by Cameron Hopkins - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Before you throw your horse-manure flag, I have witnesses. On two occasions, I've made amazing shots on running game that I don't believe would've been possible had I not been shooting with the uniquely eye-catching, fast-aiming "glowing red chevron" reticle that only comes in a Trijicon AccuPoint riflescope.
The first time was in the hill country of central Namibia where we had climbed to look for kudu. We spotted one on a ridgeline, but of course it saw us too and disappeared over the top. We ran hard, and as we crested the skyline, the kudu was in full gallop at about 200 yards. No time for the shooting sticks. I snapped my Ruger M-77 to my shoulder and saw a blazing red triangle superimpose itself on the kudu. I swung the rifle ahead of him like a shotgun on a teal, pulled the glowing chevron in front of him and squeezed. A perfect shoulder shot, and down the kudu went. Naftalie, my PH, was mightily surprised.
The second time was in Mozambique when my good friend Greg Rader, our PH Dominique Marteens and I were walking across a wide open "burn" when, all of a sudden, a reedbuck exploded out of his bed at about 80 yards. He was not wasting any time and by the time Dominique sized him up and yelled, "Shoot, it's a big one!" he was out to 120 yards and going dead away from us. All I saw was that vibrant red chevron again appear like a giant beacon on the back of the reedbuck's neck. The buck was dead before it hit the ground.
Once is a fluke, twice is a lesson. What I've learned about the AccuPoint riflescope is that its unique version of a German post reticle, a single black vertical post topped by a self-illuminating red, yellow or green chevron, is the fastest magnified optic I've ever seen. On both occasions I was using a 1X-4X AccuPoint, which I've used extensively on other game, from bongo in the rain forest to Cape buffalo in the Zambezi Delta. But as fast as it is to use in snap-shooting, the beefy red triangle is not terribly precise. This stands to reason. If it's big and quick, it can't be small and precise. And, because American hunters are not used to it, they demanded crosshairs.
Trijicon responded with a new reticle design featuring a duplex-style crosshair in which the very center of the crosshair is lit by an amber or green aiming point. Available in a 2.5X-10X (56mm objective), 3X-9X (40mm objective) and 5X-20X (50mm objective), the new models of AccuPoint riflescopes all feature 30mm tubes for enhanced light transmission and a wider field of view.
I tested a 2.5X-10X-56mm model with an amber-colored dot in the new duplex crosshair. The self-illuminated dot subtends a half-minute of angle at 100 yards. A half-minute dot is an excellent size for big-game hunting, precise enough for shots beyond 200 yards yet big enough to be quick to pick up for close-range shots.
The self-illuminated aiming point is the AccuPoint's most significant feature. Unlike other illuminated riflescopes that rely on, well, unreliable batteries, the AccuPoint utilizes Trijicon's patented self-lit reticle that is powered by a combination of tritium and fiber-optic filament. In low light, the tritium glows in the dark like the hands on a diving watch or the sights on a defensive handgun. In sunlight, the fiber-optic filament transmits light directly to the reticle. It works so well that it can actually be too bright, so the AccuPoint features an adjustable sun-shade to cover part or all of the fiber-optic filament.
I toured Trijicon's state-of-the-art factory outside Detroit and saw the AccuPoint scopes being assembled. I was struck by the degree of skilled handwork that goes into each one. The optical elements are precision-ground from camera-grade glass and coated with a proprietary blend of gaseous metal halides. Lens coatings-which all worthy optics have, from binoculars to cameras to riflescopes-reduce the loss of light due to reflection and maximize the transmission of light.
I mounted my test sample 2.5X-10X-56mm AccuPoint on a relatively hard-kicking rifle on purpose-to see if that hand-fitted, glowing dot would take a good pounding. Recoil force is a factor of two things: the energy generated by the cartridge and the weight of the rifle. Consequently, I mounted the AccuPoint on an 8mm Rem. Mag. built by Mel Forbes at New Ultra-Light Arms. Mel's rifles are sub-6-pounders yet are famously accurate.
I fired 30 rounds on the same target, but moved my aiming point every five rounds. I compared the points-of-impact, and the zero never shifted. I recently shot far more than those 30 rounds with another AccuPoint, a 5X-20X-50mm on a .22-250 T/C Icon, on a Wyoming prairie dog shoot. While the recoil of a .22-250 is nothing, my volume of fire was intense at times and I never suffered a wandering zero. If you're looking for an illuminated-reticle riflescope that can never go out from a switch left on inadvertently, Trijicon's AccuPoint is the answer.
Tube Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 20.7 ozs.
Reticle: duplex w/illuminated center dot
Eye Relief: 4.1" to 2.8"
Exit Pupil: 16.3mm to 5.6mm
Field of View @ 100 yds: 37.6' to 10.1'
Adjustments: .25" @ 100 yds.
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