Best for the Blackout: Hi-Lux's CMR-AK762 scope: it was originally intended for AKs, but this new Hi-Lux product is every bit as suited for mounting on an AR chambered for the red-hot 300 Blackout.
We don't know when it will end, or how long it will take to recover from it. All we know is, people are worried, and buying whatever they can get their hands on. Many items normally advertised in these pages are sold out. So rather than write an article about a rifle or cartridge you can't readily buy. I took a different approach. I decided to look for a part of the industry with merchandise in stock.
Unlike much of the industry, the optic companies have not been crushed by orders. So while P-Mags and .22 Long Rifle ammunition are very difficult to find, rifle scopes remain readily available. So I decided to review one new model that not only stood out from the crowd but which is also affordable: Hi-Lux Optics' new l-4x24mm CMR-AK762.
What makes this particular scope interesting enough to review by itself? The fact that it was designed to work with two very popular cartridges, the 7.62x39mm and 300 AAC Blackout.
In years past, mounting a scope on a 7.62x39mm AK was about like putting a leash on a cat. Possible to do, but likely not worth the effort. In recent years though, a number of modern mounting systems have been introduced that make fitting an optic onto an AK-type rifle a bit more practical. While many shooters choose to fit their AK-type rifle with a red dot sight, a low-power variable like the 1-4X CMR can be quite a bit more useful.
Where I find this new Hi-Lux scope really shines, though, is on a 300 BLK or 300 Whisper AR. I was amazed at how quickly shooters, and industry, embraced the 300 BLK cartridge following its introduction. Without a doubt. Americans love their .30 cals. It seems almost ingrained in our culture.
While other bullet diameters may have certain advantages, the .30 cal. is akin to baseball and apple pie. Unfortunately an outstanding factory loaded .30 cal. cartridge that interfaces well with the AR-15 design had long been missing.
Until recently, the only real option for a factory-loaded .30 cal. cartridge was the 7.62x39mm. While this Soviet era intermediate cartridge is an excellent design. it does have its drawbacks when transplanted into an AR-15. The 300 BLK eliminated those issues.
Hi-Lux Optics recognized the popularity of both the 7.62x39mm and 300 BLK cartridges. They then developed a new scope specifically for them. Their new CMR-AK762 model is based upon their highly popular 1-4x24mm Close Medium Range (CMR). The big difference between these two models is the reticle.
As its name implies, this new model was originally designed for AK-type rifles chambered in 7.62x39mm. However during the development of the new bullet drop compensation reticle its designer realized it would also be useful with the 300 AAC Blackout and 300 Whisper cartridges. Keep in mind, all three of these cartridges have similar external ballistics. Here was a scope which would appeal to both AK and AR owners.
To gain greater insight into both this scope and Hi-Lux Optics, I met with the company's president. John Wu. He runs a facility located in California as well as one in Wuhan, China. I found him to be very straightforward with an interesting vision. His desire is to produce very high quality optics, in China. By doing this, he can offer them at a reasonable price to the American sportsman. John's goal is for Hi-Lux to be recognized as China's premier optical house.
Hi-Lux Optics is not a new company: its roots actually extend back to the old American name of Leatherwood. John Wu and Jim Leatherwood were close friends and Wu took over Leatherwood's company after he died. The introduction of the CMR series led to many American shooters taking note of Hi-Lux for the first time.
Without a doubt, part of their success is due to the talent of a Russian mechanical engineer, who I will refer to simply as AVS. What I respect about AVS is he is technically adept while possessing real-world experience. I believe it's this combination of skill and experience which has led to such a successful design. Since its introduction the CMR has proven extremely popular among U.S. shooters thanks to excellent performance combined with an extremely economical price. Hi-Lux is currently working on introducing an entirely new line of high quality, yet affordable, tactical scopes. Their new CMR-AK762 is their next offering as they expand the line.
Built on a 30mm tube, the CMR-AK762 is 10.5 inches long and weighs 16.5 ounces. Objective lens diameter is 24mm and magnification runs from 1 to 4X. Exit pupil runs from 24Trim to 6mm. Field of view varies from 94.8 feet at IX to 26.2 feet at 4X at 100 yards. Eye relief is listed as a minimum of 3 inches. The lenses are all fully multi-coated to enhance optical performance. This model sports a fast focus diopter eyepiece and an illuminated reticle located in the rear focal plane.
