When the moment of truth comes and you take a shot with your rifle, you count on your equipment to perform flawlessly. This is especially true when it comes to your rifle scope. Like many long gun owners, I have owned an array of rifle scopes over the years. The range in quality in today’s rifle scopes is a very wide spectrum but we can summarize today’s optics to be of an overall much higher quality than those of decades past. I have owned some inexpensive scopes at times where I didn’t have the money to spend on higher end glass as well as some higher end optics in times I have had the cash to spend on them. Overall, when the dust settles and the smoke clears, I have been satisfied, maybe even lucky, with my purchases. Unlike many tried and true gun owners, I am of the opinion that you don’t have to spend a mint at the online or brick and mortar outdoor store to have a quality optic on your gun.
I first ran into Sightmark, a division of the Sellmark Corporation, at SHOT Show 2016 in my advertising sales work with both the print and digital side of Texas Fish & Game. Based in Mansfield, Texas, Sightmark manufactures all of their optics in our great state of Texas. Like STI Guns and other Texas-based outdoor industry companies, I am impressed with a quality product that is made in the USA and furthermore, made in our state. I was in the market for a new scope for my custom FN Mauser chambered in .270 Winchester. I initially traded for this rifle at a pawn shop. The trigger was rough like most military triggers on these old warhorses tend to be and this was still the case even after paying a gunsmith to lighten it. Nevertheless, this FN Mauser rifle, sporterized by a company from Indiana back in the 1990’s, is a tack driver as long as you do your part.
After learning about the new line of Core HX rifle scopes at the last SHOT Show and taking a brochure on this line of scopes home with me, I elected to buy the Core HX 4-16×44 VHR scope. I ordered this scope through an online retailer I did some writing work for in the past and found that this scope has an MSRP of only $239. Yes, I high quality scope for around $230 can be a reality these days! This is especially true with Sightmark products.
The neat thing about this line of scopes is that they have either the VHR (Venison Hunting Reticle) or HHR (Hog Hunting Reticle). The HHR reticle was built with Texas in mind since we have an overabundance of wild hogs here and seeing that this is a Texas-based company, I was intrigued by this idea to say the least. The VHR reticle features a range finding BDC component which works with a variety of popular rifle calibers. When I received and unboxed this scope, I was impressed from the first time I held this optic. The build and finish on the scope was second to none and of the quality of a scope costing double or more what this one did. This scope is constructed from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum. It is lightweight but very well produced. The marketing rep I spoke to at Sightmark around the time I purchased this particular optic said it was so well made that I could count on it season after season and that it was designed with the hunter in mind. Seeing some of the harsh and unforgiving conditions many of us hunt in year round for native or exotic species here in Texas, I believed him when I saw the quality of this optic up close for myself.
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Sighting in this scope was a breeze. My rule on dialing in new scopes is to always start with cheap production ammunition until you reasonably get on paper and then zero in on the bullseye or 10 ring with your handloads or premium and more expensive ammo. This method has saved me hundreds of dollars or more over the years and is something I teach many new shooters just entering the shooting sports.
The scope has held it’s zero very well and I expect great performance from it in the future. It has some great low light gathering capabilities as well as clarity you would expect to see in an optic costing far more. Like most high quality optics, it is fog proof, shockproof and waterproof. I own some high end brands of optics that are on par or even lacking some of the features of this scope. For the money, it is one of the best scopes I have ever owned. This optic not only gets my TF&G Texas Tested stamp of approval but also my own “Texas Tough” certification. I am a big fan of what Sightmark is up to and look forward to my next optic purchase with them. After all, it is hard to beat a high quality Texas-made product. If you really want to get even further into affordable optics, consider Sightmark’s Photon series of digital night vision optics that start at around $599! To learn more about the Core HX series of scopes, visit www.sightmark.com.
Story by Dustin Vaughn Warncke