Tag Archives: binoculars

Sig Sauer Kilo 3000 BDX Binoculars

Every hunting or shooting trip has a list of essentials, and at the very top of that gear list you’ll find things such as guns and bullets. But for many of us, it’s not very far down that list that you’ll find binoculars and rangefinder. Today we are discussing the Sig Sauer Kilo 3000 binoculars, which bring the laser rangefinder and binoculars onto the same line.


The Sig Sauer Kilo 3000
The Kilo 3000 binoculars sit at the top of the Kilo optics line, which is a series of great laser range finders. The Kilo is built on a 10X42mm body, with a built in LRF that claims up to 5000 yard capability. The armored exterior of the Kilo holds a few more secrets inside than most.
The Kilo also features Sig Sauer’s BDX technology, which allows the Kilo to communicate via bluetooth with other devices. Using data inputs from weather stations like the Kestrel Weather Meter to give accurate ballistic solutions. The Kilo uses the Applied Ballistics solver to give the shooter the best prediction for a hit. This system can be used in conjunction with Sig Sauer scopes that use the same system to show holdover and wind holds in live time with illuminative points on the reticle.
The Kilo uses a single CR2 lithium battery to power it, according to Sig, this will give you approximately 4,000 chances to measure the distance to your targets.
The Kilo weighs in at 31 ounces which is almost the exact same weight as is nearest competitors.

On the range
The vast expanse of the Rocky Mountains is the perfect place to put a rangefinder to the test, and I spend a couple days every week shooting in these beautiful landscapes. So no sooner had I gotten home with the Kilo, I grabbed my rifle and gear bag and headed up one of my favorite trails. Before I left though, I put together the chest harness that comes with the Kilo so I could hike with both hands free.

I have used quite a few different binocular chest carry outfits, and for the most part I think it is very subjective as to how comfortable they are. This one for me was not too bad, I like how quick it is to bring the binos out of the case. Both the case itself and the binoculars are suspended from the shoulder straps individually, and the bino straps are easily snapped free if you need to disconnect them to lend to a less fortunate spotting partner.

After a good sweat from the hot August sun, I found myself looking out across a steep canyon that worked its way back into the rocky and cavernous mountain range. It was a place I frequent fairly often so I already knew a lot of the distances available to me. I sat down and began to scan with the Kilo, my very first impression of the image quality was positive. I have used many of the popular brands of LRF binos, and I would put the optical quality of the Sig Kilo right near the top of its price point class. It is similar to models from Vortex, Nikon, and Leupold in the same price range. Perhaps a little better than some, but not quite as nice as the top quality optics we are accustomed to seeing from European manufacturers like Swarovski or Leica. One thing that I did find more convenient was that when using other binos I find that I frequently have to adjust the focus between my eyes to get a uniform image. But with the Kilo I found that I adjusted it once, and never touched it again, perhaps that’s a small issue but for me its almost reason enough to sell my other binos.

Like most modern binoculars, the Kilo 3000 feature adjustable eyecups to set the lenses the right distance from your eyes. And like the entire exterior of the binoculars, these are rubberized for easy grip, the control surfaces of the binoculars have an added texture as well for easy manipulation.

The laser dispersion of the Kilo was one thing I wanted to see and test, after all, a good rangefinder is only as good as its ability to precisely confirm distance. This can become very important when ranging a target that might be very close to obstructions along the way, such as a tree branch, or a ridge between you and the target.
Keeping the Kilo firmly fixed to a tripod, I measured the distance to several targets that had surrounding obstructions. I was happy to see that almost anything that was inside the reticle of the Kilo registered the actual distance. But even something as insignificant as a leaf 380 yards away that obstructed the view of a 950 yard target, was picked up by the laser. Ranging targets eclipsed the edge of a closer ridge only gave interference when the reticle overlapped the closer ridge. All things considered, the Kilo’s laser gives a very accurate and predictable measurement, so when the range comes back, you know what it reflected on.

