Illuminated Reticles

See the light with the author as he puts new glass to the test in bear-country darkness!

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Bear Hunting Opticsleupold-illuminated-027_phatch
The Leupold VX-R’s lit reticle is not a reticle at all, but a fiber-optically illuminated dot at the center of the duplex cross hair, designed to naturally center your vision.

There will always be a group of neo-Luddites among hunters, those who equate modern advancements in hunting equipment with the end of civilization. They dream of the throwback days of buckskins and belly knives, while decrying anything new and noteworthy as if it were delivered by the fifth, lesser-known horseman of the apocalypse: technology.

Such it is with illuminated-reticle riflescopes, which at first glance seem like the neo-Luddite’s worst nightmare. Taking a time-tested, precisely assembled optical device and wiring it for light might be asking for trouble if it weren’t for modern advancements in fiber optics and LED lighting. Today, there are a number of companies that are incorporating either technology, or, in some cases, both to create dependable, easy-to-operate riflescopes that provide bright, clear aiming points in all light conditions. Among these are Leupold’s VX-R and Swarovski’s Z6i riflescopes.

If ever there was a hunting situation that puts an exclamation point on the argument for using illuminated scope reticles, it would be hunting bears over bait, particularly in the dark bush of northern Canada. Even at mid-afternoon, when you first climb into your stand the boreal forest seems to suck all the sunlight from the area, and by last light, when big bears finally make their way into the bait, it’s all but impossible to pick out an aiming point on their coal-black bodies with conventional, non-illuminated riflescopes.

draper-stl-2_phatch
The VX-R took plenty of abuse in Alaska yet showed little wear and no interior fogging or moisture.