If you’re a long-range shooter or a bowhunter, you know how important accurate ranging is to the success of your hunt. If you spend a lot of time up in a tree stand or hunting in high country, calculating an accurate shot angle can be pretty difficult. With a rangefinder, finding true distance and shot precision is much easier.
Concerned about the cost and weight of another piece of equipment to your already-heavy load? Don’t be. Most rangefinders are small and light—and some can even take the place of your binos.
So, if you’re looking for a good rangefinder for yourself or your favorite hunting buddy, check out Vortex Optics’s Ranger line.
Vortex’s old line of Ranger rangefinders was enormously popular, but they’ve done a great job improving the product.
The Ranger rangefinders come in four options: 1000, 1300, 1500, 1800. As the names suggest, each option is capable of ranging up to that particular number of yardage to reflective material. To a deer, you can expect about half. (Read our full review of the 1000 here)
Each option includes 6X magnification, 17mm of eye relief, and a 22mm objective lens. With these rangefinders, you’ll get 315ft/1000yd linear FOV and 6 degrees of angular FOV. The Ranger rangefinders also boast an accuracy within -/+ 3 yards at 1,000 yards and a max angle reading of +/- 60 degrees.
Prefer to range in meters or yards? It doesn’t matter. The Ranger rangefinders can be set to either setting.
The Ranger rangefinders will also handle cold and hot temps You can expect it to work between 14 and 131 degrees F.
With excellent glass quality, the Ranger rangefinder provides multi-coated lenses for optimal light transmission. You’ll also get an adjustable diopter that’s easy to use. You count on a precise picture that stands up against even the most expensive rangefinders.
This rangefinder has great low-light capabilities. So, if you’re out while the sun is setting or rising, you’ll be able to get a reading if you’re not too far away.
Although the body of the Ranger rangefinders is plastic, it’s coated with rubber. The rubber coating feels secure and non-slippery. It’s also serves as great protection for the rangefinder itself. You can feel confident the Ranger rangefinder will survive pretty much anything that happens to it.
The entire thing is waterproof and protected from internal fog. It’s also O-ring sealed, so the operating system will continue to have your back, even in tough conditions.
Each model is threaded for a tripod and comes with a high-quality carrying case for protection and longevity.
These rangefinders require a lithium CR2 battery. However, there is a battery included in the box. The battery cover is sealed and can be opened with a coin.
The Ranger rangefinders are compact, lightweight, and have a great, ergonomic hand feel. These rangefinders are 3 inches wide, 3.9 inches long, and only weigh 7.7 ounces. None of the models would be a bother to carry around for days at a time.
One really neat feature of the Ranger rangefinders is the adjustable utility clip on the side. The side clip is adjustable and can be mounted on either side or removed completely. Clip it to your pocket, belt, or to your pack for ultra-easy access as soon as you need it.
Ranger rangefinders also come with a lanyard if you prefer to carry around your neck. However you like to take the Ranger with you, it’ll be easy to bring.
Features and usability
The Ranger is easy to use with a quality, intuitive display.
The button closest to your eye is the “measure” button. Press it once to turn on and a second time to measure. That’s it.
The button further away from your eye is the “menu” button. There are three changeable settings. One is the brightness, which is really helpful in low-light conditions. The other settings change the measure between LOS and HCD modes.
The Line of Sight Distance (LOS) provides the straight-line distance to the target. It will also provide the angle.
In Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) mode, the Ranger will measure the distance and the angle and do the math to provide the most accurate yardage for your shot. If you spend a lot of time hunting in elevation or in tree stands, this setting can be enormously helpful.
By holding down the “measure” button, the Vortex Ranger will also “scan.” This scan feature provides continuous readings across a landscape or can track a moving target.
One thing to note about this rangefinder is that it won’t pick up objects under 10 yards.
Vortex VIP warranty
Another great feature of this Ranger rangefinder is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. If something were to happen to it and the optics get fuzzy, Vortex will take care of it—for as long as you have the product.
On the hunt for a new riflescope? As a hunter or range shooter, you know how important a quality, easy-to-use scope is to your experience. With so many to choose from, finding the right one can be a difficult choice.
Selection can be even more complicated if you factor in price and quality. Who wants to deal with a cheap, underperforming scope? And who wants to spend half their paycheck on one?
If you’ve been struggling to find the right riflescope, here’s your answer. The Bushnell Engage Riflescopes are high-quality and affordable. They also boast a number of exciting features that will make your next hunt or day on the range a great one.
The Engage riflescopes were designed to go to work with you. Everything, from the turrets to the lens, is waterproof and built to last. The scope is heavy enough to be stable, but no so heavy it’s not useable for long-range work.
They come in nine configurations, so whether you’re varmiting, game-hunting, or are out on the range, you can find the right model for you.
