New Optics for Precision Shooters

By Al Voth on March 14, 2016

The 2016 SHOT Show is over for another year and during the four days of madness I spent with 64,000 of my closest friends, there was no shortage of things to interest precision shooters. Optics are critical to shooting well at extended ranges, so here are some new products in that field.

Leupold’s VX-3 line of riflescopes is a classic, but that hasn’t stopped them from deleting it entirely. The complete line is being replaced by the VX-3i series. Improvements include better light transmission in low light conditions, an improved power adjustment ring, edge blackening of lenses and improved contrast. While most of the models in this line are intended for the hunting market, there is a 6.5-20x50mm with side focus and target knobs, which should work just fine for distance work.

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Leupold VX-3i, 6.5-20x50mm

However, I think in the short term, smart buyers should start looking for the old VX-3 models. These have been great scopes and whatever is left in inventory will soon be offered at steep discounts. I have one of the discontinued 8.5-25x50mm target scopes and this is great glass. I’m already seeing mid-line VX-3’s being offered at $300 off regular retail. So, if you want to stretch your dollar, Snap ’em up while you can.

Vortex has precision shooters specifically in mind, with the introduction of their Razor HD AMG rifle scope. This is a 6-24x50mm first focal plane scope with a 30mm tube. They claim it weighs in at less than 29 ounces and is 100% made in the USA. It’s available with reticle patterns and adjustment knobs in either MOA or MRAD. Suggested retail is $3400 US, so it’s not cheap, but it looks like it should perform.

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Vortex Razor HD AMG, 6-24x50mm

Nightforce was showing a new model as well, this one from their highly regarded SHV line. It’s a 4-14x50mm model and is their first rifle scope with the reticle in the first focal plane. It’s available with MOA or MRAD adjustments, there are illuminated reticle options, and it features side parallax adjustment.


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Nightforce SHV, 4-14x50mm

A new player in the optics game is the legendary firearm manufacturer SIG. They announced their entry into the optics field at last year’s SHOT show, but it was almost 2016 before they were able to start shipping all their product line. Therefore, hands-on experience is low, but I think the SIG name makes it worth a try. For a company just starting into optics, they have an extensive line. Their TANGO6 5-30×56 is an attractive optic with some nice features. The TANGO series includes fibre optic and glass-etched illuminated reticles, first or second focal plane design and SIG’s innovative turrets which feature a resettable zero, zero-stop and are lockable at any location. Every TANGO scope includes one free custom lasered elevation dial calibrated to the shooter’s unique ballistics and environmental conditions.

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SIG TANGO6, 5-30x56mm

There’s more, of course. These are just some of the highlights. The bottom line is we consumers have never had it so good in regards to optic options. It’s looking to be a good 2016 for shooters.