March Genesis 6-60×56 ELR Scope
An on going review of the March Genesis scope coupled with the 33XC and 37XC
I first encountered the March Genesis 6-60×56 during the Fclass Europeans of 2019 held at Bisley Ranges UK and organized by the famed gunsmith Mik Maksimovic. I had the opportunity to go around a few of the stands that were on display there. Among the stands I often visit, was the March Scopes tent. March are made in Japan and have a good solid following. Japan has a high reputation for the lenses and high end optics industry – some of the very best in the business. A while back, we had reviewed the KOWA Highlanders spotting scope for ELR which enables very comfortable range viewing over long periods.
I had switched to the March 2-25×52 for my 308win and 300Norma Mag rifle and a few of the shooters at the Europeans back then were sporting the March 8-80×56. On the rack I saw a rather innovative designed rifle scope which was being introduced for ELR. They had been doing a few tests with it on a 375 Cheytac so I was curious to learn more.
March Genesis Turrets
The large Elevation turrets and huge amount of Windage initially really struck me. At the time, I had only taken my 300Norma Magnum some distance so I was still getting familiar with the 1 mile shot but I had spent some time studying the amount of wind drift that a competitor would face at these ELR ranges. Jordan, the rep at the stand handed me this beautiful scope for a closer look.
It initially reminded me of the Unertl scopes with external adjustments mounted on many popular target rifles back in the days. That’s a long time back and we’ve come a long ways from there.
Naturally, things have moved forward alot since then, but good principles never quite go out of fashion. Indeed the scope’s external adjustments unlike those of the Unertl are covered by an external housing which protects this Japanese built mechanism from any external factors like dust, water or sand. March has done a few improvements since it’s beta testing as outlined in their manual as well. As we all know, ELR rifles tend to carry muzzle brakes which blast off a huge amount of concussion, dust and everything in their way. This would enter the mechanism had it not been covered.
Flipping it around, it also reminded me of the US Optics SN9 which more than 15 years ago was quite the rave but it may have been too advanced for its time and not enough ELR interest back then. Since those years, ELR has picked up like a wild Californian fire.
A US Optics SN9 used here by John from Precision Arms who built DTAs in 33/37/416 XC in the US. John is a very helpful guy and is a wealth of knowledge.
It has spread from the US to all corners of the globe. Competitors making thousands of miles a year to reach these often secluded spots where the land is flat or mountainous depends where in the world you are. From the USA to Canada, Italy to Australia, South Africa to Russia, Scottish Highlands to the French plains, ELR is now here to stay and driving competitive shooters nuts! With Feats like those seen by Ryan Cheney at 4134yard impacts during competition, shooters have sought more and more from their equipment to compensate for the immense bullet drop and drift at these distances.
Learn about ELR by following ‘My ELR Story series’ on our facebook page meeting some of the top shooters in the world.
ELR PLANS – High Mag and Tons of Elevation
Back to my ELR plans. Over a year ago, I decided to bite the bullet and get myself a switch barrel rifle in 33XC from solidsolutiondesigns.com with a Bartlein barrel after 2 years playing with a very very capable 300Norma Mag built on a British RPA Rangemaster rifle. I wanted a switch barrel for many reasons amongst which, portability for European travel by airline and rented cars as well as having one platform on which I could train with this platform and scope. I wanted to be able to switch to 6.5creedmoor to practice with it in Italy or UK and still be able to push the 6.5 to the mile and practice wind reading at a lower cost. The advantage of this being that you spend the money on one rifle platform and high end scope and run it more often getting more trigger time.
Most ELR rifles present a real challenge to find sufficient range and ranges which allow you to run that muzzle energy especially in Europe. I also wanted to add the 37XC barrel from day 1 so this looked like a great option and my Christmas present was sorted. Initially I went with an Ivey mount which provided 200MOA of elevation.
