Dead Ringer primarily offers archery and shotgun hunting products, but it also has a limited selection of “tactical” firearm accessories, one being the 1.5-6x32 Widow Maker riflescope, a short model for mounting on a Picatinny rail. The most likely application is on AR-15s, but to test the scope’s ruggedness, the sample was mounted on a very accurate Sisk STAR rifle in .308 Win. The hex nuts on the mounts included by Dead Ringer stripped out long before becoming sufficiently tight, so Simmons 4x4 mounts were substituted.
The scope has exposed “tactical” turrets, and the tops of the turrets must be lifted slightly before adjusting, then pushed back down to lock the adjustment. After sighting-in, the tops of most such turrets can be loosened, then replaced on the “0” hashmark. This can’t be done with the Widow Maker because the tiny screw securing the turret-top fits into a specific detent in the turret.
The reticle was centered on the grid of a Bushnell collimator, but the windage and elevation adjustments were so mushy it was sometimes hard to feel each “click.” The etched reticle consists of a ring around the outside of the field-of-view, with an aiming dot in the middle subtending approximately 2.5” at 100 yds. The switch to illuminate the reticle worked easily but positively, providing a wide range of intensity.
Range testing was performed with Black Hills Match 175-gr. hollow-point ammunition, already proven very accurate in several rifles. Before “shooting the square,” the standard American Rifleman test of scope adjustments, five-shot groups were fired to establish an accuracy baseline in the STAR.
After two shots to approximately zero the scope at 25 yds., five shots on the 100-yd. target formed a 1.38” group, approximately 5.5” to the right and 1” high. The scope was then adjusted to center the impact on the bullseye, and the next shot landed 1.5” above point of aim, with the next four forming a 1.19” group—two inches to the right of the first shot. After another adjustment, the next bullet landed 1.5” to the right of POA and 0.5” high, with the next four landing 1” higher and farther to the right, in a 0.72” spread. Four shots were then fired in an attempt to shoot the square. None landed within 2” of where they should have, so there wasn’t any reason to continue.
Eye relief measured about .5” less than Dead Ringer catalog lists. During a night-time optical test, performed with a black-and-white chart illuminated with a 100-watt bulb 25 yds. from the chart, the Widow Maker scored a 6, average for inexpensive scopes with multi-coated lenses. It was then frozen overnight at zero degrees Fahrenheit, and the next morning submersed in 100-degree water. This expands the gas inside the scope, revealing any leaks through escaping bubbles. After less than a minute underwater, bubbles started rising steadily from the focus ring.
An Internet search found the Dead Ringer Widow Maker selling for as little as $125.
Manufacturer: Dead Ringer Hunting, 2100 Brighton Henrietta Town Line Road, Rochester, NY 14623, 585-355-4685, deadringerhunting.com
Magnification and Objective: 1.5-6x32
Finish: matte black
Main tube diameter: 1"
Lens coatings: Fully multi-coated
Eye relief: listed as 3.17-3.03"
Click Value: ½ m.o.a. @ 100 yds.
Reticle: Glass-etched, second focal-plane
Weight: None listed; sample weighed
Features: Adjustable objective, quick-focus ring
Accessories: Rings for Picatinny rail