Great Glass

Focus your field of view on some of the latest glass.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Whether the glass is mounted to the top of a rifle or hangs around a hunter's neck, it is an important investment. Today's optics offer real quality at competitive price points. Here is a rundown on some of the new offerings for 2005.

Alpen Outdoor
The seven-year-young company offers quality binoculars and riflescopes at an affordable price, says Vickie Gardner, Alpen's marketing manager. "Our products are really important to dealers," Gardner says, "since we offer affordable, yet great glass." Alpen products can fill that low price point and can compete head-to-head with the big boys in optics due to the new technologies being used-particularly coatings-which have customers taking a second look at Alpen's product line.

New this year is an affordably priced pair of compact binoculars in 8x26 and 10x26 configurations to complement the Shasta Ridge model line. These compacts feature a fully multicoated BaK4 optical system. SRP: Under $200.

Alpen's Apex riflescope family now includes a newly designed 4¿¿¿16x50 model that comes standard with fully multicoated optics for maximum light transmission, image brightness and optical clarity. It also features Alpen's AccuPlex tapered reticle. SRP: Under $400. All binoculars and riflescopes are fog- and waterproof. Booth #7354. (909-987-8370; www.alpenoutdoor.com)

Burris
Are your customers going gaga over the new short magnum rifles? Burris now offers a Short Mag line of riflescopes which-as the name implies-are short and lightweight, and mount low on short-action rifles to keep the rifle's balance while placing the scope away from your eye during recoil. These new scopes, says Burris vice president Pat Beckett, complement the short-action rifles. The six new models include a 1x20, 4x20, 2¿¿¿7x26, 3¿¿¿9x32 and 4.5¿¿¿14x32. SRP: $200 to $400.

Burris's new Xtreme Tactical series of scopes is designed for use in harsh environments. Models include a 1.5¿¿¿6x40, 10x50, 3¿¿¿12x50 and 6¿¿¿24x50, with or without illuminated reticles. SRP: $500 to $1,000.

An Xtreme Tactical SpeedDot features an adjustable 3- to 11-MOA-sized dot and 11 brightness settings and mounts in 30mm rings. Beckett says the Xtreme Tactical SpeedDot will primarily be used on AR-15s, H&K; MP5s and Beretta's Storm, but turkey and deer hunters will also find them useful mounted on their shotguns. The SpeedDot comes with flip-up lens cover, and it's waterproof.

The Signature Select line of scopes will feature LRS (Lighted Reticule Scope), which offers shooters traditional black crosshairs and a glowing red-dot reticle. Look for it in variables of 1.5¿¿¿6X, 3¿¿¿10X and 4¿¿¿16X. SRP: $667 to $942. Landmark is Burris's new line of binoculars that fit the niche of the price-conscious yet optically demanding customer. An 8x32 and 10x32 will be initially offered. SRP: $120 to $149. Booth #4179. (970-356-1670; www.burrisoptics.com)

[NEXT "Story Continued..."] Browning Sports Optics
Browning is expanding its line of binoculars with a new 8x26 compact. SRP: $100. Mossy Oak camo is the latest finish available on Browning's 10x42 and 8x32 models. SRP: $320 to $350. The rubber grip on all Browning binoculars incorporates the same style of checkering pattern that's found on the company's firearms. Booth #401 and #513. (800-806-1990; www.browningsportsoptics.com)

Kahles
In 2005, Kahles unveils its revolutionary Multizero ballistic system. The new system, available only on the new CL 1-inch line of riflescopes, allows a shooter to sight-in a firearm at up to five different distances, mark those distances and then use the turret dial to move back and forth between those pre-set distancesThe distances can be individually selected and changed at any time. If the species-rather than the distance-changes, the Multizero still has the ability to allow the user to zero in up to five different bullet weights for one specific distance. Once sighted-in, all the shooter has to do is determine the distance with an accurate rangefinder, change the dial and place the crosshairs on the target. Shooters will no longer have to guess and hold over or calculate which yardage reticle line will get them closest to their target. The new CL 1-inch line of riflescopes encompasses a 3¿¿¿9x42, 3¿¿¿10x50 and 4¿¿¿12x52. SRP: 3¿¿¿9x42, $1,076.67; 3¿¿¿10x50, $1,110; 4¿¿¿12x52, $1,176.67. Booth #3725. (866-606-8779; www.kahlesoptik.com)

Leupold & Stevens
"The biggest news from Leupold in 2005," says Pat Mundy of Leupold, "is the introduction of the Alumina image-enhancement system." The Alumina system features tinted optimizers, or filters, that screw into any Leupold riflescope manufactured since 2004. "Depending on weather conditions," says Mundy, "a hunter can choose a tint that will make viewing sharper." A transportation unit, called a stacker, allows a hunter to carry a variety of filters into the field. The filters screw into each other, and the unit is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket.