After my first competition at Ko1m in France, I understood that running two different systems (Ivey mount knob and scope turret) combined for competition use was going to present its challenges time-wise for competition. I had to keep track of two different settings on different planes dialing in different directions. It would be fine for training but i wanted a simpler system for competition. I thought hard and fast about it before I pulled the trigger on this option. I did a few range sessions with it and after my last competition at Extreme Shot One Mile Italia, where we placed 3rd with very capable long range European shooters, I understood better what I was after.
For this competition I ran the March 8-80×56 which normally sits on my Fclass open rifle. I love the fine reticle in 1MOA increments as well as the 40x mag which enables me to make very small holds on the plate and maintain a fine aiming point. This combination proved successful. I really enjoyed shooting this way.
MARCH FMA-MT reticle from the 5-40×56 March Scope which I started out with before switching to Genesis.
Two systems or One System ELR combo?
After having used a 2 system combination, I was quite convinced I wanted high magnification, great optics and tons of elevation but all in ONE system. I initially considered going with the Tarac prism system or the Nightforce prism. For this I would need to switch to another scope, the 5-42×56 High Master scope which I had tried in September in Bisley and I loved this scope. Over 129MOA of elevation, lockable turrets and high master glass.
However I would still need to purchase the Charlie Tarac, and mount it on the Eractac 0-70 adjustable mount which allows me to zero the rifle as I want, maximizing the scopes internal elevation. This is a system widely used in the US competitions. When considering everything, scope, adjustable mount and Prism device, it would end up costing the same as the genesis 6-60×56 scope. I knew the scopes from my Fclass shooting so it was a rather straight forward decision. I asked for it with an MOA reticle and 1/4MOA turret as well as the 1MOA increments on the reticle. It has 20 MOA each way on the reticle and 25MOA on each half turn (50MOA per turn).
Why FMA-TR1 Reticle?
Some have asked me why I chose the FMA-TR1 reticle? So initially I was going to go after the FMA-MT which I already have on the 5-40×56. Since this isn’t a PRS reticle, I didn’t want to have more clutter in the reticle. The FMA-MT seen further up is more of a christmas three reticle. It is a great reticle for 1-1600m engagements where you may also want to do fast shots hold overs for the first 800m. On the other hand for an ELR specific scope, I wanted to have the view as uncluttered as possible. You are trying to see a small puff in the ground at 2000m+. Having anything in the reticle which may inhibit you from seeing that may not be ideal.
Above: That’s what an impact at ELR distance would look like at about 45x mag at 2100m. That’s if you hit sand…. Soil will not show up as much if any.. :0
The FMA-TR1 has no clutter, yet provides 5MOA visible increments for windage and elevation on main cross hair and also every 1 MOA left and right below the main crosshairs. This enables me to quickly measure an impact if I was able to see it. I don’t need them closer than that. More cluttered than this an I’m afraid I may miss my point of impact on difficult weather. The reticle is relatively fine enabling very good hold over. The dots are 0.1MOA which translates to 1inch at 1000yards or 2″ at 2000yards. The 20 MOA each way of windage on the reticle allow me to get an instant idea of where the round will go with zero windage. While at cold shoot, I peeped through it and saw some impacts of other shooters. I noticed the direction of the dust as it blew and noted how far off shooters with 338LM where. When I gave my next correction for rob’s 1st shot with 300NM at 2200, I thought crank on another 2MOA over what they have and that first round hit left edge of the plate.
I was fiddling with the Triggercam when I took this picture far out just to see what the reticle looks like. This building must have been more than a mile away.
At the same time, if you have the 6.5 creedmoor barrel on and doing practice, you can easily make hold overs both for wind and elevation which broadens the useability of such an investment. The pricetag is what it is but everything in ELR is like that from bullets to brass and especially barrel wear so this is going to be the only fixed cost you have really. This is also very important for me as I wanted to have 1 riflescope for this setup. After trying a few different combinations, I believe it’s the best one for what I want to do.
