The rise of the rugged, reliable zero-to-low power variable rifle scope in the last decade has been a fantastic development. Scopes like the Burris MTAC, Leupold VX-R Patrol and Bushnell SMRS can meet your aiming needs from sitting-room distances out to 300 yards and beyond. From CQB to DMR to hog and coyote hunting, they bridge the gap between red dot sights and magnifying optics. But most of them bridge that gap verrry sloooowly. And that’s where a good scope throw lever comes in . . .
Scope magnification-adjustment rings tend to be stiff and sluggish to turn, and in general this is a good thing. A quick, loose ring might be a snap to adjust in the field, but that ring has to be extremely well sealed to keep moisture and debris out of the scope’s internals. And the helical gears inside also have to be rugged and a little bit stiff, to keep the scope from adjusting itself while it’s being bashed about in the field.
The upshot of all this is that it takes a fair bit of torque to crank that 1-4x scope across its adjustment range, and you just can’t put much torque into it with just your thumb and forefinger.
A scope throw lever like MGM’s Switchview series gives your fingers almost an inch of extra leverage and purchase when you’re cranking the power up or down.
Fit And Finish
MGM’s Switchview throw lever retails for $60, and it’s as solidly made as a small anodized aluminum ring can be. The anodizing is perfect and the machining tolerances are extremely precise. The ball is a very tight fit in the socket, and takes a fair bit of wiggling to tease it out if you decide to reposition it. The ring lever comes in two pieces, with all needed mounting screws and an Allen wrench included.
MGM’s website photos show an older design that uses two Allen screws, but most of these have been superseded by the simpler and stronger ‘ball and socket’ design shown by my sample. Installation is as simple as placing the lever ring around the scope’s adjustment ring, snapping the ball into the socket, and tightening the Allen screw.
I didn’t bother to RTFM, and the whole process still only took me about two minutes. This didn’t include the ninety seconds it took to pull my scope base from my AR, but scope removal isn’t really required. It was easier to mount the Switchview at my kitchen table detached, but you can leave the scope on the rifle if you’ve got a secure place to set the gun while you’re working on it.
The Switchview has two recesses for the index nub of the magnification ring, so you can mount it either a little bit more leftward or a little bit more rightward. I hope I wasn’t making a political statement when I mounted it a little to the left; I just wanted to be able to manipulate it more easily with my left hand.
Very few scopes come with integral throw levers, and using a solid one like this one makes you wonder “Why the hell didn’t Leupold/Burris/Busnhell just put a throw lever on here in the first place?” Cranking the power up or down isn’t a chore anymore; it’s incredibly fast and easy. I’ve taken to leaving the scope at its lowest magnification, where I can flick it up to 4x with either hand without taking my eye from the scope. Cranking it back down requires just a quick reach-over with my left hand.
Even fairly stiff power rings get pretty cooperative when you’ve got an extra 0.88 inches of leverage.
Every time you adjust your scope’s magnification, a throw lever like the Switchview will save you a lot of economy of motion. You won’t have to dismount the rifle or even take your eye from the optic, and this economy of effort translates into seconds saved. You’ll be onto your next steel plate or your next feral hog much more quickly.
The Switchview is very sturdy and weighs essentially nothing. It does make the top end of your rifle a little bit bulkier because the lever sticks out over the top of your scope turrets, so it might not fit under some scope covers. My neoprene scope cover still fits over it, but it looks a little funny.
If you’re an ‘Operator’ type, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t tangle in your slings or LBE. Because that would be high-drag, low-speed. My three-point sling can wrap around the lever and crank it back down to the lowest magnification, so I will not be using that sling with this rifle any more.
Other than that, the only argument against the MGM Switchview is the price consideration. If you’re a hog hunter or 3-gunner, you want this on your rifle yesterday. If you’re a casual weekend shooter, however, those saved seconds might or might not be worth sixty bucks.
But Wait, There’s More!
If you don’t need $60 worth of fast, MGM will soon have you covered with their Eagle Eye universal throw lever. It’s a polymer throw lever which adjusts to any diameter scope power ring, and at just $20 a pop, every one of my rifle scopes will be wearing one. It’s not up on their website yet, so I’ve got an inquiry with them about how the project is coming along and when I can order a few of them.
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Ease Of Installation * * * *
It only takes a few minutes, and it’s almost impossible to get it wrong.
Ease Of Use * * * * *
It whips stubborn variable-power scopes into shape with rapid, ambidextrous magnification control.
Fit And Finish * * * * *
Precisely machined and cleanly anodized. Fits my scope like a machined aluminum glove.
Overall Rating * * * * *
Makes versatile scopes much faster, without sacrificing ruggedness.