You've heard the story. You know the one that goes, "He was massive. The true buck-of-a-lifetime, only 150 yards away. I wanted to shoot him, but I couldn't. The light was bad and I couldn't make out my crosshairs against his hide. So I just had to watch him walk away."
This story makes me cringe. If you've been the teller of this story at one time or another, I feel your pain, but I'm about to pour salt on an open wound. With today's advancements in optic clarity and light gathering, you are without excuse. That mega-giant you watched fade away into the twilight should be hanging on your wall.
As serious rifle hunters, we invest hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in our guns. We either reload or search tirelessly for the perfect factory ammunition. But oddly enough, many amongst us still top our worthy rifle with a hand-me-down scope or one found on sale at a local sporting goods store. Do me a favor. Help me break this trend. Today's scopes are true optic marvels, capable of providing a crystal-clear image even in ultra-dim lighting conditions. Boost your accuracy and low-light performance by topping your rifle with a modern-day scope and put an end to the, "I would have shot him but…" type of stories.
We need to tip our hat to scope manufacturers. These savvy folks have taken optic clarity, brightness, contrast, durability and overall field-of-view to incredible heights. Remember, unwavering accuracy can only be obtained if you can clearly see your target.
Five Top Picks
Finding the right scope to top your deer assassin is truly a matter of personal preference and testing. However, if your bank account is like mine, you can't purchase every scope on the market and spend weeks testing each one. What you can do is read through the information below and get up to speed on some of the new technologies and innovations that will help narrow your search. So, let's find your new riflescope.
The MeoStar 3-12×56 RGD DualZone 30mm riflescope from Meopta (www.meoptasportsoptics.com/us) is receiving accolades for its superior low-light optical abilities and overall reliability in adverse conditions. My thinking: If this scope can help you better identify your target and make a lethal shot while resisting Mother Nature, it's definitely worth looking into. Boosting overall light-gathering are the T02 Twilight Optimized Optics system and DualZone illumination system — two technologies that will help you hunt from the first flicker of light to the last. The Twilight Optimized Optics system delivers the highest level of light transmission and the DualZone illumination system features red and green illumination options with seven levels of reticle intensity.
The 3-12x56mm Predator Xtreme riflescope from Steiner (www.steiner-binoculars.com) has a large 56mm objective that not only increases your field-of-view, but also boosts game detection regardless of the lighting conditions. Having put a Steiner Predator Xtreme to my eye more than once, I can attest to the fact that its Color Adjusted Transmission (CAT) lens coating technology delivers phenomenal levels of contrast and light transmission. When the moment of truth arrives, you want to settle the crosshairs on a single hair, and this scope allows that. Plus, the ballistic lines in the Plex S1 reticle eliminate guessing at extended yardages while the series of dots to the left and right of the ballistic lines are designed to help you compensate for wind speed.
The Trijicon AccuPoint 3-9×40 (www.trijicon.com) also gobbles up any and all available light. Its multi-layer coated lenses ensure low-light performance, and the Manual Brightness Override requires only a single turn to adjust your personal brightness setting. The field-proven Tritium-Phosphor Lamp makes the aiming reticle glow, allowing you ultra-quick target acquisition in low light. Lastly, Trijicon Fiber Optics are engineered to automatically adjust the brightness level and contrast of the Trijicon Aiming Point reticle to make you more effective in less-than-perfect light.
Economically priced, the 4.5-14x44mm AO Game TAG riflescope from CenterPoint Hunting & Outdoors (centerpoint.crosman.com) makes a worthy field companion. Making targets crystal clear is the multi-coated lenses, and the durable one-piece aircraft grade aluminum tube is virtually bulletproof. The perfect marriage of light transmitting optics and the new TAG (Trajectory Aiming Guide) make shots at any range and under any lighting situation a breeze.
Packed with features that make those long-distance shots in low light easier than ever, the new-for-2013 Tactical model March-F 3-24×42 FFP (www.marchscopes.com) is compact and deadly. The side focus/parallax adjustment provides a level of clarity and focus from 10 yards to infinity that you have to see to fully appreciate. Other notable features of this scope are its incredible eye relief, tactical turrets with zero stop facility on elevation and choice of illuminated or non-illuminated glass etched reticle.