View Full Version : Malcolm Telescopics

March 16, 2012, 10:19 AM
79809Don't know much about 1880's telescopics except they were very expensive. These pictures seem to suggest the body of the sight was lifted at the rear to provide elevation. Did they have just cross hairs or were the cross hairs subdivided like a more modern sight. Trying to decide if a real 1880's marksman would have chosen a telescope or Verier sight for his Shiloh Sharps.79809

March 16, 2012, 10:28 AM
sorry this is the second picture

March 16, 2012, 11:34 AM
There is nothing wrong with just a fine cross hair reticule. I'm pretty sure that's what these scopes have.

4V50 Gary
March 16, 2012, 12:02 PM
Very few old rifle telescopes had internally adjustable reticles c I think the British Davidson scope had a little and relied mostly on the adjustable sight mounts. Ned Roberts book The Muzzle Loading Cap-Lock Rifle featured a Morgan James rifle that had an internally adjustable scope. I tried to find the owner but had no luck.

March 16, 2012, 01:02 PM
Is the rear adjustable mount marked in a vernier scale or is that wishful thinking. Otherwise I imagine you would have to sight in the rifle at 100yds and mark the sight for different ranges. Does anyone know how it was done.

March 16, 2012, 03:34 PM
In the beginning scopes were mounted on the side of the rifle and were used by the shooter lying on his back with the barrel supported between his feet.

March 18, 2012, 04:29 PM
I found this under Dixie gun works it is the rear mount for a malcolm scope fitted with vernier guage windage and elevation screws so the front mount must be some kind of universal joint. There is nothing in this sight mount which is beyond 1870's technology. You could have had one made or marked a standard mount.

March 18, 2012, 08:10 PM
Very few old rifle telescopes had internally adjustable reticles

That's true and the ones that did the crosshairs didn't stay centered.

Lee McNelly
March 18, 2012, 08:46 PM

Jim Watson
March 18, 2012, 09:28 PM
I shoot BPCR which has a scope class limited to 19th century style scopes.
That is, they must be straight tube with not over 3/4" tubes or 1" bells and external dial or vernier adjustments without micrometer clicks.
Modern repros stop at 6x but some of the old ones were a lot more powerful. They must have been very dim.

The two main new sources are MVA, all American made with vernier adjustable mounts; and Hi-Lux Malcolm from Communist China.
The Chinese scopes are optically good but the vernier mounts on the long scopes are pretty rough and the dial mounts on the short tube scope are best for hunting or single distance target shooting; they are not very repeatable.
A good combination would be the Hi-Lux and DZ mounts, made like Unertls but without clicks. That would be almost as expensive as an MVA.

MVA now has a copy of the Winchester 5A with short tube and "grasshopper" dial adjustable mounts.

There are some Parsons and Rho scopes out there but I don't think they are in production, or not many.

If you can find a Unertl or Fecker Small Game scope and take the micrometer clickers out of the mounts, you have just about struck gold.

If you have good or corrected eyesight, and the targets are clearly defined like on a silhouette or target range, a 6x scope is not a great advantage.
My last shoot, I was second with iron sights to a shooter with scope... by one point.

Frank Sellers, the leading Sharps rifle historian, says in the last year or so of Sharps manufacture, 1880-1881, they were delivering about 25% of their rifles with factory installed scope sights.

Billy Dixon gets a lot of ink for shooting at a party of Indians at great long range with a borrowed rifle and hitting one out of the bunch.
Jack Bean is seldom heard of because his best shot was at slightly shorter range than Dixon's. But he hit the individual warrior he was aiming at... with his scope sighted Sharps.

March 19, 2012, 10:55 AM
can't write proper at times

March 19, 2012, 10:58 AM
Jim Watson:
I consider a 6x scope to be a very big advantage. you must be a very good shot. :D Heard if Billy Dixon didn't know he used a scope. Never heard of jack bean.

March 19, 2012, 11:10 AM
Dixon didn't.

4V50 Gary
March 19, 2012, 04:27 PM
Regarding the comment on side mounted scopes, most American telescoped guns during the Civil War had the scope mounted above the barrel. Examples may be seen at Gettysburg, West Point Museum, Smithsonian(if they ever put their guns back on display), and the Log Cabin Shop (Lodi, Ohio) .

Jim Watson
March 19, 2012, 08:13 PM
I think there were some blockade runner Whitworths with side mount scopes, but don't know that necessarily means the back position. A sniper has to be flexible as to the available shooting positions.

Mik, I am not a super shot, that last match just got me into BPCR Silhouette AAA class.

A 19th century style scope sight is not a great advantage on a well defined target.
At the Southeastern BPCR Regional last fall, the top five iron sight midrange bullseye target shooters came in ahead of all scope shooters.
The top two iron sight silhouette shooters came in ahead of the top scope shooter, and the next nine iron sight shooters beat out the second place scope.

Maybe a lot of those scope shooters have bad eyes and would not be shooting at all without glass, I don't know. But the scores do not present any advantage for the scope. That week, pretty much the opposite.

Of course you haven't heard of Jack Bean, he was in Oklahoma while Billy Dixon was fighting Indians in By God Texas. And Dixon really was a fine shot and a real Indian fighter. Both a match champion and an Army scout.

March 20, 2012, 08:00 AM
I have researched scopes and found that a 3x scope might have 25.5ft field of View, and a 5x 13.5ft FOV. Your scope could be ordered up to 20x. Therefore the 6x long Malcolm scope would have about 12ft FOV. This means a 6ft target will fill half the vertical view. I feel scoped rifles would be used for ranges not less than 150yds. How difficult is it to pick up a sight picture and track moving targets at ranges of 200-1000yds with such scopes?

March 20, 2012, 09:40 AM
I don't know how difficult it would be but I'm pretty sure most scoped shots were taken at 500-1000 yards during the C.W.