The Engage riflescope feature multicoated glass with Bushnell’s new EXO Barrier protective coating, which actively repels water, debris, oil, and fog. Even fingerprints–really! Everything just slides right off. The EXO really helps keep your scope clean and your vision sharp even, with rugged use.
No need to concern yourself about image quality. On each model, you’ll find multiple layers of anti-reflective coating and 90% light transmission. You’ll get great color, amazing resolution, and fantastic details, even well into dusk and even at night. If there’s a light source—even the moon—you’ll get a great picture through this scope.
These riflescopes are also O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purging for full protection against water and fog. You can count on an ultra-clear view, rain or shine. The scope’s blackout interior keeps out any extra reflection. Plus, the adjustments feel clean and work well.
Keep in mind, the diopter doesn’t lock. So, if you may need to make a little mark on your setting in case it gets bumped.
Scope also includes an already-installed Butler Creek pop-open scope cover.
Engage riflescopes include Bushnell’s new Deploy MOA reticle. This gives shooters 1-MOA windage and elevation hashmarks and can reach both short and mid-range targets.
Vertical and horizontal crosswires are marked at 1 MOA intervals, and bigger, thicker marks delineate each 5 MOA intervals.
The Bushnell Engage Riflescope offers a huge range of reticle correction. There are 20 MOA of reticle correction possible to the left and right. Above center to low hold, you’ll get 5 MOA of correction, and 30 MOA of correction below center to hold high.
Although the reticle is easy to read and use, the markings may be a little thin. If you’re running out of light, or are have a complicated background, you may lose reticle visibility.
Further, because the reticle is found in the second focal plane, you need to spend the time adjusting the magnification if you’re shooting at long range. The riflescope must be set at its highest magnification to apply the reticle marks correctly.
Bushnell obviously took their time on design. The MOA reticle can be used by hunters and target shooters across multiple calibers. If you’re looking for a scope that provides flexibility—this is the one.
The turrets on these Bushnell Engage riflescopes are great. They are marked with very readable numbers with .25 MOA marks between each number. One rotation of the turret gives you 15 MOA of correction. Rotate the turrets as many times as you want, but you’ll eventually get passed the 50 MOA of built-in adjustment.
They also lock; to make an adjustment, pull up and twist. Then, press back down to keep in lock.
Once your scope is sighted, you can set the windage and elevation to zero without using a tool. Just unscrew the top disk. It’s a pretty cool feature! You can do the same to other turrets to return everything back to the original zero.
The side parallax adjustment is also easy to use. Depending on the scope you get, it will adjust all the way down to 10 yards and up to infinity, with graduations at 20, 30, 50, 100, 200, 300, & 500. The short-range parallax adjustments are really nice if you are mounted on a .22, or are hunting in close range.
The Bushnell Engage riflescopes are truly an incredible value. High-quality glass, sturdy construction, and clean design make these riflescopes on par with some of the most expensive on the market.
With their Engage line, Bushnell has proven you don’t need to spend half your paycheck on a ha great scope. It’s also important to remember the Bushnell Engage products come with an Ironclad lifetime warranty—for the scopes, it’s 30 years.
Looking for a new pair of binos, or need to find a gift for your favorite outdoorsman? You need to check out the Bushnell Engage binoculars. Introduced in 2017, Bushnell’s lineup of Engage Binoculars provides a versatile, affordable option for hunters, bird-watchers, and star-gazers.
Whether you’re looking for a rugged pair to keep on your dashboard, or a sleek option for those long weekend hikes, it’s hard to go wrong with the Bushnell Engage binoculars.
Check out these high-quality features!
What’s in the box:
Bushnell has really stepped up its packaging game, lately. The box is heavy-duty and well-designed. Besides the binoculars themselves, you get an outer storage bag and a smaller, protective bag that also serves as a lens-cleaning cloth.
Alongside the protective bags, Bushnell provides lens covers for both front and back lenses. Both of which are easy to take on and off.
To keep your binoculars close at hand, you’ll also get a padded, branded strap. The strap is durable and comfortable, but can be a little difficult to install.
Construction & chassis:
The sub-frame of these binoculars is magnesium, making the binoculars strong and sturdy, but not ultra-heavy. In fact, these binoculars have just enough heft to make them easy to stabilize, but they’re not so heavy you’ll get tired using them.
The tubes themselves have a great hand-feel. Heavy enough for good stability, but light enough to be super portable. They’re really the perfect size for field use.
On top of the sub-frame, there’s a rubberized coating on the whole thing. This coating helps to keep the binos safe and from sliding around. So, if you need a pair for on dashboard of your pickup, the Bushnell Engage binoculars are a great option.
