A few months ago, I had never heard of March Rifle Scopes. Today, I am much the better for the experience. I decided I should test and evaluate at least one top-end rifle scope—for my benefit and the benefit of my readers. There are some wonderful things in the world that need to be examined, and when you are over 60, time is limited. One of those wonderful things is a riflescope that wins matches to 1,000 yards or more. March Rifle Scopes are a top choice of elite shooters. By elite, we are not speaking of those born with a silver spoon stuck so far back in the throat it would need surgery for removal. No, we are talking about shooters that through hard work and dedication to their craft have managed to become competitors and winners at the art of long-range shooting.
This isn’t a game for the slightly interested. For many in our armed services who practice such skill, this is a matter of life and death. I am simply looking into the world through a very bright 52mm glass. The March rifle scope I chose isn’t the most powerful, but it is one that I will find useful in my own interesting, but mundane to some, shooting chores.
Most of my rifle shooting is for the sheer joy and thrill of firing an accurate rifle and first class ammunition. The March 3-24x52mm scope is the result of requests from skilled shooters for a scope to provide superior performance to the 42mm version. The goal was a brighter image for shooters.
The reticle was addressed first. The FML 1 reticle features crosshairs with a .1-mil dot in the center of the reticle crosshairs. I chose the MOA reticle. There are other choices, and to each his own for his or her type of shooting. The reticle is easy to use on normal days. You simply ignore the thin, but visible, MOA lines. When conditions are more challenging, the hash marks and estimation offers excellent aiming-off points.
An illuminated reticle offers a bright aiming point. A lot of range work is required to get this right. No matter how skilled the shooter, long range estimation skills go to pot when you are in the field in unfamiliar terrain, so you’ll want to have tools and skills in place to account for this.
The scope features magnification of 3x to 24x. The lens diameter is 52mm, and the body tube diameter is 30mm. The exit pupil is 2.17 mm. The field-of-view is excellent with the 3x setting at 35.0 but shrinks to 4.35 with the 24x setting. Again, set your priorities and decide if you really need this type of power. Eye relief is nominal at 85 to 100mm, but with the higher power, an effective eye relief of 95mm is realized.
One click equals one-tenth mil—a very fine adjustment. You have 120 MOA of elevation travel and 60 MOA of windage travel. There is a side dial for parallax adjustment. The scope weighs 24 ounces and is 13 inches long.
The technical data supplied by March is interesting. There is no plastic in the scope. The level of clarity is excellent. Extra low dispersion lenses make for excellent color reproduction. I did not have access to a 500-meter range, so the review is flawed in that regard. However, I was able to glass objects well past 500 yards safely and shoot at 100 and 200 yards.
The scope is the clearest I recall using, and at a MSRP of over $3,000, it should be. Don’t complain about the price, just marvel at the fact that we have such lenses. Eye relief must be correctly set up for your rifle’s stock and height. However, with this level of magnification eye relief differs in the ideal range for 10 x to 20x.
Being certain to test eye relief with these powers of magnification will result in your shooting better and more comfortably. It depends upon which you will be using the most, and even then, a little adjustment in the shooters position is all that is needed. There is also a side adjustment for parallax. This will get you into a different routine when fine tuning the scope.
The proof is always in the firing. My rifle isn’t a 1,000 yard rifle, but it is a very good rifle and it uses a proven action. The Remington 700 Varmint rifle in .308 Winchester with a 26-inch barrel maximizes the performance of the .308 Winchester and is comfortable to use and fire in long firing sessions. With the March rifle scope and a bipod, the rifle weighs 11.8 pounds.
As field guns go that is heavy, but for a rifle capable of this type of accuracy it isn’t. I installed a Huber trigger for precision work. Huber triggers offer precision manufacture and excellent trigger action. My personal Huber is set for 1.5 pounds pull for precision work. For field use, I would set it for a heavier weight but the crisp break would still be in place. The trigger is shipped ready to install.
In the initial and comprehensive dry fire stage, the trigger was acclimated to without complaint. The trigger is ideal, the shooter always needs development. Targets addressed through the March scope were clear and distinct at every range.
As for ammunition choices, I am a handloader and use top-grade bullets for handloading. This includes the Hornady A Max and Hornady Interbond. I prefer the 168-grain A Max for best accuracy. I have settled on Varget powder for most loads but also experimented with H4895 and others. For accuracy testing, I find it convenient to use some of the top rated factory loads. Unless you are using all-copper bullets, which begin to work better after the bore is coated with copper deposit, there are usually a few top loads and the one that gives excellent results, given an accurate rifle.
I began work with the Federal Fusion 150-grain MSR load that had proven accurate in my Springfield M1A. I sighted the rifle in at 100 yards. Accuracy was in the one-hole class—as expected—at 100 yards. Moving to 200 yards, the MSR load was still good, but I was looking for superb performance. I was able to properly sight the rifle in with this load. Next, I tried the Federal 168-grain Tactical Tip MatchKing. This loading delivered two-inch groups at a long 200 yards. This is impressive for my type of shooting.
The reticle doesn’t move or change size over the entire range of magnification, and it wasn’t a problem to gauge the bullet holes at 200 yards, saving a few steps. I also used the Hornady Black 168-grain A Max handload. This is an excellent all around load, suitable for game shooting as well as target work. This load was another MOA performer that cut several groups smaller than two inches. I also used a handload consisting of 42.3 grains of IMR 4895 and the 185-grain Berger OTM Juggernaut as a project and had good results in a run of the mill rifle.
At 2,670 fps from the Remington Varmint rifle, I thought I had something. I was right. At a long 200 yards, this Berger bullet made 1 MOA. I also used the Federal 185-grain Juggernaut factory load with similar results. As it turned out, the Hornady 168-grain A Max bullet and Hornady factory load is useful to 200 yards and beyond. The Federal MatchKing and 185-grain Berger Juggernaut were also good loads.
Also, a few words on first and second focal plane riflescopes. It depends on where the reticle is, before or after the magnifier in the rifle scope. The first focal plane rifle scope reticles will not seem to move in size at different power setting. The reticle itself is moved in size to match the magnification of the target.
Mils: Look the same at 2 power and 20 power. The reticle is behind the erector with the second focal plane scope. So, the reticle is the same size as the target is magnified. The mil size then isn’t the same in relation to the target at all power settings. Pay your money, after making the right choice for your needs.
Do you shoot long range for sport, hunting, or competition? What is your best long-range shot or group? What equipment or setup did you use? Was it one from March Rifle Scopes? Share your answers in the comment section.
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George Lee says
“The scope weighs 24 ounces and is 33 inches long.”
33 inches ???