Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 54

Gear for the Western Hunter High End At the high end, you’ll find three of the most respected optics brands in the hunting industry. I doubt anyone would have complaints about looking through any of these binoculars as they’re all stun- ningly bright and clear edge-to-edge, with uncom- promising contrast, quality, and color rendition. Leica: Despite its $2999 retail price, Leica’s Geovid HD-B 3000 model is one of the best values at the high end. The HD-B is priced competitively amongst its peers and has the added benefit that comes with more than 25 years of Geovid ranging technology and experience. The HD-B interface to load custom ballistic profiles is effective and accurate once configured and loaded via the micro SD card. Leica’s built-in atmospheric compensation is is an excellent fea- ture for mountain hunters and flatlanders alike that allows the HD-B 3000 to compensate for tempera- ture and elevation changes in the ballistic calcula- tions. Currently the HD-B 3000 will provide ballistic solutions out to 1000 yards. Leica introduced a new handheld rangefinder at SHOT, the CRF 2800.COM, that is programmed via mobile app and configured via Bluetooth. It can also link with Kestrel devices running Applied Ballistics Elite to provide more accurate solutions at extended ranges. Look for that technology to make its way into Leica’s HD-B line next year. Zeiss: Zeiss offers the Victory RF in four mod- els. The rangefinder, onboard ballistic engine, and atmospheric sensors accurately calculate and dis- play shooting solutions out to 2500 yards as inches, or traditional MOA & MIL/MRAD holdovers. LEICA GEOVID HD-B 3000 Leica’s Geovid HD-B is a beautifully designed optical wonder with atmospheric sensing and ballistics capabilities. The one annoyance is that it doesn’t currently display windage holds in the display, so you’ll have to look back to the mobile app for that critical piece of info. Hopefully the windage issue can be remedied via firmware updates. Zeiss uses a simpler method for updating pro- files and syncing via a smartphone. This is a sub- stantial improvement over an SD card or navigating menus in the display as required for many range- ZEISS VICTORY RF The Victory RF lineup is an excellent option at the high end of the spectrum that sets the bar currently for this group when considering all factors. It’s also the most expensive of the group. 54 WESTERN HUNTER finders. The glass in the Victory RF is as good as it gets, with fluorite lens elements that minimize color aberrations. Swarovski: Swarovski’s EL Range is a bit lost in the current U.S. bowhunting and long-range shooting landscape. The EL glass is legendary, and the EL’s design is an efficient work of art that feels like it was built around the hand of a hunter. How- ever, the EL Range models only range down to 33 yards, and that’s an issue for most bowhunters who need short-range readings for tree-stand hunting and prefer to see range readouts to 0.1-yard incre- ments for target archery. The EL Range does not incorporate ballistic functions or atmospheric sen- sors currently and is seemingly overdue for a major electronics update. SWAROVSKI EL RANGE www.westernhunter.net