Introduced at the tail-end of 2014 is the STR 80, a spotting ‘scope designed for long-range shooting and observation.
Aside from Swarovski’s legendary high definition optics, the major feature with the STR 80 is the reticle, which is illuminated, and projected on to the image plane. This allows it to be turned on, with variable illumination intensities, or off for the ultimate uncluttered view.
Swarovski offers the STR 80 with the reticle graduated in a choice of either Minutes of Angle (to 50 MOA) or Milliradians (to 15 MRAD). As the reticle is viewed in the image plane, it expands and contracts proportionally with the magnification. This means that, for example, a 6 MOA reading at 30x magnification will still represent 6 MOA at 50x.
There is also a choice of both Swarovski’s current eyepieces: the 20-60x or the wide-angle 25-50x.
The STR 80 is, of course, fully compatible with Swarovski’s latest digiscoping accessories; will instantly clamp into the DH101 tripod head, or fit any standard tripod with 1/4″ or 3/8″ UNC threads.
In March 2015, at the massive IWA show in Nuremberg, Swarovski showed an updated EL Range rangefinder binocular. Feature changes are external, with the fantastic optics and rangefinding mechanics remaining as before.
Most immediately noticeable alteration is to the neck-strap attachment, which is now a plug & twist adaptor rather than the traditional lug. This allows for quick fitting and interchangeability between the strap and the new Bino Suspender Pro.
Other innovative features include a more user-friendly ranging button; more comfortable grip, with rounding off of the ‘fins’ on the underside of the body, and thumb recesses; improved feel of the non-slip focusing wheel and diopter adjusting rings; and new rain-guard & integrated objective covers – hopefully not as many will be strewn about the countryside!
Certainly the rather limited time I’ve had with the new model so far, has allowed me to appreciate the changes: the best just got better!
Those of you familiar with Swarovski existing Ballistic Turret will have a good understanding of the X5’s workings: although this is a (very large) step up! There are, essentially, two models: a 5-25×56 and a 3.5-18×50. From these, you have a choice of several illuminated or non-illuminated reticles, combined with selection on 1/4 or 1/8 MOA click adjustment (click on the image to enlarge it). This ‘scope is built to perform, with an elevation adjustment range of up to 116 MOA on the 3.5-18×50 or 82 MOA on the 5-25×56. On the 1/4 click MOA models, the elevation turret gives 20 MOA per rotation; for the 1/8 MOA versions, this is 12.5 MOA per rotation. Helping you to keep tabs on where your settings are is a Rotation Indicator – a little window on the elevation turret, showing how many turns you have made from base zero. The BRM and 4W reticles show 2 MOA markings, whilst the 4WX is 1 MOA.
With the reticles situated in the second image plane, their size remains ‘static’. This means that MOA readings should only be taken at a known (usually maximum) magnification. However, adjusting the turret to a zero at a known distance will be completely unaffected by magnification. So here you have the best of both worlds. For turret adjustment, the ultimate add-on is the PXC – the ‘Personalised Extreme Cam’. To special order, this turret cap is engraved to match your own rifle and ammunition, with two turns giving up to 40 MOA, and engravings showing in yards or metres, in increments of 25 or 75 – the choice is yours.
Although announced in March, deliveries to dealers will not be starting until September. For those of you eager to see what all the hype is about, the ‘scopes should be on the Swarovski stands at the Scottish and CLA Game Fairs.
I’ll have some more to say as soon as I’ve had a chance to give one a reasonable test……