Optics Planet OPMOD Spotting Scope Review

Optics Planet OPMOD Spotting Scope Review

The spotting scope is a constant companion to almost all long-range shooters–its kinda tough seeing your shots at long ranges without one.  And like all things in the gun industry, there is a wide range of prices that usually correlate to quality.  Most spotting scopes I’ve seen that are worth using cost upwards to $400 plus.  Optics Planet sent us one of their new limited edition OPMOD spotting scopes to check out and the first thing I did (like many people) is I checked out how much it cost.  So when I saw it was under $200, I was skeptical–was this a gun-show-special optic that would collect dust after realizing that one should just fork out the extra dough for something usable, or was it a deal too good to be true?

We’ll get to the quality of the OPMOD spotting scope in a minute, but I must say you get a lot for $200 with Optics Planet’s Spotting scope.  It comes with a soft case, objective and eyepiece lens covers, a small tripod that has vertical and horizontal movement, and a cleaning cloth.  The spotting scope can be a tight fight in the case, but fits in snug along with the tri-pod which is separated by a padded cloth insert.  The tri-pod itself is suitable, but it’s not the most robust piece of hardware.  I can see a leg  bending if given the right amount of pressure; however, it would take a significant amount of force to do so as if to intentionally bend it.

The OPMOD spotting scope seems to be well constructed.  It has a rubber like coating while maintaining a sturdy and durable feel.  It features a built in sun shade that extends over the objective lens.  Controls are where you would expect them to be with the focus on the right hand side of the housing and the zoom control around the eyepiece.  The OPMOD spotting scope has a 20x-60x magnification rate and it features an adjustable eyepiece so that a user can set the desired eye relief “sweet spot.”

So for the price, material wise you’re getting a good bang for your buck with the OPMOD spotting scope–but the real and most important question is as with any spotting scope, the optical quality.  Considering the price of the OPMOD spotting scope, there’s nothing I can say to ding this thing.  The picture is crystal clear, I would of never guessed that I was looking through $200 dollar glass.  Even on a rainy cloudy day, the light capture was superb.  I was able to distinctly see my grouping at 200 yards at the range and out in the desert I was easily able to see my partner’s shots at 700+ yards in order to give him adjustments.  Honestly, I wanted/expected to say something about the glass since I would of never considering owning a quality spotting scope for under 400 bucks, but the OPMOD’s glass was a surprise–again, if you look through this thing, you’ll never guess it costs under $200.

Picture from approximately 800 yards away at a mountain approx 750 ft high at full 60x zoom

Optics Planet’s OPMOD Spotting Scope definitely surprised me to say the least.  I’ve seen some lower end spotting scopes within the same price range as the OPMOD and I would of never given them a second look.  The OPMOD does seem to reign supreme within the given price range, and it would even give some higher end spotting scopes a run for their money.  Now is it as good as, lets say  a Leupold Gold Ring?  Well, no but we’re talking about a spotting scope that’s 4 or 5 times the price, and not all shooters have the need, or the bank account to justify that type of purchase.  But if you’re a Saturday shooter or a regular range warrior, and budget is a concern, then the OPMOD Spotting Scope would be a perfect choice.  Its durable, easy to operate, and the glass seems to be a few levels above its price point.  For a fraction of the cost of high level spotting scopes, now the average range warrior can finally have a spotting scope worth looking through.

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US Optics SN4 DFP (Dual Focal Plane)

New US Optics SN-4 DFP

Premier optics maker, US Optics has a new addition to their SN-4 line of optics which will sport a new and very welcomed feature.  We stated in our review of the SN-4 that while it was the finest optic we’ve handled, it still didn’t replace the CQB effectiveness of a red dot–USO seems to have rectified that.  The new USO SN-4 DFP (Dual Focal Plane) features a two focal planes for different applications combined in one optic.  The rear focal plane will contain the CQB reticule which will act like a red dot and be visible during day light.  The other focal plane, or First Focal Plane will stay proportionate to the target at any magnification level.

I can’t wait to see what reticules US Optics will offer with their new DFP SN-4s.  I’m sure it’ll be like all their scopes in which they offer the customers the choice of which reticule they’ld like.  Everything that I’ve handeled from US Optics has been pure gold from the optical clarity of the glass to the seemingly indestructibility of the construction so I have no doubts that their new DFP scopes will continue that standard.  It’ll be nice to have a  dual purpose optic without having to obtain a “chin weld” on your stock (as you have to do with a combined red dot with scope).

The new DFP scopes should be out soon (they’re not listed on their website as of yet) and will have a price tag that will reflect their superiority.  The SN4- 1-4x DFP mil shown below will have a MSRP of $1640.  The DFP option will also be available for the USO 1.5-6x SN-4 as well which is probably going to cost a tad more.

USO SN-4 DFP

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Blackhawk 30mm 4-20x50mm Scope Review

Blackhawk Scope Review

Introduction

Earlier this year Blackhawk introduced a new line of riflescopes available exclusively through Cabellas.  Blackhawk offered 30mm and 1” versions, both with various models with different magnifications.  We were lucky enough to receive their flagship,  4-20x50mm magnification scope sent to us to try out for a few months.

