All posts by Charles Coker

KAHLES K318i 3-18X50 REVIEW

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Kalhes, they are the oldest optic manufacturer in existence. Based in Austria they have been in the game since 1898. They have never been a huge name in the US due to the lack of a consistent US distributor. That all changed a few years ago when Swarovski Optics, who is their sister company became the US distributor and service center.

This is a first focal plane tactical scope with a 3-18 zoom range, 50mm objective,  tactical turrets, illumination, etc.. in a very compact package.  I have used this hunting in very low light and shooting matches out to 1k.  It has performed flawlessly as expected.  Kahles is the oldest optic manufacture on the planet and are made in Austria.

I will fully admit to have a positive bias towards Kahles scopes.  I got turned on to them like 15 years ago when I was frequenting the OpticsTalk forum. They had a great reputation for having incredible glass and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a CL 3-10X50 hunting scope with the turret that allowed you to preset zeros at different yardages.  This was before the big FFP “tactical” scope thing really came in to play. I was amazed at how much better in low light that scope was in comparison to the common hunting scopes of the day, Leupold, Nikon Monarchs, etc.. In fact I vividly recall hunting with my dad late one evening and I was on a big buck out in the field at 300 yards and had him dead to rights so to speak.  My dad was looking through a Nikon Monarch which as decent scope and a big step up from his trusty old Leupold.  He was saying he couldn’t find the deer.. I switched rifles with him and he went “oh wow, there it is!” Suffice it to say he “got” the need for great glass that evening.

Fast forward a few years and I got a Kahles 3-12×50 FFP tactical scope and was again, blown away by the optical performance.  I recall having a competitor, a USO 3-17 out at the 1k range and how the Kahles resolved the targets, even at the distance better and make shooting easier, despite having less magnification.  I coined a phrase that day “glass trumps magnification”.

If you read those older reviews you can see they care clearly some of the absolute best scopes on the market at any price. 

Now to the details of this optic.

Highlights

  • Ultrashort and lightweight riflescope for demanding shooters
  • Absolutely reliable repeat accuracy and precise, clearly defined click mechanism
  • Wide field of view and exceptional high contrast image
  • Innovative TWIST GUARD windage (patented)
  • Parallax wheel integrated into the elevation turret (patented) (25 m to ∞)
  • Precise illuminated reticles in 1st focal plane

Technical Data

Magnification:3.5 – 18
Eye relief:36 in
Field of view:27.8 – 5.5 in/100 yds
Diopter compensation:+2.5 / -3.5 dpt
Twilight factor (DIN 58388):13.2 – 30.0
Impact correction per click:0.1 MRAD
¼ MOA
Adjustment range (E/W):30 / 20 MIL 102 / 69 MOA
Parallax adjustment:25 m till ∞
Length:123 in
Weight:33.2 oz
Focal plane:1
Illuminated:Yes
Warranty:10 years  

A few standout features:

Clockwise or counter clockwise elevation adjustment.

I got the CCW as being a right handed shooter and using my left hand for elevation adjustments means that for me, it seems more natural to “wind up” by rotation my wrist towards the front of the rifle for longer shots.

I have done extensive testing on tracking. I have a .1 mil (.36″) grid on a large poster sized target. Placed in ranges from 100 to 750 yards. Given that the host rifle will shoot damned near one hole groups if I do my part it makes for a great tracking platform. All my elevation and windage adjustments went exactly where I expected them to go and always returned to the same zero. I always do a box test where start with a round in the dead center. I go right 10 mils, then up 10, then left 20, down twenty, over 10, and back up 10 to get back to my zero. Shooting out to 1k my rounds impacted where I expected them to based on previous data. Good to go. I am generally a dial for elevation and hold for wind but I do sometimes dial for windage correction.

Kahles K3-18i turrets

Left side windage adjustment with Twist Guard

Again, being a right handed shooter having the windage be on the left side of the scope makes so much more sense than being on the right.  I maintain a positive grip and rifle mount with my right hand.  It also features the “twist guard” which is essentially a plate that rotates freely on the outside to prevent it from getting accidentally bumped off center

Elevation turret location for parallax adjustment.

The parallax adjustment is located under the elevation knob and is easy to read and very convenient to use.

Turret mounted parallax adjustment

Zero Stop

Like most tactical scopes, it features a zero stop and this one was easy to setup.

Reticle Illumination

Located on the right side of the scope is the illumination control. Being mil based reticle with a center dot, what gets illuminated is the center dot and the reticle out to the first mil hashmark along with the .5 stradia marking. It is capable of being extremely dimly lit making it actually useable in very low conditions unlike scopes that can’t get dim enough and are actually counter productive by being too bright and causing your pupil to constrict and making matters worse.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it “daytime bright” like a red dot but it is bright enough to make the rather fine reticle easier to find, especially at low magnification settings on a dark target.

MSR/Ki Reticle

This is a mil based reticle featuring a center dot that is .04 mil with .5 and 1 mil hashmarks along with two different ranging reticle features.  Below is the detail on the reticle substensions.

