How to Hunt for Years on $2,000: The Optics

In case you missed the first (click here) or second (click here) installment, I'll point out again that the September-issue cover story "Deer Hunting in the Real World" included a large sidebar called "Hunt for Years on $2,000," featuring 12 essential deer-hunting items totaling under $2K, each of which are either very good or shockingly good for the price. The print edition included only a list. So here's a bit more info. Last week I detailed guns, bows, treestands, and climbing sticks. Now for the optics.

The Bino: Bushnell Legacy WP 8x42

If in these rotten economic times your financial situation precludes your spending even $100 on binos, do not despair--at least not over the prospect of having to look through dreadful glass. Bushnell's Legacy porros are fully multicoated with a BaK-4 prism, 100-percent waterproof and fogproof, and rubber-armored for $75. That's right, $75! Are they great? Of course not. Are they a little bulky? Yes, yes. But, they are outrageously good for the money. Nothing I've seen at this price comes close.

MSRP: $75; bushnell.com

The Rangefinder: Simmons LRF 600

Last year, in a test of bargain rangefinders for the magazine's Field Test section, the LRF 600 scored well for accuracy, target acquisition, optical quality, and overall performance. The author, Steven Hill wrote: "This unit performed reliably to 150 yards but faltered at 200, its advertised maximum distance for deer. [It reads larger reflective targets--rocks, trees, hillsides--to 600.] Decent optics and a generous rectangular reticle make it easy to aim. No angle compensation is a minus that's made up for by the very low price. Overall, it's a solid no-frills package."

The real kicker: I've seen it on sale online for under $100.

MSRP: $222, street price about $100; simmonsoptics.com

The Scope: Redfield Revolution 3-9x40

I have not personally looked through this scope, but unabashed glass-snob David E. Petzal has and calls it "a simple, tough, American-made scope with very good glass for the price." That should be recommendation enough.

MSRP: $250, street price $195; redfield.com