Adjustments are made using uncapped turrets that provide .5 moa audible and tactile adjustments. The single-rotation elevation turret provides 28.5 moa of elevation adjustment after zeroing and features a zero stop.
Reticle illumination intensity is controlled by an 11-position rheostat and scopes are available with either red or green illumination. The rheostat features a night vision setting that allows use with night vision devices. An optional "cat-tail" is also available for this model. This attaches to the magnification ring to facilitate rapid magnification adjustments. Finish is an attractive soft luster blue black finish. Overall it's a compact and fairly light optic well suited for general purpose usage.
The magic of this scope is in its very well thought-out reticle. It consists of an inner (fine) and outer (thick) circle (with the bottoms removed). The outer circle is the approximate width of a man's shoulders at 100 meters. The inner circle is the approximate width of a man's shoulders at 200 meters.
In the center of the circle is a 1 moa aiming dot for use at 32/200 meters. Plus, at the top of the inner circle is an inverted chevron which acts as your 100-meter aiming point. To the left and right of the outer circle are horizontal stadia. The left side delineates 30 mils. These are intended to be used for talking an observer onto a target, rangefinding or for adjusting fire.
On the right side is AVS's Proportional Ranging System. This is a series of crosses for quickly ranging a man-sized target (1.75 meters high and .5 meter shoulder width) from 100 to 1000 meters, no math required. Each cross allows a man-sized target to be quickly ranged in the following ways:
1. Height of a standing figure
2. Shoulder width
3. Head height
4. Head to crotch
5. Shoulders to crotch
6. Crotch to foot
Below the center dot is a vertical stadia which acts as a bullet drop compensator. This is delineated in mils and provides 35 mils of compensation at 4X. It also provides ballistic drop compensation aiming points from 250 to 1000 meters at 4X. At each range is a gap in the stadia which acts as an aiming point without obstructing the target.
To the left and right are short horizontal stadia. These are the width of a man's shoulders and can be utilized for ranging. All in all it is a very elaborate reticle design, though straightforward to use.
To put the Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK762 to work, I mounted my review sample onto a New Evolution Military Ordnance (NEMO) Battle Lite 1.0 carbine in 300 Blackout. This eye-catching carbine was built on a matched receiver set machined from 7075 billet aluminum. The machine work is in a distinctive yet attractive style.
Fitted to the upper receiver is a 16-inch Government profile barrel machined from 416 stainless steel with a black nitride finish. My example featured a distinctive looking flash suppressor, low profile gas block and a Midwest Industries SS-series free-floating handguard. A Hogue pistol grip, Choate collapsible stock and Troy Industry sights nicely rounded the carbine out.
With the Hi-Lux mounted in a LaRue QD mount, I got to work. AVS designed the reticle to allow a rough 200-meter zero using the center aiming dot and a target placed 32 meters (35 yards) away. With a rough zero, you can then check it at 200 meters (219 yards) to verify point of impact.
With it properly zeroed, you can then use the upper inverted chevron at 100 meters and the BDC marks out to 1000 meters. I utilized four different loads for testing. These consisted of three supersonic loads, Homady's 110-grain VMAX, Lehigh Defense's 140-grain Controlled Fracturing and Remington's 125-grain Accutip. The fourth load was Hornadv's subsonic 208-grain AMAX.
I began testing by measuring velocity and checking accuracy at 100 yards. Four 5-shot groups were fired with each load from a rest. I had no issues zeroing the CMR-AK762 and the NEMO shot well at 100 yards.
Best accuracy was obtained using Remington's 125-grain Accutip load. This averaged 1.9 inches at a very respectable 2348 fps. Highest velocity was recorded using Homady's 110-grain VMAX, which averaged 2 inches at 2446 fps. The heavy 140-grain Lehigh Defense load averaged 2.2 inch groups at 2094 fps.
I was a bit surprised when the most accurate of all four loads tested was Homady's subsonic 208-grain AMAX. This averaged 1.5-inch groups at 1016 fps. A little bit of testing revealed that with the CMR-AK762 properly zeroed with supersonic ammunition I could easily switch to subsonic ammunition simply by adjusting my holds on the BDC reticle.
As an example, with the optic zeroed for Hornady's 110-grain VMAX supersonic load, I found the 208-grain subsonic AMAX load hit almost to point of aim at 100 yards using the reticle's 400 meter aiming point. So at 100 yards it was easy to switch back and forth between supersonic and subsonic loads without having to touch the turrets.