When the scopes were first announced by Blackhawk, I must admit, I had some serious reservations.  First, a company that’s most famous for their molle gear, holsters, and apparel was now getting into the highly competitive and equally precise optics game?  Second, they announced that the scopes were not American made, but imported.  And finally, they 4-24x model costs $900 at Cabellas, which puts the Blackhawk riflescope’s price tag parallel with the Vortex Viper PST and Burris XTR scopes which are proven mid level scopes.  Well after about 4 months using Blackhawk’s entry into the optics game some of those reservations have been resolved, but left one question still lingering—is Blackhawk’s new scope worth almost $900?

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New Trijicon SRS Red Dot

Trijicon has a new reflect sight coming out next year that hosts some features never seen before in a red dot sight.  Some features are just improvements over the existing higher end red dots on the market, such as a much wider field of view and its a little smaller.  The most innovative feature on the new Trijicon SRS is that it uses solar cells to extend battery life to a length of about 3 years on a single AA battery.

Along with a battery life that almost matches that of the Aimpoint line of red dots, it seems it is shorter than the EoTechs and has a greater field of view.  Its stubbiness also eliminates that “tube-effect” view that’s common on red dot sights wither a longer tube.  Here is the full press release from Trijicon on their new SRS:

October 10, 2011 – The profile length of the new Trijicon SRS™ is short and the advanced list of features is long, as the innovative products continue from Trijicon. The new Trijicon SRS (Sealed Reflex Sight) is a reflex-type sight with a unique optical design, housed in a body length of only 3.75 inches, that virtually eliminates the “tube-effect” common with other, competitive red dot sights. The result—a field of view that essentially provides no obstruction to shooters. That means lightning fast target engagements at CQB distances with no distraction from the shooter’s situational awareness. The SRS is ideal for military, law enforcement and recreational applications on a variety of firearm platforms from AR’s to shotguns.

Equally impressive is the technology built into powering a LED lighted 1.75 MOA aiming point that includes ten brightness settings – including three NVG settings. The SRS is powered by a solar panel and a single, common AA battery. This uniquely patented configuration allows the user years of illumination life from a single battery by offering an intuitive “solar assist”, that is, drawing on battery power only when the solar cell requires additional energy support for illumination based on ambient conditions.

The Trijicon SRS™ is built to endure the rigors of extreme in-the-field use and carries the same stringent testing requirements as the renowned Trijicon ACOG® line of sighting systems. Additional features include a parallax-free objective lens, an auto-locking, self-adjusting level mount and waterproof to fifty meters.

Military.com’s gearscout blog did a good write up with some good pics on the Trijicon which can be seen here. And here is their video:

 

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Leupold VXR Patrol Optic

Leupold VXR Pics

Leupold got a good looking new tactical optic hitting the streets soon, the new Leupold VXR Patrol.  Its a 1.25-4x20mm scope that features an illuminated FireDot Special Purpose Reticle.  The new Leupold VXR Patrol shares a lot of the cool features of other VXR rifles released earlier this year such as Leupold’s MST (Motion Sensor Technology) which will automatically turn off the reticle illumination after the scope detects no motion for 5 minutes, saving battery life.  Along with a battery illuminated reticule, the VXR Patrol utilizes a fiber optic light pipe which will give a shooter a daytime illuminated reticle.

The VXR patrol also features a 30mm tube, Leupold’s Index Matched Lens System, DiamondCoat lenses, a one turn non locking eyepiece for adjusting from 1.25 to 4 times magnification.  Given the quality that Leupold puts out, and the features the VXR Patrol provides, it’s quite a deal with a price under $600.  The one thing that would make this a perfect close to mid range optic for me would be a true 0; 1.25 is ok, but there is a noticeable difference when using a true 0 magnification scope for close range work.  Either way, from the looks of the VXR Patrol, it looks to be a great deal.

VXR Patrol Review

 

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Leupold Mark 4 HAMR 4×24 Optic

Leupold HAMR review

Leupold has had some serious tactical successes lately.  First, their Mark 8 1.8-8×24 CQBSS was probably the most anticipated optic for 2011 due to its unprecedented versatility.  Next, the US Army selected Leupold’s ER/T M5 Auto-Locking Adjustment riflescope as their primary day time optic for their XM2010 sniper rifle.  So their newest tactical optic, the HAMR (High Accuracy Multi-Range) optic, has a lot to live up to.

Leupold’s new HAMR features Leupold’s illuminated CM-R² reticule which has a horseshoe type reticule with a BDC (bullet drop compensator) underneath as you can see from the image below.  The reticule is etched on the glass it is visible with or without the illumination.   Other features include 4x fixed magnification, waterproof construction, .1 mil adjustments, a total length of 5.5 inches and a weight of 12.9 ounces.  A picatinny mount is built into the HAMR, saving shooters some money negating the need to purchase a mount.  The HAMR is also available with Leupold’s 7.5 MOA delta point red dot sight, which is mounted atop the HAMR for CQC applications.

HAMR reticule pics

The Leupold HAMR’s concept brings to mind another popular optic, the Trijicon ACOG.  I’m sure with Leupold’s name behind the HAMR, its bound to do well despite similar products already on the market.  The Leupold Mark 4 HAMR has an MSRP around $1,600 but I’ve seen them around the $1,300 dollar mark which makes it slightly less expensive than Trijicon’s pricing for their similar setup.

HAMR Review

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