Finding needles in haystacks (or mule deer under shady ledges) gets a lot easier with the Leupold BX-5 15x56 Santiam HD binocular in front of your face. Full disclosure here: I’ve never been fond of high magnification binoculars for general purpose hunting for three reasons: … [Read more...] about Leupold BX-5 15×56 Binocular Review
The Importance of Optical Tools
Our vision is our most dependable, useful and used sense. We might hear a twig snap or smell a rank elk, but until we see it, we can't fully enjoy it. And we certainly can't shoot it. Assisting our vision with binoculars, spotting scopes and rifle scopes augments our ability to enjoy the natural world. Hunting without them is like shooting without an accurate rifle – you can do it, but you don't get much. Birding or wildlife viewing without optics is like dancing without a partner.
When I'm afield I use a binocular to not only find game, but identify songbirds, figure out what that odd, gray object is way over there, determine who's driving on the neighbor's field, even identify the tracks in the mud on the other side of the river. Anything I want to see I can see eight to twelve times larger with my binocular. Saves a lot of walking. And with a telescope (spotting scope) I can "cover" miles of country I'd otherwise miss. That big, 20X to 60X magnified view helps me see wildlife I would otherwise miss completely. That level of enlargement lets me observe details like fur, feathers and antler tines I can't detect at just 10X. Serious hunters will confirm that 20X magnification and higher is critical for serious trophy assessment. In addition it's fun for spotting elk and caribou as many as 10 miles away – or for seeing man in the moon or the rings on Saturn.
The problem with optical instruments is that they're mysterious. A black box. What's in there? What makes one unit better than another? Which brand is the best? Why can I see great through some and poorly through others? Why did my binocular or scope suddenly go dim or fuzzy? Why can't I get my scope zeroed? Few other tools used by hunters are so challenging to understand. This leads to inefficiency, repeat purchases, missed opportunities ("my scope was fogged!") and frustration.
Making your low-cost plains game hunt without a safari binocular is like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail without boots. It can be done, but it won’t be as much fun. To maximize safari fun, take along your best safari binocular. Here's how to find it: Why a Best Safari … [Read more...] about Best Safari Binocular Explained
Tough. Durable. Consistent. That’s what you want in an Africa hunting scope. Despite our best technology -- HD glass, illuminated reticles, ballistic reticles, dial turrets, parallax adjustment dials and 8X zoom ranges -- a riflescope is really just a front sight. Yes, it is … [Read more...] about Best Africa Hunting Scope
Pity the poor Porro prism binocular. Out of fashion despite superior performance. That’s right, the old Porro can outperform the sleekest new roof prisms with two eyes tied behind its… er, I mean, taped shut. Not really. But it can give you equal performance for about half the … [Read more...] about Porro Prism Binocular a Best Buy
The rifle was Sauer, my wife was sweet and the Leica optics were sharp, but none was waterproof during a windy, rainy Highlands red stag hunt. That didn’t seem to matter. Sauer (pronounced “sour” by most Americans, “tzauer” by Germans) is a German gun maker that has been at it … [Read more...] about Sauer, Leica & Betsy Get Stag
What are the three biggest mistakes binocular buyers make? They buy one that's too big and too powerful They buy one that's too small and too powerful They try to get one on the cheap. Don’t fall for too much magnification. Above 10X most of us shake or tremor too … [Read more...] about Three Biggest Binocular Buying Mistakes
A tough scope is a good scope because durability is job one. Bright is nice and a high zoom range can be handy -- but not if that scope can't hold zero. I learned that the hard way in a freezing rain with a Winchester Super X3 12 gauge in my semi-frozen hands. I'd … [Read more...] about A Tough Scope is Good Scope
Pocket Binocular Perfection I guess we, the buying public, are to blame. We've got that all-American "bigger is better" syndrome. But optics manufacturers should know better. Ten-power pocket binoculars just aren't all that effective. Neither are 8X. The … [Read more...] about Pining for the Right Pocket Binocular