The rubberized coating and strong sub-frame make these binoculars ultra-durable. Drop them on the ground or in a puddle, and you won’t have to worry about anything breaking, getting scratched, or falling apart. If you’re unlucky, though, Bushnell Engage products come with an Ironclad lifetime warranty—for the binoculars, it’s 20 years.
Each model can also be adapted to a tripod.
Eyecups and diopter:
The eyecups on the Bushnell Engage binoculars are twist up. This feature allows for easy storage and portability. The eyecups are a little on the thin side, but it’s important to remember they’re not meant to be giant field binoculars.
One of the niftiest features of these binoculars is the locking diopter. Understandably, diopters can be a little intimidating and tedious to figure out, but once you have it, you can lock it in place. No need to worry about somebody knocking them over and messing up your focus.
All you have to do is pull up on the diopter to adjust, and then push it back in to lock in. With your personal diopter setting locked in, you’ll have a crystal-clear view, no matter what.
The Engage binoculars feature multicoated glass with Bushnell’s new EXO Barrier protective coating, which actively repels water, debris, oil, and fog. Don’t worry about your kiddo’s grubby paws getting your lenses dirty, or scratches on the lenses while you’re out in the field. The EXO really helps keep your binoculars clean and your vision sharp even with rugged use.
Concerned about image quality? Don’t be. The Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Prime Glass feature and dielectric prism coating produce high reflectivity, great color, amazing resolution, and fantastic details, even well into dusk and even at night. Engage Binoculars provide precision viewing in the field, on the trail, or from the cabin porch.
The depth of field on these are great, too. You can keep an eye on what’s happening outside your main target, which is a really nice feature, and an uncommon one.
Engage binoculars are also made with environmentally-friendly, lead-free glass and are fully waterproof.
The Bushnell Engage binoculars are truly an incredible value. Their high-quality glass, sturdy construction, and excellent image make these on par with some of the most expensive binos on the market. All the great features roll into a sleek, rugged pair of binoculars that are ready to go to work with you, rain or shine.
With their Engage line, Bushnell has proven you don’t need to spend half your paycheck on a high-quality pair of binoculars. The Bushnell Engage line of products includes riflescopes.
Most spotting scopes are large and will take up a sizable portion of your carrying weight should you choose to bring them to your next excursion. These high-quality optics will make the perfect gift for you or the outdoor enthusiast this upcoming holiday season. You can bet that a majority of them will be on sale even as hunting seasons conclude (and some areas, open up) around the country.
You’re probably thinking that you’re high-quality sporting binoculars are enough to get you through the hunting or birding season. However, it really depends on the type of animal or object you’re tracking and how well you want to see it. Spotting scopes can zoom in at a much farther range than binoculars and deliver better quality.
If you’re tracking animals well camouflaged in the wild, a spotting scope is going to be one of your best bets at catching movement where other outdoorsmen/women might not see. These optics will usually cost a pretty penny, but Black Friday/Cyber Monday are some of the holidays where you can catch them a sizable portion off of their original price.
Telescopes open the way to the stars for us. They’re not the most common gift that comes on a birthday or in a stocking but they are definitely worth it. Telescopes come in a variety of sizes and powers, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.
If you’ve ever wanted to glimpse the stars, planets, nebulas, and just about everything else space has to offer, you should consider our picks for the best telescopes of 2018. Telescopes are not just for the experienced professional. Nowadays, they are becoming a lot more user and family friendly, so you can have yours set up in only a couple of hours or so.
As you can see, Celestron dominates a large part of the telescope market with their wide range of telescopes. If none of these telescopes appeal to you, keep in mind there are still plenty of manufacturers that produce telescopes of varying power levels and difficulty ratings.
While not exactly cheap, telescopes help us see the wonders of the universe. Not everyone can be an astronaut, but we all have chances to get unparalleled glimpses of space. A telescope makes a great gift for the budding explorer and anyone with an unquenchable curiosity.
Nowadays, some telescopes have astrophotography capabilities. Astrophotography is exactly how the name sounds. Not only will you see the uncountable number of objects in the sky, you’ll be able to save pictures of them so you can look back on them.
Rifle scopes are a must have for every long-range hunter. There a multitude of scopes on the market that come with different attachments and capabilities. Some are good for short range and others for long range. Check out our list of the best rifle scopes of 2018.
These tools are intricate pieces of hunting tech and require the utmost precision to maintain and use properly. We can understand why their price is so high, but this Black Friday/Cyber Monday, you can expect scopes to be on sale as hunting seasons continue and conclude around the country.
Rifle scopes make great gifts because, with proper maintenance and care, they can last you a long time. Compared to other tools and gear that a hunter uses, a rifle is one thing that you won’t have to replace every season or so. If you don’t see a rifle scope on here that you like, check out the general listing page for a complete look at the best selling available scopes.
