I get covered up weekly with media information on the latest and greatest new outdoor products in almost any outdoor line imaginable. One concentration of information I have been receiving for the past couple months is concerning all of the scopes and sights available. I see more and more sights that are battery powered and considering last Saturday when the battery went dead in my car key, or whatever it is called nowadays, and the doors would not unlock, or would anything else work until I replaced the battery, I find it difficult to get a warm fuzzy feeling about battery powered sights.
On top of that I have a snipers rifle built in 1944 that has an adjustable peep sight on it and I have never had to change the batteries in it and it still puts the bullets in the same place it did on the day I got it, so one may be able to see how I may be reluctant to jump on the electric sight band wagon.
I do have a Bushnell Red Dot sight that I enjoy and it is on an AR-15, but has a built in backup that makes for a good combination. Behind the red dots sight is a good peep sight that folds down and out of the way when I use the red dot sight. When I want to use the peep sight I just don’t turn on the red dot and sight right through it to the front sight and on the target.
No matter my recent negative battery powered experience, some hunters seem to be going through a high tech, electric sight fad that reminds me of some of the fads of yesterday like the term ‘magnum’, from the Latin for 'great', that keeps popping its head up periodically.
The battery powered sights have been around for a number of years and I have had the opportunity to use different makes and styles, on rifles and shotguns, and some can be fun. If a shooter is into high tech range shooting, they can be interesting to play with. However, in my humble opinion, if I am going out into the field hunting I don’t want to have to worry about the temperature, rough handling, or other factors such as water, and of course the possibility of a battery going dead miles away from a source for a new one.
I can see it now, the hunter of the future all decked out in his newest Mossy Oak camouflage outfit, on his latest model ATV, pulling a trailer load of batteries. Yep, there is nothing better than getting back to nature.
When you really get down to some serious hunting the type of sight to use is the one that will give you the clearest and most consistently accurate site picture you can get when you pull the trigger. If you are hunting and thick underbrush or timber unless you are on the pipeline or sendero a scope really will not do you much good, because the shot you get will probably be well under 50 yards. At a time like that it’s hard to beat open sights, as a 3 to 9 scope will likely eliminate any possibility of a shot. In a situation like that you would be far better off using open sight or peep sight with the appropriate aperture.
Talk to most any hunting guide in the northwest area of our country where big bears roam and they will readily condone and use scopes in hunting antelope, deer, elk, and most other meat animals. But you put that same guide in the position where he must be prepared to defend himself or backup a hunter after dangerous bears and I don’t think you could run fast enough to give him a scope, any scope.
Now I would like to move on to what appears to me to be the top of the food chain in rifle scopes at this time, which would be the scopes with built in rangefinders.
The scopes with the built in range finders are all good quality products and great scopes even without the rangefinders. Burris, to my knowledge, was the first to hit the market with the product, but it was really a joint effort between two or three companies that made the product usable. One of the big advantages with the built in rangefinder is it eliminates the necessity to carry a separate piece of equipment, a rangefinders.
As with Sir Isaac newton’s third law of motion which states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” everything in life, at times, seems to be a tradeoff and that is true with the scope/rangefinder combination.
The first is that the scope/rangefinder combination is quite a bit heavier than a rifle scope without electronics. It makes quite a difference in weight on the rifle, which makes it heavier to carry. Next is that you pay more for the combination in one device than for a good scope and a good range finder if you buy them separately. And there is always the factor that if the rangefinder or scope fails you might be stuck with half of what you paid for operational.
So as you look at your options, what is important is that your choice meets a usable compromise between your wants and your wallet.