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Cork’s Outdoors Pride Fowler Industries, Inc. RR-600-1 Rifle Scope [Product Review/Radio Interview]

Glass it’s all about the glass. That’s what everyone tells you about picking an excellent rifle scope. The problem is that to really appreciate what that means, you need to take it out into the field.

Sure, you can see across the sporting goods store and see what a mounted elk or deer looks like, quartered by the reticle. You can even walk outside and check the scope in natural light out on the street. But, it’s the evaluating in the field that really tells of the quality of a scope you’ve put on your rifle. And, contrary to what you may think I find that that when checking glass, it’s not the long shots that indicate glass quality, but the close ones in the brush.

This is for two important reasons: clear definition of reticle against distraction, such as branches and vines; and light transmission in low-light conditions. What I was reminded on a pig hunt in Northern California awhile back is that the RR-600-1 3-9X42mm Rapid Reticle scope not only has an impressive lens system, but everything about the scopes is high quality and of excellent durability. Were this scope available twenty years ago, it would have easily been in the $2,500 to $3,500 range. That was before prices dropped because China got into the market with some very good components and opened opportunities for a number of scope manufacturers over the years.

What PFI has done is stay true to the “high quality at a reasonable price” philosophy that scope manufacturers on the Pacific side followed as compared to the heavily unionized competitors in Europe, who charge an arm and leg for optics that if it weren’t for their two-to-three-hundred-year-old brand doing the selling the price would be much, much lower. PFI stuck to standards of glass that negated China, and remained true to Japanese glass. No one in Asia, or most of the rest of the world for that matter, makes glass as good as the Japanese. Anyone who has ever had to work professionally with a camera can attest to that, whether your loyalties fit Nikon or Canon.  Like all good scopes, the PFI glass is multi-coated: contrary to the myths perpetrated by German and Austrian scope sales reps in the 1980s and early 1990s, that many gun writers bought into, it’s the lens and types of lens coatings that improve your ability to see in twilight, not whether you’ve got a humongous objective bell and a 30 mm tube. There are reasons for a 30 mm but they revolve more around adjustments than use once the scope is set…especially if you don’t need to make  turret adjustments, like come-ups, on a more traditional long-range scope.

The tube is black anodized 6061 T6 aluminum tubing, which is not only strong but light. But, as I say, what is it about PFI that makes their scopes unique and above so many? It’s the reticle.

The innovative and fast RR-600 Rapid Reticle

If you were introduced to long-range shooting in the military post-Vietnam, likely you went through some training in mildot. It was a number of calculations to determine angles and distances. It was not fast, even for the fastest. The Rapid Reticle on the other hand, is fast and accurate!

Their reticle design is based on the premise that a variety of cartridges deliver a bullet trajectory that can be grouped with others. For example, a 150gr. .30-06 is similar to a 150gr.  .308 Winchester, and a 150gr. .280 Remington.  Based on this premise, John Pride and Mickey Fowler, both winners of the Bianchi Cup, designed the Rapid Reticle to not only provide ranging, but also ballistic drop compensation. What they did that was innovative, getting away from the way it was normally done with mildot for range estimation and turret come-ups for compensating for bullet drop.

They took trajectories and grouped them. For the RR-600 it was a number of common hunting rounds. For the RR-800 and RR-900, it was a collection of trajectory compatible military rounds used in the military sniping community. From this data, they designed a reticle for each line of scopes that enables the shooter to simply adjust for drop by laying the range-corresponding stadia line on the target. Though the RR-600 doesn’t have range estimation, the RR-900 does. This was accomplished was by integrating the Rapid Ranging system.

The Rapid Ranging system is based on the average head being nine inches tall. By measuring a nine-inch target with the bracket system on the RR-CQLR-1, or the head-and-shoulder Rapid Ranging system on the RR-900-1, you can easily discern your target’s distance. Reports from the hunting field and the battlefield have been excellent: a number of endorsements which are on their site. It’s a scope that that can be used to get an SDM (squad designated marksman) qualified for long-range shooting in a fraction of the time that it would take get a sniper qualified on the standard milidot and turret system.

Not only a good looking and functioning scope system, it’s just plain simple.  And when there’s a lot of stress, as in combat, or even the jitters that might hit a hunter during that moment of truth, the better it is to not have to fiddle with a lot of things like calculations and making sure you gone through the process of doing your come-ups. It’s one thing to be on a hunt when you’re calm and in charge of time. It’s another when your team has been ambushed and you’re suddenly on counter-sniper detail: the Rapid Reticle and Rapid Ranging system earn their bars on this one.

Three-shot groups for 200 yards, 300 yards, and 400 yards at 100 yards for a .280 Remington

So simple, all you have to do with the RR-600 is sight it in at 200 yards, check for 400 yards, and you’re ready to go. I sighted in for 200 yards at 100 yards and then walked my rounds up the paper to see the variations per each stadia line. As a kid with his first 4-plex-reticled scope back in the late 1970s, the innovations in the market have been stupendous, but not in a long while has a manufacturer come out with something as fast, accurate and durable as the Pride Fowler Industries Rapid Reticle line of scopes.

Happily, you won’t have to make sure you’ve got change in your pocket, either! Don’t you just hate being at the range and realizing after searching your pocket that you’ll have to ask some next to you if they’ve got change, or you’ll have to use one of the screwdrivers that becaue of its shape will automatically scratch or mar the notch in the top of the turret in order to make elevation and windage adjustments to get zeroed? The designers at PFI made sure that all you have to do is unscrew and remove the turret covers and adjust by turning the adjustments with your fingers–now how sensible and forward-thinking is that? I’m still wondering who in the world was the ning-nong who came up with the penny or dime slots for getting your scope on target.

No more digging in your pockets for change!

Also, as everyone knows, wind can kill a good shot. The RR-600 stadia line lengths help compensate for left and right winds up to 10 miles per hour.

That’s not to say that when you’re out in the field you can extend the range of your “hail Marys”. What it does enable is the opportunity to make very accurate shots out at ranges well within the capabilities of your round, such as 200 to 500 yards. It’s something I’m looking forward to reporting further on this fall.

To get your own RR-600, order directly through their website: www.rapidreticle.com

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