There must be a limit to what you can do with glass, but so far people who make riflescopes haven’t reached it. Of course, not all that’s slated for a 2005 debut is available to report on now, but this preview gives you a first look at the most important shooting optics awaiting launch.
Alpen Outdoor had a hit last year with the introduction of its Apex binocular, with BaK4 prisms, phase-correction coatings and AquaShield (a lens treatment that sheets water from the lens surface). These 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars are now joined by waterproof 8×26 and 10×26 compacts. “They weigh 13.6 ounces and feature fully multicoated lenses with pull-up eyecups,” says Alpen’s Vickie Gardner. Also new this year is an Apex low-profile 4-16×50 riflescope weighing 21 ounces with a matte finish. It has finger-friendly windage/elevation dials with quarter-minute clicks, a fast-focus eyepiece and an adjustable objective. www.alpenoutdoor.com
BSA has announced two new riflescope lines. The matte-finish, one-inch Panther series includes four models with fully multicoated lenses, built-in sunshades and finger-adjustable windage/elevation dials. Models include 3-10×40, 2.5-10×44, 6.5-20×44 and 3.5-10×50. Also on the docket are Sweet 17 Mach II riflescopes. “They’re designed for rimfire rifles,” says BSA’s John Schild. “There’s a trajectory drum on the elevation dial that’s calibrated for the .17 Mach II cartridge.” Sweet 17s come in 2-7×32, 3-9×40 and 4-12×40 versions, all with adjustable objectives. www.bsaoptics.com
Burris has announced a series of Short Mag riflescopes with up to five inches of eye relief, including 1×20, 4×20, 2-7×26, 3-9×32 and 4.5-14×32 models. Shorter, lighter rifles look best and handle best with shorter, lighter scopes; the quick, harsh recoil of powerful featherweight guns won’t as easily dislodge scopes with less inertia. These scopes feature Ballistic Plex reticles and finger-adjustable, resettable windage/elevation dials.
“At the other end of the scope spectrum, we have a new Xtreme Tactical series,” says Burris’ Pat Beckett. There are eight models–from 1.5-6×40 to 6-24×50–with steel-on-steel resettable adjustments, Ballistic Mil-Dot reticles, side-mounted parallax dials and tube walls that are 25 percent thicker than standard scopes. These scopes also feature super-heavy coil springs on the erector assembly.
Burris has also announced new 8×32 and 10×32 Landmark binoculars at 18.5 ounces. www.burrisoptics.com
Bushnell has a new Elite roof-prism binocular in 8×42 or 10×42 built on a rubber-armored magnesium frame with lenses featuring the company’s Rainguard coating. Bushnell’s new 7×42 and 10×42 Discoverer binoculars feature BaK 4 prisms and Rainguard.
Bushnell also markets optics under the Browning trademark, including new Mossy Oak camo 8×32 and 10×42 binoculars.
Bushnell also has two new Firefly Elite 4200 models: 1.5-6×36 and 2.5-10×40. And if you shotgun deer or hunt with a handgun, consider the new HOLOsight, which is lighter in weight, lower in profile and less costly than previous models. www.bushnell.com
Carson Optical is offering a new MX-series binocular line, including 8×32, 8×42 and 10×50 variations. These fully multicoated waterproof optics feature BaK-4 prisms, extra-long eye relief and rubber armoring. Weight is 24, 28 and 34 ounces, respectively. www.carson-optical.com
Hunter Wicked Optics has a new line of red-dot sights with multicoated lenses and one-piece tubes. www.huntercompany.com
Kahles has introduced its CSX illumination system on the new 3-12×56 Helia riflescope. Batteries are unobtrusively housed in the turret of this 30mm scope. A battery-saving digital mechanism leaves the reticle in “stand by” mode; touch the dial, and the reticle instantly brightens to a preset level. The reticle is in the second image plane and does not grow or shrink with magnification changes. With a 56mm objective, total weight is under 19 ounces. If you don’t need that much power, pick one of three other CSX models: 1.1-4×24, 1.5-6×42 or 2.5-10×50. www.kahles.com
Legacy Sports International imports Nikko-Sterling optics. Three Gold Crown riflescopes are new: 4×32, 4×32 AO and 3-9×42. The 4×32 AO should be great for rimfire riflemen who want to zero out parallax at closer ranges but don’t want the bulk or magnification of traditional varmint scopes. All three scopes have multicoated lenses, plex reticles, one-inch tubes and fast-focus eyepieces and come with flip-up scope covers. There are also two new Reflex Red Dot sights; 30mm and 40mm versions have 11 brightness settings, five-MOA dots and integral mounting bases. www.legacysports.com
Leica’s newest product is a 32mm (8X and 10X versions) Ultravid binocular built on a magnesium frame with a titanium center shaft. The new binocs feature Leica’s High Lux System (43 separate coatings on mirror surfaces), black-rubber armoring, removable twist-up eyecups with click-stop settings and quick-adjusting diopters. The binoculars are waterproof and fogproof with a lifetime warranty. Weight is 18 ounces and 19.1 ounces, respectively. New 8×20 and 10×25 versions are also available. www.leica-camera.com
Leupold has a new series of fixed-power scopes: the FX I, FX II and FX III. According to Leupold’s Pat Mu
ndy, “The FX I will retain friction windage and elevation dials but will get Multicoat 4 lens coatings on the ocular and objective glass. FX II scopes will feature Multicoat 4 throughout, plus coin-click adjustments. The FX IIIs are slated for index-matched glass, just like VX III variables. They’ll have finger-adjustable dials.” Both the FX II and FX III scopes feature fast-focus eyepieces.
