Leupold Optics for Very Long Or Very Short Range. By Ed Hale
It is of course essential for Long Range Hunting, in my waking dreams, to have a “new just released Scope on the market”, with a Laser Rangefinder to team up with a rifle and cartridge/bullet combo to do the double duty-job at ranges close, far and anywhere in between. Christmas is coming my hunting friends, something for under the tree!
My test bed rifle is a Kimber Select Grade 8400 in .338 Winchester Magnum with the new Leupold VX-6 2×12 42mm with Boone and Crockett reticle. The cartridge is a hand loaded Nosler Custom Case and a 185 grain Nosler AccuBond using Reloader 15 powder. Clocking in at 3150 fps the 185 grain pill is a veritable freight train of energy for any species in North America and most of Africa. I have killed African Game such as Kudu, Impala, Springbok, and Blesbok with a Ruger .338 with Nosler Partitions, some out to near 300 yards but no farther. The Nosler folks suggest that the bullet will not mushroom effectively below 1800 fps so my range is limited to where the energy drops to that level coupled with my shooting skills and knowledge of the range, angle of the shot, altitude, temperature and most importantly the wind. The wind in long range hunting beyond 300 yards is an often troublesome variable that can kill the best of long range shots. I am a student of Long Range hunting beyond 300 yards. Armed with Quality Assurance skills, suggest that for long distance, it is essential to reduce variation as much as humanly possible. How I achieve that is:
1.) By choosing a flat shooting cartridge/bullet/powder that maintains its energy with superior bullet construction and superior ballistic coefficient.
2.) By choosing a Scope that is up to the task at hand whether it is short range or long range and is a large part of this article. Enter the Leupold Gold Ring VX-6 2×12 42mm with “Boone and Crockett” reticle with a full Lifetime Warranty. It maintains superior brightness, clarity and contrast while, at the same time absolutely waterproof and fog proof. Leupold’s dual spring erector system is as rugged as it gets when shooting a rifle that can rattle teeth if not held correctly. After shooting Leupold’s on many powerful rifles, I have become accustomed to the generous eye relief and the rubber bumper at the eye end. All it takes is one crescent cut from a scope ring that was too close to your eye and forehead, e.g., to have that need for eye relief etched into your brain, like I once did, you’d have thought I was bleeding to death. I am much older and the scar is nearly invisible. No scars from my Leupold Scopes, I am happy to say! And the new VX-6 has the capability of matching the ballistics of a number of calibers that make the use of many fast and faster calibers to match the long range crosshairs beyond 300 yards and out to say 600 yards. Let me say that again, it knows by your magnification selection diamond, bullet and speed of similar calibers, where it will cross the Boone and Crockett duplex crosshairs. The shooter need to experiment and practice to be exact.
3.) By Choosing a Laser Rangefinder such as the Leupold RX-1000i TBR, True Ballistic Rangefinder with DNA. Digitally eNhanced Accuracy you can determine the True Ballistic Range and automatically calculates the correct distance no matter what the angle is. It will range from 5 yards to 1000 yards and has a bright Orange OLED Display you can see at dawn or dusk for when that big bruiser buck steps out into the field.
4.) A good pair of binoculars is essential hence the very compact Leupold Rogue 10x25mm Compact and waterproof Binocular’s utilizing a center focus Porro Prism. Weighing in at 12.7 oz. they were not bulky to carry.
I have chosen Leupold products my whole hunting life because I trust them and have done so with my life and that of my son’s in Africa. Why because their products live up to what they advertise and they are for the most part affordable to me a great cross section of the hunting population in the USA and around the world. There are so many stories you and I grew up hearing of the hunter shooting at a deer for example with a 3×9 scope ( a fine all around scope except when you miss) and did not see the sapling 10 yard ahead that deflected a bullet intended for a deer at 40 yards. Accordingly, hunters having encountered that frustration went out and purchased a 1.5×5 scope (limited to shorter ranges) so they were not caught in that situation again. A few years may go by and the same hunter seeks a hunt that includes long range and now they are cursing the scope because they can’t shoot game at long distance. It is a frustrating situation, is it not? You can’t win? Oh yes you can! The VX-6 pays dividends by taking game at any distance. Well, let’s see, at 2 power you could see that sapling at 10 feet and avoid it in your crosshairs as you shoot at game at 40 yards. And with the 12 power capability, shoot at game say out to 500 yards or more depending on your skill level. In doing so with the VX-6 you can do it at the crack of dawn as the 30mm tube is larger than the 1 inch tube thus gathering more light. Coupled with some of the highest Optical Quality in the Industry this scope does it all, short range or long.
My farthest shots with a different rifle and a 4×14 Gold Ring Leupold are at 600 yards and published in Long Range Hunting Magazine were at targets and not wild game. The shots were impressive, at least to me personally, and groups of three were in a 3 1/8 vertical path. With just a light 10 mph cross wind my shots strung laterally to a worst case distance of 19 inches (yes that is with a light 10 mph crosswind, though most were in a 6 inch left/right path because I learned to play the wind and shoot in a lull.
I may never kill game at long ranges beyond 300 yards but it is sure fun trying to hit targets that some folks have a hard time seeing. I hear bell ringing at 1 mile may become a new sport in and of itself. As responsible hunters we remember that we owe it to the game we hunt to be ethical in the field. Never take shots at game beyond those you are practiced at. Good Hunting! Ed ©