Reviewing a Scope – Barska 3-9×42 IR Contour Rifle scope

Hey there, B & A Stowaway here! So I did some black Friday shopping, because I’m pretty cheap. Using a few discounts I picked up, I browsed Dunhams Sporting Goods ( and picked up a Barska. I was looking for a red lighted reticle, because when you are hunting hogs, black on black is nobody’s friend. SO it came down to choosing between two Barskas, and I went with the one that was originally $170 but had dropped to $110. With a few discounts and a mild bout of bargaining, I paid $90 for the scope and walked out the door (to later find Amazon selling it for $70).
 Pulling it out of the box, it looks pretty nice. It has see-through dust covers, and the eye-piece is yellow, to help out in those lower light conditions. It has a pretty nice weight to it (a pound, according to my powder scale), not to heavy, but not too light so as to fly apart on my second shot. It’s almost 10 inches long, and sits high enough (it comes with scope rings already) that it doesn’t get in the way of me pulling back my bolt on my AR15.

 On my AR15, the rings settled in quite nicely. I did have to re-tighten after a few shots, but as long as I kept an eye on them, it wasn’t too bad. I did set it forward just a little, so that I’d have a little extra room to actuate my bolt carrier (didn’t have to, just felt like it. I ordered a larger latch for the bolt, but haven’t installed it yet).

Features – like I said, I wanted to get it for the red backlit reticle. It seems to work well in lower light, but in an overcast day, it doesn’t show up at all. It does have a neat drop compensator, so that once you have it dialed in, you can click it down for every hundred feet that you are shooting. I’m not sure what bullet type and weight they have it set at, so forgive me if I’m not going to trust it too much. The adjustment screws are easy to get at, after a little coaxing with my 20 year old Gerber Multitool. It actually dialed in quite nicely with very few rounds, so I was impressed by that.

Performance – Like I said, it dialed in pretty quick. The first 2 shots were a little low and right. The next 2 shots are off to the right of the target, because the Barska and I got into a little disagreement about who’s left we were talking about. Shot 4 was a little low but closer to the middle. Shots 5 and 6 were a little higher, but again, close to the middle. After that, 7 and 8 were the right height, but it turns out that the scope had loosened up – I had to re-tighten the knurled knobs and the Allen heads on the scope mount. After that, the next shot, Mr. 9, was centered, but a little high – thanks to an erroneous adjustment made during my loose period. After that, you’ll notice numbers 10 through 16 were in the orange. This was on a 2 foot target at 100 yards, and my barrel rest was on a box of cartridges wrapped in a Crown Royal bag, so I was pretty impressed with it.

My biggest complaint was the picture – you have to have your eye centered perfectly, or else the lens is super blurry. And it isn’t an easy center either; when you pull the rifle up, you have to wiggle it around a little to make the picture clear. I always set my face on the same spot on my gun; I put three fingers on the stock of the gun, my ring finger aligned with the length of the charging handle. I place the tip of my nose against my pointer finger, and aim from there. With this blurriness issue, it throws me off.

I think it is a good scope, for someone looking for something cheap and accurate. I will probably hold onto it, unless I can trade it for a few AR clips. It isn’t too bad, the red light is useful in very low light conditions, but if you are going to spend the money on a good scope, maybe keep shopping.

Peace out!


Smoke ring from a muzzle break

Went to the range today – expect a review of a pretty good mid level scope this week. 

While we were shooting, the guy next to us had a neat effect with the muzzle brake on his Mossberg MMR tactical 5.56. I caught a video, I hope you guys like it!

I looked into some different muzzle brakes for my rifle – I think I’ll just buy a lathe. They aren’t cheap!