Lying prone atop my rifle in the crusted snow, I strained my eyes again as I depressed the button on the rangefinder. The flashing LED display read “1,760 yards” for the third time. Telling myself the rangefinder must be correct, I dialed my dope and waited for the target to turn broadside. He was the longest-legged predator I had ever seen, with an inky-black hide and piercing yellow eyes. Completely unaware of my presence exactly one mile away, the wolf skirted the elk carcass slowly without a care in the world. He was my dangling carrot, my unicorn, and I wanted nothing more than to capture the fabled creature with a bullet. My quivering cheek pressed hard against the comb of the stock as I inhaled through my nose and exhaled out my mouth. As I tracked the lanky beast in the scope, he finally stopped perfectly still without movement except for his tail in the crisp mountain breeze. I settled the reticle center mass, took one last blink to curb my watering eye, and pressed the trigger. The heavy recoil and deafening muzzle blast jarred me wide-awake in bed. My dream state quickly faded away as reality set in. My hotel room was still dark, as the first light of day pried itself through the seam of the drapes. Only in my dreams could I ever make a shot like that anyway, I thought to myself as I sat up in bed.
If only my dream that summer morning in a Wyoming hotel had been lucid. A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. In a lucid dream, the dreamer has greater chances to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Had I known I was dreaming, I could’ve at least willed myself to stay asleep long enough to see if I had connected on the shot, or even better, to run my hands over that prime black fur coat. I couldn’t dwell on it much, however. I had to get ready for a long-range shooting event at the Lucid Optics gun range. Directly related to my dream sequence? I’d be willing to bet.
Once at the range, the first order of business was the introduction of both the products and the staff. Lucid CEO and founder, Jason Wilson, loves what he does. His “proud papa” persona is infectious when it comes to the Lucid product line. It was immediately apparent that he’s truly poured his heart and soul into creating the best optics, packed with the most features possible, for the budget-minded shooter. In fact, the company motto is “On Target, Under Budget,” and I was about to find out exactly what that meant.
We spent very little time with introductions in order to utilize our time better on the range. Spread out before us like a Vegas smorgasbord, targets ranged from a hundo to a mile with everything in between. Even more impressive than that was the firearms display waiting for us like a homesick child, just begging to be held, each topped with a properly appointed Lucid Optic. Bolt guns and ARs adorned with the Lucid 6-24×50 as well as the 4-16×44 riflescope fitted with the proprietary L5 reticle. The L5 riflescope offers precise and repeatable 1/8 MOA windage and elevation adjustments on lockable and re-zeroable tactical-style turrets. The side parallax adjustment combined with the ocular diopter adjustment provides a crisp target image. The L5 reticle is a precise MOA measuring device with two MOA increments below the rifle’s zero and meaningful windage values built in the riflescope. This optical package simply makes longer shots possible when paired with the tried and true iStrelok ballistics program. Simply download the L5 reticle into the ballistics program, input all the ballistic parameters of your cartridge and add the yardage of the target. Now anyone can quickly and accurately engage targets at nominal distances in a hurry.
Although it was all good in theory, the only way to know how practical it was involved a Lucid-topped Savage12 F Class bolt-action chambered in 6.5×284 Norma with myself at the helm. Using the MagnetoSpeed bullet chronograph, I shot a string of five shots and data-logged the bullet fps (feet per second). Then I averaged out the five-shot string and plugged that number into iStrelok. With actual fps recorded, all I needed to do was shoot a five-shot group at 100 yards to get comfortable with the rifle and the optic. When the smoke cleared, I had a five-shot group that measured sub MOA right out of the gate. With a grin covering every inch of real estate below my mustache, I remarked to Jason, “time to go long!”
I situated the bench on the 300-yard target as Jason peered just over my right shoulder with a tripod-mounted spotter. I adjusted the parallax on the scope, sharpening the image of the target and adjusted the diopter to sharpen the reticle. “Shooter ready,” I called out. “Send it!” Jason replied, and I lit the fire inside the Norma cartridge, sending the Berger screaming downrange. “Hit!” Jason exclaimed as I watched the bullet splash on the 300-yard gong, causing it to swing. I ran the bolt and sent another and another and another as Jason shouted a resounding “Hit!” after each shot. Three hundred yards was nothing for this combo.
“Let’s walk you out to a grand and back and see how you do,” Jason suggested. A grand already, I thought to myself, but reluctantly agreed. Jason made an announcement to the rest of the group: “Let’s have a little contest. We have five benches here. When I give the fire command, each shooter will engage the target at 300 yards, 400, 500, 600, 800 and 1000, then back again all the way down to 300. You cannot engage the next target in succession until your spotter confirms the hit. First person to complete the course will win a new Lucid Optic of their choice.” Clutching the F Class Savage like a football as if to say “hands off,” I made my way to the bench. As I looked left, then right, three of the five of us (myself included) had selected F Class rifles and the other two had custom benchrest rifles, all topped with new Lucid L5 6-24×50 scopes. This was going to get interesting.
Four other outdoor writers and I took our positions at the bench and went snake eyes waiting for the fire command. “Fire” rang out in the morning air and I went to work. I quickly cleared through targets at 300 yards all the way to 800 without missing a shot, but I paused when I got to 1,000. I’ve rang steel out to 800 yards on a handful of occasions at my local range with my own gear, but I’d never made contact at 1,000. I heard my spotter yell “send it Tom, the others are catching up!” At this point I hadn’t even realized I was ahead of the others. In fact, I nearly forgot we were even racing for a moment and sunk back down low over the laminated stock and sent one long. “Hit!” a spotter called out, and I turned to see he was talking to me. Without even giving it much effort, I was now an official member of the 1,000-yard club. Jumping back on the gun, I continued to work my way back down the ladder all the way to the 300 again without missing a single target. At the cease-fire command, I was crowned king and had my choice of optics from the Lucid line. Although the decision was hard given the quality products available to me, I’m a predator hunter through and through, so I selected a 4-16×44 scope with L5 reticle. I prefer lower magnification over higher for all predator applications, and 4X is just about perfect for almost any situation or quarry. I knew I’d be mounting my new Lucid on a predator rig as soon as I found my way back home again.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Jason revealed “The Beast,” a Savage Arms 110FCP HS Precision chambered in .338 Lapua. “Raise your hand if you’ve shot 1 mile before,” Jason announced. No one had. “Good,” he remarked, “that’s all about to change.” He pointed to a 4-foot-by-4-foot gong exactly 1,760 yards away. “Who’s first?”
Nobody volunteered. After an awkward silence, I suddenly called out, “it’s on” and took the bench. My first shot went left by just 2 feet — closer than I expected. I inhaled, exhaled half and held for more wind and sent another. “Hit!” Jason called out. I waited for the sound of the hit to make its way 1,760 yards back to us. Ding! I couldn’t believe it. With the aid of a quality Savage firearm topped with a quality Lucid optic, I whacked a mile on my second attempt ever.
Now, I had real-world experience as it related to the optics abilities afield and I fully understood how “On Target” correlates with the Lucid motto. However, it wasn’t until I looked at the Lucid catalogue that I realized how the “Under Budget” fit into the equation. In fact, I expected the price of these highly capable scopes to be double the actual suggested retail price. I was pleasantly surprised with my discovery, and I had a vendetta to settle with a big bad wolf.