View Full Version : New Wm. Malcolm Tube Scope

Toby Bridges
March 21, 2005, 06:19 AM
If any of you "old guys" (like me) are looking for a quality, yet affordable tube type scope for a black powder cartridge rifle (or traditionally styled muzzleloader for that matter), Leatherwood Optics has just what you are looking for. Jim Leatherwood has recently introduced a new-made copy of the Wm. Malcolm telescopic rifle sight of 1870-1880 design.

The scope comes complete with a set of excellent external adjustment mounts that allow the scope to be mounted to most BPCR barrels using the exisiting rear and front sight dovetails - requiring a minimum of gunsmithing.

I've done quite a bit of shooting with one of the scopes, which was mounted on an original .45-70 Sharps Borchardt, and was thoroughly impressed.

There is a report on my experiences with the new-made Letherwood "Wm. Malcolm" scope on my website at www.hpmuzzleloading.com.

If you've stayed away from mounting a scope on your favorite BPCR due to the high $1,000-plus price tag of a custom made telescopic tube sight, here is the solution. Price $419.00.

There should be more information on the scope published on the Leatherwood website later this week at www.leatherwoodoptics.com .

Toby Bridges

4V50 Gary
March 21, 2005, 09:57 PM
Hey, thanks for the update on scopes. I read the article and Leatherwood's Malcom scope looks promising.

Now, the Morgan James with its internally adjustable reticle would be my choice (hint, hint) or even the Davidson scope for the Whitworth crowd.

Mike Weber
March 21, 2005, 11:04 PM
I've given thought to one of those Davidson scopes for my Whitworth. Most of the BPCR shooting that I'm around doesn't allow scoped rifles only mid and long range tang sites. The scope would be great on a hunters Sharps though.

Jim Watson
March 21, 2005, 11:08 PM
Davidson scope?

The only good XIX century pattern scopes I know of are Parsons, RHO, and MVA.

More is better. There is a small but growing scope class in NRA BPCR shooting and the Leatherwood will reduce the cost of entry for our graying, presbyoptic, and post-cataract shooters. But I haven't heard of a Davidson.

Edit to add: I have found references to *original* Davidson scopes, no repros a working man can afford, though.

Bob Thompson
March 24, 2005, 03:24 PM
Jim, do you have any web addresses for Parsons, RHO and MVA scopes? Do I understand that Pedersoli's brass replica is not of very good quality? Also thanks to all who brought this back to the forum. I inquired a while back and still want a scope for my 1874 Sharps heavy target model. Bob

Jim Watson
March 24, 2005, 03:46 PM
Probably the most usable because it has windage in the rear mount (Front too, for calm air zero.) Shorter tubes than others, sliding recoil mount like a Unertl. Not as frontier looking but not really inauthentic, not all 19th century scopes were the length of the barrel. A friend has one, very nice.

Only shows scope *repair* you will have to ask if they are still making long tube scopes. I know of one of these in use... in MVA mounts with their windage rear. He was really throwing money at the problem.

Another friend has one of those and it is good glass, maybe better than MVA, but limited in convenience by the front windage.

The Jap brass tube scopes from Pedersoli, Navy, Dixie, et al run from cheap and nasty to quite fair optics. I once saw a 4X Hesco that was not bad at all. But the brass brackets (I won't call them scope mounts.) common to all are terrible. The Hesco was in gunsmith's shop-made mounts that fit some standard block or base and gave a measure of usability but not enough adjustment range for silhouette or midrange target shooting.

Bob Thompson
March 24, 2005, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the links Jim. Bob

David Todd
April 23, 2005, 08:40 AM
Howdy, Folks!
I just registered here, and was looking for info concerning resizeing 45/70 brass to 40/65 when I happened on theis post.

I have a toola and die maker pal that made a set of mounts for my Navy Arms scope, becuase the brass things that came with it are simply crap! :confused:

I gave him some pics of the RHO mopunts, and comparing them to the diameter of my scope, he made a set of drawings and built the mounts, complete with scales made of brass and enlayed, for windage and elevation, ratcheting elevating screw, the works.

