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short scopes for low-mounting on AK w/ TWS rail?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2012 at 12:50
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Optics GrassHopper
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If you look around the web there are lots of good examples of mounting an Acog or other scope fairly high over the TWS Gen2 Rail on an AK type rifle.

If you want to mount a long scope low on an AK, an interesting and unusual option, the extra-long TWS handguard which completely replaces the rear sight base, and allows you to detach the TWS top cover and lift it off vertically. However, it was only briefly offered for sale, so I assume TWS only did one small production run and then decided not to make any more for some reason.

But if you want to mount a scope as low as possible on the TWS rail and a standard AK, you're limited to relatively short scopes. There don't seem to be all that many to pick from. I haven't seen this option discussed much, so here's a tentative list of some shorter scopes that, on paper, seem like they might work when low-mounted on the TWS rail: (In conformance with opticstalk.com rules, all links are either to the manufacturer's site for a decription, or to SWFA.)

1. $ 690, 5.7" long, 3.5" eye relief, 16 oz, IOR 3x25 QR-TS.
2. $1100, 7.3", 3.5" er, 23 oz, IOR Pitbull QR-TS 1:4x23.
3. $ 270, 8", 4.9" er, 8 oz, Leupold FX-II 2.5x20, SWFA.
4. $ 150, 8.1", 3.4" er, 11 oz, Nikon P-223 3x32, at SWFA.
5. $1520, 8.5", 3.5" eye relief, 21 oz, US Optics 1-4x22 SN-4S, dual FFP and SFP reticle.
6. $1270, 8.8", 3.5" er, 17 oz, Nightforce 1-4x24 NXS, FC-2 reticle.
7. $ 170, 9.2", 4" er, 9 oz, Weaver V3 1-3x20, at SWFA.
8. $ 900, 9.3", 4" er, 15 oz, Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5-5x20 w/ Illuminated SPR reticle.
9. $ 318, 10.2", 3.2" er, 18 oz, Leatherwood CMR 1-4x24, (specs).
10. $ 436, 10.2", 3.2" er, 16.5 oz, Leatherwood CMR 1-4x24 w/ AK762 reticle, (description).
11. $ 500, 10.4", 3.3" er, 15 oz, Bushnell Elite 1.25-4x24, at SWFA, (older seemingly identical "Elite 4200" version, link now broken).
12. $ 260, 10.4", 4" er, 12 oz, Nikon Monarch African 1-4x20.
13. $ 290, 10.4", 4" er, 14 oz, Nikon M-223 1-4x20, at SWFA.
14. $ 800, 10.4", 3.75" er, 18 oz, SWFA Super Sniper 1-4x24, (discussion).
15. $1000, 10.5", 3.75" er, 23 oz, SWFA Super Sniper 1-6x24, (discussion).

Your experience or thoughts with these or other scopes, especially if low-mounted on an AK and TWS rail?

Note that the reticles are all over the place on those scopes; some have holdovers, some have illumination, some have both, some neither. This January 2012 SWFA SS 1-4x24 and ACOG vs. low power variable threads had some good discussion of different scopes and reticles. There also seem to be a lot scopes out there whose reticles are nearly invisible on 1x until you turn on the illumination. Personally, reticle illumination seems like a nice bonus, but I want a reticle that's easy to see at all magnifications even with no batteries.

From my own experimenting so far, the 9.2" Weaver 1-3x20 mounts very easily on the TWS rail as long as you leave off the TWS aperture sight. You could probably squeeze the aperture on there if you're willing to mount the scope a bit higher and/or farther forward. The 10.4" Nikon Monarch African 1-4x20 (which has a built-in 0.5" long sun shade) just barely squeezes onto the TWS rail; no way are you ever going to get the aperture sight on there with it. Contrary to some of the specs I've seen, the two scopes have exactly the same eye relief, and I prefer to mount them both with the eyepiece just at the rear of the TWS rail. The Nikon overhangs the rail's hinge point at the front, so you can only open the top cover part way. Although surprisingly annoying at first, it still opens enough to field strip the rifle. If I end up deciding to keep the Nikon mounted on the AK, I may try dremeling away some of its integral sunshade so I can get the TWS top-cover opened farther with the scope mounted.

