Our tracker Albert had unbelievable eyes and spotted three cape buffalo bulls feeding in the heavy brush about a mile away. We drove downwind and started a stalk to get as close as possible. My Professional Hunter, Mike Birch, with Hunt the Sun, smiled and gave me a nod that let me know we had found our bull. We had seen the trio five days earlier but could not get on them before dark. They were in the same area and had somehow been able to stay undetected.
We were hunting the Timbavati Nature Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park, and had Warden White with us. We approached the buffalo with trackers, and when Albert pointed around a dense thorn bush, the shooting sticks were set up. I settled the Krieghoff .470 Nitro Express double rifle on the supports and peeked around the edge of the cover.
Our target bull was guessed to be about 14 years old and had solid bosses and good hooks that were worn to heavy points. The oldest bull was a scrum cap, having worn his horns down to the point where no hooks remained, and two horn plates adorned the top of his head. The third bull was the youngest and had a bad attitude, evident in how it postured.
The setting and situation made for the perfect stalk, and we were soon sitting 25 yards from three old dagga boys. The perfect buffalo hunt quickly intensified when the old scrum-capped bull started walking in our direction. The bull had no idea we were there, but slowly marched in our direction, quickly closing the distance. The bull was in a collision course with the thorn bush we were hiding behind, and I tightened my grip on the rifle.
The bull marched slow and steady until it hit the bush and slowly turned to amble around it. At less than four yards, the bull nosed around the brush and met with Birch and me. The bull’s eye doubled in size, and I could see red veins spiderwebbing through the white edges. The old bull bellowed and kicked his back legs as it spun and ran back toward the bad-attitude bull that started pawing at the ground. My target bull was nowhere in sight, and it seemed like an eternity before it walked into view to join his compadres.
When the bull stopped walking, Birch whispered, “shoot him,” and the classic double rifle barked. The bull stumbled forward and fell to the ground. Seconds later, the bull was back on his feet and made it 15 yards before going down again. The other two bulls ran to their downed buddy and stood over it with chins held high, staring in our direction. We stood our ground, postured back, and eventually, the two bulls headed for quieter ground.
I studied the shot placement guide for cape buffalo, and shot it through the shoulder and heart. I used a Trijicon Specialized Reflex Optic (SRO) Red Dot on the dangerous game rifle. A simplified dot made it easy to track my target and ensure precise bullet placement. The red dot was a huge advantage for tracking the bull while it was walking and delivering a 500-grain bullet confidently
Situational awareness was critical when the scrum-capped bull decided to wander into our gun barrels. I vividly remember having both eyes open and tracking the bull every second of the way. The red dot stayed between the bull’s eyes while watching for other bulls to appear. My attention was not on lining up sights or keeping the edges of a scope clear; it was knowing the red dot was like a laser path for my bullet.
I could watch the bull through the brush, keep an eye on its buddy and watch for my target bull all at the same time. It was a defining moment for the effectiveness and advantage of using a reflex sight and knowing what was happening around me. The entire time, I had confidence that I could kill the scrum bull if things went western.
The slim housing on the SRO disappears when used with both eyes open, and your eye finds the red dot. The recoil from the big rifle lifted the muzzle with extreme force, but the red dot was back on target in under a second. As long as the entire dot is visible, it is on target. The red dot can float to the edges of the sight, and accuracy is still maintained.
The Trijicon SRO-SRO2 model is engineered with a 2.5 MOA adjustable LED red dot (the SRO1 and SRO3 offer 1- and 5-MOA dots, respectively). The dot size is common for pistols and other shooting applications. The dot is well-defined and clear, making tracking a target easy while improving accuracy. One of the standout features is its wide field of view. Target acquisition is fast and consistent. The SRO is parallax-free and compatible with suppressor-height iron sights.
The SRO shares similar electronics with the Trijicon RMR and is forged from 7075, T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum. The forged housing looks dainty, but protects the lenses and electronics without compromising accuracy or consistency. The design and materials used offer durability under challenging conditions.
The SRO elevation and windage tool-less adjustment screws are located on the housing. It took two shots to align the sight for a bull’s eye at 50 yards, and the third shot was confirmed. The simplicity allows the sight to be used with multiple firearms with minimal time getting it zeroed.
When hunting dangerous game, confidence is required in all equipment used. The repeatable accuracy was easy to appreciate. The heavy recoil did not hamper accuracy in any way.
When I arrived in Africa, the sight was attached to the rib on the rifle and tightened in place. The unit mounts easily using the same base as the Trijicon RMR. Separate mounting kits are available for most pistols, revolvers and rifles.
There are several scenarios where the SRO would be advantageous. Aging eyes can make it challenging to see sights and the target. The red dot allows shooters to open both eyes and see the target. The red dot can be found without effort and is automatically drawn to the target. Three gun shooters would embrace the sight, where speed is important. Any firearm with extreme recoil makes it challenging to get back on target, but the SRO2 makes follow-up shots simple.
The SRO offers a fine-tuned, illuminated reticle and an exceptionally clear front lens that works in any light condition and offers a clear sight picture with a crisp dot. The unit offers eight brightness settings, including one super bright mode and two night-vision modes. The intensity of the red dot is adjustable.
A button “LOCK-IN” mode secures the user-chosen brightness setting indefinitely, and the “LOCK-OUT” mode secures the Auto-Brightness setting feature for everyday carry and hunting.
Seeing is Believing
Shooters with vision challenges or aging eyes will appreciate the simplicity of a specialized reflex optic. It is fast, intuitive and accurate. In situations where you need to acquire the target fast, it is tough to beat a red dot, which does not compromise accuracy. Situational awareness can be critical on a dangerous hunt or if faced with defending or protecting yourself. A red dot on a pistol, revolver, or your favorite rifle will change how you see the target and acquire it with consistent accuracy.
- Manufacturer and model name: Trijicon SRO-SRO2
- Website: trijicon.com
- Type: specialized reflex optic
- Magnification: 1x
- Reticle: adjustable red dot
- Adjustments: 1 MOA per click
- Reticle pattern: 2.5-MOA dot
- Illumination Settings: automatic and eight adjustable settings (2 Night Vision, 6 Visible)
- Dimensions: 2.2 in x 1.3 in x 1.4 inches
- Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Construction: 7075-T6 forged Aircraft Grade
- Illumination Source: LED
- Power Source: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery
- Battery Life: over three years of continuous use at 70ºF
- MSRP: $771