The rangefinding capabilities of the Kilo were more than adequate for my purposes. Ive found that most rangefinders are rated for distances at the extreme envelope of their capabilities. The better quality, and usually the higher the price point, I find they come closer to their maximum range rating. Sig claims the Kilo can hit 5000 yards, which may be true. But I couldn’t hold still enough or hit a reflective enough target to read that far. It did work great inside of 2000 yards however, giving quick and repeatable readings. Whether it was rocks, or trees, dimly shadowed or glowing in the afternoon sun.
I did push it out quite a bit further, ranging buildings back down in town from my 6000 foot perch. Cars and buildings were good reflectors out to around 3000 yards, I have since gotten good readings on large reflective targets as far as 4800 yards.

I used the Kilo both in its range only setting as well as with the incline output setting, I would have liked to try out the bluetooth BDX functions as well. But that would have required me buying a whole scope to go with it, something Im not ready to do at the moment but I would really like to give the whole system a complete workout.

Conclusion
The Kilo 3000 is yet another awesome product from the elctro-optic branch of Sig Sauer. I think if you are looking for a good pair of hunting binos, you’d do very well with these. Having used many of its closest peers, I’d probably pick the Kilo over them.
-CBM

Vortex Optics Fury Range-finding Binoculars

I’ve said it before, I am a huge geek for optics and everything that goes with them. Something about quality and the edge that good optics give you gets me giddy.

Anybody who shoots at any significant distance should be familiar with laser rangefinders, otherwise I take their claims as what they are; hopeful aspirations.

It didn’t take me long to realize the need for a rangefinder in my shooting, and I didn’t want a substandard one. I bought my first rangefinder many years ago, it was a Leica. Over the years I have come to appreciate a good rangefinder, that Leica taught me a lot. It is absolutely necessary to make good shots at distance, and I’ve been lucky to have hands on quite a few of them. One of the first things I noticed when playing with LRF’s was that many of them were at best 80% of what they are rated for. And many of them lower than that. Ive come to find that a good LRF will actually go beyond its rated limits, in good conditions. With optics and rangefinders especially, you do get what you pay for.
With so many new and exciting things hitting the market recently, I was excited to get the chance to try out a new prodcuct from Vortex Optics
The brand new Fury Binocular from Vortex incorporates a 1600 yard laser rangefinder into a 10X42 armored binocular.

I’ve never had a rangefinding bino before, I’d mostly used just a plain rangefinder. I never felt much like carrying multiple optics into the field, nor could I afford it, but with the technological advancements we enjoy today there is no reason to. The Fury gives you high a quality ten power binocular, with clear and bright images. And ontop of that, it also serves as a 1600 yard rangefinder. For a hunter, I think it is the best of both worlds. Especially since you dont want to be carrying anything extra with you, unforgiving mountains are not the place to carry extra weight.

The Fury, like most modern rangefinders, allows you to select yards or meters. It also has a slope indicator that allows users to select line of sight distance (LOS) or use a corrected angular compensated distance (HCD).

The display on the Fury has a circle reticle for aiming at your target. Up and to the right of that, is the angle display, shown in degrees. The distance is shown below the reticle, and just off to the left there is a battery level indicator.

I have taken the Fury out many times now, used it in many different settings and places. One of the first times I tried it right out of the box, I managed to hit 1780yds with it. That was a building, and I didnt expect it to hit a deer at that distance. But its good to know that it can reach those kind of distances, even though in the real world of my shooting habits, it wont need to go that far. For me, I think being able to range the animals I hunt in the conditions and places where they live is the overall determining factor for performance. And in those places and conditions, the Fury seems to shine. Like this:

Hitting trees and rocks at thirteen, fourteen or fifteen hundred yards proved to be pretty easy. In the bright daylight of the sun, or in the angled afternoon light of the evening.

Hitting an animal at that distance would be hard, not necessarily because of the rangefinder, but because you cant hold still enough without a tripod. I find myself aiming for the nearest tree or rock in those scenarios anyways.

