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Outdoor optical products worth the investment

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POSTED December 20, 2010 2:07 a.m.

The other day, my son, Bo, and I went out to sight in a new rifle scope.

The old one had begun to malfunction and needed to be replaced. Fortunately, almost all reputable optic manufacturers stand behind their products. In this case, the scope happened to be made by Bushnell Optics.

A quick visit to the Bushnell website confirmed that you simply return the defective product, with an explanation of what went wrong, include a handling fee of $10, and presto — they fix the problem!

Thank you, Bushnell. Wouldn’t it be great if all manufacturers stood behind their products like that?

When you stop and think about it, the number of optical products used by today’s modern outdoor enthusiast is amazing. There are binoculars for spotting game and bird watching, rifle scopes for your gun, spotting scopes for use on the target range, and laser range finders to determine the exact distance to your target.

While each of the above is a pretty expensive piece of equipment, they are well worth the investment. I use my binoculars constantly when hunting, I’ll walk a couple hundred yards and stop and glass the surrounding terrain for as long as a half hour.

My spotting scope is absolutely irreplaceable when my son and I are out target shooting. I actually have two spotting scopes, one with a short tripod for bench rest shooting and one with a long tripod for general wildlife viewing.

Probably the biggest downside to today’s modern optics is the cost. You can actually spend more on both your binoculars and on your riflescope than you spend on the actual rifle itself.

Some of the high-end binoculars can cost you over $2,000! That’s a lot of money.

The good news is that you can spend a whole lot less and still get a serviceable pair of binoculars. Like most things in life, it pays to really shop around.

Are the $2,000 glasses going to guarantee you a bigger elk? Of course not.  

On the other hand, if you’re on the hunt of a lifetime, for mountain sheep in British Columbia, do you really want to miss spotting that trophy ram? That’s the kind of decision you have to make.

Personally, I have never been able to justify the cost of the absolute top of the line optics. My Barska, Bushnell, Leupold, Weaver, and Simmons optics have done the job remarkably well.

On the other hand, if I were to hit a big lottery ticket tomorrow, there just might be a Swarovsky in my future. The problem with relying on the big lottery win is that you have to buy a lottery ticket to win.

Oh Darn!  In any event, I hope you have a delightful Christmas and that all your outdoor dreams come true.

Until Next Week,
Tight Lines

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