Durability and post beta models
Remember that this scope needs to physically move to attain the full travel it needs to provide you with. As you dial up or down, the entire scope is going to be visibly moving up and down, a movement you normally do not witness with a conventional scope. You should not put anything in the way to inhibit this movement and do not carry the rifle from the scope. I had a digital bubble level which I moved forward so that it allows the scope to move all the way to get me 270MOA of elevation before hitting the rail. I won’t need that much anyway for 2 miles but I’ve tried it.
I had a few discussions with March before I got the scope to clarify any issues and their engineers explained thoroughly that any scope, if hit with sufficient force on the turret, can damage the erector tube. I’ve seen this a few times happen on other scopes when I was in Denmark. One of my mate’s scopes got a hit on the erector tube and had issues. In fact some companies have also created a ‘roll cage’ for riflescopes to protect from any accidental drops. Irrelevant of how tough your scope is tested, you should take all precautions not to drop it especially when it has the weight of a heavy elr rifle on it as any manufacturer will tell you.
Why is Genesis different?
March describe it better than I could; Traditional rifle scopes are designed and constructed with an internal assembly which moves the image of the reticle and field of view as the turrets are adjusted. For long range shooting, the FOV is shifted far enough off the centerline of the lenses that optical resolution is reduced. Unfortunately, it is at long ranges where the shooter needs the best clarity. Long range shooters often use MOA inclined rail below their scopes (this will need to be inserted in your kestrel as offset), not just to provide more elevation adjustment but to keep the reticle closer to the optical centerline of the lenses when sighted in at long range. In the GENESIS scope, the reticle remains fixed, so it is always optically centered within the internal lens assembly of the scope, thus maximizing optical clarity in all conditions. March also informed me that they are also introducing an engraving service to top it off with a few fonts to choose from as well. I asked for this domain to be engraved on the objective bell of the scope.
I did mount it on the higher riser just to see what it would look like however I don’t need that much elevation for what I plan to do with this system so I removed it. If you want to run it on a conventional rifle, with 36-38 inch barrel, you may need to use this, you have to see how it will be for your own setup and how far you really want to take it.
Some ELR rifles have quite a high rail fitted to the action as seen above, in which case you probably won’t need to add the riser mount as your scope is quite high above the barrel. I would check at what mag you would like to run it. The higher the magnification, the less likely you are to see a little bit of your barrel.
Having a look at my 37XC, I need 220 MOA to take it to 2miles and 27 MOA (10mph full value) That’s 4 turns on the elevation turret plus 20MOA and slightly more than half turn on windage.. I don’t get to see the barrel before 230MOA. Being a bullpup design, the barrel is about 10inches inwards compared to a conventional rifle system meaning the barrel is less far out so it does not intersect with the line of sight as much. The March comes with an integral mount as well as a 2nd mount in case you want to raise the scope further up to maximize it’s travel. Personally for my rifle system and my goal this is not required. As i crank the magnification on the scope, the glare from the tip of the barrel is not showing at the bottom edge of the scope.
Below you can see the March Genesis scope on its higher mount as used by Adam Kodra on his 416Garrett rifle.
Dating the Genesis in Italy
I had the perfect opportunity to test this scope on my first outing with it. Harry from Exlrs.nl called me to say he’s organising a shoot in northern Italy- Cold shoot as they call it. They also organise the hot shoot in Summer as you would expect. This is some 1750kms away from where I live crossing the entire Italian mainland. We did a bit more than 3500km round trip to be here. Well we jumped on board and off we went on a 2 day drive along the Italy’s west coast passing by Sicily, Calabria, Naples, Salerno, Rome, Abruzzo and Tuscany. This was exciting! Some of the scenery and Italian squares were so majestic, I couldn’t not throw in a few pictures.
Above, the harbor city of Livorno on the north west of the Italian peninsula.
Below is Pisa, the beautiful city of the leaning tower.
Knights Square (Piazza de Cavalieri) in Pisa.
Zeroing the Genesis after bore sighting took only 3 rounds. On this base mount, I didn’t need to adjust the cheekpiece on my DT and used it flat.
