Old Gear vs. New Gear: Snowshoes and Scopes

by David E. Petzal

One of the areas in which I resisted change the longest was snowshoes. I had a pair of Vermont Tubbs traditional webs made out of ash and varnished rawhide in the "Michigan" pattern, and swore I would never get the new style Tubbs, which are made in China out of aluminum and neoprene. For years we got no snow, so I gave the old webs away, but this winter we got so much snow that I needed snowshoes just to pick up the branches on my lawn, and since I couldn't find the old style anywhere, I got the new ones (the Venture model). I'm saddened to say the aluminum and neoprene monstrosities work much, much better than the old type. It isn't even close. Next thing you know I'll be replacing all my wood-stocked guns with plastic.

During the 1960s and into the '70s, virtually everyone who got a dangerous-game rifle in .375 H&H or bigger put a Leupold M8 3X scope on it. I think there was a law requiring it, or something. It had a field of view of 43 feet at 100 yards (as opposed to about 34 for a fixed-power 4X M8) and was a very tough scope, having very few guts to shake loose. But then variables took over and it was eventually dropped from the line.

Now, the M8 3X is available again from the Leupold Custom Shop. You won't see anything on the website, but I'm assured it exists. They will build you one for $349, which is very reasonable, and it is a much better scope, mechanically and optically, than the old M8 3Xs. The two key differences are that the new one has an actual magnification of 3.4X (as opposed to 2.7X), and a field of view of 30 feet at 100 yards. And it still has very few guts to shake loose, making it just as fine a choice for a hard-kicking rifle as it was 40-odd years ago.