The CMR-AK762's reticle has bullet drop compensation holdover marks out to 1000 meters, so I decided to stretch the NEMO's legs. So I moved away from the bench to shooting prone from a bipod on steel silhouettes. Using Hornady's 110-grain V-MAX load, I made first round hits at 200, 225, 300, 400 and 480 yards. Moving to 530 yards, it took a couple shots to get on target, but then I was able to make frequent hits on a LaRue.
Next I stretched the Hi-Lux/NEMO combination all the way out to 800 yards. Even at this distance, I was impressed to see the point of impact very close to point of aim regarding elevation. Wind deflection is a real issue with this lumbering cartridge this far out. However I did score a few hits.
Impressed by how well the supersonic load did I switched to Hornady's 208-grain subsonic. Using the 550 meter aiming point gave consistent hits at 200 yards. Next I decided to push things quite a bit and so moved to 480 yards. That is substantially further than most would ever bother to try to use a subsonic load.
Scratching my head a bit, I crunched some numbers and held what would be approximately 820 meters on the BDC reticle. My elevation was spot on but I needed to make a windage adjustment. Following that I proceeded to rain subsonic rounds into the LaRue. Impressed I moved on to the 530-yard target, holding on the 930 meter mark. Here I was able to make frequent hits, but the wind was a real bugger. Especially considering the Larue targets are only 11.5 inches wide. I did try a few shots at the 800 yard target but was unable to spot my impacts.
Optical performance of the Hi-Lux CMR-AK762 is also very good. Color rendition is accurate and resolution is quite good. Light transmission is also respectable. Overall I like this scope quite a bit. The new CMR-AK762 is sure to appeal to fans of the 300 BLK/Whisper. Well suited to use on an AR-15, it proved very fast on close-range targets when set on 1X.
Bumping the magnification to 4X allows targets to be easily ranged and engaged out to the limits of the cartridge. NEMO's 300 BLK carbine also performed very well. Reliability was flawless with zero issues encoun-tered. Accuracy was quite acceptable and the trigger pull very good. It is a distinctive looking carbine which certainly stands out from the crowd.
As with any optic, it's very important to build a data card for your rifle. The CMR-AK762's reticle is calibrated for the standard Russian military 7.62x39mm 122-grain 57-H-231 FMJ load. Certain 300 BLK/Whisper supersonic loads, such as Hornady's 110-grain VMAX, will be a very close ballistic match. Remington's 125-grain Ac-cutip also closely matched the reticle during my testing out to 530 yards. However keep in mind a BDC is only a guide. It's up to you the rifleman to fine tune yourspecific holds.
If you take the time to do that though, this scope/reticle combination can be a very useful tool. Plus the reticle is not calibrated for subsonic loads, so you will need to find your holds the old fashioned way, on the range. I did find AVS's Proportional Ranging System both practical and easy to use though, which is a plus.
Is the Hi-Lux CMR-AK762 perfect? No, but it is very well made and shows a lot of thought has gone into its design. It is very well suited for use on a 300 BLK/Whis-per carbine. Better still is how Hi-Lux Optics is able to offer such a nice scope at such a reasonable price, just $459. Now that is a bargain.
NEMO 300 BLACKOUT BATTLE LITE 1.0 CARBINE 100 YARD ACCURACY CHART Load Bullet Weight Velocity Average (grs.) (fps) (ins) Hornady VMAX 110 2446 2 Hornady AMAX 208 1016 1.5 Lehigh Defense 140 2094 2.2 Controlled Fracturing Remington Accutip 125 2348 1.9 Groups are an average of four 5-shot groups fired from a rest at 100 yards. Velocity measured at 12 feet from muzzle using an Oehler 35P chronograph at an ambient temperature of 65 degrees F at 1030 feet above Sea Level.
300 MC BLACKOUT
Parent Case: .221 Fireball/.223 Rem.
Case Type: Rimless bottleneck
Bullet Diameter: .308" (7.8mm)
Neck Diameter: .334" (8.5mm)
Case Length: 1.368 inches (34.7mm)
Overall Length: 2.26 inch max SAAMI
Primer Type: Small rifle
Maximum Pressure: 55,000 psi (380 MPa)
FOR LOADING 300 MC BLACKOUT Supersonic Use Subsonic Use 1. H110 1. A1680 2. W296 2. IMR 4198 3. N110 3. Reloder 7