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Blackhorn Powder
Rifle Magazine
February - March 2005
Volume 40, Number 1
ISSN: 0017-7393
Number 233
On the cover...
The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 Compensated Hunter is set up with a Burris 2-7x scope. The Model 629 Hunter features an 8.75-inch barrel and square butt stocks. Cover photo by Stan Trzoniec.
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Product Tests

Hawkeye Borescope from Gradient Lens Corp.

When it comes to cleaning rifles, I confess to a streak of laziness. I usually put the chore off as long as my conscience will let me, but when I actually get down to it, I try to do a respectable job. I clean and lightly oil bearing surfaces, then scrub the bore with a succession of solvent-soaked patches and nylon brushes. When dry patches emerge without that telltale shade of green, I call it a day and pass a lightly oiled patch through the bore.

Holding the barrel up to the light to peer down the shiny bore was usually a boon to satisfaction but – as I later learned – didn’t tell the whole story. A bore that looked pristine to the naked eye was usually anything but!

A few years ago at a prairie dog shoot, another hunter was examining the bore of his rifle with a strange-looking device he called a borescope. When I borrowed the device for a quick glance down the bore of my rifle’s just-cleaned but not yet oiled bore, I was startled by what I saw. Instead of presenting a slick, shiny surface, the lands and grooves looked like medical slides of some hideous disease viewed through a microscope. I could hardly believe my eyes. Rough edges, faint signs of pitting and unsightly flakes of powder and copper fouling marred the magnified view. I went back to cleaning with a vengeance!

I’ve since seen the light (sorry) and purchased a borescope of my own. Let me warn you now that a good borescope doesn’t come cheaply! The Hawkeye Borescope was purchased from the Gradient Lens Corporation after I grudgingly forked over the better part of $800.

After recovering from the shock of writing the check, I soon learned how doggone valuable the new borescope was. In addition to graphically showing me exactly how clean my rifle’s bore was (or wasn’t), it let me check the condition of the bore itself. When I used the borescope, every blemish showed up with crystal (almost painful) clarity. Do reamer marks still remain, indicating a need for some careful lapping? What’s the condition of the chamber and throat? Is my bore cleaner really working, or do I need to try something else?

Time to buy a used rifle or handgun? You can bet the Hawkeye goes along. What better way to see exactly what that bore looks like – not just at the muzzle, but deep inside the barrel.

I’ve recently discovered yet another advantage the Hawkeye offers. I use it to check inside reloading dies for scratches that need buffing out or possible signs of cracking. Used cartridge cases get the same treatment – a look  inside may show early signs of failure – while viewing the case surface under Hawkeye magnification can be equally revealing. Incidentally, the Hawkeye comes with its own, built-in illumination, so strong outside light isn’t required. It also comes in an elongated, briefcase-style carrying case.

Several Hawkeye models are available in various lengths and sizes. There’s also an extra-bright lighting system available as an accessory, and you can buy an adapter to let you capture what you see with a digital camera.

For more information, contact Gradient Lens Corporation, Dept. H, 207 Tremont Street, Rochester NY 14608; telephone toll-free:   1-800-536-0790; or visit the web site: www.gradientlens.com.

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