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Rifle Magazine
April - May 2000
Volume 35, Number 2
ISSN: 0017-7393
Number 204
On the cover...
The Winchester Model 70 .264 Winchester Magnum is
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I can easily recall a time when shooting glass lenses came in clear for general use, green for bright sunlit conditions and yellow for cloudy days. That was about the extent of it back then, but things are quite different now. Some companies offer a number of colors in dozens of shades. Between shooting events at the 100th anniversary Grand National trap shoot a few months back, I visited a number of vendors who offered every shade of every lens color one might imagine and a few I had never even thought of. A brochure I picked up while visiting the booth of Randolph Engineering (makers of Ranger shooting glasses) gave recommended applications for the 10 colors they offer; they are as follows:

CLEAR: For indoor shooting when no target contrast is needed. Excellent safety lens to use when handloading ammunition.

GRAY: For use on bright sunlit days. Transmits all colors at the same level, but does not enhance targets.

PALE YELLOW: Excellent choice for indoor shooting and for shooting at night under lights.

YELLOW: For hazy, foggy days and late afternoon. Blocks out much of the blue light.

ORANGE: For dull, cloudy days. Blocks blue light and enhances orange-colored clay targets.

SUNSET ORANGE: For bright but hazy conditions. Slightly darker than true orange to absorb scattered blue light.

VERMILLION: Highlights conditions when background is dark (like when shooting trap or skeet with dark trees in the background).

BRONZE: For very bright but hazy sunlit days. Stray blue light absorbing qualities enhance clay target outline.

BROWN: Blue-blocker lens for shooting on bright sunlit days with open background.

LIGHT PURPLE: A combination of gray and vermillion. Dampens coloration of green foliage and enhances orange clay targets when trees or brush are in the background.

How many colors we actually need depends on the type of shooting we do. I probably get more use out of the clear lens than any other. I use it for eye protection when handloading, and it is the one I most often choose when shooting firearms equipped with scopes. I prefer clear for shotgunning on days when light conditions are not bright enough to require a darker lens nor dull enough to require yellow. Clear is also my choice when shooting indoors and when shotgunning outdoors at night under lights. Contrary to what some shooters believe, a top-quality clear lens protects the eyes with the same level of UV screening as a colored lens.

I used to use green shooting glasses a great deal, but once I tried light brown for extremely bright sunlit days I came to prefer it because for whatever reason, my eyes feel less fatigued at the end of the day when I use it. Most shooters can get by with a clear lens for general purpose use and either green or brown for bright conditions.

An orange lens causes orange-colored clay targets to literally sparkle, so I use it a lot for skeet, trap and sporting clays. I use dark orange or vermillion on bright sunny days and light orange (or strawberry as Ray McKissick calls his version) under darker ambient light conditions. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with the lighter shade. From a safety aspect, orange is also a good lens color for some hunting applications as it makes a hunter orange vest or cap glow brilliantly.

I don’t use the old yellow lens as much as I used to, but it is still a good color for wingshooting on extremely dark days. Not long back I shot ducks on an extremely dark and cloudy day in the flooded pin oak forests of Arkansas and found yellow to be the best choice.

Frames that allow lenses to be quickly and easily interchanged are most definitely a less expensive way to go. The Randolph Rangers I have been using cost $100 complete with four pair of lenses and a carrying case. The same outfit with two pair of prescription lenses runs from $200 to $280. The addresses of companies offering top-quality shooting glasses are included at the end of this column. Most offer lenses that fit frames made by various manufacturers.

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American Rifle
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