Most of those who had the opportunity to test collimator sights on smooth-bore 12-gauge rifles note that it can be difficult to refuse its further use. This is especially true for open sights because of their convenience and functionality.
If we talk about individual models, the reviews are very different: this is due to the fact that, in addition to the technical parameters of the collimator, its correct installation and calibration plays an important role.
A negative opinion about the model may be due to unsuccessful mounting of the sight or improper sighting, so you should be careful about the reviews before choosing a device. The best thing is to find a video about using a particular model.
The use of 12-gauge hunting weapons implies a relatively short distance to the target. Usually it does not exceed 120 meters – for most smoothbore guns this is the ultimate range of an accurate shot. Therefore, optics are not suitable – its capabilities are redundant. The best choice is a collimator sight for smooth-bore weapons. It is well suited for hunting at short distances – it is lighter and more convenient than the optical one, it does not narrow the field of view, and gives a complete vision of a moving target.
The choice of a collimator is not an easy task. The main factor to keep in mind is the muzzle energy of a gun. Most collimators are not adapted for weapons with strong recoil – those that withstand less than 4200 J can be eliminated immediately. After that, choose the device according to preferences, price, technical specifications.
Types and types of sights
The first criterion is the type of sighting device. Collimators come in two flavors.
- Active. The principle of operation is based on the use of battery energy. The device gives a bright mark at any time of the day, regardless of weather conditions. They differ in the type of power sources, in ways of replacing them. The disadvantages of active sights are more weight, “moodiness”. Batteries in a cold climate can behave quite unpredictably – if you approach the selection carelessly, at the right time the device will turn into a useless device. Nevertheless, active collimators are the most widespread category on the market.
- Passive. The luminescence of the label is provided by daylight or an autonomous power source with long-term luminescence. The first type is distinguished by a dimmer, in comparison with electronic, label. Practical use is limited – daylight hours in clear weather. Autonomous models are expensive fixtures; they work for at least a few years, do not require recharging. Most are developed by the defense complex to equip army units and special forces.
If you want to understand the difference when hunting with a collimator on a smooth bore, you can choose an inexpensive passive type model. After acquaintance – to find the suitable sight working from batteries.
The next step in choosing a collimator is design, the sights are open and closed.
- Open. It is the simplest design in the form of a frame with a lens. Maximum visibility, lightness, low cost. Cons – Use may be limited in bad weather conditions. And also they are worse protected from mechanical damage and the impact of recoil weapons.
- Closed. A compromise between a classic optical sight and a collimator. It has the appearance of a tube with several lenses. Protected from precipitation, displays a distinct label in any weather. They are characterized by high durability and stability. Disadvantages – large dimensions, partial overlap of the review, price tag.
Having chosen a sight type, it is possible to pass to the following criteria.
Weaver mount: dovetail and horizontal
Type of mount
If the factory layout of the collimator does not fit the purchased device, you will either have to change the barrel itself, which is unlikely, or install an adapter at home.
The operation of the device in this case will be worse. In addition to a special ventilated strip, there are two common types of mounting:
- “Dovetail” – side mount for models of weapons of domestic production;
- Weaver is a foreign standard, the sight is mounted on universal rails (the closest analogue is the recognizable Picatinny rail).
It is difficult to make a mistake with the mounting base – it is clearly distinguishable visually. If the gun is not equipped with special places for mounting optics, it is worth looking for models with mounts on the aiming plate of the barrel itself.
Types of labels displayed
The next parameter is how the aim mark is displayed. There are two main types:
- Actually, collimator – the label is projected from a directed beam of daylight onto the lens. Differ in a simple principle of operation and accessibility.
- Holographic sights. The name is explained by the fact that the image that the shooter sees is a hologram formed by lenses. An aim mark is projected onto it, but with the help of a laser beam. Models ensure the absence of parallax – the point does not shift depending on the angle of view and is always in the center. Due to the reliability, convenience and variety of displayed reticles, it is a popular choice among fans of smoothbore weapons. It has a high cost.
The second category is recommended for those who have already figured out their preferences.
Label brightness control limits
Most modern collimators have several levels of brightness control tags. The standard indicator for a quality device is at least 5 levels; this is enough to adapt the display to various weather conditions and time of day. Relatively speaking, the brighter the sunlight – the brighter the mark should be.
A smaller number of values severely limits the usefulness of the device – a point can become indistinguishable in the sun, or overexpose the target too much at dusk and at night.
Source and types of food
When choosing an active device, you should immediately consider the probable problems that you may encounter while hunting. The first is frost: some batteries may fail at low temperatures – special attention should be paid to this characteristic. The second is a way to replace the power element. Ideally, the device should have the ability to change the battery without having to remove the device from the weapon.
The information that compact lithium batteries can not withstand cold temperatures should be ignored. This was true for batteries that have been out of use for several years. Frost is not so bad for modern food sources.
Pros and cons for various guns
A few nuances regarding the use of collimators on popular models of smoothbore weapons.
- MP-153, MP-155 – you can advise an open type with mount on the Weaver bar and a label size range from 1 to 10 MOA. The closed type is less preferable, as it is mounted on a bracket, significantly increasing the overall dimensions of the weapon.
- IZH-27 – closed will not work because of its weight, so it is better to take light models. The main problem is the lack of standard mounts, which will have to be purchased, installed and configured separately. The required bar can be determined by the photo of the model of interest of the sight. The same applies to the 27M and 27EM models.
- TOZ-34 – the same lack of a mounting base. Unlike the previous weapons, the mounting of the strap is complicated by the design of the receiver – most likely, the purchased devices will have to be finalized. With insufficient experience, the device can quickly become unusable.
The main rule is to select a model depending on the type of hunt. For fractional shots at moving targets, an open collimator with the ability to replace batteries (if it is active) is suitable. For bullet shooting, a closed sight with fine-tuning capabilities is preferable, but the effects of the weight of the device should be taken into account.
Adjustment and adjustment of the sight
The method of sighting the collimator is a private matter of the owner. You can do this live, working cartridge, or use the kits for cold sighting. The main problem of cold shooting is that it speeds up the process of tuning the collimator, but it cannot be final.
The sighting process cannot be completed without using the usual cartridge, given the recoil factor. The easiest way is to mount the barrel on the stand and adjust through a series of 5-10 shots. Adjustment is made by adjusting screws on the sighting device housing.
Approximate prices for various brands
The price of a collimator may vary:
- Up to 10 thousand – Pilads from VOMZ. Available sights for a wide category of hunting rifles. Ease of execution and reliability.
- The middle price segment is made up of Chinese models like Hakko. Fine tuning is available, additional equipment with mounting rings. Category for those who want to adapt the device to specific conditions.
- Professional collimators – for example, EOTech – can cost several tens of thousands of rubles. These are holographs with maximum durability, ease of use, and aiming mark settings. Additional functionality is available such as target designators.
The main thesis is that you do not need to save on a high-quality collimator. Even taking into account the fact that the cost of some models may exceed the price of the weapon itself.