The white buffalo was standing still in a
clearing about 1125 yards from my position atop a small ridge.
This was the very same buff that I had seen a year earlier,
standing in the same clearing. It was meant to be. The New
Mexico sun was shining brightly upon the buffalo, and he was
easy to see through the scope. When I had first seen him
the previous year, I knew that I would be back to see him again.
I had often thought of that buffalo in the preceding months, and
now, I had him in my sight. I had never fired at anything at
that long of distance before, but I had confidence in my rifle,
ammunition, and the scope. My ability was the only thing
concerning me at the time, but I had a steady rest. The rifle
was a DPMS .308 AP-4.
The scope was a new 5.5 power ACOG from Trijicon.
I had used ACOGs before (see previous articles here
and here), but
they were smaller and of lesser power. The optical clarity of
this new ACOG was much better than I had expected, even on a
glass as expensive as this ACOG.
The Trijicon ACOG is the scope of choice for
many of our nationís elite military forces. I know that in
Iraq, soldiers are trying to get one on their M4 carbines any
way that they can. They have other optics available, but
will trade off an Aimpoint for an ACOG at the first
opportunity.. They are tough, reliable scopes, and are a
valuable aid to accurate fire, especially in low-light
conditions. I have a couple of other ACOGs on AR-15 rifles, and
they have never let me down. One of my favorite endearing
features of the ACOG is that it needs no batteries. Trijicon
uses tritium to light the aiming point, so it is always
"on", always ready. Some of their models also feature
their BAC illuminator which brightens the reticle according to
the available light conditions. This also uses no batteries, and
it offers a good bright aiming point in sunlight, but produces a
much fainter aiming point in low-light conditions, just as is
desired. It works automatically, and perfectly, and the new
5.5x50 ACOG has this feature. Trijicon offers the 5.5 power ACOG
with the reticles calibrated for either the .223 Remington
(5.56mm NATO) or .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) cartridges.
The one reviewed here is the TA55A, which is set up for the .308
Winchester cartridge, and includes the flattop adapter, to allow
easy mounting on any Picatinny rail, such as on the DPMS AP-4
carbine to which I attached the ACOG. This ACOG comes with a
nylon case, and a scope cover. Like all ACOGs, the housing is
made from forged aluminum, and it is waterproof to 100 feet. It
is one really tough scope.
The reticle on this ACOG is calibrated out to
1200 meters, and is very easy to use. With most scopes, shooting
at long range requires the use of a special scope base with
built-in elevation. The ACOG does not. It is entirely useful
from as close as a few feet, out to 1200 meters. There is no
need to turn turrets or adjust anything after the scope is
sighted in. Just aim and squeeze the trigger. Simple. The
reticle looks like this:
I lifted this image from Trijiconís web site
to better illustrate the reticle. The results of my attempts at
taking a picture of it through the scope were not too good.
After sighting in the ACOG, I found that the aiming points were
pretty darned accurate using Lake City military ball
ammunition. I fired at varying known ranges on silhouette
targets, and the aiming points were pretty much dead on.
As an aside, I also tried out a new duffel bag
while playing around with the DPMS AP-4 rifle. This bag is
called the Big Foot, and it certainly is a versatile bag.
The one that I used was their medium size, and it was huge. It
could hold the rifle, extra mags, ammo, scopes, lunch, and a
small adult all at the same time. The versatility is in the
ability of the bag to be unzipped, making for a good prone
ground cloth or tarp. Most of the time, I did not even bother to
fully unzip the bag, preferring to lay upon it closed, adding
another layer between me and the rocky ground. If you are
in the market for a good drag bag, duffel, or any versatile
utility bag, check them out at: www.bigfootbag.com.
Back to the ACOG, the 5.5mmx50 is larger than
other ACOGs that I have tried, with a length of twelve and
one-eighth inches, and a weight of one pound and nine ounces. It
also has superior optical quality to any other ACOG that I have
used. It is a very bright, clear, easy to use scope.
Returning to the white buffalo, my brother Boge
was spotting for me. Like I stated, I had a pretty good rest,
and was somewhat confident in my ability to hold the rifle
steadily. I held the ACOGís reticle on the "10"
crosshair, which represents 1000 meters. The wind was howling
atop the small ridge from which I was shooting, gusting in the
afternoon New Mexico heat to about forty miles per hour, but
thankfully it was at our backs, and the wind seemed relatively
calm out in the small clearing where the buffalo stood. I
squeezed off the shot. It takes about two and one-half seconds
for the bullet from the AP-4 to travel 1125 yards. However,
after what seemed like much longer, Boge shouted
"Hit!" He seemed a little surprised that his older
brother had made the shot, so I fired again. Another hit. For
the next couple of hours, Boge and I fired many more shots at
that steel buffalo, hitting a lot more than we missed. The DPMS
rifle and the TA55A ACOG made it easier than I would have
thought. We also fired at several other of the NRA
Whittington Centerís steel silhouette targets that
day, including life-size mule deer, antelope, and black bear at
ranges from 600 to 800 yards. The rifle/scope combo performed
admirably at all ranges. The ACOG had plenty of
magnification for the targets. I see no need for higher
magnification, unless the targets are much smaller, as in
varmint hunting. The ACOGís performance exceeded my
expectations, and really changed my perspective of the scope. I
had thought of the ACOG as only being useful for military type
situations, but now see it as an excellent hunting optic as
well. We also fired at rocks of various sizes at both
known and guessed-at distances, with very good results, along
with the sighting in chores on paper targets.
The TA55A ACOG scope is a tough, durable, easy
to use aid to accurate shooting at any distance, and seems to be
the perfect choice for the DPMS .308 rifle. It is not
inexpensive, but quality never is. The ACOG is a top choice of
our nationís elite military forces. If it meets the needs of
those who stand in the gap for us, I think that it will serve
me, and you, just fine.
Check out the entire line of fine Trijicon
products online at: www.trijicon.com.
For a closer look at the DPMS AP-4 rifle, I
refer you to my previous
article in our ARCHIVE
section, or go to: www.dpmsinc.com.
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