Ask Us Anything Ep. 2

  • Maruša 

Welcome to the second episode of Ask Us Anything. Thank you for all the questions you sent us since the previous one, and let us just dive in.

AUA ep.2

Do you expect to receive the Vomz PV 1-8×25 LPVO (low-power variable optics) and Vomz side mounts for AK pattern rifles?

Yes, we will definitely receive them, but due to COVID-19, delivery times are a bit prolonged, and the manufacturers do not have all assembly parts in stock. We expect to have them in stock in no more than 2 months. As for the mounts, they are already in stock, but before we put them on our online store, we need to do thorough research of which ones are compatible, as there are so many variations of AK rifles and we do not want to put any misleading information out there in public.

In your opinion, what is the best SFP scope under 500 €?

This is an extremely difficult question to answer because when we speak about second focal plane scopes, we can talk about hunting scopes (low-light hunting, stalking, long-range hunting), tactical scopes, target scopes (for small calibre rifles or for centrefire calibre rifles), handgun scopes, scout scopes, and crossbow scopes. So, if you are searching for a top pick, you need to be more specific. Producers, which in our opinion produce the best value for under 500 € in this section, are Sightron, Vector Optics, Athlon, Primary Arms, GPO, and Yukon (for hunting scopes).

What is the best scope for stalk hunting?

Again, this also depends on the price class. In the lower price class, we need to point out the Yukon Jaeger 1.5-6×42, which is probably the best choice for a scope that is priced around 500 €. The illumination is good, although it is not set for daytime situations, but it is great for low-light use. Keep in mind that here, we are talking about flatland stalking, and not stalking in the mountains.

This Yukon Jaeger is a low magnification riflescope that is more compact. If we go a bit higher in terms of price, a great scope for stalk hunting is also Meopta Meostar R2 1.7-10×42. And if we go even higher, we have the Z6i 1.7-10×42. And in the highest price range, we can find Swarovski Z8i and Leica Magnus (42 mm) scopes. These are our favourites but again, it all depends on your budget.

What is your opinion on some older Zeiss Jena models, like Dekarem and Binoctem, and some other similar ones that can be found online, priced 100 €-200 €? Which binoculars would also be best for hunting up to 250 €-300 €?

First of all, our opinion about these older binoculars is extremely positive, however, most people are buying them for collection purposes. Zeiss Jena binoculars have not been in production for the past 30 years, and many things have progressed since then. The most noticeable change is the eyepieces – if you are someone who wears glasses, then these binoculars would be almost unusable because they have metallic eyepieces that do not allow the user to regulate the distance between the lens and the eye.

Most of these binoculars are also not waterproof, so if you buy them and wish to use them, you will need a good servicing facility, to make them usable again, after so many years. For the second question, I would rather spend 300 € on a new pair of binoculars for hunting because the new models are all purged with nitrogen, so there is no internal fogging at low temperatures. However, if you wish to buy these binoculars simply as a part of your collection to look at, then we are your biggest supporters, as Zeiss Jena models really were magnificent for their time.

Can you talk about the differences between the Z8i 2-16×50 and Schmidt&Bender Exos 3-21×50 for long-range hunting?

Both of these riflescopes are at the top of the line. This Swarovski model is optically better than the Schmidt&Bender one because it has a wider field of view. But Schmidt&Bender has a diameter tube of 34 mm and a bigger elevation range. This is especially useful when talking about long-range hunting. S&B is also more robust than Swarovski, which is slimmer, longer, and more lightweight. We would like to add an additional scope to your selection, namely the Z8i 3.5-28×50 – a novelty from Swarovski – as it is made for long-range hunting. So optically Swarovski is better, but when it comes to robustness and ergonomics, S&B is a better choice.

The best 1.500 € hunting scope recommendations – Leica, Steiner, Zeiss, Kahles?

Again, this is a question that can have many different answers – it all depends on what kind of hunting you are planning on doing. If you are looking for a low-light scope, we recommend Ranger 6 3-18×56 and Zeiss Conquest V6 2.5-15×56, which are both bright and great for low-light use. If you are searching for an all-round scope with a 50 mm objective lens, then Kahles 2-10×50 and Zeiss Conquest V6 2-12×50 would be the best options. If you are searching for a wide-angle scope in this price class, the best buy would be Leica Fortis 6 1-6x24i and again Steiner 6 1-6×24. In this price class, Steiner, Leica, Zeiss, and Kahles are fighting for the throne, and the differences between them are minimal.

Swarovski NL Pure 10×42 Vs 8×42 Vs 12×42

Teodor had the opportunity of going hunting with the Swarovski sales team in the Alps, so he was able to test all three binoculars for the whole day. Our recommendation for hunting is always the 8×42 binoculars, but with the NL Pure line, our opinions have completely changed. Firstly, the field of view is so wide that you still have a big enough field of view even with the 10×42 model.

Secondly, the NL Pure line has a headrest, which is great, and we think every pair of binoculars should have it. In this case, the 10×42 configuration might even beat the 8×42. 12×42, when tested, does not provide a wide enough field of view and you might struggle to hold the binos in place to see the details. However, if you put the 12×42 configuration on a stand, they are great. 8×42 are great, but the 10×42 model is not so far behind when it comes to the field of view.

You mentioned China and Japan as outsource manufacturing. I bought a used pair of Leupold binos made in the Philippines, model Acadia 10×42. Are these counterfeit?