Conclusion

This is an incredible scope and would be ideal on either a competition PRS type rifle or a “tactical” precision hunting rifle and it can certainly serve dual purpose.  I have it on a custom 6.5 Creedmoor with a 22” barrel and it makes for a extremely capable dual purpose rifle.  I like that the glass is outstanding of course, great resolution and clarity.  Works very well in low light.  It has generous and consistent eye relief in all power settings.  I find it very easy to get behind so to speak. It doesn’t exhibit any tunneling (fisheye effect) at lowest magnification settings like some FFPs I have used.  The elevation turret is easy to see where you are at, it has a very positive click and there is a button that pops up when you go into the second revolution making it very easy to know if where you are at.  I love the compact size and for what you get is on the lighter side for a tactical scope.  I can’t recommend the Kahles K3-18 strongly enough.

For more details.

https://www.kahles.at/us/sport/riflescopes/k318i-3_5-18x50i

Orbea Occam: Is it the best trail bike on the market?

Full disclsure.. I am a gnarly old dude, 55 years on planet earth and the last 25 years I have been a mountain biker. I love it, it gets me out in the woods (or the desert) and I get my adrenaline rush, physical fitness and mental health therapy all in the same day!. I have owned a LOT of bikes, I mean 30 or so probably, my first year I went through 4, and in fact got so involved in riding and racing and the quest to have the best I opened a high end shop.

Continue reading Orbea Occam: Is it the best trail bike on the market?

Can you hunt big pigs with a 45?

I have seen this come up often on forums and had people ask me.. well, let me tell you that with good shot placement and a good bullet it works VERY well. I have shot numerous pigs and deer within what I would call “bow range” of 30 yards.. All went down fast and hard. My pistol is a Dan Wesson Valor shooting primarily Hornady Crticial Duty 220g +P. I had it fitted with a threaded factory barrel by my friends over at STI Guns in Georgetown. I installed a set of aftermarket suppressor sights from Novak. I run a Rugged Obsidian can.

Fishing Seadrift in Gulf Coast Classic 180 boat.

What a great way to spend the long weekend.. fishing in Seadrift on our new boat.. We recently picked up this very clean used boat from an old family friend, Ronnie Hubbell. Ronnie and our family go way back like 50 years. He started working for my dad when he was about 18 at Portland Marine and became and invaluable employee and lifelong friend. Later on he went off on his own and started up Ronnie’s Marine in Aransas Pass.

It was a great weekend learning both the area better as well as the boat. My first time running a tunnel hull and a boat with a jack plate. A bit to learn and get a feel for it’s shallow water capabilities Really not wanting to get stuck we took it cautiously over a few trips and I would be lying if I said we weren’t a bit nervous getting into shallower and shallower water. We were able to run into some of the lakes and the thing that kept going off in my head was from Ronnie “It will run shallower that it will float” meaning that while you might be able to run in under a foot of water you might not make it out if you stop! We ran cautiously but were able to twice get it in about as shallow of water as we felt we could run.. a bit nerve wracking, wide open, tripped all the way out and feeling the skeg of the engine bumping bottom but knew we had deeper water ahead and rocked on.

When you see a pelican standing 20 ft from where you are about to run through.. oh boy…

We are geniuinely impressed with the construction of the boat, the layout, storage, design and construction. It’s not a “fancy” boat by any means but it is solid and handles chop and some big waves in the bay very well. It’s also a very dry boat. We have been out on it for 3 weekends and never once got wet, and we ran across bays numerous times in 15-5 mph winds. The 115 Yamaha has a 4 blade stainless prop and pops out of water fast and gets on plane quickly. Jack the motor all the way up and trim all the way in and hammer down!

Looking forward to more time on the water for sure!

David drops the hammer on a nice buck

Went out for a nice 4 days of hunting over the Christmas break with my son David (14) in search of a good cull buck. He got the job done Friday evening. I had spotted a deer before and had pictures of him and discussed with the lease manger. Definitely a targeted hunt for a specific deer that met ranch criteria.

It came in Friday evening and it was windy. Deer were skittish and would just take off for no apparent reason. I saw the buck come in and told David “he’s back” and we shifted seats. He got the 7mm08 in position and it started to walk off into the brush, I said “he’s leaving, get on him but don’t rush the shot” BWAM—— sssscccchhhhhhtttt THWAP! IMPACT!

Saw the deer take off, hit the ground, turn and run, hit the ground again and go off into the brush. I asked him how he felt about his shot, where he aimed, etc.. “In the leg” he said. “In the leg??? !!” was my response.. “In the leg?” He was like, “well,, the shoulder” Ah.. ok, then he grinned and said “He’s dead” Confidence is everything.. We waited about 30 minutes and sure enough, there he was, laying down, antlers up. He made it about 30 yards total. Both legs broke. In the area we were hunting if a deer runs into the thick brush they can be VERY hard to find and people lose deer out there more often than they should. I would rather lose a few pounds of shoulder meat than a whole deer.

