By John Barsness
Until recently most rifle shooters rated scopes by optical quality, a prejudice originating in the 1950s, when scopes became standard instead of unusual. Back then, optics varied from dirty-window to semi-Hubble. But today even low-priced scopes have multi-coated lenses, the reason some people (including me) test scopes differently than gunwriters of yesteryear. They essentially just peered through their latest test-scope and wrote, “The view was, well, um — clear, sorta’.”
Today mechanical reliability is paramount, with more shooters wanting to know if the elevation adjustment can be cranked up and down repeatedly and consistently. The EOtech Vudu’s one of those scopes, so my very first test was a “tall target,” with enough paper to crank the elevation up enough to shoot beyond 500 yards.
However, rather than using a tall target at 100 yards, I’ve found it easier to shoot at an average target at 50 yards, reducing wind-drift by 75 percent. Wind-drift increases about twice as fast as range, and a wind drifting a bullet 1″ at 100 yards only drifts the same bullet 0.25″ at 50, eliminating a lot of statistical “noise.”
Tall target testing: John adjusted the elevation turret at 50 yards rather than the usual
100 to avoid tossing windage into the equation too. He found, after cranking the knobs up
and down for each shot, things still aligned.
My test rifle for the 1-6×42 Vudu SR-1 was a Mossberg Patriot in .308, a very affordable rifle grouping very well with Hunting Shack ammo loaded with 165-gr. Sierra GameKings. I cranked the scope up and down between the next nine shots, resulting in three, 3-shot groups. The highest landed 10.8″ above the lowest, agreeing exactly with the scope’s .2 milliradian clicks — and according to Sierra’s Infinity computer program would be sufficient for aiming right on to at least 600 yards.
I next tested the adjustments during a calmer day, by shooting the gongs scattered across my local rifle range from 220 to 620 yards. The Infinity-suggested click numbers matched up perfectly with the GameKing’s trajectory. Bang, clang. Bang, clang. Repeat as needed. Great fun.
The control buttons for the illuminated reticle are on top of the battery housing on the left
side of the scope, a very handy location. John found the turret knobs stayed in place.
Snow Day For Scopes
I didn’t bother to drop the EOtech in a sink full of warm water to check for leaks. I can’t remember the last time a new scope bubbled, so I also quit giving them baths several years ago. Instead, the EOtech, Mossberg and I went hunting for several days with my old friend John Haviland on the Jumping Horse Ranch near Ennis, Montana. On the fourth morning I killed a middling-size mule deer buck at just about a tenth as far as my the longest gong-test earlier. That evening I followed John and ranch-manager Jeff Klein up a steep mountain covered with a foot of soggy snow. It was Haviland’s turn to shoot, and he killed a raghorn bull elk at 200 yards.
The EOtech got moisture-tested going back down, because the dead elk often slid down the mountain ahead of us. Being considerably younger than the two Johns, Jeff hiked down, but we often waited until the bull stopped, then sat down and butt-tobogganed down the trail, not always smoothly. I enhanced the field test by slipping and falling after we reached somewhat flatter ground. The scope didn’t fog internally or change point of impact. I think I fogged internally though.
The Vudu 1-6x looks right at home on a compact hunting rifle like this
Mossberg Patriot and works like a scope should.
The SR-1’s first focal-plane reticle is a big circle, surrounding a central crosshair with hashmarks, with a dot in the middle. It’s simpler than it sounds, at 1X looking like a circle around a +, and at 6X like a bigger + with hashmarks.
It can also be illuminated using three buttons atop the battery housing on the left side of the scope — on/off, brighter and dimmer, all ergonomically handy. The adjustment turrets aren’t capped, but the firm clicks resisted accidental turning even when sliding down an elk mountain. Oh, and the view is 21st-Century clear.
Naturally, the Vudu has a 30mm tube, and weighs 20 oz., apparently about the minimum required for firm and consistent adjustments. But at only 10.6″ long, it doesn’t resemble a burro making love to a Shih-Tzu even when mounted on a compact rifle like the Patriot. Suggested retail’s $1,399 and of course less in the real world. It really is a very good scope.
Ph: (888) 368-4656
John Barsness’s book Modern Hunting Optics can be ordered through
P.O. Box 579, Townsend