Hunting seasons open and close year round. A rifle scope makes a great gift, especially during Black Friday/Cyber Monday when they are at their cheapest. The maintenance doesn’t just begin and end with keeping it clean. Since your scope will be tuned to your preference, consistent checking on the accuracy and measurements will ensure that its always ready for your next excursion.
You should also consider the type of railing that comes with your rifle and make sure it is the type that will fit your new rifle scope.
Whether you’re a hunter, birdwatcher, opera enthusiast, or just like seeing long distances in general, be sure to pick up your favorite pair of binoculars this Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2018. No doubt you’re probably on the hunt for Nikon, Bushnell, or Diamondback series binos, as those are the most mainstream and popular.
However, there are a number of smaller brands whose products are already on sale (click here to see bestsellers). They may not be the type of binos you’ll see in the field but there a variety of uses for binoculars beyond hunting. Some brands have specialized their binos for birdwatching, observation, and even opera and plays.
Lightweight and handheld binoculars are going to be your preferable birdwatching and observation optics while larger and heavier optics from Nikon, Bushnell, or Vortex are going to be your mainline hunting and sporting optics.
Binoculars make great gifts for all things sightseeing. If you want to make sure you don’t miss those once in a lifetime shots, binoculars are going to come in real handy.
Most people assume that binoculars are only good for hunting since the market in that area is huge. The simple truth is that you can use binoculars for just about any long-range sighting activity you can think of. Don’t assume that just because you have hunting or birding binoculars that you have to remain faithful to those activities with those specific binoculars.
Some optics can be just as good in other activities as they are in the category they were made for. Keep in mind that the reason that specialized binoculars exist is to make objects and sights stand out through color and appropriate light distribution.
One of the top-selling rangefinders for hunting is the TecTecTec ProWild. TecTecTec is one of the newer names in optics and currently they focus only on (budget-friendly) rangefinders for hunting and golf. For hunting, in addition to the ProWild, the brand also offers the ProWild 2 and ProWild S.
Overview of the ProWild
The ProWild is appealing in particular because of its reasonable price. At under $100, the ProWild is a solid yet inexpensive rangefinder that measures up to 540 yards with +/- 1 accuracy.
It’s weather-resistant and lightweight, weighing in at 6.5 ounces. While the display is easy to read, it isn’t illuminated. Using it is very simple, with a two button design that lets you measure speed or distance.
The glass is good for the price — 6x magnification and multilayer coating. The device dimensions are 4″ x 2.8″ x 1.6″.
Overall the ProWild is a decent wallet-friendly option if you’re in the market for a rangefinder. Reviews from buyers and pros are mostly positive, with some reports of defective units out of the box or at the year mark (TecTecTec does have a 2-year warranty on the ProWild). Some hunters have run into issues with reading accuracy, but this should fall under warranty.
The original ProWild is a good starter or even a worthwhile option for hunters who don’t want to spend much on a rangefinder. However, there are two other models in this line that might be worth your attention. Let’s look at those next.
ProWild vs. ProWild S
The ProWild S is the next step up from the ProWild and is about $30 more. The ProWild S has the same basic setup as the ProWild — including max range, glass, and continuous scan mode — but it also has angle compensation which provides both actual distance and true ballistic distance for higher accuracy.
The S looks nearly identical to the original ProWild and features the same weather- and dust-resistant build and quality glass. Early reviewers have found this to be lightweight and accurate.
ProWild vs. ProWild 2
The final rangefinder in TecTecTec’s hunting rangefinder lineup is the ProWild 2. This one is about $50 more than the ProWild but boasts better total accuracy (within .3 yeards instead of 1), advanced technology, and some “high-end components,” as they say, versus the ProWild and the S.
The ProWild 2 also has a different look than the other two — a slightly different body build and a green color instead of camouflage. Essentially, the ProWild 2 is going to give you a better read and feel a bit more like a premium model.
TecTecTec offers a 2-year warranty on all their products and is known for having good customer service. The ProWild series of hunting rangefinders offers three different models at just slightly different price points, so you can definitely find one that will fit within your budget and have the specs you need for the hunt.
We like the ProWild 2 best out of the bunch because it has those additional features and better accuracy for under $150. Even so, each of these are lightweight and easy to use, so there’s really no bad things to say about any of these. TecTecTec is quickly making a name for themselves in the world of hunting optics, and these three rangefinders are good examples of why.
Monarch, Nikon’s popular line of binoculars, has a solid reputation for offering quality optics for practically any use. Highly versatile and marked by excellent glass and durable builds, the current lineup features multiple magnification options at price points ranging from $300-$100 for the Monarch 5, Monarch 7, and Monarch HG binoculars.
We reviewed each of the current Monarchs to offer you full reviews on this sought-after series of mid-range and premium binoculars.