Leupold is also offering aluminum flip-up lens caps that screw into Leupold scopes. Unlike other flip-up caps that stick out from the scope, these caps lie flat against the scope body. SRP: Kits start at $99.99; individual components run from $9.99 to $29.99. Booth #4229. (503-646-9171; www.leupold.com)

Nikon Instruments
The Eagleview line of binoculars from Nikon will offer a zoom compact in 8x24. "The zoom control is easy," says Nikon's John Lacorte, "since the control lever is centrally located and lets left-handed and right-handed users select magnification with the push of a finger."

The Premier LXL line of binoculars has been redesigned with a magnesium-alloy body and an eco-friendly lead-free glass. "Not only do they weigh less than our high-end competitors," Lacorte says, "they cost less, too." The magnesium body reduces weight by 19 percent from the original LX line. Booth #5130. (800-331-0852; www.nikonusa.com)

[NEXT "Story Continued..."] Sightron
Sightron's new SII series compact binoculars are available in 8X and 10X power. The new waterproof spotting scopes come in 20X to 50X, with multicoated lens, a retractable sunshade and a carrying case that allows the user to unzip the objective and ocular end while still protecting the body in Cordura. SRP: $507.48 to $761.33.

The new SS series of riflescopes features a side-focus adjustment and Sightron's Exac-Track windage and elevation system. Three variable-power models are available. SRP: $626.89 to $705.87.

The SI series adds a low-power (2.5x32) compact model for use on shotguns and rimfires. SRP: $164.71. Booth #5800. (800-867-7512; www.sightron.com)

**Tasco **
Illuminated reticles are now available on Tasco's World Class model 3¿¿¿9x40mm riflescope, featuring variable-intensity light control. The reticle can also be used without illumination. SRP: $89. Booth #3993. (800- 331-0852; www.tasco.com)

Zeiss Sports Optics
Shannon Jackson, spokesperson for Zeiss, describes the Victory FL series of binoculars as the company's "crown jewel." The Victory models use a glass containing fluoride, nearly eliminating color fringes. The binoculars are waterproof and nitrogen filled to avoid fogging. SRP: From $1,449.99 to $1,599.99. Booth #1212 and #5429. (800-441-3005; www.zeiss.com)

Bushnell
Holosight xlp

The new Elite Binoculars from Bushnell feature XTR Coating Technology, which combines 60 layers of coating on the prisms to increase light transmission to 99.73 percent. "The coatings," says Barbara Skinner, "make these the brightest binoculars in their class." They're available in 8x43 and 10x43. SRP: $969.96 to $999.95.

Bushnell's Elite 1500 Laser Rangefinder has ranging capabilities from 3 to 1,500 yards. The new Bullseye targeting mode allows easy acquisition of small targets, and the new Brush mode ignores close objects like brush and tree branches. SRP: $399.

The third generation Holosight XLP has a lower profile that decreases the sight's height over the bore so shooters don't have to crane their neck. "It uses easy-to-find AAA batteries," Skinner says. SRP: $199. Booth #3933. (800-423-3537; www.bushnell.com)
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The new Elite Binoculars from Bushnell feature XTR Coating Technology, which combines 60 layers of coating on the prisms to increase light transmission to 99.73 percent. "The coatings," says Barbara Skinner, "make these the brightest binoculars in their class." They're available in 8x43 and 10x43. SRP: $969.96 to $999.95.

Bushnell's Elite 1500 Laser Rangefinder has ranging capabilities from 3 to 1,500 yards. The new Bullseye targeting mode allows easy acquisition of small targets, and the new Brush mode ignores close objects like brush and tree branches. SRP: $399.

The third generation Holosight XLP has a lower profile that decreases the sight's height over the bore so shooters don't have to crane their neck. "It uses easy-to-find AAA batteries," Skinner says. SRP: $199. Booth #3933. (800-423-3537; www.bushnell.com)