October 28, 2021
Being able to see a buck clearly in the final minutes of shooting light, quickly calculating the amount of elevation correction needed for a long shot, or simply remaining comfortable when spending long hours behind a binocular in search of game can make a difference when trying to put meat in the freezer.
Quality optics enable these things, whether the task be finding an animal or precisely placing a shot.
Here are six worth carrying on your hunts this fall that will help you do both.
Leupold upgraded its popular VX-3i series of scopes to arrive at the VX-3HD, adding features to make the line one of the best values on the market. For example, all VX-3HD scopes come with the company’s Custom Dial System and feature ZeroLock to prevent unintentional movement of the turret. A removable throw lever is also included to make quick magnification changes.
The HD suffix means the scopes have Leupold’s High-Definition lenses to maximize clarity, color and image quality throughout the field of view. Elite Optical System coatings reduce glare and promote light transmission, while the Guard-Ion treatment repels water and dirt.
All VX-3HD scopes are waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. One-inch and 30 mm models are available, with the latter having illuminated reticles. Magnifications and objectives range from 1.5-5x20 mm to 6.5-20x50.
$499.99 to $999.99 | leupold.com
Squirrel and varmint hunters who want to reach out with their .22 LR rifles will appreciate the two new scopes in Bushnell’s Rimfire line. Both 3-9x40 mm scopes feature the DropZone 22 reticle with hold points out to 125 yards calibrated for the trajectory of a 40-grain .22 LR load. Each can be used with the Bushnell ballistic app to fine-tune holdovers based on individual loads and environmental variables.
A model with an illuminated reticle is available, offering 10 levels of intensity with an off setting between each. The scopes have fully multi-coated lenses with EXO Barrier protection to ward off water, dirt and abrasion, and both carry an IPX7 waterproof rating.
$149.95, $179.95 | bushnell.com
Leica Amplus 6
Amplus 6 scopes offer 6X zoom, illuminated reticles and Leica’s premium optics at an attractive price. Built on a 30 mm tube, the eight Amplus 6 models have second-focal-plane reticles with an extra-fine, illuminated dot for precision aiming. Illumination can be set to 10 levels of intensity. Leica combines high-quality glass elements with advanced coatings for bright, color-neutral views.
The Amplus 6 scopes achieve more than 90 percent light transmission while suppressing stray light that can interfere with clarity. Each is designed to resist shock and weather. Models include 1-6x24 mm, 3-18x44 mm, 2.5-15x50 mm and 2.5-15x56 mm. The latter two configurations are offered with three different reticles.
$1,199 to $1,599 | us.leica-camera.com
Trijicon Credo HX
If there is one word to describe Trijicon scopes, it’s rugged. The company builds optics for the U.S. military and puts the same amount of attention into making sure its hunting scopes will stand up to hard use in the field. The Credo HX is one of the latest scope families to come from Trijicon, and besides reliability, hunters will find a host of notable features in the line.
All Credo HX scopes have LED-illuminated reticles, which vary from duplex to holdover designs. They also come with a magnification lever that can be positioned to suit the user. Fully multi-coated broadband anti-reflective glass lenses provide excellent clarity and light transmission. Available with 30 mm and 34 mm tubes, the Credo HX line includes seven configurations with 4X, 6X and 8X zoom, from the 1-4x24 mm model to the 4-16x50 mm.
$999 to $1,799 | trijicon.com
SIG Sauer Zulu6
No matter if you’re breathing heavy, shaking or being hammered by wind, the Zulu6 will give you a clear, crisp view. The binocular contains SIG Sauer’s Optical Image Stabilization technology, which employs an electronically stabilized, two-axis gimbal system to cancel out motion and vibration imparted by the user and the environment. Power comes from a CR2 battery.
Lenses are treated with SpectraCoat ultra-wide broadband, anti-reflection coatings to maximize light transmission. LensArmor coatings resist scratches, while LenShield sheds water, oil and debris to ensure a clear sight picture. The Zulu6 is built on a polymer frame and has an IPX4 waterproof rating. It is available in 10x30 mm and 16x42 mm models.
$659.99 (10x30 mm), $769.99 (16x42 mm) | sigsauer.com
Zeiss Victory SF 32
Hunters looking for a more compact, lighter-weight bino will find it in the Victory SF 32. The real surprise, though, is that Zeiss has optimized the field of view in both the 8x32 mm and 10x32 mm versions so that it includes up to 20 percent more observable area in comparison to similar models. The field of view for the 8x32 mm Victory SF is 465 feet at 1,000 yards, for example.
Lenses are Schott fluoride glass with Zeiss T* coatings, a combination that produces 90 percent light transmission and high-contrast images. The SmartFocus wheel is positioned for easy and comfortable operation within the bino’s triple-link bridge, and it requires just 1.6 revolutions to move through the entire focus range. Zeiss also redistributed the weight of the Victory SF 32, shifting it rearward so that the bino doesn’t feel front heavy.
$2,249.99 (8x32 mm), $2,299.99 (10x32 mm) | zeiss.com