Nikon Monarch HG
The Nikon Monarch HG is the latest in Nikon’s monarch line of binoculars. It comes in the 10×42 and 8×42 versions. This version of the Monarch series is the quintessential rugged outdoorsman binoculars. It is constructed of magnesium alloy, a stronger substance and coating to protect against damage from drops and other accidents.
The HG is nearly double the price of the binoculars that preceded it, the Monarch 7. They both have the ED (extra-low dispersion) glass that clears up distortions in imaging and augments the Field flattener lens system. The HG isn’t a vastly different pair of binoculars compared to its predecessors but really ups the ruggedness factor.
Apart from being shielded and coated with anti-fog and moisture material, the HG prides itself on being the best pair of sporting optics out there. Being rugged and during is one thing, but retaining image quality is another.
The focus is still in the center between the eyepieces and takes on a larger shape for increased control and stability.
Field Flattener Lens System
The Monarch HG utilizes the field flattener lens system (FFLS) like the rest of the Monarch line. With most imaging devices including cameras, a notable problem is a dropoff in image quality and color around the edges of an image.
Monarchs compensate for this problem with the FFLS, clearing up images on the outside to make a complete and colorful viewing experience. Nikon has increased the level of coating for the HG’s internal prisms and lenses, leading to a nearly 92% light transmittance factor. For low-light and unfavorable conditions, the HG is the pair of binos for the job.
The HG employs a 60.3-degree FOV for the 8×42 pair and 62.2 FOV for the 10×42 pair. A two-degree difference doesn’t seem like much but can mean the difference between spotting a rare object or animal at long range. The HG also has a diopter setting that allows you to save your preferred setting in the case that you share these binoculars with another person.
It is rated waterproof above 5m for around ten minutes and fog-proof at altitudes of up to 16,400 feet. These stats showcase just how rugged this pair of binoculars is. That’s not to say that the entire Monarch line is sub-par, but the HG is ideal for harsher conditions where other binoculars might suffer performance issues.
The most recent release of this line is the new 30mm Monarch HGs. These two are more compact than the 42mm binos, and an 8-ounce weight reduction makes them extra portable. Nikon’s Field Flattener Lens System works with a FOV that matches the 42mm—8.3° and 6.9° respectively in the 8×30 and 10×30 models.
A good pair of binoculars is optically clear, compact enough to be easily carried, and durable enough to withstand unusual conditions. Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars meet all of these criteria. By combining the best in optical technology with a sturdy, well-engineered design, Nikon has made a pair of binoculars that will meet almost any need.
Priced in between the high-end HG and the Monarch 5, the 7 is a great option for anyone looking for a step up from the 5 with a stronger build and wider field of view.
Nikon MONARCH 7 10×42
The Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars feature low dispersion glass, phase correcting roof prisms, and dielectric high reflection prism coatings to make the optical image created for the viewer as clear and true to life as possible. All of these elements combine to make a very high fidelity viewing experience, as well as to ensure that glare or other light phenomena do not compromise the view. In addition, scratch resistant coatings are applied to all exterior lenses to guard against damage. The binoculars are also sealed with o-rings and filled with nitrogen gas to maintain a water-resistant seal that is effective in up to 3 feet of water for up to 10 minutes.
Owing to the durable casing and the many protective features designed to protect the optical components, these binoculars are up for just about anything that may get thrown at them. These are ideal as sporting binoculars and would do well on a nature excursion or in other sporting situations.
Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars are quite good optically. The many glare and refraction reducing features create an image that is clear and not distorted or fuzzy. These same optics also present the viewer with a very true to life representation of color and brightness.
They are also extremely durable, allowing them to be taken on hikes, nature outings, bird watching, or just about any other expedition you may have in mind. The optics produce a very clear and undistorted image that is both bright and colorful. The same features that make the binoculars water resistant also serve to keep it sealed against atmospheric humidity, preventing the lenses from fogging up and producing a blurry image.
One of the first things you’ll notice right out of the package is that the Monarch 5s feel well made and sturdy. They are also relatively lightweight for this price point, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging bricks around your neck all day.
The rubber armoring makes it easy to hold. The twist-up eyecups are comfortable, as is the 18mm eye relief. Adjustments are easy to make, and the focus wheel works incredibly well no matter what your hands are covered in.
These are very well made, and designed with the elements in mind. Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars are filled with nitrogen, which makes them completely fogproof. For anyone who has experienced the frustration of lenses that fog up, you will be super impressed by how well this fogproofing works. Additionally, the Monarch 5s are waterproof (for up to 10 minutes at a depth of up to one meter).
The Nikon Monarch 5 is very popular with bird watchers, hikers, and hunters. The design features support the needs of those populations. And, the multi-coated lenses mean that the true color comes through. The overall visual quality is outstanding. You’ll see crisp, clear views with great detail.
