By L.P. Brezny
Lowel Brezny takes us through a review of the best of the best binoculars for hunting or shooting.
United States -(AmmoLand.com)- The following is my run-down of the best of the best in hunting and shooting binoculars. I am sure some will agree and disagree, leave me your thoughts in the comments below.
When in search of the very best binoculars, the brand name of Leica comes to the forefront much of the time. In this case the Leica 10×42 Geovid HD-B Laser Range Finding Binocular series that sells in the ball park of $3,249.00 (less online) comes to mind with a ranging capability of 1,825 yards on a reflective target, advanced ballistic compensation system, a micro SD memory card, and the Led Display.
Leica is state of the art regarding design with advanced prism systems, and world class internal components. Over the years I have spent time at product test events with Leica optics, and have been able to put product on warm targets at varied range limits. In terms of conventional tube binoculars the Leica Ultravid HD system; selling for about $1,999,95, can meet any hunters needs in spades.
What it all comes down to is the optics glass and none can out-do Leica. A little story here if you will allow me. Both my wife and I are photographers, and this past year she bought a new compact Leica camera that cost about the same price as a ranging binocular offered by Leica. Doing some team work up in Montana a short time ago we compared our digital photos for some writing applications, and even though I use some very high grade camera equipment the Leica ate me alive.
It is all about the lenses my friends. That glass is the total heart of any system offered today.
Right in the same ball park as Leica are the outstanding optics offered by Swarovski, and in this case the Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision Binocular in the “Long Range’” variant. Suggest priced at $3,110.00, this glass is not pocket change, but for the pro-hunter, combat operator, or any related job like these you can’t have enough of a good thing and only the best binoculars will do.
I have field carried Swarovski glass for a number of years and also attended hunting and shooting events as in both paper targets, and warm targets with their products. The bottom line is that this is the top of the product mountain, and in almost every professional shooting project I have attended over some 40 years in the business, Swarovski has been there. That history includes their binoculars when freelancing targets out on the Dakota or Wyoming open plains.
It was on the very first grass rat hunt that showcased the ranging offered by binoculars several years ago by Swarovski, and on that shoot we were using some very low budget rifles, but with the glass sights, and those El type field glassing capabilities the performance of the almost sub standard rifles as matched to the Swarovski optics was considered excellent.
Yes, Swarovski can make a hunt.
As number three on the list I will turn to the folks at Steiner Optics. Steiner will offer the binocular type that can fit every need and not all of them are anything close to a budget offering at all. Steiner HX 15X56 Hunting Binoculars MSRP for $1,379.99, and will stand up to anything you care to compare them to in the field. In specialized glass, Steiner offers the Commander GlobaL C 7X50 “MARINE” optic that has an MSRP of $3,099,99.
Need more then that in an optics choice and these folks can’t help, nor can anyone else for that matter.
Steiner is close to me in many ways because I have used the flat out world class Peregrine Steiner glass for many years. These binoculars would make my Best Binoculars list if not for the fact that they are no longer offered by Steiner. If you find a used pair on the net and they will still set you back as much as $1,395.00. We have an old saying among several of us that hunt together. That is this. “Steiner’s make the world a much better place then it actually is, at least to look at”.
Sharpness and image quality is like looking into a cut Diamond. Need to search out a sleeping mule deer buck that is tucked under a thick juniper tree on a mountain side, or glass for a trophy class elk at a mile away in a fresh burn area? These best of the best binoculars are up to the task. Another term we often use for Steiner’s is the word “truth”. Is it an off colored feed bag that looks like an animal on the snow bank along a Minnesota frozen corn field fence, or is it a pillowed up red fox fast asleep?
Pass me the Steiner’s please, because “truth” is on the way.
Meopta Binoculars Meostar B1 12×50 HD is an entry level product within the better grade binocular department. As such, the price is a break from tradition selling points at $1,299.00, but the quality in European crafted quality and materials holds this brand right up in the high output department. The meopta optic brand is known to this writer due to reviewing several of their outstanding ultra long range spotting scopes, and a new rifle scope system as well. The glass used is top end, as is the American assembly from European shipped in parts. Many of the big box sporting outlets will handle this brand of optic, and according to sales and interviews I have had with dealers, the Meopta brand is doing well.
Even with the high price of the best of the best products what you will get today is nothing less then the very best in materials and manufacturing methods. We are lucky to live in a time when we have the options we do in terms of selecting from a wide range of products when going afield, or taking a seat over a bench rest via a target or hunting rifle.
About the Author L.P. Brezny:
With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today’s most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual.
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