The Aimpoint Hunter has an MSRP of $862 and is $776 at Midway USA.
Mounted on the CZ 550
It looks enough like a regular scope that it is at home on a wooden stocked and finely checkered high end hunting rifle.
The 2MOA Aimpoint Hunter is surprisingly round and small even at nearly full power, shown here at 50 yards.
If you click the image you will see that the dot really is only about 2″ at 100 yards. This was at nearly full brightness on a bright sunny day and it had plenty of room to back down and make the dot even smaller.
Elevation and windage are adjusted with dials like a regular scope, and the cap flips over to adjust.
With all the talk we have around here about long range accuracy and long distance shots, very little of it applies to actual big game hunting. Most shots on deer, hogs, and even most African game are taken well inside of 100 yards, and often less than 50 yards. Punching paper has almost no relationship to hunting in the field. Paper targets just sit there. You don’t have to work hard to find them. They don’t move. It is almost like they were made to sit there and let you shoot at them. Oh yea, they were.
None of those things are true with actual game, whether it is a Whitetail deer in the Pennsylvania woods, or a hog in the Everglades, or a Kudu on the plains of Africa. Wild game is almost always moving somewhat, and they are usually pretty darned hard to find, especially the big ones. When it is time for your shot, the shot you worked really hard to get and probably prayed for by your bedside the night before, you don’t want to look down your rifle and discover that you have the wrong optic for the job. Even at 4 power magnification a moving deer 75 yards away can be a difficult target to find in your scope when split seconds count. Yet optics are preferable in many ways to iron sights, because you don’t have to align them.
The Hunter line of red-dot sights from Aimpoint aims to find a balance between these issues with a tool that is made specifically for the job of big game hunting. There is no magnification, so the sight can be easily used with both eyes open, without the need to re-find the target through the tube of the sight. You don’t have to take your eyes off the target at all. You just lift the rifle to your shoulder and the red dot naturally comes into your vision field. Let the dot settle on what you are aiming at and the shot is yours.
It’s pretty attractive when you step back from traditional thinking and look at the actual tool needed for the job. If you hunt in shotgun country or you are out with a muzzleloader, long shots are near impossible because of terrain, brush cover and the limits of the firearm. A red-dot sight is much likely more practical than a standard reticle scope.
The only thing you have to be aware of is something that all red-dot sights share. The ability to precisely aim is impaired as you get further away. That dot is a certain width, and just like you can blot out the sun with a finger in front of your eye, that dot, being close to your eye, will blot out more and more of your target as it gets further away. The brighter you make the dot, the more the glow of it covers. This Aimpoint Hunter is a finer dot than most that you will see on the market, and it is one of the reasons for it’s $862 MRSP and $776 retail price tag (this actual sight is at Midway USA). The dot is capable of dialing down extremely fine, to 2 minutes of angle, which is roughly 2 inches at 100 yards or 4 inches at 200 yards. With the brightness control dialed all the way back the dot is almost transparent at 100 yards, so you can sight your rifle adjusted to the middle of the dot.
Unless you are in very bright conditions you can also carry the scope in the field with the brightness fairly dialed back, and if you need to make that far away shot or precision shot, and you have time, you have ability to dial the dot back even more, until it is almost gone, and you can shoot “through it.” Not all red-dots can do this, but the Aimpoint Hunter does it fabulously. I dial it as far back as I can to sight in the rifle, so mounted on this CZ 550 that holds well under an inch at 100 yards, I was able to center the group in the middle of the dot. That way, even if I don’t have time to dial the brightness back in the field, I know that the shot is going to land in the middle of that dot.
Aimpoint has been making red-dot sights since 1975 and they have sold over half a million of them in the civilian market and over 1.5 million to the US Army. There are features in the Hunter series that you don’t find in the lower priced brands of red dots and that really shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is fully waterproof, and the elevation and windage screws are not recessed Allen wrench holes. They are actual click adjustable dials, similar to a regular scope, and the caps on the dials are flipped over and used to adjust them. It also comes with its own matching rings and adjustment tool. The durability of scope is second to none, the same as those issued to the US Army, and Aimpoint also has a 10 year warranty. They also claim that the battery life of the Lithium 2032 can be measured in years.
I found the Aimpoint Hunter to be surprisingly practical. For dangerous game there may not be a better choice out there. You can tilt it sideways and look at the dot from the edge and it will still hit the target as if you were looking through it straight. This isn’t true of a standard reticle scope. In low light, unless you are pretty sure you will encounter the need for a long shot and you plan to buy an illuminated reticle, I don’t see a more cost effective alternative to this sight. The model we tested is the H30L.
My only complaint with the sight reflects just about every red-dot I have ever tested. I wish that the red dot would stay perfectly round as you get brighter, but it doesn’t. It gets little hairs sticking out. In an Aimpoint this isn’t because of defects or imperfections in the glass of the scope. You can tell by spinning the scope while you look through it. The hairs don’t move as you turn it. They are some kind of by-product of the way our eye focuses on the dot. Everyone will see the hairs a little different and they are only a factor when you turn the brightness all the way up.
Maybe it is because I am so used to peep sights, but I feel there is a natural ability built into our eyes to aim well. When the sight isn’t perfect I feel that this is hampered somewhat. This Aimpoint I have to admit though has an edge in this regard over cheap sights by a huge margin. When you back that brightness down to the first or second level, and you can do this on a regular sunny day no problem, that dot is tiny, and perfectly round with no hairs, and it really is somewhat transparent. In the field I would carry this sight on that second brightness setting and practice picking it up with my eyes beforehand with it that low. I would even practice while out in the field, bringing the gun and picking up the dot without taking my eyes off the target. Try this with the Aimpoint Hunter versus the less expensive options and any sticker shock you felt will fade very quickly. It is a high quality, well thought-out professional optic worthy of any discriminating hunter.