I don't know how to post a photo, however, can somebody help me, I sure would like to show this rig, the rifle is a Uberti Highwall replica.

David Todd
April 23, 2005, 09:04 AM
Well, I'm gonna try this thing and see how it turns out!
here goes...
Nutnin' to it!! :D

4V50 Gary
April 23, 2005, 09:38 AM
Holy cows! Those mounts are a lot more sophisticated than anything of the period. About the only thing missing is a spirit level. ;)

Do follow-up and report to us the performance of your rifle with telescope sights (period venacular).

David Todd
April 23, 2005, 09:46 AM
I'm having a bit of trouble with the resized 45/70 cases, they seem to be biggger thicker than the new 40/65 cases that I have.
But still , the last time I shot it before we tweaked the front mount, I put 5 shots into a 4" group at 200 yards with it.
This was in the winter on a pretty cool day for some, but normal for us (note fur hat!)
Cases were resized 45/70, with a Lyman bullet crammed on top of a full load of Pyrodex.
My buddy loaded them , and didn't know exactly what he was doing with the ammo, not being a black powder guy.
I bought the rifle off him and put the scope on http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v104/catnthehat/cartridge.jpg
note the sand bags, as I didn't bring the bench rest.
This session was just checking out the mounts


Jim Watson
April 23, 2005, 03:24 PM
I am not expert in case forming but you might try annealing the mouth and neck of what you have made. Or try another brand of .45-70 brass to start with; I don't remember which is thinner, Remington or Winchester.

You will likely get better accuracy with real black powder than Pyrodex, if you do it right. Lots of information at

and at the Shiloh board
They won't care that you shoot a Highwall instead of a Sharps.

Very impressive set of mounts, better than the ones I saw shop made to salvage one of those brass Jap scopes.

David Todd
April 23, 2005, 03:54 PM
Ya, they aren't they are pretty cool!
I was very lucky that my buddy decided that this rifle was not for him!

When we measured the cases, they are about .005 thicker than the HDS 50/60 cases, so I will neck turn them.

The HDS caes I loaded last night and shot today were going into 1.5" at 100 yards, so I am off to a good start .
these were loaded with a Lyman bullet, 62 grains of FFG, a bubble wrap base wad, and a fed210 primer with no crimp.
I don't use pyrodex as a rule, except in some of my BP shotguns.
I am going to mess with the base wad and load density/OAL now! :)


David Todd
July 4, 2005, 07:40 AM
Well, we got out to the Outpost of the Empire range the other day, and it was AWESOME!! :D
I took a friend who had never fired BP cartridge before, and he did most of the testing as I am laid up with shoulder injuries.
Big Jon did very well, even though he had to hhold over about ten feet to hit the 1,000+ meter target! :eek:

At the shorter range(425 yards) he was able to drop more than a few into a 6" circle, but at the long range he put the final three into about a 20" group.
We were impressed, to say the least.

This rifle will be shot as a hunter and silly wet rig mostly inside 500 so I am not too worried about the major hold over needed at 1,000+

After I shot the front mount out of the dovetail, My buddy d&T'd it onto thr front of the barrel, it doesn't move now.
I really fun rifle to shoot!

September 25, 2005, 10:04 PM
so which tube scope is the best for the money?

David Todd
September 25, 2005, 10:50 PM
The navy Arms (tasco) is likely the cheapest, but so are the mounts!
The stock ones are simply crap.

I think the RHO is likeley the better buy, but maybe someone else can elabotrate a little better than I....

October 7, 2010, 09:13 PM
It's been some time since this thread was started. Since then I've authored an article and posted it on my web site titled SEARCHING FOR A COST EFFECTIVE BPCR SCOPE SOLUTION. To see the article click on the following link.


October 7, 2010, 11:51 PM
Thanks, Wayne. Hope your book is a great success.