Two months ago Black Collar Arms (of which I’m a part owner, just to be clear) announced their new Forged Carbon Fiber One-Piece Scope Mounts. TTAG ran the press release here. More than just a new product from Black Collar, the entire forged carbon fiber process and the products made thereby are quite new to the world and new to the gun industry.
As such, folks have questions . . .
Most notably, just how strong is this stuff? Yes, it was developed specifically for structural applications and it’s known that Lamborghini uses it for suspension arms, spaceframes, and much more, Callaway Golf uses it for club heads, and it makes up structural components in everything from airliners to snowboard bindings. Yes yes, that’s all good and well, but what about scope mounts?
I’m glad you asked. Though from a materials science standpoint we know forged carbon fiber, done properly, is stronger than titanium despite being one-third the weight and we know it’s as stiff and as rigid as steel — three times stiffer than aluminum — but that doesn’t mean it’ll hold a scope properly.
Fair enough. Though approximately 18 months of testing by manufacturer McVick went into this particular mount before it saw the light of day (well, except, I suppose, for the accelerated UV testing they experienced during that time), Black Collar figured they’d put a mount through a little bit of a torture test, on camera, so we can all see just how strong their Forged Carbon Fiber Scope Mounts are.
First round of testing:
The obvious first step was to mount a scope on a typical firearm setup and beat the crap out of it. As a small company with a [very] small budget, we chose a decent, but budget-friendly scope that retails for $470. To be fair, we were more interested in an indicative aluminum tube here than the clarity of the glass and the precision of the internal turret tracking anyway.
The video above documents the abuse delivered with a 4-lb steel sledgehammer, but here’s the short version:
• After a sideways blow and a couple of vertical blows, the Picatinny rail (scope mount and scope still attached to it) ripped off of the Remington 700 receiver. All four of the steel screws that hold the aluminum rail to the steel receiver, thread locked and torqued to spec as they were, ripped out. Threads were sheared clean off and clean out.
• Next, a pair of 1-5/8″ deck screws were used to mount the Picatinny rail to a railroad tie. Blows to the top of the objective bell stripped the rear wood screw inside of the railroad tie, and a blow to the front of the scope sheared the front screw off — cut it clean right where Pic rail met railroad tie.
• Yours truly then went full ‘roid rage and mercilessly beat the scope against the lumber until the ocular bell physically bent away from the scope tube.
At the end of all of this, the Black Collar Arms Forged Carbon Fiber Scope Mount didn’t seem to care. In addition to the mount itself looking as good as new with zero indications it noticed anything was amiss, the scope had not slid or rotated within the rings. Not a fraction of a millimeter. And remember, I hit the scope directly on the front hard enough to shear a deck screw in half and dent the objective bell something fierce. Not to mention the rest of the abuse.
But the scope still looked far too much like a scope. I was hoping for more of a banana.
Yes, something like that. Much better.
Second round of testing:
It took two, 3.5-inch, high-grade deck screws and finding a rock hard knot in the railroad tie to secure the Picatinny rail sufficiently (sufficiently enough to banana the scope — the rail still came loose!). Here’s how it went down, all in wonderful slow-mo:
My biggest disappointment is that the hits don’t look nearly as hard on video as they felt (and were) in person. Perhaps the way the massive railroad tie jumps and debris bounces into the air is a good “tell.”
Or, sure, the scope banana is a solid indication of solid blows. It is not okay. None of it is okay.
You know what is okay, though? The scope mount. Forged carbon fiber is really strong stuff! It’ll break, yes, but it’s probably the strongest point in your optics mounting system.
So it’s strong. Check. Very strong. It also holds zero like the insanely rigid, grippy little monster it is. You see, prior to the testing seen above I had already internally broken the elevation turret in this scope . . .
As part of Black Collar’s testing before we started selling these mounts, we mounted the scope to spec and shot an accuracy group, beat on the scope with a smaller, softer rubber mallet in every possible direction, then shot another group. And repeated. And repeated.
Despite strong longitudinal smacks to simulate powerful recoil, the scope never slid in the rings. Despite strong smacks to the top of the parallax turret, the scope never rotated in the rings. Despite strong sideways smacks to the objective bell, the mount never shifted on the Picatinny rail. We never lost zero.
Well, until all of a sudden when a sloppy group appeared some seven-or-so inches high. Worried initially that the scope or mount shifted, we quickly found the elevation turret to be inoperable. It spun, but nothing happened internally.
At that point it was Black Collar Arms Forged Carbon Fiber Scope Mount 1, scope 0. Then the mount bested the Picatinny rail screws, then it bested a pair of wood screws, then it delivered the true death to that poor, poor banana scope.
All for science! And glory! And sales! Find your Forged Carbon Fiber One-Piece Scope Mount in 30mm and 34mm ring flavors here.