FAR-SIGHTED

The edi­tor shows us why we should all own a pair of com­pact bin’s

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The edi­tor gets his hands on a su­perbinoc­u­lar - at a great price

A s a coun­try­man and a hunter, I’m never far from a pair of binoc­u­lars, for the sim­ple rea­son that I love to see what’s hap­pen­ing around me. My eyes are con­stantly caught by a red kite soar­ing past my study win­dow, or per­haps the de­light­ful red­poll I saw in a hedge top as I set off to walk the dogs this morn­ing. Each of these sight­ings was made that much bet­ter be­cause I had a pair of Hawke Van­tage 8 x 25 fold­ing binoc­u­lars to hand. It’s a fact that big­ger bin’s of­fer even bet­ter per­for­mance, but they of­ten get left at home be­cause they’re a has­sle to carry, but the fold­ing 8 x 25s slip into a pocket or can be car­ried on my belt in the padded case sup­plied.

Their de­sign al­lows the two ‘bar­rels’ to fold to­gether mak­ing them truly com­pact, but when opened up they have a sub­stan­tial feel, and the tex­tured rub­ber cas­ing of­fers a good pur­chase, even when wet. For glasses wear­ers, the soft rub­ber eye cups twist down so that you can get the full field of view, al­though, as with all binoc­u­lars, I pre­fer to take my glasses off and use them with the cups at full height. Whilst hunt­ing, they can be car­ried around the neck and in­side your jacket, so that they don’t swing and bash against your ri­fle. They’re so in­cred­i­bly light at just 295 grammes that you hardly know that they’re there.

SEE­ING THE BEN­E­FIT

Hunters who aren’t used to binoc­u­lars need to take time to learn just how im­pres­sively help­ful they are. Stand back and slowly ex­am­ine the ar­eas in front for any signs of life. You’ll be amazed at just how of­ten the flick of an ear re­veals a rab­bit you hadn’t seen, and how the shake of a branch takes your eye to a grey squir­rel search­ing for hazel­nuts in the canopy. They have a sec­ond ben­e­fit, which is to make you slow down, rather then rush­ing in and spook­ing your quarry be­fore you have any chance of a shot.

In­ex­pen­sive binoc­u­lars used to be truly ter­ri­ble, but things move on and the 8 x 25 Van­tage on test was bright and clear, with pretty sharp im­age qual­ity. I watched rab­bits in the hay rows, and a fox cub sun­ning it­self that had not seen me, in fine de­tail. They’re just the thing to keep in the car so that you al­ways have the plea­sure of see­ing in de­tail what’s go­ing on around you. Highly rec­om­mended.

ABOVE: Hav­ing bin’s at hand at ev­ery mo­ment is such a joy

LEFT: Folded up, they fit in your pocket eas­ily

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