Editor's Desk



Factors In Accuracy, Part One:
Rifles And Shooting

 by John Barsness

Annealing Cases
 by Ken Howell

Factors In Accuracy, Part Two:

 by John Barsness

Sonora: Where Giants Walk The Earth
 by Rick Bin

Your Chronograph Can Tell You More
 by Ken Howell

Big Eyes: Seeing Is Believing
 by Rick Bin

Handloading for Long-Range Shooting
 by John Haviland

Looking Long
 by John Barsness

The Campfire Hardcore Hunting Backpack Review
 by Scott Reekers

Big Ivory
 by Ken Howell
(as told by Elgin Gates)

A New Way To Hunt Lion
 by Ken Howell
(as told by Elgin Gates)

Killer Buffalo
 by Ken Howell
(as told by Elgin Gates)

Three Types of Hunters/
The Five Stages of a Sport Hunter

 by Denny L. Vasquez

How I Killed a Bear
 by Charles Dudley Warner

Last Minute Muley
 by Rick Bin

The .300 Winchester
 by Jack Steele

Choose the Right Backcountry Tent
 by Rick Bin

Who Bombed Elmer Keith?
 by Ken Howell

Best Buys In Binoculars
by John Barsness

Two really good full-size 8.5x binoculars in their price class are the 8.5x44 Swift Audubon and 8.5x45 Weaver Grand Slam. Either has optics rivaling those of much more expensive glass.AS IN MOST of life, deciding on the “best?binocular for your hunting is far more complex than it appears.  While many hunters are convinced they already own the best, such folks are usually prejudiced toward one model of one brand.  Why?  Because when they finally decided to spend big money, they bought that particular binocular.  It’s hard to convince someone who’s just spent $1000+ that they might not have made The Perfect Decision.

Admittedly, it is hard to go wrong when purchasing the best models among the top brands, though far too many people assume that only Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss are the only “expensive?binoculars that can be seriously considered.  Anybody who’s looked through a 1950’s Bausch & Lomb Zephyr knows that high-class glass was made in places other than German-speaking Europe long before we ever heard of Nikon.

Some hunters also feel that spending anything less than $1000 is wasted money, but I can assure you it is not.  Just as Europe is not the only source for great binoculars, today there are very good binoculars costing far less than $1000.  In fact, today you can buy binoculars for $500 that are better than anything that sold for twice that much 15 years ago.  This is due to a host of factors: computerized optics-design programs, industrial competition, and the global marketplace.

For decades, hunting writers have been stating that you get what you pay for in optics, implying that price is an absolute guide to quality.  While there’s no doubt that the average $1000 binocular beats the heck out of the average $100 binocular, there are many gray areas in between.  

The evaluators rated all three of these 8x32's as very close in optical quality, and better than anything else in their size: Nikon Premier LXL, Zeiss FL and Leica Ultravid.As an example, let’s compare optics to automobiles.  It’s no secret why Japanese vehicles are so popular in the United States: You can often buy a more reliable, safer and cheaper-to-drive Japanese vehicle for less money than a comparable-size American or European vehicle.  (The fact that some of these Japanese vehicles are made in the U.S. does not negate my point.)  The question, of course, is how do people know Japanese vehicles are better?  Cars wear out, and those that give a lot of trouble get found out, by word-of-mouth or Consumer Reports, so over the last quarter of a century we have come to accept that Japanese companies make top-quality vehicles.  

If this is so, why continue to believe that only Europe can make good glass?


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