Note that I have a long neck and tend to crawl the stock a bit, so you might want them mounted slightly farther back, say over the angled part of the AK's top cover or even to the very rear end of the top cover, rather than just at the end of the flat part. (But from pictures on the web, I am amazed at how ludicrously far back so many people seem to mount scopes on AKs; that just can't work well.)

Here on OpticsTalk, user "Grant" tried the Nikon Monarch African 1-4x20, Bushnell 1.25-4x, and Weaver 1-3x on his AKs, some on the TWS rail and some on a side mount. He said the 10.4" Bushnell Elite 4200 1.25-4x fit well on the TWS rail. If the length and eye relief numbers above are correct, the 10.2" Leatherwood CMR should fit just as well or even better.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2012 at 14:02
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Optics GrassHopper
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I have a penchant for com bloc weaponry.  If using the TWS rail and you want to get low the choices from IOR are the obvious ones.   I've never used them but I'm sure with some snooping around you'll find they are a quality product. 
I have a VEPR on the way that will be using a side mount 30mm optic or rear sight block replacement mounted optic.  Vepr's are notorious accurate for AK variants.  Normally, I like to keeps thing lightweight and just use irons or a small Aimpoint but this one has a heavy rec. and barrel so I don't plan on lugging it around anyway.  There are many optics mounting choices now that were absent just a few short yrs ago for this platform.  Have fun.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2013 at 00:21
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Optics GrassHopper
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I found a few more scopes that might be suitable for mounting low on the TWS rail:

16. $1330, 8.8", 3.5" er, 17 oz, Nightforce 1-4x24 NXS, FC-3G reticle. (Same scope as above, just a new reticle, and a new link.)
17. $228, 9.4", 3.6" er, 17.3 oz, Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24, 1st focal plane BTR-1 reticle, (discussion one, two).
18. $250, 9.5", 4.8-3.9" er, 17 oz, Primary Arms 1-6X, (blog, Oleg), not available yet.
19. $500, 9.7", ? er, ? oz, CMR4 1-4x24, (prototype)
20. $1400, 10.1", 4" er, 25.2 oz, Razor HD Gen II 1-6x24.

21. $330, 9.2", 4.3-3.8" er, 9.5 oz, Leupold Mark AR 1.5-4x20, SPR reticle, "calibrated for 300 Blackout 125gr OTM 2223 FPS". (The 2.5 mil spacing between the horizonal hash marks seems weird.)
22. $450, 9.4", 4.1-3.7" er, 11.5 oz, Leupold VX-R 1.25-4x20, FireDot Circle reticle.
23. $580, 9.4", 4.1-3.7", 11.5 oz, Leupold VX-R Patrol 1.25-4x20, FireDot SPR reticle.
24. $230, 9.5", 4.2-3.7" er, 8.1 oz, Leupold VX-1 1-4x20, (specs), which is not a 1x, it's actually 1.4x.
25. $400, 9.5", 4.4-3.7" er, 9.3 oz, Leupold VX-3 1.5-5x20, 1", duplex.
26. $600, 9.6", 4.5-3.7" er, 14.3 oz, Leupold VX-3 1.5-5x20, 30mm, Illum Circle Dot.

Leupold's lineup is a little hard to disentangle; they may have a few others (and certainly some other reticles) that would physically fit. None of them seem all that compelling to me for this application, but they'd probably do the job.