We tested these alongside comparably priced binoculars with similar specs, and the Monarch 5s were the clear winner. The lightweight design gives it a competitive edge, but it really comes down to eye comfort and the stunning quality.
The Monarch 5 is a great pair of binoculars that will work well for a number of uses. Whether you want to take them hiking to check out wildlife, keep them in your vehicle for your birdwatching excursions, or keep them close on your hunt, they will work wonderfully. We can’t wait to get these back outside for hunting season, or even just to bird watch. Overall, the Monarch 5 is well worth the money and will last you a long, long time.
There’s a fairly significant price hike between each of the Monarch iterations, so budget tends to be the main factor when it comes to deciding between these Nikon binoculars. However, you might be wondering about differences between them beyond the sticker price, so here’s a quick look at what you get when you pay more.
Build Quality: With each step up, you’ll find a better, more durable build. This is most notable when you get to the Monarch HG, as those are made from magnesium alloy. This ensures an excellent level of durability while being lightweight and compact. There is minimal difference between the 5 and 7 in build, however.
Glass: Similarly, in any line of optics including Nikon Monarchs, a step up in price also equals higher quality glass and higher-tech coatings. For most casual users, the difference in glass isn’t necessary, but it does make a big difference in viewing quality as you compare low-to-mid and premium optics. In the Monarch line, the biggest difference in glass comes between the 5 and the 7.
Specs: When crunching the numbers, each Monarch iteration boasts a slightly better set of specs, such as FOV and radius. This is also related to configurations, too, of course, so definitely check out the specifics on the configuration of the model you’re interested in.
Performance: The factors we’ve previously discussed plus the guts of each option equal better performance as you pay more. For example, the 7 and HG perform better in low light situations than the 5, and you’ll notice a difference between the 7 and HG as well.
The Monarch 5 binoculars offer more options in magnifications, so if you’re searching for a 12×42 or 20×56, the 5 is a good bet.
Overall, we like the Monarch 5 best, primarily because it’s priced well for what it does. Our pick takes into account specs, performance, and price, which is how we came to that decision. The 7 and HG are nice binos, but it’s difficult to justify the price given the quality. Having said that, if the Monarch 7 or Monarch HG fit your budget, you won’t be disappointed by the performance or build. All Monarchs come with Nikon’s lifetime warranty.
Nikon Monarch 3
While this particular model is discontinued, there are still products available through various retailers — and they are often priced under $200, so the Monarch 3 is worth a look. Here’s our review.
Some Key Features
These binoculars are easy to hold with a non-slip surface and are relatively lightweight, yet they are also rugged and durable. Some of the most important features of the Nikon Monarch 3 10 x 42 binoculars include:
Rubber-armored coating so that you can grip them easily without slipping
Lenses that are o-ring sealed to make them waterproof and fogproof
Flip-down lens covers to protect your lenses
Multi-coated lenses so that your image will be bright and clear, not cloudy
Multiple settings for eyecups, which especially assists those who wear glasses
An easy to maneuver focus knob
Silver alloy prism coating, which is high-reflective and thus helps the binoculars to perform well in low light situations
Standard sized binoculars such as these, with a good objective diameter, can be used for a variety of purposes including birdwatching, watching sports or concerts, hunting, or when viewing the landscape while traveling or hiking. Nikon recommends an “exit pupil” specification of 5 mm or larger for most star gazing, and these binoculars fall slightly below that with an exit pupil number of 4.2 mm. It’s still well above the 3 mm mark, however, and thus could be used for at least some general star and planet gazing.
Crossbow hunting and target shooting are becoming popular activities among hobbyists and professionals in this modern age. If you’re practicing archery, crossbow scopes are an essential tool to have whether you’re on a range or hunting game.
Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60)
We’ve compiled a list of the very best crossbow scopes available. We’ll also discuss the fundamentals of crossbow scopes, including types, designs, and mounts. First, though, let’s dive right into the scopes.
Why Use a Scope?
Scopes are typically used to magnify one’s target to get a more precise shot and makes it easier to visualize the goal. Scopes can additionally lend aid to one’s accuracy and can make for clean and quick kills so game from hunting won’t suffer. There are various kinds of scopes — or sights as some refer to them as — all with different features and functions. It’s very important that the archer chooses a scope that best suits their specific needs and fits their crossbow nicely.
While there is a vast variety of scope brands to choose from, only a few make it to the top and are worth mentioning.
The Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60) (pictured above) is designed to outdo what other scopes are capable of. It’s equipped with 3x Nikon optics that transmit up to 92% of available light for brightness and contrast, and Nikon also included a multi-coated lens with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds. What’s even greater about this scope is that its advanced BDC 60 reticle provides precise aiming points up to 60 yards based on a velocity of around 305 fps. Some additional features include a large ocular that utilizes its full field of view, 3.4 inches of eye relief, and a quick-focus eyepiece.
