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1993 optics preview.

A few years back, consumers tended to "make do" with the sighting equipment that was available. Today, however, as shooters are faced with diminishing free time and opportunities for hunting, they want to make their outdoor experiences the best they can be. Hunters see high-quality sighting equipment as an investment and they are willing to pay for same, but they also expect lifetime guarantees plus quick turn-around service.

Consequently, manufacturers are expanding the state of the art in sighting equipment. Advances in coatings include the anti-reflective multi-coating and phase coating, which effect a phase shift reduction on the roof presence, as well as special systems such as those which reduce UV eyestrain. Large objective scopes are popular, though controversial, for some manufacturers say they admit more light than the human eye can use, are heavy, and difficult to mount.

Finally, sighting equipment has become fashion-conscious, with the current trend in good-looking scopes going toward camouflage, matte black, and nickel stainless. Here's a look at some of the best of the current offerings in rifle and shotgun scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes.

Bausch & Lomb Sports Optics

Bausch & Lomb is highlighting its already extensive line of sighting products with a number of new offerings. Notable is the 77mm Elite Spotting Scope, which introduced the EDPrime low dispersion glass, which enables the scope to resolve fine detail at long distances. The combination of the light-gathering ability of the large 77mm objective and fully multi-coated optical surfaces provide remarkable image brightness. Three interchangeable high-resolution, bayonet-style eyepieces are available: 20-60x zoom, 30x, and 20x wide angle.

Bausch & Lomb has also upgraded its 15-45x60mm Elite spotting scope by an impressive 30 percent over the current model with the addition of phase coating.

Responding 10 requests for a smaller binocular than the 8x and 10x standard size, a 7x36 unit has been added to the Elite series. This one is just 5 1/2 inches high, with sharpened images due to phase coating.


Unlike many scopes, which involve two plates that are screwed together -- allowing the potential for moisture infiltration -- Blount's Weaver brand scopes are single-piece instruments.

On hand is the K2.5 2.5x fixed power scope, which is used for optimum power, with a field of view and size for close-range hunting with slug or brush guns.

The V3 1-3x variable power scope is designed for shotgun, short range, and dangerous animal hunting. At 3x hunters have the crisp magnification needed for critical shot placement, and extra eye relief for big recoils and fast targeting.

The KT15 15x fixed power scope is the latest in the line of well-received T Series scopes. The range focus mechanism of the scope allows parallax-free sighting at almost any distance-a scope to use for precise target and varmint shooting.


One of the most popular new binoculars on the market is available from Copitar: the LOOK Power Zoom binoculars. These unique binoculars use a small electronic motor to vary magnification from 7x to 15x at the touch of a button. Using BAK-4 prisms (the same kind used by NASA in many of their optics) and multi coated lenses, the LOOK binoculars deliver exceptionally sharp and bright images. All of these features come in a very light weight package, however. The LOOK binoculars weigh in at just over 11 ounces.

Copitar also offers the Click Stop Series binoculars, with a "Click Stop" focus mechanism for easy focal reference points. This allows the user to find the most comfortable focus position quickly and easily. The series is available in three models -- a 7x50mm, a 10x50mm, and an 8x30mm -- all with two-tone rubber armoring, retractable eye cups, and shock resistant, fully coated optics. The Click Stop comes with sturdy case, carrying strap, and lens cloth.

Leupold & Stevens

Although it's been decades since an American manufacturer has actually made binoculars in the U.S., Leupold is proud to shatter that tradition with the introduction of its new pocket binoculars, Golden Ring, available in 9x and 10x. Both are rubber armor coated, waterproof, and ultra rugged.

Another proud 1992 introduction is the 1.75-6x32mm rifle scope, intended for dangerous game hunting and big caliber rifles.

Other new Leupold products include a line of affordable full-size binoculars in both porro prism and roof prism designs.


Spurred by demand from hunters for rifle scopes that offer exceptional performance in the low-light conditions of dawn and dusk, Nikon Sport Optics has added two large-objective rifle scopes -- a 2.5-10x50 and a 4-12x50 -- to their extensive line of rifle, pistol, and spotting scopes. These scopes address the problem resulting from many manufacturers using oversized objective lenses to gather more light without considering that light gathering is only a partial solution to the problem. The light has to be transmitted through the lens with minimal loss to be effective.

