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There's a lot more to doing a rifle scope review than reading the specs on the back of the box. Before a reviewer looks through a scope, he/she will look at it.
A scope has to look good. The reviewer checks out the optics for clarity and fiddles with the fine tunable adjustment knobs, making sure that they turn easily and don't fall off. Obviously, a good scope has to be able to stay zeroed through thicket and thin ice.
A field reviewer will fire the weapon several times and then check the calibration of the scope. If it hasn't moved much or at all, this is obviously a good sign. However, it is not the only sign. There is another test known as the “How's-about-I-drop-this-sucker-three-times-and-see-what-happens?” test. After this test, the reviewer refires the weapon (at no one in particular) to see how much it is off.
The last (and most demanding) test is a trial by fire, you might say. The scope is heated to 140 degrees for one hour then immediately put in the deep freeze for 8 hours. If the scope doesn't fracture or fog up, it's a keeper. If the reviewer cracks up, that's another story.
Burris, Simmons, Tasco, Zeiss, Weaver, Bushnell, Leupold, Redfield. No, this is not the roster of the English World Cup Soccer team—these are just a few of the leading manufacturers of quality rifle scopes that you will come across in your search for the perfect scope.
Each brand has an extensive line of rifle scopes and spotting scopes that differ from one another in varying degrees in cost and quality. That's why the best hunting and shooting aid you can invest in is time; time to read and digest the myriad rifle scope reviews that proliferate the internet and hunting and shooting publications that abound at a newstand or library near you. Scope hunting season is open- year-round.
OK, let's say you've read all the rifle scope reviews you can handle, and you are still undecided about which scope will help you blast a beer can to smithereens at 500 yards.
Now, if you have already pestered your plinkin' buddies and uncle Zeb to death, you can go to the internet and check out the shooting forums. Ask the people online who are using scopes what they think? They'll be glad to oblige you. Especially if they weren't as thorough as you are in buying their scope.
So, you wanna buy a scope. Maybe you have even narrowed things down a bit and you know the type of scope you need. Problem is, there are a lot of brands out there, and one size or type does not fit all. Now, suppose you are like the Nowhere Man from The Yellow Submarine, who had “so little time, so much to know.” How can you zero in on the scope that will give you the best bang for your buck? Fortunately, you have several options:
• Buy one from every manufacturer, and try it out yourself
• Subscribe to all the hunting and shooting mags in the world
• Go on the Internet, search “rifle scope reviews”, and check out the one you have in mind
• Check out hunting and shooting forums (these tend to offer more candid comments)
*If you don't find what you're looking for, you probably don't need a scope anyway. Get a bow and arrow.
Once you've set your sights on a scope and have found some reviews on the internet or in magazines, how do you know the reviewer isn't just a paid shill for the manufacturer of a particular scope? How do you know the reviewer is impartial? Well, this may come as a shock to you, but you can't know everything. You just have to read the review, adjust for "windage", and trust your gut.
Most of the people writing reviews are outdoor sports enthusiasts, like yourself, and are, pardon the expression, straight shooters. Of course, even after reading all the reviews, you still may not know which unit you want. That's something even a reviewer can't fix.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|