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High Contrast for the hunter and outdoorsman
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The brightest high resolution HD optics for the darkest conditions
  • January 27, 2014

    Great Budget Binoculars: Leupold BX-1 Yosemite and McKenzie


    By The Editors

    This is one of the brand-new full-featured, roof prism binos we saw for well under $200. Again, this one has the phase-coated BaK-4 prism and fully multi-coated lenses; it’s also waterproof, rugged, comes in 8x42 or 10x42, and has a full lifetime warranty—all for around $150. But while we were looking for new bargains, we spotted an old friend, the Porro prism BX-1 Yosemite, which goes for around $75.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 21, 2014

    New Rifle Scope: Nightforce SHV


    By David E. Petzal

    Nightforce was able to keep the costs down on its new SHV (Shooter, Hunter, Varminter) by utilizing simpler controls, employing a less complex manufacturing process, and by reducing the overbuilding that goes into their tactical scopes. The SHV will stand up to any kind of sane treatment, but you can’t break rocks with it, or chock truck tires, or beat recalcitrant mules, as you can with the higher-priced Nightforces. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 26, 2013

    Range-Compensating Reticles Vs. Plain Old Crosshairs

    By Dave Hurteau

    The former, of course, are all the rage, have been for a while, and although I've hunted with a variety of scopes sporting a range-compensating reticle, I've been stingy with my praise.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 18, 2013

    A Super Spotter: The Nightforce TS-82

    By David E. Petzal

    I've been testing optical gear on a more or less regular basis since 1985, and one of the things I've observed is that the difference in image quality between one instrument and another is usually pretty subtle, and sometimes there is none. Not so here. The Nightforce TS-82 XTreme HIDEF makes other spotting scopes look like someone poured vegetable soup on the lenses. Its optics smite you as David smote Goliath.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 4, 2013

    Woods Glass: Four Good Low-Power Binoculars For Thick-Cover Bucks


    By Dave Hurteau

    Big whitetails bed in the shadows and move in the half-light. They're here and gone. To see them, you want the brightest binocular. To find them fast in cover, you want the widest field of view. In short, you want low power. O.K., use 10X in the wide open West. But just about everywhere else, 8X or under is better. All else being equal, lower power gathers more light, increases field of view, and makes for a more compact package that at the end of the day doesn't feel like a car battery slung around your neck. Here are four affordable models, all fully multicoated, phase-correction coated, rubber armored, waterproof, fogproof, and perfect for hunting whitetails. 

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • August 22, 2013

    Q&A: Dave Petzal Answers Questions on Zombie Guns, Shooting, Hunting, and Life


    By David E. Petzal

    Q: You know, of course, that the Zombie Invasion is imminent. So what gun will you reach for when the dead rise?
    Walter Iman, El Prado, N.M.

    A: Ordinarily, I’d say my .308 Ruger Scout Rifle. However, it’s become so hard to find ammo in any of the military calibers that I’m inclined to say, “Over here, you scroungy-looking bastards,” and not fire a shot. (Also see my next response.) [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 30, 2013

    Why Variable Scopes Are Better Now Than in Jack O'Connor's Day

    By David E. Petzal

    A closeup of a 4X Leupold Mountaineer like the scope Jack O'Connor had mounted on his legendary No. 2 rifle. 

    This question was raised in my post of July 25th: If variable scopes are so terrific, how come hunters like Jack O’Connor didn’t use them, preferring straight 4Xs and the like? The answer is that Saint Jack began hunting just about at the time that scope sights became practical for use on hunting rifles, and his career ended at just about the time that variable scopes became reliable enough that you could rely on them, sort of. Early scopes were enough of a nightmare without the added complication of power selection. But once variable magnification became practical, it converted even the old-timers. Warren Page, who did the bulk of his hunting in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, was a fixed power shooter for all of that time, but by the early 70s, he was using a 2X-7X. [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 25, 2013

    Optics Review: Two New Meopta Scopes With New 4C Reticle

    By David E. Petzal

    Meopta's MeoStar R1 3x-12x RD night scope.