To address this, Nikon has blackened the internal metal parts thoroughly to eliminate internal light reflection and adapted multicoating techniques used on its camera lenses. The result is a higher contrast for detecting camouflaged game in murky low light conditions, as well as minimizing glare and increasing resolution. Available in black matte and lustre finishes, these two 50mm scopes feature shock-proof mounting and O-ring seals for waterproof/fogproof integrity.


Pentax's newest model this year is the second in the LightSeeker series: the 2-8x LightSeeker, a variable power scope that offers a 4x increase in magnification. It provides the versatility to go from low-power, both-eyes-open, short-range hunting to long-range situations.

Also on hand is the 6-18x silhouette scope with extended controls on the windage and elevation adjustments so hunters can easily change point of impact by hand without moving out of their firing position.

The 1.5-5x compact scope has gained a following on the opposite end of the scale. It's popular both as a rimfire scope for plingking and small game, but also for large, dangerous game because of its wide field of view and rugged construction.


Along with a wide assortment of ranging products, the suitably named Ranging company also offers Dusk & Dawn Binoculars, a light, 16-ounce, 4 3/4 x 5 1/2-inch unit which is designed for maximum low light visibility. The 5x32 binoculars feature rugged armor coating, fully coated lenses, and retractable rubber eye cups for comfortable viewing, even for eye glass wearers.


Redfield is a manufacturer that believes in giving hunters variety -- six different lines of scopes each with a number of fixed and variable models. New offerings include the 3-9x Widefield Illuminator, the 3-9x50mm Realtree and black Variable Golden Five Star, the 2-7x Low Profile Widefield, and the 4x40mm and 2-9x Tracker.


Austrian-based Swarovski, which recently opened an American manufacturing facility in Cranston, R.I., to maintain competetive pricing and speedy service, has added several models to its binocular line.

Newest are the SLC 7x42 and 10x42 roof prism binoculars. These compact and light weight (about 30 ozs.) models have internal focusing and central dioptric compensation mechanisms that help make them completely water tight to a pressure depth of 4.25 lb./square inch. In addition, the large phase correction, coated roof prisms, and multi-layered lens coatings give the viewer a very bright and sharp image. Both incorporate push-in eye cups, ensuring no loss of field of view for eyeglass wearers, and both are connectable to a tripod mount. The SLC-type construction incorporates polyurethane armoring for extra strength and abrasion protection.

Swarovski has also introduced two ultra compact binoculars in the popular power ratings of 8x20 and 10x25, designed to deliver the optical performance usually found in larger roof or poro-prism models. Similar in appearance to the 8x20s introduced last year, both models are shock-proof, water-proof and incorporate phase correction coating on the roof prisms--unique for binoculars of this size.


Tasco also represents a full range of scopes, spotters, and binoculars to choose from. Among spotting scopes the 9002T has been called the ultimate zoom. It uses a telephoto lens and can zoom in for close-up photography at 60 power.

The new CW50T is a response to the demand for a quality compact. This new spotter is built for long-term use in the field with easy portability and storage. Its extended eye relief is designed to eliminate fatigue and provide comfort for eyeglass and sunglass wearers.


Zeiss has introduced its 20x60 S binocular which is designed to allow the hunter to dispense with a spotting scope. It promises images of brilliance and clarity, and clear recognition of 15mm at 1,000 meters without a tripod. Even minute objects at great distances can be seen with pinpoint sharpness.

Previously, these special high-magnification binoculars had been reserved for the select few, those who use them exclusively for their everyday work, such as in the policing or security services. The gyro-stabilized systems necessary to compensate for the unsteadiness of the human hand have been technically complex, and therefore expensive, but Zeiss has come up with a purely mechanical stabilization system, one with no need for any kind of power source, but which is now in the price range for a wide variety of users.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article; telescopic sights
Author:Major, Michael
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Previous Article:The long gun review.
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