We’re headed back home, but we’ve got a few more brand and product updates for you plus some views from the SHOT Show floor.
The buzz at the Sitka booth this year was all about the new Gore Optifade Timber concealment pattern. This pattern takes aim at a specific hunting environment, flooded timber, which few if any other patterns address. This line of apparel will be in pieces similar to the existing Marsh Optifade pattern, and although this line is specifically designed for hunting waterfowl in flooded timber, Sitka believes that hunters will find other environments where this pattern is suitable throughout the coming year.
The biggest announcement at the Vortex booth this year was a complete new line of Golden Eagle rifle scopes. The Golden Eagle line is a true F-Class scope from Vortex, and it sports and impressive 15-60 variable magnification setting. This is the first true bench rest or competition ready scope from Vortex, and surprisingly it isn’t extremely heavy at 29.7oz.
To match the Golden Eagle and other Vortex rifle scopes, the company is also launching new signature flip-caps that lock in place once they are fully flipped up. But Vortex goes one step further by offering a customized ballistic chart right inside the rear cap. All you have to do is contact Vortex with your chosen specs, and you can get one fitted for the scope caps for just $10.
A few other optics redesigns come in the form of a new versions of the Diamondback binocular series. This time around Vortex has released a slimmer body and reconfigured the aesthetics of the binoculars by adding a new underside grip texture and a new look. The Spitfire AR prism optic in either 1x or 3x is also getting an update with a new ballistic adjustment turret that can be accessed once a cap is removed off the top turret.
Nikon had their new Monarch 7 line of 30mm rifle scopes prominently on display at SHOT this year. This line of new scopes starts shipping in April, and they sport a glass-etched BDC reticle, a custom XR turret, and the Nikon Ultra ClearCoat lens coatings. There will be five different models in the line, and they will range from $850 to $1000 MSRP.
Nikon also revealed a new, competitively priced archery rangefinder in the Arrow ID 3000 at SHOT. At a mere $199, this rangefinder has a favorable 4×20 magnification setting perfect for archers, and it comes with an added neoprene case to protect it while in use. Finally, the Nikon Prostaff 3s Binocular was also on display, and this ultra-light binocular really handles like you have nothing in your hands. This new line retails at the same price point as the Arrow ID 3000, $199.
We stopped by the Crosman booth with one of our regular contributors, Tony Martins, to get a closer look at the new Benjamin Pioneer Airbow. This unique airbow is part bow part airgun and it shoots full sized arrows out of a muzzleloading tip in the gun. Each carbon fiber arrow is hollow in the back, and you can insert them from the front of the airbow until they are seated. From there all it takes is a simple cock of the airbow and a flip of the safety, and you’re ready to use the airbow. The Pioneer Airbow fires arrows at a staggering 450 FPS, and it’s extremely accurate, so much so that it only took Martins a few shots until he pulled a “Robin Hood” on another arrow already stuck in the target.
Tony Martins, who has tested the airbow for Crosman, is interviewed at 2016 SHOT about the concept.
There was a lot of buzz about the Airbow at shot, and many are wondering whether or not they will be deemed legal to hunt with in the coming year. It appears that Virginia has already deemed the Airbow illegal to hunt with, but states shouldn’t be so quick to rule on the airbow given the unique advantages it presents to hunters with unique demands. Martins argues that this Airbow could be huge for disabled hunters who cannot cock a crossbow but can cock the airbow. In addition, those who simply aren’t strong enough to fire a compound bow could get into bow hunting easily with the airbow. There is sure to be more news coming on the airbow as the year progresses, but for now, the Pioneer Airbow will start shipping in April.