The beam divergence on the Fury, or the size of the laser beam for lack of a better explanation, is 1.6X.07MRAD. That isn’t bad considering the price-point of the Fury, there are a few better, but surely there are worse. Again I look back to the purpose of the Fury, at least in my case. It wont be often when I am looking at a deer, elk, or any other target that is standing on the horizon some thousand or more yards away, with nothing near it that I cant sink that laser into. So while a tighter beam dispersion might be better in some situations, I think this one will do just fine for my purposes. And I think it will do for most other’s as well, I assume I am not the only person who lases the target multiple times when targeting. Particularly when distances are extended, and critical to making the shot.
At 31 oz the Fury is very comparable to its competitors, it doesn’t feel heavy to me, which oddly enough seems like a bad thing. I know I’m crazy, but for some reason I like to feel the weight that usually accompanies quality. But I certainly wont hold that against the Fury.

The Fury comes with a nice shoulder strapped carrying case, it has a double shoulder harness, and it is secured with a a small hook and elastic strap to close it. I liked it, but honestly the Fury might be a little big/heavy for the case design. It also comes with your standard lens covers, as seen in the above picture. I feel for optics companies when it comes to lens covers, it can be a difficult subject. You can either go with cheap and easy option, knowing that users will likely upgrade to something more to their liking. Or you can invest in some very nice covers for them, and then risk people not liking them and wanting something else anyways. I found that the soft rubber options provided with the Fury are perfectly serviceable, and they are easily removed if not to your liking.
Both barrels of the Fury have a focus ring, the right barrel adjustment is to focus the display, and the left barrel adjustment is for equalizing the focus between the users eyes. I may have gotten a a mismatched set at the factory. Eyes that is, it has always been a challenge for me to get any pair of binoculars to stay in focus for me, probably due to the difference in my eyes. I noticed this problem slightly when using the Fury, but I am quite sure it is my eyes relaxing between uses.
The Fury has adjustable eye cups, with four different depth settings. The cups were easily adjusted to fit my eyes, with or without glasses. It also made it easy to adjust to fit the relief on my phone, so that I could get all these spectacular images 😜
The battery compartment on the Fury is located on the bottom, nice and out of the way. From this angle you can also see the two adjustment rings for focusing the unit.
For many years I have been using some great rangefinders, Leica as I mentioned, Swarovski, Sig Sauer Electro-Optics, among others. While the price of good rangefinders has come down, my budget for shooting accessories has mantained its place on the leger. But I felt the Fury was well worth the splurge, and my money was well spent with Vortex, as it usually is. I still have never had to use their famous no BS warranty, but it’s always nice to know it is there. Look for the Fury in upcoming stories and pictures, I dont see it going away anytime soon.

-CBM


Sig Sauer Electro Optics Oscar 3

I am a sucker for optical doodads, and usually anything that is heavy and comes in a small package. That said, I’ve never been a huge proponent of large or bulky spotting equipment. Sure, there are advantages to them, but for the kind of shooting I usually do and am involved in, they are a bit more than necessary. Most times, another rifle scope of similar magnification and quality will do, especially if it is mounted to someone else’s rifle, who can tell what I’m doing wrong.
I do have a small field spotter, it works very well for what I need, and it has a handy reticle for making corrective calls a “breeze”. Other than that, the scope on my rifle, and a good rangefinder, I have never felt much of a need for more. Once again I was forced to challenge my own prejudice regarding equipment, when a friend handed me a small package with the instructions to “try it out”.

As I opened up the box which I had been told contained a spotting scope from Sig Sauer Electro-Optics,I thought for sure that I had the wrong package. But further investigation revealed it was indeed a spotter, just a more compact one than I had expected. It was the new Oscar 3, which is a handheld 10-20X image stabilizing scope.
Perhaps some of you are thinking the same as I did, “what good is a handheld spotter at 20X?” but having been surprised by Sig Sauer on more than one occasion, I decided to save my judgement until after a good field testing. I took it straight to the roof, and began scanning the neighborhood for hostile looking deviants. Like many other quality optics, the view and resolution through the Oscar were very clean, and bright. The warm sunshine that bathed the neighborhood made for crystal clear recognition of tiny minutia on a wide variety of prospective targets. There was of course, one pending issue. The problem that I had first imagined the second I heard “20X handheld spotter” and that of course was the inability for a wobbly twerp like me to hold still long enough to do any good while spotting. Even with my best efforts, it was difficult to hold still enough to read license plates at the end of the street, I could see the characters, and almost tell what they were. But the shaking caused by the slightest breeze, or perhaps even the beating of my heart, made it just barely beyond the grasp of my eyes.

