Olight magnetic mount

Daniel O’Dea hails the handy Olight magnetic mount

Over the years I’ve seen many methods used to attach a light to firearm. Everything from a jerry-rigged rail section screwed to an old timber stock, through to plain old gaffer-taping torches to barrels, but Olight’s latest magnetic mount would have to be the simplest and easiest method I’ve seen to date.

In basic principle the Olight X-WM03 is a ring mount designed to clamp around a torch with an external tube diameter of 23-26mm. The mount incorporates a series of super-strong magnets (three in total) which enable you to attach the torch to the barrel of your favourite rifle or shotgun.

The unit itself is made from ‘aircraft grade’ aluminum, being Type III hard-anodized and weighing just 151.2 grams, 60mm tall, 50mm long and 45mm wide. A hinged ring with a thumb screw wraps round and is tightened over the tube body of your torch to hold it in place, while the base of the mount forms a V-shaped channel containing the magnets.

Cleverly, a centrally located adjustment wheel raises and lowers the height of the centre magnet to compensate for variance in the diameter of the firearm barrel the unit’s to be attached to. This way all three magnets are able to make full contact for maximum strength.

I understand a previous model (X-WM02) only had two magnets, one left and right, so with this new design Olight has been able to dramatically increase the holding force with the addition of a third, at the same time maintaining the same overall weight of the previous unit, quite an achievement. Magnets are silicone wrapped to protect the finish of your firearm, the unit also coming with a series of small silicone pads for the torch body to provide the same protection from the ring clamp.

Powa Beam are Australian distributors for Olight and sent me an X-WM03 mount when I reviewed their latest Torch Hunting Kit, the 1400Lm Asteroid V2. That kit offers a scope-mounting clamp as standard so Powa Beam provided the X-WM03 separately to demonstrate an optional method of light attachment.

I was keen to see how this mount would perform as a friend has been using one for some time and swears by it for practicality. He said the version with two magnets had been known to occasionally come off when exposed to heavy recoil, such as on 12ga shotguns using heavy loads, though apparently this three-magnet option will tolerate almost anything.

Always up for some punishment, for testing I thought I’d come up with a real challenge and raided my safe for some big hitters recoil-wise. For a shotgun I grabbed my 12ga Remington 1100, figuring rather than firing just two shots as you might with a double, ripping five through a self-loader would provide a far sterner test. I didn’t go light on the shells either, choosing a box of Winchester Double X Magnum packed with 42g of No.2 shot, a guaranteed heavy smacker.

Rifle-wise I also had the right gun for such a test. Always prepared in case I get the call a circus is in town and Jumbo the elephant has gone rouge, I’ve long been the owner of a Ruger No.1 chambered in .458 Lott. Based on the .375 H&H case blown out to .45 calibre, the .458 Lott launches a 500gr projectile at 2300fps, producing almost 6000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy in the process. If this couldn’t shake the mount off, nothing could.

To be honest I wasn’t convinced the mount would stay put and not wanting to scratch the new Powa Beam Asteroid V2 torch I’d been sent, I grabbed my older Powa Beam Meteor, a torch of similar size and weight. On that point, for the test I wanted to use a full-sized hunting torch as opposed to a more compact single-cell unit as may be more commonly used on a barrel-type mount.

The Powa Beam Meteor is 244mm long with a 63mm lens housing, carries two 18650 batteries and weighs roughly 370g. Combined with the weight of the Olight X-WM03 mount at 151g gives a total mass of more than half a kilo, a fair weight to hang on to under recoil and again, a greater challenge than a smaller torch might otherwise present. So mounted on my trusty Remington, to get things started I set the camera rolling and proceeded to loosen off five rounds in quick succession down range. I reloaded and repeated this three times, all with no separation of the torch and mount from the barrel – success!

Removing the unit from the 1100 and fitting it to the Ruger No.1, I dropped the lever and slid a cigar-sized .458 Lott cartridge into the breech. Bracing for impact I leaned in and slowly took the pressure up on the trigger to embrace the boom. Riding out the recoil it was immediately clear the light was still there – success again! I repeated the exercise once more to prove the point before packing up, not wanting to tempt either total shoulder dislocation or retirement to the concussion bin. For the record the Powa Beam torch remained lit for the whole experiment, equally unphased by the recoil it seems.

To be completely transparent I’d note there was some slight forward movement of the mount along the barrel under this heavy recoil after each shot but that’s just physics. In these extreme examples the gun is moving backwards before the mass of the torch and mount are. This effect naturally would be less-to-nonexistent with a lighter recoiling firearm, a lighter torch or both. As it was, I reckon I’d need to fire more than a box of 12ga before the unit slipped forward enough to make its way off the end of the barrel, never a point you’d reach without readjustment.

One of the best things about the mount is its ease of installation and removal with no permanent mounts or rails required. This is also an advantage when you want to use the torch as a torch and not a firearm light. For safety’s sake a target at night should always be identified before you point a loaded gun at it. If you’re without a second light source, with torch and mount removed, you can use it to spot and then slap it back on the gun to shoot when needed. No-one should ever be using a light connected to a gun as simply a torch.

The final and most surprising thing about this great little product is the cost. With everything so expensive these days I was surprised to discover you can pick these up for around $30, amazing value. So if you have a torch and a rifle or shotgun, do yourself a favour and snap one up from your local Powa Beam stockist.

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