Living on a rural parcel of land—as I once did—presents some defensive challenges. While those who live in urban or suburban areas can generally provide for almost all of their personal protection needs with a handgun, rural property owners need a rifle or rifles of some sort to ensure adequate coverage of the external areas (the perimeter) of their homes and outbuildings at various ranges.
While the close perimeter (under 200 yards) can be adequately defended with a 5.56 rifle, the “extended perimeter” (which runs from 200 to 500 yards or more) is a different thing, as the 5.56 is running out of gas at those distances. Also, inside the close perimeter, a non-magnified or low-power red-dot-type optic will often serve well in most defensive situations one might encounter. So in order to adequately defend the extended perimeter of your property from two or four legged interlopers, you will need to increase the horsepower of your defensive rifle cartridge AND your optic.
The L7 1-6×24 Variable Rifle Scope from Lucid Optics is about as ideal a choice as one can find for a rifle tasked with the extended perimeter mission. Starting with a 30mm aircraft-grade, one-piece tube finished matte black, Lucid adds just about every feature that modern optics users want in a tactical rifle scope. The L7 is fogproof, shockproof, and waterproof to the point of being submersible. It has multi-coated lenses with 92% light transmission and is parallax adjustable. The turrets are lockable with ½ MOA adjustment clicks and are re-zeroable. All these features are excellent, but there are two other features that I believe really stand out.
The first is the selectable magnification lever, which is a small knurled lever that can be screwed into the scope magnification adjustment ring (or left off). Over the years, I have run across scopes whose zoom adjustment ring was quite difficult to manipulate when lying behind the rifle. Due to superior leverage, the Lucid magnification lever allows you to dial the zoom in and out easily without having to come off the rifle.
The second feature that I really like is the illuminated, etched glass P7 reticle. The P7 reticle is a simple MOA measuring tape type with hold over increments set 8 MOA apart. The central sighting circle with framing wedges and small center micro-dot is a great combination of precision and rapid close-range threat acquisition. Set at 1x, the central circle allows you to run the L7 scope with both eyes open for close-range operations. The really standout feature of the reticle is that its illumination color is BLUE—not red or orange. Powered by a single CR2032 battery, the cool blue reticle stands out very well against any background, and the brightness level is adjustable. It is eye-catching without being distracting, and I believe it is superior to red-illuminated reticles.
I tested the Lucid L7 on a Stag Arms 7 AR-15 in 6.8 SPC caliber. The 6.8 SPC is about as ideal a caliber for an extended perimeter rifle as one could ask for. Developed over two years between 2002 to 2004 by Remington Arms and the U.S. Army Marksmanship unit, the 6.8 SPC was designed to replace the 5.56mm round as our standard military service round, with minimal modifications to our current M16/M4 inventory. While the 5.56mm was a great jungle fighting round, in the open deserts and mountainous country of Afghanistan, its performance was soon found to be sorely lacking. It is a shame that our military did not adopt the 6.8, as it provides excellent ballistics with bullets ranging from 110-120 grains, and gives the user 500 more FPE at the muzzle over the 5.56.
The Stag Arms 7 features a round aluminum tube handguard, A2 buttstock, and railed flattop receiver. The barrel is 20.77 inches long with an 11 degree target crown. Overall weight is 7.8 pounds. It is a solid rifle designed for hunting and capable of excellent accuracy.
I mounted the L7 to the Stag 7 (perfect combo?) using M10 Scope Rings from the American Rifle Company. The M10 rings have worked very well with a number of scopes I have used over the years. They are very high quality, made in the USA, and will last a lifetime.
I headed out to the range with two 6.8 SPC loads from Hornady: their 110-grain BTHP from their “American Gunner” line and their 120-grain SST load from their Custom Line. The American Gunner line is designed to be consumed by shooters in mass quantity. The 6.8 SPC is a new offering, and like the other rounds in the American Gunner line, is all American-made with a brass case and high quality components. It comes packaged in a 50-round box. The Hornady Custom line has been around forever, and is a favorite of law enforcement when critical shots are needed. The 6.8 SPC SST load features a V-Max type red polymer-tip SST bullet with a cannelure on the bullet to help hold the bullets in place in the magazine during repeated semi-automatic fire.
The optics on the L7 are excellent. I was doing my test at 6 p.m. in mixed sun and shade between the 100-yard firing point and the target holder. The silhouette target was easy to pick up due to the excellent clarity of the L7. Both Hornady loads functioned flawlessly in the Stag 7. Felt recoil was greater than a 5.56 AR, but about half of what one would receive if firing a .308 caliber AR in the same weight range with the same type of stock.
The blue-illuminated reticle is perfect for lower-light encounters. Elevation and windage adjustments are easily made with the extended turrets. Working the zoom as I sighted in was a snap with the selectable magnification lever. Groups with both loads were easily within the 2-inch range when firing from the prone position using a Montie Gear AR-Rest.Lightweight. It was a very satisfactory test of the entire shooting system.
The Lucid L7 is a great optic. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which I doubt you will ever have to use. Best of all, with an MSRP of $449, you get a tremendous amount of scope for the money.
Lucid L7 Scope: www.mylucidgear.com
Stag Arms 7: www.stagarms.com
The American Rifle Company Rings: www.americanrifle.com
Hornady Ammunition: www.hornady.com
Montie Gear Rest: www.montiegear.com