Sunday, 12 November 2017
So it's been a hectic few months with clients in pursuit of the elusive sika stags here in Ireland. The weather has played havoc with the rut resulting in very little activity from the stags but we worked hard and still managed to keep every client happy. The hind season has now begun and with just over 3 months to go it will be testing on everyone.
Monday, 10 July 2017
Zeiss conquest v6 review
I've been a huge fan of Zeiss optics for as long as I can remember and never had any reason to change brands as the products have always did as expected from a leading manufacturer of high end optics and that was crystal clear glass at first and last light . I'm not concerned with how a scope or binoculars look appearance wise, as a full time hunting guide I need top quality optics that will facilitate me when glassing and shooting deer and other game species. Zeiss do both for me, optically in my opinion nothing compares and they're aesthetically pleasing too. I've had the victory diavari 2.5-10x50 for donkeys years and this year I decided to upgrade to the Zeiss v8 2.5-20 x56mm to go on-board my new Blaser r8 professional success. For me this is the pinnacle of stalking scopes for its versatility and practicality.
Recently Zeiss released the conquest v6 in three different models, 1.1-6 x 24, 2- 12x 50 and the 2.5-15 x 56. Having attended a hunting show abroad as an exhibitor with Irishsafaris earlier this year I had seen the scope before most individuals knew of its release and I had a lengthy discussion with Zeiss pro staff about it. Curious to what this new model would offer, I deliberated for some weeks before looking more into the v6 as my son recently purchased a 6.5x55 and a scope was required immediately. After making some calls to Zeiss UK, a new v6 soon arrived by courier to my door to carry out a full test and to put it out there for everyone to see. I was following general comments on social media regarding the scope and some comments made me want to really push this test to extremes as I read comments comparing it to scopes of far inferior quality simply because it was less expensive than the v8!!!!!
The model I chose was the 2.5-15 x 56 with illuminated reticle and and asv turret for vertical adjustments.
I'm not going to bore everyone with every technical detail as this is not what people want to hear but a few important details are as follows.
1- fl glass with the lotutec coating which enables water to simply run off in beads and prevents water build up on the glass.
2- 2nd image focal plane ensuring minimum target obstruction
3- 6x zoom extended magnification for a wide field of view on a hunt
4- illuminated dot with automatic activation and deactivation due to a motion sensor
5 - asv turret to allow compensation for bullet drop.
6- 92% light transmission.
7- 30MM tube
The scope is relatively light at 725 grams so ideal for a stalking set up. A set of rings arrived from Niall Kirwin of Lakelands shooting centre and shortly after the scope was mounted on the Blaser.
After initial sight set up and boresighting , the ammo was soon grouping at one hole groups again confirming the proof of what top quality optics, guns and ammo will do.
The glass in this scope is quite simply astonishing for a slightly lower priced scope from Zeiss. Adjustments are flawless and exact. I even went as far as "walking or tracking the click adjustments by adjusting all the way vertically up and down and left and right before returning to base zero and the impact stayed on point. On 15 power or zoom the fine reticle remained clear and never obstructed my target which I really enjoyed. Each adjustment on the zoom ring was exact and with no slipping or misjudgment.
Once correctly zeroed I set up my bullet drop compensation using the Zeiss app and proceeded to check the drop at various ranges from 150 metres to 300 at 25 metre increments. Again as expected the asv worked flawlessly and the bullets were hitting their mark each time.
Ok so what potential buyers and hunters want to know more importantly is what the glass is like at last light. Does it work right up to those last few minutes when deer usually emerge from the cover to feed, what would the red dot be like?
As the hunting season is now closed here in Ireland I was limited to testing on my grounds but fortunately I have a section 42 or crop control out of season permit on designated areas so I wasted no time in getting myself to one of those areas in order to perform a sanctioned cull. Positioned in a high seat I waited to see if a suitable candidate would emerge from a block of forestry to browse upon a recent reseed field of grass. Looking through my Zeiss victory binoculars a sika pricket stood out and then made his way into the centre of the field to nibble on the new grass. At this stage the time was 10:47 p.m Irish time and having made my decision to take him I looked through the v6 and the test was now on. On 10 power the pricket at 138 metres was clearly identifiable and not just by a margin. In fact the glass was that bright that I double checked my watch to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Switching on the red dot displayed a fine optical glow of fine adjustable light. Just to really make sure of the clarity I waited another 2/3 minutes observing the beast. From the centre of the glass and right out to the outer edge the image remained the same-clear and bright , no second guessing at all. This scope was on par with my v8 and of other scopes of various names. Not that I was shocked but a little bit surprised from a lower priced Zeiss model. After the shot as I looked around the field with my naked eye it was almost black dark but looking through the scope again this time on 6x power the sight picture remained the same. Clear and still able to observe the final few shakes from the deers tail and legs.
This scope has now seen Fox's under the lamp at distances of up to 250 metres as well as a few more deer at first light and I've been so impressed by its optical clarity and adjustments that this scope will now reside permanently on my sons steyr 6.5x55.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
New kit for the coming season
Decided to upgrade my stalking kit for the coming season. As 95% of my stalking reverts around rough terrain and cover I once again opted for a synthetic stock, this time with a new Blaser professional success R8 in calibre .270. I chose the Zeiss V8 scope with Asv and illuminated reticule. Matched with the blaser swing off mounts this in my opinion is the perfect set up for my needs and also my clients needs too. I've been using this set up over the last few weeks and I am still amazed at the zeiss v8 optics. At last light testing the glass is still far superior to anything I've ever used previously. The reticule 60 with the illumination is ideal for those last few minutes of light when the black crosshair just begins to blend in with my quarry. The asv turret is remarkable and I've tried this out to 500 metres so far with success. The Blaser shoots like a dream and I'm getting groups of sub minute of angle at 150 metres and also 200 metres using Hornady superformance 130gn.
Friday, 9 June 2017
Roe buck hunt with Scandinavian clients.
Having arrived in the UK 2 days before my clients arrived allowed me 2 days to check the hunting areas out as well as the bucks that my local guide had been observing. All looked promising so I waited with earnest for the hunters to arrive. Day one began with typical luck and we had our first 6 ptr buck down. The vegetation was still quite high but thanks to the quad sticks the guests had no problems taking their shots, swiftly and with precision. After a long threestablished days we had 9 bucks to our tally including one medal buck. Firearms used were both Blasers and optics were Zeiss scopes and binoculars. It was also my chance to try out the new Harkila Agnar suit which was outstanding and performed as one will expect from the leading clothing manufacturer of outdoor clothing
Monday, 5 June 2017
Licensing and hunting permits
In order to hunt deer in Ireland(south) you must possess a valid firearms cert and a hunting permit which is obtained from the NPWS.Allow up to 8 weeks for a firearm application to br processed and possibly the same for the deer hunting permit. Valid insurance cover is also required when hunting on Coilltes properties. Please not the minimum calibre required by Irish law is 22.250 firing 60gn bullets.