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Optics for Hunting

best hunting optics

The best hunting optics can give you an edge while hunting in Alaska.

These are the best scopes, binoculars, and rangefinders for 2020

Vortex Optics Razor HD 27-60x85mm Angled Spotting Scope
Vortex Optics Razor HDWe appreciate the crisp, high-definition imagery viewed through this spotting scope, especially during first and last light when game are usually most likely to be on the move. With a 27-60x magnification range and 85 mm objective lens, the scope allows you to see animals that are miles away, and dissect cover to find those animals that really blend in. We used it to find blacktail deer on Kodiak Island and it eliminated a lot of wasted hiking, and helped us find way more animals. If you aren’t using a spotting scope, you aren’t seeing all the animals out there, and this is one that you should highly consider.
Vortex Optics Fury HD 5000 10×42 Rangefinding Binoculars
Vortex Optics Fury HD 5000Nick Ploesser from AK Trophy Expediters tried out these binoculars in 2019 and had this to say: “The Fury binos worked out great. They are on the heavier side but worn with a bino harness were easy to carry. The clarity is really nice and the rangefinder had a fast response time. Having both in the same unit while glassing was handy because I didn’t have to keep moving around. Also, with the Vortex warranty you can be worry free when using them out in the field. If you spend a lot of time glassing and looking at animals these are a must-have.”
Vortex Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder
Vortex Razor HD 4000 RangefinderFeature article contributor Eric Hershey shared this: “New in 2019, Vortex introduced the Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder to add to their popular Razor high-end optics lineup. This rangefinder cuts through the fog to capture long distances. It’s very affordable and loaded with features including angle compensation for archery hunters. It will easily range animals well over 1000 yards in the field. It was crucial during a recent mountain-goat hunt in Kodiak to tag a goat at 350 yards through the thick fog.”
Leupold RX-1300i TBR with DNA Laser Rangefinder
Leupold RX-1300i TBRWe asked Hunt Alaska magazine contributor Sarah Stallone what products she’d recommend and here’s what she had to say: “Rangefinders have been measuring distance for a long time; with the RX1300i you can also judge width. All you moose hunters should be coming out of your chairs right now. Trophy Scale is a feature that lets you pre-set the width of a bracket in your display that accurately adjusts in size with distance. Let’s say you’ve pre-set the bracket at 50”. From distance, (1300 yards!) you can get a general idea of whether you need to make the stalk or go find another moose, or deer, or elk, etc. Read that again. A rangefinder with a width bracket! With 6x magnification and lenses that are fully multi-coated just like your favorite Leupold riflescopes, detail and low-light clarity is guaranteed. This tiny, 7-ounce unit shouldn’t be able to house this many features! True Ballistic Range offers angle compensation in seven ballistic categories (you don’t have to do math!), and Line of Sight, Rifle, and Bow modes accommodate all your ranging needs. The unit is fully waterproof, can float (ask me how I know…) and has years of battery life even in AK temps (takes a CR2 battery). Available at almost any local sporting goods store, go check it out!”
Skinner Optics 1-6×24 Riflescope
Skinner Optics 1-6x24 RiflescopeKnown for the high quality of their sights, Skinner has entered the optics market with a 1-6 magnification scope. The scope features a 30 mm tube and 24 mm objective and is suitable for many different rifle platforms. Other features include easy, crisp click, covered turret adjustments, and the Skinner Specified Reticle with 1 MOA lit dot. The brightness of the dot is easily adjustable through a range of settings by simply turning the left turret. It also has a BDC marked crosshair for easy range holdover. It has built-in lens covers, too. We mounted it on a Henry All-Weather .45-70. The view through the scope is bright and clear, and eye relief is 3.7 inches. It comes with a 5-year warranty.
Nikon MONARCH M5 3-12x42SF Matte BDC
Nikon MONARCH M5 3-12x42SFOur tester reported that this riflescope was very clear and easy to sight in. The turrets made sighting in and making small adjustments very easy. The BDC inside the scope was nice for shooting at different yardages. In the colder weather the scope didn’t fog up as fast which was nice. Our tester also noted that the scope is easy to operate with gloves on, and that he could zoom in and out without having to remove his gloves.
Leupold SX-4 Pro Guide HD Spotting Scope
Leupold SX-4 Pro Guide HDHere’s another great recommendation from Sarah Stallone: “This spotting scope is everything I’ve come to love about the clarity of the BX-4 HD binos now in a higher magnification with a wider field of view. This mid-weight spotter has a grippy, ultra-smooth focus adjustment ring, a large, forgiving eye box for comfortable long-term viewing, and all the familiar Alaska-proof features such as fogproof, waterproof, dirt and water shedding coatings. All in neoprene-wrapped, Sarah-proof ruggedness. Leupold’s Twilight Max HD lens coating gives you additional clarity at low light (face it, the best hunting is during the least light) and extra definition to see those dark brow tines even against the black timber backdrop. Backed by Leupold’s lifetime guarantee, this scope is worth its weight in the field! A lifetime guaranteed HD glass spotter for a reasonable price? Check. Designed, machined, and assembled right here in the USA! This spotter will make a great partner on your next hunt.”

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