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Start-Up Scopes

Start-Up Scopes


From ride-sharing services to retail shopping hacks, the way the world does business is being disrupted by small, savvy start-ups. Once dominated by a few big names, the optics industry also is entering a brave new world as companies pop up on the market each year. Here are four new riflescopes — all with friendly price tags — from optics makers you may not have heard of.

tract-scopeTract Turion T-Plex 3-9x40

Founded by a couple of optics-industry vets, Tract turns the traditional business model on its head with a direct-to-consumer website. By eliminating all the middlemen, the company can build feature-laden, high-quality optics at value-driven prices. The Turion features Schott HT glass that transmits maximum amounts of light through the optical system for clean, clear, bright imaging. Its aluminum 1-inch tube is argon purged and O-ring sealed for weatherproof performance. On the downside, a lengthy ocular housing and oversize focus ring limits mounting adjustment to just two inches. $424;

Weight: 1 lb.

Pros: Extended eye-relief, T-Plex reticle

Cons: Heavy

vanguard-scopeVanguard Endeavor RS 3-9x40

Vanguard is not new to the optics world — it has been making tripods and binos for years — but the Endeavor series is the company's initial venture into the riflescope market. For a street price well under $300 bucks, hunters get the benefit of extra-low-dispersion glass

that's multicoated throughout the optical system. This results in a level of brightness and clarity that punches above its price tag, although edge-to-edge sharpness is lacking. The 1-inch aluminum tube is

durable, with an oversized zoom ring that, unfortunately, adds several unnecessary ounces. $210;

Weight: 15.75 oz.


Pros: Bright optics, weatherproof

Cons: fuzzy around the edges

GPO-scopeGPO Passion 3x 3-9x40

This scope's European-grade glass isn't surprising, considering it comes from a company called German Precision Optics, but what is surprising is the quality of the scope given its entry-level price. For about three Benjamins hunters get a solid scope built on a 1-inch, machined-aluminum tube. The optics, with proprietary coatings and multi-laminated lenses, produced adequate clarity during our low-light tests, though brightness suffered at the top of the zoom range. Another surprise for an inexpensive starter optic is a full, no-fault warranty for life. $300;

Weight: 14.5 oz.

Pros: Price, lifetime warranty, generous eye relief

Cons: Stiff zoom adjustment

stykra-scopeStyrka S5 SH-BDC 3-9x40

You're going to pay a couple hundred more dollars for this scope, but the return on investment might be well worth it. What you get for those extra bucks is a serviceable side focus wheel that adjusts parallax from 10 yards to infinity and a ballistic drop reticle, albeit set on the second focal plane. Still, that versatility gives budget-conscious hunters aiming solutions at extended ranges up to 600 yards. Inside the one-piece aluminum tube, fully multicoated optics are bright and clear, delivering decent low-light visibility at dawn and dusk. $480;

Weight: 1 lb., 2 oz.

Pros: BDC reticle, adjustable parallax

Cons: Heavy, limited mounting range

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