The answer is no, they are not counterfeit. Leupold binoculars are now made across Asia. The entry-level models are all made in China, the middle-class ones are made in the Philippines, and the most expensive ones in Japan. This changes from year to year, but this is the current situation.

My lens is a magnet for dust, and I have to clean it several times a day. Is there any way to reduce it? Lens coat to reduce static?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. But you are not the only one facing this problem. There are some kits where you get special cloths and sprays which somehow reduce static, so you can try, but it is not a permanent fix. It might help if you simply put the eyepiece covers back on to reduce the risk of additional dust. But in any case, we do not recommend using anything else than the microfiber cloth, because anything other than that can damage the lens.

Is the Holosun 403B adaptable for use on a semi-automatic handgun? The S&W .380 auto?

We know that some S&W handguns do have the option of installing the Picatinny rail, but because the 403B is a micro red dot sight, it means it is a bit bigger and bulkier than what is usually recommended for rifles. Therefore, there is very little possibility that it can be installed on a handgun. It can be installed on a Picatinny rail but here, the answer would be no.

I have a Weatherby .300 win mag. Putting a Z6i 2.5-15×56 BHR scope on it. What type of SR rail do I need? Should I use rings if so, what do you suggest?

We would definitely suggest having an SR rail scope. Simply install the Picatinny rail on your Weatherby rifle and if you wish to have a detachable quick-release mount, use the INNOmount mount, the Henneberger Swift mount, or the MAKuick mount. If you wish to have a fixed mount, you have two more affordable choices, namely, the Recknagel fixed mount or the Optik Arms mount of this type, which is also great. In case you are not using a Picatinny rail, the pivot mounts are also an option because they are also of the quick detachable type. Most manufactures of pivot mounts also offer them in the rail version.

Have any of your customers had issues with ejection using these Contessa Picatinny rails for Sako rifles mounts?

No, this should not be an issue, because Sako 85 rifles have tapered dovetails, and they are elevated. When choosing a Contessa Picatinny rail, you can see that the base between both the front and rear surfaces of the rail is also elevated. Therefore, no problem should appear with the ejection of those rails, but it is not the most aesthetically pleasing.

What is the weight of Blaser Saddle Mount, Swarovski SR Rail, compared with one with rings?

The rail mounts are more lightweight, and if you go on our blog, you can read an article about the weights of different Blaser mounts. There is about 30 g of difference between the lightest and the heaviest mounts but still, you can see the difference.

Why do the trees, when looked at with a thermal imaging device, shine as if they are hot?

The trees actually are hot, and the reason for this is that usually, during the day, they absorb the temperature from the sun. We shoot our see-through videos towards the North, so the sun from the South shines directly on the trees.

You have tested the best, so I am curious how you think the Maven Abbé-Koenig prism models compare in optical quality to similar binoculars from Zeiss and Swarovski. Do the European brands still have an optical advantage in these kinds of low-light binoculars?

Abbé-Koenig binoculars from Maven are superb for their price, however, when you use them during the day and compare them to the Schmidt–Pechan models, like B1 8×42, the Abbé-Koenig models are great, even though they lack a bit of contrast and sharpness. But comparing them to Zeiss (Conquest HD 8×56) and Swarovski (SLC HD 8×56), these two are better. Since we recently just received the Maven binoculars, we put them to the test. So, in the 1000 € price class, we think that Maven puts up a hard fight against those with the Schmidt–Pechan prism in this price class.

I’ve been stuck between the Maven B1 8×42 and the GPO HD. For hunting, would you consider one model brighter than the other?

This is a similar question to the one above, but still a difficult one. Both binoculars are extremely good in their price class. We always considered the GPO HD to be the best buy, but when Maven came into the picture and we tested it, we concluded that the optical quality is slightly better with Maven than the GPO. In the price range of 1000 €, we did not come across a better pair of binoculars than Maven B1 8×42. Do not get us wrong, GPO is still great. We already have a blog post regarding the 8×42 binoculars and there, you can see all the binoculars we tested and marked as ‘best buys’.

Which binoculars are better? Burris Signature HD or Bushnell Forge, 8×42 or 10×42?

Regarding optical performance, Bushnell Forge has a small advantage, as it has a wider field of view. If we talk about service, warranty, build quality, etc., then Burris is at an advantage. They are both good, but if you are considering only the optics, Bushnell Forge binos are better.

What is the current cutting-edge technology that is going to change the future of optics?

This answer, at the moment, is quite obvious. The cutting-edge technology that is already changing is currently thermal optics – if we are talking about hunting. If we talk about tactical binoculars, the zoom factors might change in the future. But when it comes to hunting, thermal and digital night vision will change a lot, especially for low-light use. Just 10 years ago, thermal optics were very pricey but now, prices are getting lower, and the quality is getting higher.

If the turret adjustments are 1 cm on 100 m but if we shot on 50 m, how many clicks we need if our shot is 5 cm below the centre?

If your clicks are in MIL’s, your click will be 5 mm on 50 m. So, if your shot is 5 cm below the centre, this means you will have to apply 10 clicks. This is quite simple to calculate: 1 cm on 100 m is 3 cm on 300 m, 4 cm on 400 m, etc.

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Ask Us Anything Ep. 2
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Ask Us Anything Ep. 2
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Welcome to the second episode of Ask Us Anything, segment where the Optics Trade team answers your questions.
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Optics Trade Blog
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