By Scott Mayer
Swarovski Optik North America
I did a study not to long ago tracing the average group size of Remington Model 700 rifles over the past 50 years and found that, at least for Remington 700s, factory, centerfire, bolt-action rifles have become progressively more accurate. It’s no wonder, then, that everyone seems to want to shoot at longer and longer ranges. Scope manufacturers are doing everything they can to make long range shooting easier, and Swarovski is no exception. This year they showed a neat little replacement turret cap called a Custom Ballistic Turret that for $99 turns any Swarovski ballistic turret scopes into a long range marvel.
The way these custom turrets work is simple. You call or email Swarovski with the ballistic information for your load, tell them what increments you want the turret calibrated, and they fabricate this little ring that you install on your top scope adjustment turret. Once you get the new turret parts, install them and re-zero the scope with the Custom Ballistic Turret in place, set the turret to zero, and that’s it—you’re good to go for long range shooting. Want to shoot something at 650 yards? Crank the dial to 650. It’s that easy.
Swarovski’s custom turrets are very much like the ones Leupold offers. The big difference is that Swarovski lets you choose any distances you want for your load, so long as the necessary adjustment does not exceed one full revolution of the turret.
At the Swarovski booth, my friend Dean Capuano showed me their new 8×42 EL Range binocular. There is also a 10×42 EL Range, but this one looked a lot like every other open-bridge 8×42 Swarovski. The only difference I could see was a pair of small lobes hanging from the barrels that I thought he was going to tell me were some new ergonomic feature. When he started mentioning a laser I had to stop him and make sure he was telling me about the new binocular. Well, it turns out that my brain was not considering the “Range” moniker, only the visual input that I was getting. I thought I was looking at a binocular.
The EL Range is a laser rangefinding binocular and it looks so much like an ordinary binocular it fooled me. There is no outside laser emitter or receiver that you can see. The laser leaves one barrel of the bino and returns to the other to range objects as far as 1500 depending on how reflective it is. At $2869 an EL Range isn’t cheap, but for those who can afford it, it’s going to be worth the price for several reasons. First, by combining a bino and a rangefinder you have one less piece of equipment to take afield. Second, it’s the same size as ordinary 8×42 binoculars (really), and finally, they’re Swarovskis. I know that may sound a little haughty, but if you’ve never used one of the high-end brands of optics afield, you really can’t appreciate what you’re missing. There really is that big of a difference.