With the recent surge in popularity of lever action
rifles in general, and Marlin's big bore hunting lever actions in
particular, many hunters and shooters have been searching for a
better way to put a scope sight on their guns.
Marlins have always been relatively easy guns upon
which to mount a scope, but the conventional method of placing the
scope directly atop the action has affected both the versatility
and handling qualities of the rifles. Some shooters prefer a scope
mounted in this fashion, and others do not. When speaking
big bore lever guns, I place myself in the last category.
A large, bulky scope on a lever action rifle, while making it much
easier to place a shot at moderate to long distance, does nothing
for the handling qualities or the aesthetics of the rifle. At the
same time, mounting a scope over the action precludes the use of
a receiver-mounted aperture sight as a backup, should the scope
become unserviceable during the course of a hunt.
Recently, AO Sight Systems has come up with
a solution, the AO Lever Scout scope mount. This mount allows the
mounting of an intermediate eye relief "scout" scope just
ahead of the receiver on Marlin's excellent Guide Gun and Outfitter
rifles. They also are developing this mount for other popular lever
action rifles such as the Winchester Big Bore. Mounting the scope
in this position allows the shooter a very quick sight picture when
the gun is brought to the shoulder. This AO Lever Scout mount, when
coupled with a quality low-powered scope, enables a shooter to mount
and fire the rifle with both eyes open, greatly enhancing the field
Another real advantage of placing the scope ahead
of the receiver, is that it allows the use of AO's Ghost Ring
sights [Ed. Note: see Jeff's article on the AO Ghost Ring sights
at AO Ghost Ring - Boge Quinn]
as a backup to the scope. In the case of a damaged scope sight,
the hunter could loosen with a coin or screwdriver the scope rings,
and in less than a minute be back in the hunt with the Ghost Ring
peep sights. Also, under some weather conditions, a scope is just
not usable, such as the case of heavy rain or snow. Again, with
the Lever Scout mount, the scope can be quickly removed, and later
replaced with no significant loss of zero.
I recently received for testing the AO Lever Scout
mount along with the excellent Leupold M8 2-1/2 power Scout
scope. Anyone even remotely familiar with shooting and hunting
optics knows the name Leupold means quality. Leupold makes some
of the most respected optics in the world. Their riflescopes are
the first choice of many of the world's most elite military and
law enforcement units. Members of these units know that when it
comes to optics, second best is not good enough. Hunters and target
shooters have also depended upon Leupold scopes for many years.
They are the scopes to which all others are compared, and have very
few peers when a high quality scope is needed.
The combination of the AO Lever Scout and Leupold
Scout scope jointly received the award for best new product at the
2001 SHOT show in New Orleans. When mounted on a new Marlin Guide
Gun, it was also one of the most looked-at and handled products
at the show.
I attached the scope mount to a new Marlin Guide
Gun in 45-70 caliber. The mount went on easily after removing
the rear sight from the Marlin with the drift punch provided with
the AO mount. Everything needed, including clear and detailed instructions,
is provided with the mount. I used a set of Weaver low rings, which
provided plenty of clearance, to attach the Leupold M8 to the mount.
The result of this project turned out even better
than anticipated. The Leupold Scout Scope is very compact, measuring
only ten inches in length and adding very little to the weight of
the Marlin, while neither adversely effecting the handling or the
looks of this fine lever gun. The precise, clear optics of the Leupold
combined with the sturdy, high quality AO mount proved handy to
carry and easy to get on target. This is a combination that I plan
to leave mounted on the Guide Gun. I can think of nothing better
to carry on a hunt for the largest game that walks this continent
when the shooting will be at close to moderate range. And if the
weather turns foul, the AO Ghost Ring sight is there for backup.
For more information on the AO mount, contact the
manufacturer at: www.ashleyoutdoors.com.
To see the specifications on the Scout scope and all Leupold products,
click on www.leupold.com. You
won't be disappointed.
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