The time had come to test the core function of this handy little scope, I reached with my index finger across the top of the Oscar, and engaged the stabilization function. I was amazed as the auto induced jitters quickly disappeared, and the picture I had struggled to see just a second earlier, suddenly became a floating image. A clear image, centered between my eye and the object that reflected it. No longer did I have to concentrate on holding still, instead I could focus my attention on interpreting the images. The license plates that I couldn’t read, were now steady and clean, not only could I read the plate numbers, but the state identified on it.

I had quickly become less skeptical about this little scope, and couldn’t wait to get it into a real field shooting position to see what it can really do. Easily operated, the Oscar has an adjustable zoom from 10-20X on the ocular end, and the focus is done by turning the objective end of the scope. The switch on top of the unit turns on the stabilization.
Fast forward a few days, and I found myself surrounded by hundreds of miles of Utah’s west desert. Myself and a few friends had made our way up the steep edge of a rocky ridge, overlooking a seemingly unending sage brush flat. Our quarry that day was any number of jackrabbits who called the sagebrush home. We had already spotted several, and knew they were out there, hiding among the brush. Their color matching almost perfectly the plants and ground that they inhabited. So many times one would spot a rabbit, and until it moved, you could never be sure what exactly it was.

It was time to put the Oscar to work, laying down in tumbleweeds and rocks to look through my rifle scope was just too cumbersome, at least to spot the rabbits. My rangefinder was handy, but with only 8X, it made target investigation a little tedious. The Oscar’s ability to zoom in to as much as 20X, and its image stabilization would be perfect for picking out the slightest movement. The quick nature of engaging rabbits made for some challenging transitions from a spotting to a shooting position. But one after another, we found the jackrabbits, sneaking about through the brush. Some of them were quite close, others were as far as three or four hundred yards away. The fate of the former was quite “dispersed” no thanks to my SRS, who has grown quite a taste for large rodents.
As the rabbit population either “aired out”, or burrowed furiously out of sight, and I sat there picking the rocks and tumbleweed stickers from my elbows, I continued to test the Oscar. Taking pictures of a nearby cattle herd through it, as well as scanning the surrounding area. The only gripe if any I might have about this little scope, is that when engaged, if you look really hard at some things, you can almost see a “boiling” impression. An effect I assume must come from whatever tech Sig uses to stabilize the image, I didn’t find it to be a detrimental factor, nor did it impede my ability to spot my targets.

I’ve taken the Oscar from the hot dry desert, and its mirage laden plains, to the snow covered tops of the rocky mountain’s peaks. The Oscar 3 from Sig Sauer has certainly proven itself to be very valuable in my opinion. I think I would even trade a good set of binoculars for it. As a hunter, I think it would be a very valuable tool to inspect potential targets. And also as a hunter, I can greatly appreciate the compact size and weight it comes in. Giving me an on the go kind of spotter, quick to deploy and keep tabs on a moving target. All while providing an outstanding image with which to judge by.
I wonder if, even with the image stabilization, would it be worth it to add a coarse reticle to the Oscar. To provide corrective calls and range/size estimations. I suppose that would be a question for the engineers at Sig.
As for me, I plan on keeping this little handful of help as close as possible, for as long as I can. It has already proved to be a valuable tool to keep in my pack, and I intend on using it thoroughly as this season comes in.
-CBM

Rangefinder Shootout

 

