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Samson RAM Mounts and Magnifier

In a perfect world all M1913 picatinny rails would be exactly the same dimensionally. Unfortunately this isn't the case. Varying machining procedures, QA practices, and coatings can make some rails tighter or looser. This usually does not matter with traditional cross bolt style mounts. Quick Detach (QD) mounts from various manufacturers have different methods of dealing with these differences.

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Samson Manufacturing has entered the QD mount market with their line of RAM products. The RAM Mount have a quick release lever that is secured over a lip machined into the mount and kept from moving with a spring loaded hook. A tensioning nut is attached to the cross bolt of the throw lever to accommodate for rail variations. The nut is secured with a detent system very similar to what you would find inside an AR15 front sight. The mounts are available for popular tactical optics like Aimpoints and ACOGs, and flip to the side mounts are available for magnifiers and night vision devices. Samson sent me the Aimpoint M4 mount made for perfect co-witness (also known as absolute cowitness, the front sight in the middle of the optic) and one of their own 3.5x Magnifiers with a flip to the side mount.

 

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The Aimpoint Micro is very popular, but the M4 is my favorite Aimpoint for mounting to rifles. It has a wide field of view and runs on easy to obtain AA batteries with a run time so long they are as likely to die from old age as running out of power. The down side is it is heavy, but it is built to last. Mounting it does not require a ring, two threaded holes are machined into the bottom and whatever mount the user desires is bolted directly to it. There is thus no need to level the optic to make sure windage and elevation track true. Attaching the RAM Mount to my Aimpoint M4 was very easy. I simply degreased the screws and put on a drop of blue locktite to keep them from vibrating loose and tightened them down evenly. Determining the right tension for a particular rail took some guessing, but the detent system made it easy to adjust. It is important to make the tension snug, but not so tight that you have to force it.

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Over the course of 6 months I tried the Aimpoint M4 in RAM Mount on two different AR15s, the Brethren Arms BAP9 (MP5 Clone), and the Sig 556R. In each case I had to adjust the tension of the throw lever slightly. The mount retained zero in use during multi-gun matches which includes grounding the guns rapidly. I also tested return to zero on the range taking the optic on and off several times at the range and zero did repeat such that any shift was not noticeable at my 50 yard zero range. While it retained zero doing this, I don’t really like taking optics on and off as a standard practice. QD mounts are more useful for getting the optic off rapidly if it is damaged or the lens is covered in mud.

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When most of my shooting is at 100 yards or less, or on larger targets out to 300 yards I prefer a red dot. Faster target acquisition speed and ability to use it from unconventional positions give red dots with unlimited eye relief an edge over variable power scopes. No magnification does become a limiting factor on smaller targets at further distances or poorly contrasted targets. Aimpoint introduced their 3x magnifier in 2005. Since then other manufacturers have followed suit, most recently Samson Manufacturing with their own 3.5x magnifier.

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The Samson magnifier features an aluminum body with rubberized cover to prevent damage. Like most other magnifiers it also has the ability to center the magnifier relative to the dot for a more natural sight picture. To use the Samson magnifier with an Aimpoint M4, it will need to be mounted on an AR15 with free float tube to have enough space for the magnifier to sit between the Aimpoint M4 and a BUIS*. Firearms with longer optic rails like the Sig 556 will not have this requirement. The RAM Mount on the magnifier was trickier to get tensioned to the upper because the flip to the side spring interfered with the tensioning nut. I disassembled the mount to get it tensioned to the upper properly, and then reassembled it. The Magnifier can be attached to the RAM Mount to flip either left or right. When mounted to flip to the left, the flip lever is harder to activate because unlike the right side there is no cut out in the rubber body cover to more easily access the lever.

*Update: Since I received the mounts from Samson they now have a mount that cantilevers forward allowing the Aimpoint M4, magnifier, and BUIS to all fit on the upper without a railed free float tube.

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I've used the factory Aimpoint magnifier before and eventually went away from it for two reasons. Using the magnifier turned the dot into more of a slash, making it difficult to determine which point of it to aim with. I also encountered parallax issues where depending on my head position behind the magnifier point of impact could change; sometimes this is unavoidable due to the props and barricades encountered in action shooting competitions. To be fair I wear corrective lenses that could aggravate these problems. Approximately 30% of the US population is near sighted like me, and 60% is far sighted. Either way the ability to adjust focus is a good thing so the optic can work with a particular shooter's eyes and glasses optimally.

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The Samson magnifier is immediately superior to the Aimpoint units I’ve used before because it has adjustable focus. I was able to focus the magnifier so the dot was a crisp circle and so that the optic worked well with my glasses. Another benefit to adjustable focus is if one’s prescription isn’t too severe the magnifier can be focused to work without glasses. I did exactly that at the T.I.G.E.R. Valley Team Match featured in the video here. My Wiley X glasses fogged up too bad to see on a long range rifle stage, so I took off my glasses and dialed my Samson magnifier to my eye and kept going without issues. Using the magnifier at local matches and at TIGER Valley I did not find the same parallax issue to be present.

5184556R015184Samson12Over all using the Samson Magnifier and Aimpoint M4 combo at the 2014 TIGER Valley Team Match validated the effectiveness of this combination to me. Hitting all the targets at 0-300 was simple. The magnifier worked great for me when I needed it, and it was out of the way when I did not need it. The match exposed us to the elements including rain and high humidity and I did not encounter any faults with the Magnifier under these conditions. My team mate, Karl, and I won the match by a 30% margin; a testament to our skill but having the right equipment for the task also helps. With an MSRP of $389.00 including the mount, the Samson Magnifier is priced very reasonably for its performance and I would not hesitate to recommend it and an Aimpoint to someone looking for a multifunctional 0-300 yards optics package.

 

 

 

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