By Jeff Johnston, Hunting & Shooting Editor
Probably the single greatest leap in technology after the integration of the riflescope to the modern rifle was the invention of OnlyFans. Nah, really, it was the affordable handheld laser rangefinder.
Not long afterward the rangefinding tech was integrated into binoculars, and then combined with ballistic programs to provide shooters with a complete spotting/ballistic solution they can wear around their necks. I believe all hunters and shooters should own such a marvel of technology if they can afford it. The question is, which one?
Revic, a branch of the notable Gunwerks rifle company of Cody, WY, makes a damn strong case for its Acura BLR10b bino.
But first let’s get one thing out of the way: If you desire the very best binos in terms of pure optical quality, as in birdwatching-type stuff where rifle dope means nothing, you should go with a non-RF bino from one of about four European makers such as Leica. The built-in rangefinder introduces reflective red traces of the laser into one of the lenses, so it can’t compete. But as a hunter and shooter who cares more about hammering a bull at 600 yards than the hues of a molting blue warbler’s speculum, the integrated rangefinder is a no-brainer.
In terms of sheer computing power, cutting-edge ballistics and features long-range shooters need, the Revic sits atop the growing heap.
Consider this: In testing alongside European units costing ⅓ more, the Accura provided the fastest ranging times. It’s touted to range over 5,000 yards in optimal conditions; over 2,000 in sub-optimal ones; I routinely ranged animals to 2,500 yards. Perhaps most significantly (with the exception of wind speed) it contains all the instruments for gathering perfect dope—inclinometer, altimeter, temp, compass, barometer—that ultra-long shooters must have. In lieu of a wind meter, simple or advanced wind data can be entered into Revic’s exceptional Ops app, and it also has two hotkeys on top of the unit so the shooter can quickly enter real-time wind updates as it’s judged. Then it combines all this with your bullet data and even stuff like Coriolis effect to provide an instant solution so you can dial your scope, concentrate on your form and send it. The Acura calculates all this instantly via bluetooth to the Revic App on your smartphone or in hold-over values projected directly in the bino’s field of view if you don’t want to eff around with your phone at the moment of truth.
I’m guessing Jack O’Connor would’ve lambasted such technology … then secretly shit himself. Had I not been conditioned through incremental tech advances over the last 25 years, I’d probably react the same way.
What I’m not going to do is lie and say that the Acura eliminates the need for skill. It absolutely does not. Of course the shooter and rifle must be capable of making the shot; and like any ballistic app, using the system to its potential requires intimate knowledge of your bullet’s data that you gleaned from actual shooting—not the BC and velocity suggestions taken off the ammo’s box. Finally, you have to learn the whole system (app input/bino output data) along with your rifle and optic well so you can use it quickly under pressure. If you do, it’s likely the best optic going for making first shot hits on targets over 800 yards. Personally I don’t shoot game at that range, but if I was forced to, this system, combined with a half-MOA Gunwerks rifle, is what I’d use.
As a do-all binocular for hunting—which to me is key because I use my binos for spotting game much more than for shooting at long range—the Accura is great. At 32 ozs. and only 5.2 inches long, it’s on the smaller side of comparable 10X42 RF binos. I wore it all week on a Montana backcountry archery elk hunt—mostly in the rain—and I have no objective complaints. It held up, was optically worthy thanks to great ED glass, and it was quick to range. I then took it on a Wyoming antelope hunt where I glassed goats over a mile away. Ultimately I found a shooter buck, stalked to what I thought was 300 yards and quickly ranged to find it was only 225. Silly me. No cellphone/app/ballistic corrections necessary. Boom. $2,700
Pros: integrated Revic OPs ballistic technology is second to none; great RF; relatively compact for a 10X42 RF; waterproof and durable; less expensive than some.
Cons: focus wheel is coarse and stiff