Rangefinder Shootout

rangefinders
One of the most important tools a marksman can have in his bag, is a good rangefinder. When I first started shooting, I didn’t have the money to buy one, neither did I have the sense to. Interesting how something seemingly insignificant would soon become indispensable. I figured a lot of these things out the hard way, the stupid way you could even say. Despite my hardheaded approach to distance shooting, I got pretty good at estimating range. A skill that was later confirmed by the rangefinder that had done without far too long.
By the time I finally purchased a laser rangefinder, I had at least gained enough smarts to recognize what I needed.
My first purchase was a Leica 1200, a good piece of equipment that served me very well. I quickly learned as I played with other rangefinders that good ones usually reach beyond their limits. While lower end units, wouldn’t even reach advertised distances.
As my skills matured, and distances became longer, I out grew that old Leica, and it’s since been replaced by a newer CRF model. I also stepped up to a Swarovski Laserguide, as with my Leica, the Swarovski reached well beyond its advertised envelope, reaching to 1800+ yards in the right conditions.
These tools have sharpened this shooters abilities, through day to day use, and confirming estimations.
Well, I was recently handed one of the new Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 rangefinders. I have heard many good things about this new line of optics from Sig. And this Kilo seemed like a big winner.
With an advertised range of 3400yds (reflective) I was very optimistic. In my opinion, it fell into that price range where rangefinders always underperformed. But even so I thought, if it reaches half what they advertise, it’d be worth the money.
I quickly made my way to my Rocky Mountain haunt, to put the Kilo against my Leica CRF1200, and my Swarovski Laserguide.
I’m a simple guy, I don’t care much for bells and whistles. So though the Kilo features an angle adjusted range, I switched it to simple range only. I can do field math, I like whole numbers, and percentages. I don’t need my optics to do it for me. Plus I like to know exactly what I’m getting into.
A quick run through the various rock piles in my cold and snowy canyon would tell me how well the Kilo measured up. 12790832_1704415849801909_8589088304493706408_n
At the quarter mile mark, all three rangefinders barely broke a sweat. My first impression of the Kilo was how fast it returned with a reading. Faster than my Leica, and twice the speed of the Swarovski. “This will triple the speed at which I miss my targets.” I thought to myself, “better slow down”.
I soon noticed a slight difference in color while looking through the Kilo, a bluish hue that was quite apparent (see pics). This is certainly not a big deal, at least to me. It was certainly lighter as well, easily placed in a pocket to be carried. The optical field of view looking through the Kilo was almost exactly the same as my CRF1200, the quality was comparable as well. Both of them were narrow compared to the Laserguide, which also had a better image I might add. But for twice the price of the others, it ought to.
I pushed all three RF’s one after another out to 1050yds, all three of them working flawlessly. And returning ranges to within +/-1 or 2 yards. Perfectly acceptable for a guy who’s targets are +/-2 or 3 yards wide right?
Up to this point I had to say I was pretty happy about the results. Simply because For most people I know, a good rangefinder that will reliably hit 1,000yds plus and cost under 500$ is a pretty good deal.12321320_1704415956468565_4349457969971441508_n
Well I had to push them further. The sunlight was fading somewhat as it hid behind the evening clouds to the west. I thought surely I could push the Kilo further, but to my surprise I couldn’t get it to read on anything further out.
I thought that perhaps maybe this Kilo couldn’t hang with my “higher end” RF’s. So I pulled out my Leica, and the Top hat it came with, and tried to hit the same rock. To my surprise, it wouldn’t read either. I suppose the light and conditions weren’t good enough for either RF to read. But before I put shame upon the two smaller units, I figured I’d check to see how the Swarovski would fair.
Sure enough, as usual, the Laserguide came through. Showing 1300yds. My suspicions about light angles and conditions were confirmed, as my Swarovski would reach no further in the cold quiet canyon. Leaving me scratching my head.
Further testing is warranted, and no doubt I will get more info. I’d like to see how far this Kilo will really go, I am skeptical that it will actually reach advertised distances due to my experiences, as well as those of others. None the less, I am very impressed that Sig has produced this RF for less than 500$ and that easily hits to 1000 yards and beyond. If I could go back to the beginning of my shooting career and sell myself this Kilo, it may have been one of the best purchases made.
I won’t be replacing my Swarovski anytime soon, but if I was in the market for a new rangefinder, for hunting, or practical shooting, the Kilo 2000 would be top contender.