Outdoor Journal: Optics makers raising the bar

There are three things that every hunter and shooter relies upon to be successful in the field or at
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Categories: Sports

There are three things that every hunter and shooter relies upon to be successful in the field or at the range — a quality scope, spotting scope and range finder.

The best and most expensive firearms in the hands of the most exper­ienced shooters are only as good as the optics being used. And the optics

showcased at this year’s annual

National Shooting Sports Found­ation Shot Show in Las Vegas introduced some of the finest ever. Here are a few that will give you a new and better look at your target.

BUSHNELL

Once again, Bushnell has raised the bar with its introduction of the Elite 6500 series of rifle scopes.

This line features a 6.5x mag­nification range, making them ideal for both brush and wide-open

prairie and high-peaks hunting. Their push-pull turrets with

resettable zero makes sighting-in easier than ever, and the extended 80-MOA of windage and elevation adjustment travel, with .25-MOA clicks, allows the hunter to shoot a broad range of game, and at greatly varying distances.

Other features include a 30mm tube for more light gathering in low-light conditions, up to five inches of eye relief, ultrafine multi-x reticle, fully multicoated Rainguard optics, side focus, sun shade, magnum recoil-proof construction and 100 percent water/fog and shockproof construction. And a no-questions-asked one-year replacement warranty.

The Elite 6500 series is offered in 2.5-16×42, 2.5-16×50 and 4.5-30×50, with suggested retail prices of $699 to $1,169 (www.bushnell.com).

KAHLES

This Austrian scope manufacturer has introduced a ballistic-compensating reticle called the Kahle 4D Reticle in its Helia KX 3.5–10x50mm and 4–12x50mm scopes. The new system is excellent for long-range shooting, with three short posts at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock to aid in centering your vision upon the field of view. Below the center of the crosshairs are four short horizontal bars indicating the hold-over points so you can accurately compensate for your bullet drop.

To help you determine your bullet drop, ballistic calculations are provided for some calibers and bullet weights, which may or may not require some minor adjustments at the range. Other features include water/fog and shockproof construction, an over-sized ocular that speeds up target acquisition, a rugged, one-inch, one-piece main tube and multilayer lens coating. Suggested retail prices for these scopes are $770 and $830, respectively (www.Kahlesoptik.com).

ZEIss

The new Victory Diarange

3-12x56mm rifle scope with 60 ret­icle and built-in range finder offers a new look for shooters and hunters. With the firearm in the shooting position, you can acquire and range your target out to 1,000 yards in just a few seconds.

This new range-finding scope also features a choice of the new Rapid–Z 600 or 800 illuminated ballistic reticle, which is perfect for dawn and dusk lighting con­ditions. Other features include a rugged,

solid-aluminum construction, recoil-

proof multi-coated lenses and a lockable bullet drop compensator. Suggested retail price is $3,599 (www.zeiss.com).

CENTERPOINT

The 3-12x44mm Power Class scope by Centerpoint Optics has plenty of features aimed at the avid big-game hunter. It features crisp, bright, highly resolved images at any distance, and its rugged construction does not let recoil or weather conditions interfere with its performance. In testing, it withstood the recoil of the high-powered break-barrel .416 Rigby. It has a 30mm tube, provides up to 40 MOA left/right adjustments for windage and elevation and is fully water/fog and shockproof.

With its extra large objective lens, it has a wide field of view that lets in plenty of light (95 percent light transmission), that is ideal for those dawn and dusk hunting hours. Add to this a Mil-Dot range estimating reticles, and you are ready for just about any hunting condition you will encounter. Suggested retail price for this Power Class model is $189.99 (www.centerpointoptics.com).

CRIMSON TRACE

Two new lasergrips have been added to the line of laser sites

offered by Crimson Trace.

One is for the Walther PPK/S, and the other for the new Kel-Tec Defender Series. Using a true-fitting cam system, Crimson Trace has developed the PPK/S grip with built-in laser that won’t bulge or lose center under heavy use, and twill not snag on clothing when drawn.

The Defender lasergrip, LG-430 version, is the first under-the-barrel model developed by Crimson Trace, and mounts onto the trigger guard under the muzzle. Both lasergrip sights are made of hard polymer, have windage and elevation adjustments, project a half-inch dot at

50 feet and are covered by a three-year warranty. The PPK/S lasergrip has a suggested retail price of $329, and the Defender costs $209.

Also new this year from Crimson Trace is a rear-activation lasergrip for most Bowtech and Diamond Archery compound bows. I am going to field-test this sight on a new Bowtech General compound, and will be talking a lot more about it in the future. This lasergrip has a suggested retail price of $299

(www.crimsontrace.com).

TASCO

Four new economically priced all-outdoors type binoculars are being offered in the Sierra line in 2008 by Tasco.

They include 8×25, 10×25, 10×42 and 12×50 models, all 100 percent waterproof and fogproof with BaK4 prisms and lenses that are multi-coated for brighter, crisper images. Other features include center-

focusing knob, all rubber-armored covering, twist-up eyecups on full-size models and all with a slim roof prism design. Suggested retail prices range from $19.99 to $69.99 (www.tasco.com).

BARSKA

The Huntmaster is a new binoc­ular line offered by Barska Optics in two models — 8×42 and 10×42.

Both are dry, nitrogen-filled and sealed to prevent fogging, clouding and moisture damage,and have multicoated lens and prisms for better resolution and sharper contrast, allowing maximum light transmission. Featuring a wide field of view, the Huntmaster has optimum long-eye relief, twist-up eyecups and a textured, rugged, shock-absorbing rubber armor non-slip coating. They each come with a case, and have suggested retail prices of $119.99 and $139.99, respectively.

Also from Barska, whether it is checking out your target at the range or trying to count how many points that buck feeding across the valley has, a spotting scope is invaluable, and the new Naturescape ED Series 15-45×60 will allow you to make these determinations.

Featuring coated, BaK4 prisms and fully multicoated premium ED (extra-low dispersion) glass adds max­imum resolution and optical quality. In addition, these lenses have a much higher resolution and contrast.

Don’t worry about the weather, the Naturescape is 100 percent water and fogproof, and ruggedly built. It comes with a protective hard carry case, and has a suggested retail price of $335 (www.barska.com).

SUNBUSTER

One of the most overlooked and underestimated pieces of equipment for the shooter and hunter is eye wear. Sunbuster has developed a system that’s right on target with its ShootCorrect and ColorCorrect pentachrome lens to help you get a better look at what you are shooting at, while also protecting your eyes.

The system comes in a high-impact and zippered case with five lens (crimson brown, orange, yellow,

medium purple and light vermillion). These lens are designed to maximize performance under all different light, target and color conditions. And there are eight more color choices and prescription insert lenses that can be purchased separately.

Each of the lens easily snaps in/out of ultra-light and strong nylon frames. The frame has wire-core adjustable temples for the perfect comfortable fit, as well as adjustable nose pieces. The two models are the Maverick for small to medium-size faces, and the Dude for medium to large faces. Suggested retail price is $110 (www.sunbuster.info).

In next week’s final Shot Show review column, I will show you how not to get lost going in and out of the woods, the latest in outdoor communications, a new look in camo, a free mapping system and a neat little camera that will help you capture your outdoor activities.

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