Optics Roundup: New Glass from the 2008 SHOT Show

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Konus M30 riflescopes
Konus is an optical company that has sort of been flying under the radar for awhile, but no longer. With its new M30 line of fully loaded riflescopes, Konus is taking on the big boys with gloves off. The three models in the series include a 4.5x-16x, 6.5x-25x, and a 8.5x-32x scope. The reticles are etched into the glass, for durability, but the really big deals about these scopes, aside from the incredible glass, are the 1/8 MOA locking adjustments, 45 degree offset illuminator switch, built-in anti-canting bubble, and large parallax wheel. Each scope also comes with a four-inch sunshade. Prices are reasonable, from $529 to $629.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Trijicon Accupoint crosshair
Trijicon is a company that listens. Yes, many hunters swear by the company's illuminated post-style triangle reticles, but just as many cast a wary eye at anything that doesn't have crosshairs. So Trijicon paid attention, and this year has added to its popular illuminated riflescope line with three new Accupoint crosshair models (standard, Mil-Dot, and German #4). Fiber optics automatically adjust the brightness level and contrast of the aiming point to available light conditions. In low light conditions, a tritium-phosphor lamp takes over the job. These are sleek, smartly built matte scopes made of aircraft-grade aluminum and top-quality glass. $700 for the 1.25-4x24, $750 for the 3-9x40, $950 for the 2.5-10x56.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Bushnell Elite 6500 riflescope
How many times have you hunted in the rain only to have your scope get smeared with water and snow at just at the wrong moment? It's happened to all of us. Now Bushnell has taken care of this problem in its Elite 6500 series of riflescopes with Rainguard, a water-repellent coating that beads up moisture and allows for a bright, clear picture no matter how bad the weather. The 6500 comes in 2.5-16x42 and 4.5-30x50 models, with top-of-the-line optics, 1/4 m.o.a. adjustments, ultra-fine -¿Multi-X' reticles, and bombproof construction. Push-pull turrets with resettable zero makes sighting in a breeze. With an Elite scope, nasty weather just got better. Prices start around $700.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Zeiss Victory Diarange rangefinding scope
The new Zeiss Victory 3-12x56 Diarange rangefinding scope isn't cheap at $4545-"actually, nothing from Zeiss is inexpensive. But they make great stuff. If you want the best in rangefinding scopes, then this is it. I shot it on top of a .270 WSM at the range the day before the SHOT show opened, and was routinely hitting targets out to 500 yards simply by dialing in and holding steady. The Rapid Z rangefinding reticle is extremely well thought out. Simply press the button on the side and the distance number appears in the scope. Now move the crosshair up or down-"they're in 50-yard increments-"until you settle on the precise distance. You can also adjust for windage by using points on the horizontal axis of the major yardage lines It's easy, and it works. Available in a choice of four reticles.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Nitrex 10x42 binoculars
I've always liked to shoot Federal ammunition, so when I heard that Federal/ATK now has a line of optics, I had to check them out. I found a Nitrex representative at the shooting range, not long after I was playing with the Zeiss scope, and he gave me a pair of 10x42 binoculars to examine. I have to say, they impressed the hell out of me. Extremely clear, with fully multi-coated lenses, a sleek profile, strong housing design, and rubber-armored finish that was easy to grip, they can come on a hunt with me anytime. Four binocular models are available. Nitrex also has 1.5-5, 3-9, 3-10, and 6-20 riflescopes, all multicoated with -¿TrexPlex' reticles with mid-weight outer crosshair bars and fine crosshairs near the center. The rep told me that all Nitrex optics cost less than those offered by "the big boys," another plus for this line.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Brunton Echo riflescopes
Walking the SHOT show floor is work...really! True, you do feel like a kid in a candy store, but pounding across a concrete floor for four days beats you up. It's always refreshing, then, when you run into someone like Jason Kintzler, the talented communications manager for Brunton-Gerber. "Jay, you absolutely have to come to my booth and check out our new riflescopes,-¿ he said. "The Echo line will just blow you away-"they're on a par with our Epoch binoculars.-¿ (The Epoch won the F&S; Best of the Best award last year in optics.) So I went to the booth and, while Jason gushed over the new scopes, I took a look. It's hard to judge optics in a convention hall, but from the looks of things, Brunton's new Echo scopes are the real deal. Five Echos are in the line so far-"a 6-24x50, 3.5-10x50, 3-9x40, 1.5-6x40, and 1.5-5x20. They're all incredibly fast focusing, have good eye relief, and are, of course, water, fog, and shockproof. Prices range from $149 to $330.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Nikon Monarch riflescopes
Not to be outdone by anyone, Nikon has also come out with an array of new optics guaranteed to improve your hunting this year. Building upon its flagship Monarch riflescope line, Nikon has added a 2-8x32, 4-16x50, and an 8-32x50, the latter featuring extra low dispersion (ED) glass, to help you see in really low light. All have bullet drop compensating reticles which, when used with a rangefinder, help you figure out precisely how far away the target is. Prices are $299.95, $499.95, and $699.95.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Nikon laser rangefinders
Nikon's two new laser rangefinders got me equally excited. Talk about smart technology! The Rifle Hunter 550 (shown) and Archer's Choice both have ID (incline-decline) technology. If you're in a treestand or hunting in the mountains, the ID let's you figure out exactly how far away the animal is, no matter what kind of steep terrain you're in. Ever shot over a buck (or mountain goat, for that matter), because you miscalculated the real distance? Never again. $249.95 for the bowhunter's rangefinder, $279.95 or $299.95 for the rifle hunter.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Minox binoculars
Last but not least in my SHOT show optics report is Minox, yet another German company known for making fine optics. Two things caught my eye at the Minox/USA booth. First, they have just come out with a new, five-model line of high-grade binoculars. They have all the features you'd expect from a top-quality binocular: ergonomically shaped magnesium bodies, an optical system that provides high light transmission, twist-up eyecups, a lockable diopter setting -" plus, the quick close focus lets you take exact distance readings from a scale on the focusing wheel. The best part is the price. The 10x52s, for example, cost only $1219 -" which, in the world of quality binoculars, is cheap.
Tim Romano
SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, rangefinder

SHOT Show, las vegas, field and stream, optics, riflescopes, scopes, binos, binoculars, shooting, spotting, glassing, glass, ran

Minox DEC digiscoping system
Now dig this: a digital eyepiece camera. It's called the DEC digiscoping system -" a digital camera, monitor, and eyepiece all rolled into one. All you have to do is fit the unit onto a quality scope-"and it can be used on scopes other than the Minox MD 62 series-"and you're ready to take quality photos of faraway game or anything else. It's lightweight, watertight, shockproof, has an internal memory of 128 MB, plus it takes SD cards with up to 4 GB capacity. It costs only $399. Cheese!
Tim Romano