Also new at Leupold are lenses you can thread onto late-model Leupold scopes to enhance specific colors and improve target image on the range or in the field. “There’s a lens to bring warm colors out of foliage, so you’re more likely to see a partially hidden deer. Other lenses act like tinted shooting glasses to cut glare or brighten the sight picture,” says Mundy. Available for most VX scopes (except some early VX IIs), these lenses come in 20mm to 50mm diameters to fit almost every Leupold. The company will rethread existing scopes as well.
There is also a new 6×32 binocular. Great depth of field and an expansive field of view make this an ideal woods glass and better for all-around hunting than you might think. www.leupold.com
The Magnum 9.5×42–Minox’s new binocular–features individual focus and aspherical lenses. “We use long-lasting argon gas instead of nitrogen for fogproofing,” says Minox’s John Bedlion. The new binocular is rubber-armored and weighs 24 ounces. www.minox.com
Nikon has a new 8-24×25 Realtree Hardwoods zoom binocular in its Eagleview line featuring turn-and-slide eyecups, a centrally located zoom control lever, multicoated lenses and BaK4 prisms. It weighs 12.5 ounces with a 240-foot field of view at 1,000 yards set on 8X. The company has also lightened up its 34-ounce 42mm Premier LX binoculars by 6.5 (8X) and 6.7 ounces (10X). The 8X now weighs 28 ounces, and the 10X now weighs 27.8 ounces. LX L binoculars, as they are called, are being built on a magnesium alloy frame and feature lead- and arsenic-free Eco-Glass, both of which have lead to the reduced weight. The new binocs also feature vinyl chloride-free rubber armoring and silicon rubber surfaces on new click-stop, turn-and-slide eyecups. www.nikonusa.com
Pentax has three new XF-series eyepieces for the PF-65ED spotting scope: 32X, 46X and 20-60X, all with collet-type attachments. The 37-ounce spotting scope also accepts XW-series telescope eyepieces and the PF-CA35 camera adapter for 35mm SLRs. There’s also new Papilio 6.5×21 and 8.5×21 compact porro-prism binoculars that focus as close as 1.6 feet and weigh only 10 ounces. www.pentaxlightseeker.com
Sightron has a new compact, waterproof binocular weighing 12 ounces. “It’s available in 8X and 10X, with BaK-4 prisms and multicoated glass,” says the company’s Alan Orr. Sightron is also fielding three variable SS scopes with side-mounted parallax adjustments: 3.5-10×44, 4.5-14×44 and 6.5-20×50. Plex, Dot and Mil-Dot reticles are listed for the high-power models; the 3.5-10X comes with Plex or Mil-Dot. SS scopes are fully multicoated, waterproof and shipped with three-inch sunshades and dustcovers. The new S III-series 6-24×50 30mm scope offers substantially greater adjustment latitude than most one-inch scopes of similar power; select Plex, Dot or Mil-Dot reticle. The new S I 2.5×32 scope is ideal for shotguns and rimfire rifles, weighs less than 10 ounces and carries a lifetime guarantee.
Perhaps the biggest news at Sightron is its first-ever hunting-type spotting scope. A 25X and 20-60X eyepiece come with the package, as does a durable Cordura soft case. This S II WP2060x63 scope is waterproof, camera-adaptable and fully multicoated. www.sightron.com
Zeiss has a new waterproof Victory FL binocular series. Lightweight roof-prism models incorporate fluoride (FL) glass with remarkable edge resolution. “Zeiss uses Abbe-Konig prisms in the 7×42, 8×42 and 10×42 versions,” says Zeiss’ Rich Moncrief. “The 8×32 and 10×32 feature Schmidt Pechan prisms with new Zeiss dielectric mirror coatings.” All Victory FLs have T* multilayer lens coatings and P* phase-correction coatings. The 8X delivers a 420-foot field of view at 1,000 yards. The 10X offers 360 feet. Twist-out eyecups have locking detents. All versions focus to about seven feet. Glass-fiber-reinforced polymer holds the lenses in barrels of magnesium alloy. A steel center shaft with brass bushings ensures smooth focusing (change diopter setting via a lockable wheel on the front of the hinge). The 42mm versions weigh 26 to 27 ounces; the 8×32 and 10×32 weigh 20 ounces. www.zeiss.com
Steiner has expanded its Merlin line of center-focus, roof-prism binoculars with two compacts–an 8×24 and a 10×26–and two full-size models–an 8×50 and a 10×50. All Merlin binoculars feature earth-toned rubber-armored bodies. www.steiner-binoculars.com
Swarovski is now offering a digital rangefinder with a handy clip-on holster. There are also digital-camera adapters for the ATS/STS spotting scopes and a TDS reticle for the 3-9×36 riflescope. A clever monopod with a collapsible tripod base and a magnetic head that allows you to quickly mount cameras, V-rests, spotting scopes and binoculars is also new. www.swarovskioptik.com