Since most of my AKs are basically spare rifles anyway, I'm tempted just to slap the little Weaver 1-3x20 on all of them and call it done. I wish the Nikon 1-4x20 was shorter though, as it seems like a worthwhile upgrade over the Weaver. For my primary rifle, I'd consider upgrading to the CMR4 or Nightforce. Of all the cool new 1-6x scopes currently available, the Vortex Razor is the only one that looks like it might fit for this mounting application, but it's so heavy that I'd hesitate to put it on the TWS rail anyway.

The new Bushnell AR 1-4x24 and Leatherwood CMR4 sound interesting, but there's very little feedback available on them yet. In fact I'm not even sure if they're actually shipping yet. I wonder about the Bushnell AR 1-4x24 vs. the (very cheap for a 1-6x) Primary Arms, since they're very similar in cost. Also whether or not the presumably higher quality CMR4 is in practice more useful at 4x than the cheaper Primary arms is at 6x.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2013 at 00:32
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Optics GrassHopper
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Crud, I just realized that my first link for #18 the PA 1-6x above is to a competing optics vendor, which breaks SWFA's forum rules here, but the forum software won't let me edit my post... Sorry.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2013 at 07:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2013 at 10:14
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UMMM --- WhateverWhistlingAK 47    its an AK  -- its for CQB    --  its not a Target Rifle.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/24/2013 at 10:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2014 at 09:02
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28. $250, 8.7", 2.2-2.6" er, 15 oz, Primary Arms 1-6x w/ ACSS 7.62x39-300AAC Reticle.

Interestingly, the 7.62x39 version of the Primary Arms 1-6x apparently is not just a reticle change, it is a significantly different scope; much shorter length, shorter eye relief, different field of view, etc. The very short length (even shorter than the Weaver 1-3x, about the same as the Nightforce 1-4x) may make it compelling for this AK low-mount application. However, I've unfortunately heard nothing about how it compares quality-wise to other scopes I'm more familiar with, like say the Weaver 1-3x or Nikon 1-4x20.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2014 at 09:24
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29. $530, 10.2", 3" er, 17 oz, Leatherwood CMR4 1-4x24 w/ AK 7.62x39 reticle.

I'm also still a bit confused by the CMR4 scopes. Has anyone actually used one? Are their optics in fact noticeably better than the original CMR as the manufacturer claims?

Leatherwood's 2013 catalog is at least explicit that it is the exact same 10.2" length as the original CMR, not shorter like the prototype was.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2014 at 12:21
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Optics on a AK? What are you Gents thinking? I want a honest range w/ optics on a AK. I was trained on the AK in Army and the American built AK's are what the Russians are using.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2014 at 12:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/20/2014 at 12:53
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Originally posted by atp atp wrote:

28. $250, 8.7", 2.2-2.6" er, 15 oz, Primary Arms 1-6x w/ ACSS 7.62x39-300AAC Reticle.

Interestingly, the 7.62x39 version of the Primary Arms 1-6x apparently is not just a reticle change, it is a significantly different scope; much shorter length, shorter eye relief, different field of view, etc. The very short length (even shorter than the Weaver 1-3x, about the same as the Nightforce 1-4x) may make it compelling for this AK low-mount application. However, I've unfortunately heard nothing about how it compares quality-wise to other scopes I'm more familiar with, like say the Weaver 1-3x or Nikon 1-4x20.

I have used both the CMR and the CMR4 and the CMR4 is a better scope: optics are better and turrets are better.

I also prefer the updated reticle design.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2014 at 20:30
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CMR4 Scopes are great for military snipers you do not have to do as much of the math to compensate for drop. No prefer the Mils on them also. The concept basically moves the Windage to the left side also. It's more of a tactical concept than anything else.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/21/2014 at 20:37
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The Cmr4 basically is for the shooter at 550 m and up. They are great scopes but IMO the money isn't worth it unless you want to do Competition and can hit 700 - 1,000 yards. The military adopted the concept and most of Snipers use Leupy's unless they are Special Operations and can choose there scopes. Nightforce and the Leupy ECOS are being used by those guys.
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