Took some pics, high fives, loaded up and headed back to camp. Always funny to see everyone hanging around the cleaning station judging everyone else’s deer. My boy did good.

Good weekend of hunting

We had a great 3 days of hunting this past weekend.  Good times with my son and brother.  Sharing the great outdoors with family and close friends is what it is all about.  I am very thankful that we get to do this and I know my boys will remember these times as the grow old.  Hopefully they are able to have good jobs and can afford to go hunting when they are old dudes!  Getting harder and harder to afford good hunting and that is only going to get worse.  We only shot a cull and a doe, but it was a great weekend!

Continue reading Good weekend of hunting

Great opening weekend in Texas!

Had a great 4 days of hunting on our lease south of Seguin..

We are an MLD property and so our rifle season starts Oct 1 for does and bucks start November 1.  We arrived Wednesday evening and were all really excited to get out and hunt!

We all went out Thursday morning and saw activity but no shooters.

I decided Thursday to hunt a new area that had some long range potential with the blind out on the middle of a field tucked under a tree.  Took out the 6.5 Creedmoor and took a doe at 350 yards with Hornady 143 ELDX.

Running my Southern Precision Rifles 6.5 Creedmoor that I have ran out to 1k many times, I have absolute confidence in this rifle. Golf balls at 500 yards and clay pidgeons at 1k!

  • Defiant Deviant Action
  • McMillan A5 stock
  • Huber Concepts trigger
  • Nightforce 5-25×56 Actar F1 Mil C reticle
  • Nightforce Rings
  • Mueller Rifleworks barrel at 22″
  • Crux Archangel
  • Badger DBM
  • Hornady 143 ELDX

 

Leica Geovid HD 10×42 Rangefinding binos are awesome as well.

 

Saturday morning my buddy Jason shot this nice wide 10 point!

Saturday night it was my turn!

I used this rifle.. a semi custom built around a Tikka CTR 308

Barrel chopped to 16 and threaded

  • McMillan Game Hunter carbon stock
  • Steiner Tactical 3-15
  • Talley rngs
  • Crux Nemesis 30
  • Mountain Tactical DBM
  • Hornday 178 ELDX

https://tacticalgunreview.com/mcmillan-game-hunter-stock-tikka-t3/

 

Bull Red on light tackle in Port O’Connor!

My brother Mike and I spent Saturday fishing Seadrift, despite finding bait activity we just never found the fish..  We decided on Sunday to change gears and head to Port O’Connor.

We woke up at 5AM in our favorite little hotel, the Real Time lodge.  I stepped outside and the wind was calm, checked Doppler Radar on my phone and it looked like offshore showers, sweet!.  We headed to Port O’Connor and put in at the Fishing Center, grabbed some live shrimp and dead finger mullet and made our way to Sunday Pass right at first light with lots of bait in the water and thought for sure, “yeah, we are about to get into the fish!”  Well, we had activity but only put on trout in the box.  We decided to head over to Pass Cavello and ran out into the gulf for a few minutes before turning our little 16ft jon boat back in.  Even with just small rollers we understand how the gulf works and it doesn’t give a (blank) about you!  Having grown up on the coast in the boat business and doing some dumb stuff with boats we know the limits of our boat.

Back in we went and we fished the pass for a while with shrimp (hard head catchers), various top waters and soft baits without much success.  We tried fishing the bottom with cut bait but no luck.

Since it was so calm and it’s that time of the year for bull reds we decided to make a run up to the jetties to check it out.  There wasn’t much boat activity at all and we fished the edge of the jetties for a bit, even trying cut bait on the bottom with bait casters and got hung up several times.  We changed strategy and went to spinning rods and lures.  About a 1/3 of the way out Mike spotted feeding near the rocks cast a gold/black Rapalla Broke-Back lure and WHAM! got a hit, I saw a flash of “something big” and could tell it was a beast..

I spent 30 minutes gently trying to wear it out for fear of it snapping the 20lb line.   Any time I put some pressure on it would just start stripping line off the real.  I was working it and trying not to rush the fish..  working the drag and sometimes applying just a little finger pressure to the side of the spool.

I was praying for the line and knots to hold.   We finally saw it roll near the surface and it was a big old bull red!   I continued fighting it without just trying to muscle it in to the boat as I know from experience big fish can see the boat and make a hard head snap and break off.   When we finally got to land it Mike was like “this net isn’t big enough” Just the head went in and we both we wrestled it up into the boat.  It inhaled the lure, I held up by the gills while Mike worked trying to remove the lure so we could put it back into the water fast.

Really happy with my main trout/redfish rig, there were a few times when it ran under the boat and the rod was doubled over!

  • Waterloo Salinity 7’6″ rod
  • 20lb Windtamer braid
  • Berkely 20lb flourocarbon leader
  • Shimano Stradic 3000

Bull Red Port O'Connor
Bull Red Port O’Connor