The Nikon Prostaff P3 3×32 BDC 60
The Bolt XR furthermore has zero-reset turrets allowing you to sight in at 20 yards, lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, then rotate to your “zero” allowing you to re-engage. You can simply dial in your subsequent ranges to make your field adjustments, and with the Bolt XR being waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, this scope virtually matches with any crossbow velocity and bolt weight.
Many archers have deemed the Bolt XR as an excellent scope. It was mentioned that it works very well in low light with crystal clear glass. The multiple aim points were said to make it easier to accurately shoot from 20-60 yards with little to no effort. It’s highly recommended for archers looking for quality optics for their crossbow, for it has received a high rating amongst many that have bought and used this scope.
The Nikon Prostaff P3 is a newer version of the brand’s crossbow scope, and it is very similar in specs to the Bolt XR, including the BDC 60 reticle and reticle adjustments via 1-MOA click-stop moves. With this one, you’ll find a smoother experience and heartier build, so it’s definitely worth investigating the Prostaff P3.
The Excalibur Twilight Dlx Scope Multirange Reticle is one of a few worthy scopes from Excalibur. This one is particularly good in low light situations, and it’s at its best on crossbows at 300-400 fps. This is especially true when it comes to sighting in the scope. This 1962 Scope 6X44mm 30mm tube boasts excellent durability, so it’s a good option for hunters who encounter harsh conditions. Though the magnification is 6x, it offers 50-foot range at 100 yards.
Excalibur offers two other excellent options that come highly recommended.
Excalibur Shadow Zone 2-4X32mm Scope: Dual color illuminated multiplex reticle 2-4X32mm, adjustable crosshair spacing at 10-yard increments for crossbow at velocities between 250 and 350 FPS.
Each of the Excalibur scopes we reviewed are shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. It’s one of the most versatile crossbow scope brands on the market.
Other Crossbow Scopes
Another worthy crossbow scope is UTG’s 4×32 1″ Crossbow Scope with Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle and QD Rings. It’s built on a TS platform with a 1″ tube, wide angle lens, and parallax at 50 yards. It also includes broadband lens coating, RGB side-wheel illumination, zero-reset/locking W/E knobs, and comes with complete flip-open lens caps and UTG RQ2W1104 QD rings. The side wheel with green/red illumination has flexible adjustment for most versatile weather and lighting conditions and the scope has ergonomic and precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets for a more precise shot.
Plenty favor this scope for its crystal clear glass view and effective green/red colored sight reticle, great for day or night shooting. It’s pretty solid and well-built with a comfortable
Hawke Crossbow 1.5-5X32 IR SR
eye relief and houses overall wonderful optics, fantastic for archers looking for an effective yet affordable scope.
One last scope in the list of top scopes is Hawke’s 1.5-5×32 Matte IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles. This scope matches up to the Bolt XR’s high performance and is specifically designed for crossbows. It features a crossbow speed selector which allows the scope to be compatible with any crossbow, and the precision reticle is engineered to provide aim points at exact 10-yard intervals from 20 to 100 yards. Its 1″ optics are fully coated for high levels of light transmission, and the red/green illumination (only on the SR model) allows for excellent reticle clarity.
It’s around the same value as the Nikon Bolt XR, and its users like its simple set up and quick sighting in. It seems to be highly recommended for those that do target shooting or hunting for archers can truly reach out to 100 yards, which is a best for many that couldn’t reach that before with other scopes.
Scope Design Basics
The scope is to be placed on the body of the crossbow above the trigger. An obvious component to a scope’s design is the long black tube with an ocular lens eyepiece on one end and the sight on the opposite end past the eyepiece. If the archer decided to add zooming features, there should be a power ring to be able to adjust the magnification of the sight. The elevation adjustment and windage adjustment tool can be found in the middle of the scope tube, and at the end of the scope is the objective bell where the scope’s body seems to get wider and almost bell-shaped. The objective bell is where the objective lens is contained. There are three main types of scopes an archer can choose from; a laser sight scope, red dot sight, and reticle scope.
Types of Scopes
A laser sight scope is an alternative, mostly practical for when you’re aiming at a moving target. The laser is meant to help the archer anticipate when the arrow will strike the objective. Laser sights can either be mounted underneath an archer’s crossbow or to the upper portion of the scope. If the laser sight is used with a quality scope, it can be utilized to accurately determine midrange targets. An iron sight is another alternative and is the most basic yet durable. There can be two sights on the crossbow, with one as a post, bead, or ring in the crossbow’s front and on the back of the bow perpendicular to the crossbow’s line of sight.
A red dot sight scope makes a red (or sometimes green) dot that the archer can see and use to pinpoint his aim at the target. You can either get red dot sights with single style distance settings or more advanced multi-dot scopes with several distance settings, it depends on what your preferences are. A lot of times, the red dot sight can be adjusted so it will be brighter or darker according to your liking too.
