A Very Merry Black Rifle Holiday Gift Guide

   11.14.14

We’re getting into the gift giving, and more importantly, gift receiving season. Here are some of our top picks for black rifle accessories to give to the shooter in your life. Some are old and some are new; some are expensive and others not, but all are useful additions to the modern sporting rifle.

DoubleTap Ammunition .308 Winchester 125-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip – $35/box

DoubleTap .308 125-grain ammunition.
DoubleTap .308 125-grain ammunition. Image by Tom McHale.

When compiling this list of gift ideas, I thought it would be helpful to consult the “Godfather of Boom!” for his personal pick for black rifle ammunition. In public circles, you might know him as Mike McNett, founder of DoubleTap Ammunition. If you’ve ever met him, you might (correctly) get the idea that he really likes hot ammo. It’s all within safe limits, just hot.

It’s no surprise that his personal favorite is a smokin’ .308 round topped with a 125-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip projectile. It’ll move plenty fast, about 2,950 feet per second from a Ruger SR762 with a 16-inch barrel. According to Mike, “It is the flattest-shooting round in .308 out to 800 meters. It is what I use for home protection in my Ruger SR762.”

There you have it. When robbing Mike’s home, don’t get closer than about 800 meters and you’ll be fine. It’s available direct from DoubleTap for about $35 a box.

XProducts Drum Magazine – $200

Here's a 50-round skeletonized model for .223 / 5.56mm
An XProducts 50-round drum. Image by Tom McHale.

I’ve never paid much attention to drum magazines for black rifles, at least until I checked out the X Products version. Made from steel and aluminum, these are no plastic discount catalog gimmicks. They’re getting to be a big deal on the 3-gun circuit for good reason. Sporting a 50-round capacity, the overall height is still lower than a normal 30-round magazine, do you can dive for prone position shooting and get even lower to the ground.

They’re not just for 5.56x45mm black rifles, either. Check out the XProducts website to see options for .308 and other calibers.

You can find a 50-round standard drum for about $200 at Brownells.

Hawke Optics Endurance 30 Optics – $319

The Hawke Endurance 30. Image by Tom McHale.
The Hawke Endurance 30. Image by Tom McHale.

New from Hawke Optics is the Endurance 30 series with some great options for black rifles in .223 Remington and .308. My standard-use pick would be the Endurance 30 1-4×24 model with the Hawke L4A dot reticle. It’s illuminated with a red dot in the center and combination of heavy and light posts etched into the glass. It offers fast target acquisition with enough granularity for precision shooting. Hawke is also making some neat ballistic drop compensation scopes for .223 and .308 with yardages etched on the glass if you dig longer range shooting.

I’ve reviewed a number of Hawke Optics products in the past and found them to be great values. The scopes are solid and perform, yet they’re affordable. Details like sturdy flip-up lens covers make these optics seem a lot more expensive than they actually are.

Check out the Endurance 30 at Hawke Optics. The basic model is $319.

Aimpoint Carbine Optic – $393

The Aimpoint ACO. Image courtesy Aimpoint.
The Aimpoint ACO. Image courtesy Aimpoint.

I’ve always loved Aimpoint’s. red dots. Since I like these on a defensive rifle, the “always on” feature is fantastic. You never, ever have to worry about turning your red dot on when you go for your rifle. Just leave it on all the time and make yourself a reminder to change the battery every year.

New for 2015 is the Aimpoint Carbine Optic (ACO). Made specifically for AR-pattern guns, it has a fixed-height mount pre-measured for back up iron sight co-witness. By making the optic platform-specific, Aimpoint was able to reduce the price to an entry-point level. It’s got a 2 MOA dot, and if you leave it on all the time, the batteries will last for about a year.

It’s just hitting the dealer shelves now, but you can find more information at Aimpoint. MSRP is $393.

These Howard Leight muff pads make a great stocking stuffer. Image courtesy Howard Leight.
These Howard Leight muff pads make a great stocking stuffer. Image courtesy Howard Leight.

Howard Leight Ear Muff Pads – $0.50

Here’s a great invention that you’ll use in warm and cold months. If you wear exterior ear muffs for hearing protection, you might be familiar with that sweaty and sticky feeling around the ears. In winter months, those plastic ear pads get cold and clammy. Howard Leight Cool Pads are disposable adhesive pads that you apply to the padded ear cup of your ear muffs. They’ll absorb sweat and humidity in the summer months and provide a bit of extra insulation when it’s cold out. When they get icky, peel them off and apply another set.

You can find five packs and boxes of 20 five-packs and they work out to about $0.50 a pair when you do the math. You can get more information at Howard Leight.

Maglula Range BenchLoader – $165

The maglula Range BenchLoader. Image by Tom McHale.
The maglula Range BenchLoader. Image by Tom McHale.

New from the finger-saving engineers at Maglula is the Range BenchLoader. Like its predecessor, the BenchLoader, it’s designed to load instantly from one to 30 rounds in an AR rifle magazine. The new model is light, portable, and works with all modern sporting rifle magazines—even the Surefire 60-round models.

Suggested retail price is $165. For more information, visit www.maglula.com.

Badger Ordnance Tactical Charging Handle Latch – $20/$120

The Badger Ordnance Tactical Charging Handle Latch. Image courtesy Badger Ordnance.
The Badger Ordnance Tactical Charging Handle Latch. Image courtesy Badger Ordnance.

Okay, forget the “tactical” part of this product. It’s just handy if your black rifle has any type of receiver-mounted optic. The latch is enlarged and extended, so even if you have a scope that gets in the way of standard charging handle operation, it’s easy to reach. You don’t have to do digging underneath the rear of the optic to find the charging handle.

You can buy just the extended latch and mount it to your existing charging handle or you can just buy the complete charging handle with the bigger latch built in. The neat part is that Badger makes the extended latch in right-hand, left-hand and both-side configurations.

They’re available at Brownells. The latch only is less than $20, while the complete charging handle is about $100. You can pick up the ambidextrous model for about $120.

Warne RAMP Scope Mount – $150-160

A very green Warne RAMP scope mount. Image courtesy Warne.
A very green Warne RAMP scope mount. Image courtesy Warne.

If you want to mount a scope to a black rifle, it’s hard to beat a Warne scope mount. Both  the SKEL and RAMP products are one-piece mounts with rings that have an aggressive cantilever design that puts the scope far enough forward to provide proper eye relief. The SKEL model is basic with rings only, while the RAMP model provides angled Picatinny rail segments so you can mount a small red dot sight at a 45-degree angle for close targets. If you check out a 3-gun match, you’ll see these two products everywhere.

If you shop around, you can find a SKEL mount for about $110 and a RAMP for $150 to $160.

These are some of our favorites, now get those gift lists together!

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