300 Norma Magnum out to 2205m!
The 300 Norma Magnum is an amazing caliber. We have done alot of practice with it in the past, right before we got the 33XC. It’s a hammer to the mile. Not only is it very flat shooting but some 3 years later, it remains one of our favourite cartridges. The 300 Norma Magnum performance is superb, not only to a mile but even beyond. We are running a 215berger at 3227ft/s which flies like a laser. We had changed out the 338LM barrel on the RPA range master seen below to a 30inch 1.9twist bartlein and topped it off with the 2.5-25×52 March scope which has sufficient elevation out to 2km and we did 2200m with hold overs as well. One thing that strikes me with the setup is the utter consistency.
I should shoot this round more often. I am sure that after we ran the 300Norma to 2200m, I will be getting another barrel for it for the Desert tech SRSA2 so that I can get some more practice with this rifle maybe using 30cal 250gr A-tips at 3030 ft/s. I shot 2 rounds with it before I started shooting and the 300 Norma Mag was bang on even 2 years later after I originally zeroed this setup. When I sit behind the rifle, I get a good feeling. I know it goes where you point it and if you manage to see the splash, the next one will smack the steel right. We had already tried this setup at Cold bore range in Denmark out to 2000m. Back then our skills were not good enough to make impacts to 2000m with it. Since then, our training discipline improved. We had no problem taking out target after target to 1879m where we found it to be still very consistent. As you venture further out, a small 1mph wind will have 3.25MOA drift at 1879m. Want to learn more about the 300NM? Read our 300NM page here.
Notice how very close were the actual dope figures for the 300Norma Mag to those acquired through kestrel.
Here you can see the 300 Norma Mag with 215bergers at 2205m. Notice the splash as it impacts the harder ground and kicks up dust allowing us to read a correction.
We impacted the 2100m with this setup and another 9MOA of hold over. We were confident to 1879m that the Norma was probably the most worthwhile caliber shooting. The challenge came as a result of the ground which at times gobbled up the bullet inhibiting us from seeing the impact and adjusting. This happened even with the 33XC. When we could see these impacts, we could correct and connect within 1-2shots.
Targets on the 2200m point as seen through the spotting scope.
Watch more live action posted in our group here:
As you can see, the visibility wasn’t great even with the best glass of the Swarovski STR80 spotting scope at 2200meters. The air was quite milky and the shadows of the clouds above at times cast dark spots on the area around the target. I only noticed this when I was reviewing some footage we made.
March Genesis FMA-TR1 reticle seen above – not cluttered but with easy references.
Above: Ranging targets with the Vortex 4000 lrf.
Below, the March Genesis 4-40×52 ELR scope is tested on a 12.7×114 HTI rifle somewhere in Ukraine.
On 40x magnification, I was comfortably viewing the bullets impact the target area when they hit hard ground. At times it was just a very slight puff almost barely discernable. It was quite reassuring to know that I could still spot my own shots. There is no discernable change in the picture as you increase the magnification, especially since the adjustment is external. I will seek to make a few other pictures in different weather but to appreciate the quality, you must pick one up and peep through it.
3500m+ pics through the March Genesis scope view
FMA TR1 reticle.
I received a few emails asking me to show what an ELR view through this scope would look like when looking at 2mile plus objects.
Although I didn’t have a 2mile actual target available, I did manage a few through the scope pictures at 3527 meters while in Sicily. I mounted the scope on my Ulfhednar tripod and did my best to capture the following. No shots fired here. These images are taken to give an idea of what target looks like at these distances and magnifications. I suggest you pick a March and go take a look through one to do the optics some justice.
3527m barn below on 6x and 40x mag
You can pick your rock at 3527m.
Barn at 1760m below through the FMA TR1 reticle on 20x
2 mile plus below in warm summer wather of 38°C/ 100°F.
Picked some rubble wall at 337meters
60x view at 337m
6x reticle view at 337m
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