A reticle scope has crosshairs that section the lens view into four parts. This type of lens scope is the most common and more traditional. The crosshairs might be etched, wired in, or lit up in the scope depending on the model.
Scope Mount Types
When selecting a type of mount for your scope, there are the Picatinny, Dovetail and Weaver rails to choose from. Picatinny mounts can elevate the scope by about ½ an inch above the crossbow body and is most practical if you are using a red dot sight scope. “Picatinny” comes from the place of origin where the system was designed at the New Jersey-based Picatinny arsenal.
The Dovetail mount looks similar to the Picatinny mount in that it has a set of grooves running parallel that grasp onto a tiny set of ribs raised in the middle part of the scope’s base. Dovetail mounts are actually the oldest used mounts, and because of a 1931 patent on the mount’s design, Dovetail mounts are also known as Redfield style or Leupold style.
The Weaver rail grips onto scopes’ beveled outer edge and is considered to be sturdier than other alternate mounts such as the Picatinny and Dovetail rails.
Crossbow scope rings are usually made out of steel or aluminum. Be sure to pay attention to the scope’s accuracy, size, and range when picking the best scope for your target shooting or hunting needs for these will be important in how your scope performs.
Most of the time, archers look for scopes that can increase their range so that they can hit targets easier. If you’re using your crossbow for hunting small game, then your scope should feature a short to mid-range distance and it needs to fight nicely onto the scope mount while being lightweight and sturdy. If you have something like a variable scope, which can be a bit on the heavy side, it can affect your ability to hunt and be anything but an improvement.
Terms You Should Know Before Buying a Scope
There’s nothing like knowing exactly what you need to improve your crossbow’s accuracy. So before deciding on the perfect scope, here are some terms you need to know and keep in mind as you’re exploring the scope market.
Magnification is a basic function of a scope’s features which allows the archer to zoom in on objects from afar since the naked eye doesn’t have the ability to do so. There is a wide range of magnifications on scopes, with most of them having up to 32x maximum.
A scope’s field of view is essentially the sight picture with a particular width. For example, if your target’s distance is at 150 yards, the scope will give you a sight that is 15 feet wide. Thus, it’s not only magnified, but it also provides the focal lengths of the lenses. Usually, if the magnification is high, then the field of view will be narrow. While this feature isn’t necessarily for new crossbow users who still need practice, it’s very important for hunters that need to hone in on their prey, especially smaller game.
Stray light is an internal coating which disperses light that enters in the scope and prevents it from reflecting off the scope’s metal. Overall, this helps you achieve the clearest sight of the goal.
The eye relief is simply the space between your eye and the eyepiece lens. It prevents any accidents that may happen your eye while shooting, such as the lens bumping into your eye if your crossbow has a bit of kickback.
Length refers to the distance from the edge of the objective lens up to the back edge of the eyepiece. As a rule of thumb to remember, the longer that the scopes measure to be, the greater the magnification will be, but it will also be heavier. Depending on your preference, the magnification will vary if you like lightweight scopes versus heavier scopes.
The center tube diameter lets you know the size of the scope’s rings as well as the base of the scope.
Questions to Ask Before You Buy
When browsing for the perfect scope, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself in order to make sure the scope fits your needs.
Does the scope fit your budget? Typically, the pricier a scope, the more features it has and the better it performs. Cheaper scopes come with more standard and basic features and don’t have as many advanced settings such as higher magnification or illuminated sights.
What is your purpose for buying a scope? Believe it or not, this matters very much for it can affect how you perform whether you’re just a hobbyist archer or a serious hunter. If you spend most of your time at a shooting range, then perhaps a red dot sight scope or reticle scope would be most ideal. If you like to hunt game, then a red dot or a laser scope could serve you well. Laser scopes are especially great for moving targets as mentioned before.
Is it easy to sight in with the scope? If you’re familiar with sighting in, you’d know how irritating it is if you have a scope that takes dozens of tries to adequately sight in on your target. You won’t have this issue if you get a quality scope.
Is the scope waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof? These qualities are important if you’re shooting in different weather situations, as they will aid you in getting a more accurate shot and prevent any inconveniences.
Is the scope made of durable material? Depending on what the scope you choose is made of, it could last from a couple months to up to 10 years. Most scopes are made of aluminum alloy while others are made of a less durable material.
Those who own crossbows all have different priorities as to how they use it and what they use it for. Some like red dot sight scopes, others may prefer the traditional cross sight or laser sight, and some like more lightweight scopes compared to heavier scopes. If the scope you ultimately pick can provide you with easy visualization of your target, magnify for a better view of your prey, give you quick and humane kills when hunting, and offer features that serve all of your specific needs.
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