocities...optimum range...and optimum knockdown power possible with a muzzle-loaded .50 caliber big game rifle. As soon as the rifle arrived, I did encounter a problem that the manufacturer had not taken into consideration. The company had installed on the rear of the barrel, just ahead of the receiver, a picatinny rail type scope/red-dot sight base. However, when trying to scope the rifle, I found that I simply could not get a scope far enough rearward for proper eye relief/field of view. When trying to install one of the 3-9x40mm Hi-Lux Optics M40 Tactical Hunter model scopes...with it as far rearward as the base mount and a set of rings would allow...the rear, or ocular, lens of the scope was still more than two inches too far forward. A set of medium height rings were used...and with the rear ring as far back as it could go...the housing for the adjustment turrets simply would not allow the scope to come back any farther...and if it could have been, the objective lens bell would have made contact with the front of the base. (See Photo Above Right)
Still, I managed to sight the rifle and scope in...and shoot a couple of great hundred yard groups. With a 110-grain charge of Blackhorn 209 powder and the saboted Harvester Muzzleloading 300-grain Scorpion PT Gold bullet, both groups were sub 1-inch ... but the scope sitting that far forward was not acceptable. So, I weighed my options. I didn't want to stick a red-dot sight on the rifle...since the rifle and load definitely could produce 200-yard big game taking performance.
It seemed the 2-7x LER Scout scope offered by Hi-Lux Optics would be the most logical route. I ordered one, and had it within a week. Now, this scope has an eye relief that varies a little - ranging from 8.7" to 13.2" ... depending on the magnification setting. (I've found that by setting the distance of the rear lens forwards of the shooter's eye with the scope at 4x or 5x ... I can tell very, very little difference in the field of view when aiming at any of the magnification settings.) The scope has proven to be the ideal solution for scoping the Pedersoli .50 caliber Rolling Block Muzzleloader. Another very nicely built modern in-line muzzleloader that I have also had trouble with, when it comes to getting a "standard" scope far enough rearward for proper eye relief/field of view, has been the Thompson/Center .50 caliber Strike model (or the previous Redemption version of this rifle). On both the Rolling Block Muzzleloader and the T/C Strike, I used a set of Weaver extension rings to insure that the LER Scout scope was extended forward, to allow adequate eye relief at every magnification setting of the scope.
Each of those two muzzleloaders are capable of some pretty amazing hundred yard accuracy - and both shoot extremely well with my favored modern .50 in-line rifle load ... 110-grains of Blackhorn 209 and the saboted polymer-tipped 300-grain .451" diameter Scorpion PT Gold bullet. Both rifles, topped with the 2-7x longer eye relief Scout scope, have proven capable of punching sub 1-inch hundred yard groups. Also, with the scope set in the Weaver extended rings as shown, I've found that the scope can be moved from the base of one rifle to the other ... and with just two or three shots can be re-sighted...and ready for a hunt.
I then pulled out a .223 caliber AR rifle, with a picatinny rail mount base ... and the scope and Weaver extended rings fit the rifle perfectly. With the scope and rings locked down on the rail so the rear lens set just a little forward of the rifle's charging handle, the eye relief/field of view was practically the same as experienced with the scope mounted on either of the two .50 caliber in-line muzzleloaders. It took me about 10-seconds to realize just how nice a scope this is for AR or AK style rifles. The Anderson AM-15 rifle shown here is one that I often carry when walking my dogs in the wilds of Western Montana, where I live. Some of our favorite walking/hiking areas are also home to wolves...bears...and mountain lions...and we've seen them all during a few of our nearly daily adventures.
I liked how the forward mounted scope gives such easy and unobstructed access to the charging handle - and I really liked how the slim profile of the 2-7x LER Scout scope, set that far forward, literally allowed me to see around the scope when the rifle was up and in the ready position. Curiosity got the better of me, and before I knew it ... I was headed for my range ... with three 20-round magazines loaded with ammo. Now, this time of the year (February) here in the Northern Rockies "going to the range" means having to walk a half-mile through near knee deep snow just to "get to the range". Once there it took me 5 or 6 shots to tweak the .223 AR rifle and scope so that it was printing 1.5" high at 100 yards. I then moved my 9-inch steel gong out to 300 yards. The LER model I have features a BDC reticle. Using the first BDC hold-over of the reticle, holding about 2 inches above center of the steel plate (shooting from a steady Caldwell "The Rock"rest) ... the next 40 rounds (a shot about every 30- to 40-seconds) smacked that 300-yard steel plate. (The load being shot was a handload, shooting the Hornady 55-grain FMJ-BT bullet at about 3,200 f.p.s.)
Hi-Lux Optics offers the 2-7x LER Scout scope with or without the BDC reticle. Either way, this is one very versatile slim...trim...and lightweight "Long Eye Relief" scope. This is not a handgun scope, but rather a scope designed for use on Scout rifles...and for other applications where a forward mounted scope is either absolutely necessary...or desirable. The BDC model featured here retails for $166. The non BDC model, featuring a fine duplex reticle, sells for $147.