    I was very slow to pick up on the excellence of Meopta scopes. This is because the name “Meopta” lacks resonance; it’s rather like the names that are hung on imported automobiles these days. The company is located in the Czech Republic, but being European is no excuse. Zeiss and Leica are the names of actual people, and ring with Teutonic authority. Swarovski is the name of an actual Austrian, but loses points because it’s unpronounceable to most Americans. (If you’d like to amuse yourself sometime, go to a gun store in the South that carries the brand and listen to people try to say it. Be advised, however, that laughing at them may get you a nice punch in the face.) I think Meopta needs a good Anglo-Saxon name like Weaver or Redfield or Burris or Bushnell. Who cares if the company is Czech? It’s all one world, ain’t it? [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 9, 2013

    Best Rifle Scope: Vortex Razor HD GEN II 1–6x24mm


    By Tom McIntyre

    $1,899 ( This year saw a slew (I believe that is the proper technical term) of excellent riflescopes ranging in price from above $2,000 down to just under $200. But somehow I just kept coming back to the new Vortex Razor Gen II. The scope is made from 30mm one-piece aircraft-aluminum tubing and fitted with high-density extra-low-dispersion glass -elements fully multi-coated to retard -reflected light, as well as a scratch- and dust-resistant exterior. [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 9, 2013

    Best Sight: Redring Optical Shotgun Sight


    By Thomas McIntyre

    $750 ( What’s most to like about the Redring is that there’s not much to it. No doubt, some sights are better, or worse, when it comes to sight picture. But I have, frankly, always had trouble acquiring the red dot in many reflexes; the bright and generous crimson LED circle (which automatically adjusts to background light) in the Swedish-made Redring is impossible to miss. [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 9, 2013

    Best Scope Rings: Weaver Grand Slam


    By Slaton L. White

    $32.50; ( Support hardware for riflescopes is a basic but vital component of accuracy. That’s why Weaver completely retooled the grand slam line of scope rings. The new solid-steel rings have a four-hole cross-lock design that employs torx screws to clamp down on the scope tube as surely as the jaws of death. [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 9, 2013

    Best Rangefinder: Leica Geovid HD-B 10X42MM


    By Thomas McIntyre

    $2,995; ( The first thing you notice about the new Leica Geovid HD-B rangefinder, built into 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars, is the underslung shape that takes advantage of a new prism design. This lends a banana curve to the rangefinder’s black-rubber-armored magnesium body that, along with open-bridge construction, improves the ergonomics. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 18, 2012

    The $1,000 Long-Range Deer Outfit

    By Dave Hurteau

    This may bring some pain to those of you who have already spent $5K or even $10K in years past to get your sub-MOA, long-range deer rifle with befitting scope and comparable binocular. But the gun and glass I carried last week while hunting mule deer in Oregon cost, all together, about a grand—which in this rotten economy should bring great delight and jubilation to anyone just getting into deer hunting or, say, to the Easterner or Midwesterner planning his first deer hunting trip out west where hyperaccuracy and quality optics come in handy.

    I carried a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic in .257 Weatherby Mag (about $490 real-world price) topped with a 4.5-14x44mm Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Scope (about $280 street price) and a Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42 binocular (about $250 street price). That comes to $1,020. I’ve used guns and glass costing much more and I don’t believe any of them would have served me substantially better as a practical matter. (By the way, NRA writer Aaron Carter—a far more accomplished rifleman than I—used the same rig to take his buck at 359 yards.) [ Read Full Post ]

  • July 9, 2012

    How to Test Your Trail Cam: Determine Ranges, Speed and Focal Point


    By Scott Bestul

    Before you take your trail cam to the timber, run two simple tests to help ­determine your camera’s detection and flash ranges, trigger speed, and ideal focal point.

    1.) Program your camera for its simplest function. Mount it 4 to 5 feet high on a tree, telephone pole, post, or tripod in an open area. Stand next to your camera and pace off or measure 10 feet directly in front of the lens. Place a white stake or easily visible object at this spot. Pace off another 10 feet and repeat, until you have a straight line of stakes every 10 feet out to 60 feet. Turn your camera on and give it time to power up. [ Read Full Post ]

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