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Lead Head Bullets
Rifle Magazine
May - June 2001
Volume 33, Number 3
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 195
On the cover...
This issue is only available on CD-ROM.Larry Brace created this custom Winchester Model 70 .270 WCF. Purchase the CD-ROM here
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Rifle Magazine
Product Tests
Burris Landmark PF Binoculars

Those prices in the specifications table get your attention? Don’t let them fool you into believing that Landmark PF field glasses are bargain-basement optics - you know, the kind that are made to sell but not to buy. My field tests convinced me these new Burris binoculars live up to all the company’s claims and are an excellent value for the money.

Where production costs were lowered, I suspect, was in their construction. They aren’t waterproof or fogproof, for one thing. They probably won’t stand a whole lot of abuse either. Treated with the respect due any good optical instrument, however, these new Burris models should give years of satisfactory service.

As usual, my getting-acquainted tests included targeting a number of objects at electronically measured distances.

First, of course, both binoculars were adjusted for my eyes by zeroing them on a stop sign 53 yards from my observation post. Next, some numbers on a motel door 438 yards off were examined. At that distance, it’s often difficult to distinguish a 3 from a 5 or an 8, especially if the binocular’s resolving ability isn’t quite up to snuff. Once the 8xs were focused properly, all numbers were easy to read. Through the 10xs, each numeral stood out bright and clear.

An air conditioner on a roof 325 yards distant was examined with the aid of both binoculars. All its slender, horizontal vents were sharply delineated by both sets of lenses.

A couple of mailboxes 157 yards away were identified with 3-inch numerals on their sides, black on white. Through the 8x42s, the numbers were too hazy to read. Quite a number of other 8x binoculars have been tested against those particular numbers. I wasn’t able to read the numbers through their lenses either. When the 10x42s were aimed at them, all numbers on both boxes were clearly visible.

Other targets, ranging from 303 to 502 yards from my location were examined through both glasses. Their resolving ability was absolutely first-class.

A day spent down on the Sonoran desert proved that both glasses’ color transmission was flawless. Their lenses were distortion-free all the way out to their rims too; when they were swung from one side to the other, rapidly, as they would be when following a fleeing animal, there was no discernible curvature in the field. That level of performance was a reminder about how far optics have progressed since the first set of 7x50s was issued to me back in 1943.

It snowed one day. Most of it melted off by sundown, but there were patches left in the woods around the house. On a whim, I took the 8x42s out long after sunset. Since the sky was clear and starry, there was a bit of light reflecting off the snow patches - not much but enough to help. The binocular was put through its paces, and I was amazed at how well I could see. Details were blurry, of course, but had there been an animal out there, his silhouette would have been plainly visible, even against the shadowy pines.

What made those tests so significant was their performance was markedly superior to that of another field glass that, its manufacturer claims, is particularly useful under low-light conditions. Although Burris is mum on the issue, its 8x42’s post-sundown light-gathering ability was very impressive. That, apparently, can be credited to the glasses’ exit pupils.

Pupils in an average pair of human eyes, we’re told, usually dilate from 1mm in bright light to something like 5mm around twilight. If our eyes’ pupils widen as the light fades but our binoculars’ exit pupils (in the ocular lenses) are smaller than those of our eyes, they limit the amount of light that can reach our eyes. According to the Landmark spec sheet, the 8x42’s exit pupils measure 5.2mm. That probably helps explain why I was able to see so much during those night tests.

Both binoculars are the same size and weight. Both are the center-focus type, and both are porro prism design. Both are armored too, sheathed in a matte-black, dull gray neoprene-like material. Both have been shaped to fit most hands comfortably, as well.

Each is equipped with lens caps, nylon neck straps and carrying cases. Both represent a heck of a lot of field glass for the money. - Al Miller

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