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High-End Rifle Scope Field Test Update

Update: The field test is now complete, and all the results are published. Click here to view the overall results and ratings for each scope!

Several have asked how the scope field test was going, so I wanted to give a quick update. Here is the original schedule I was targeting back in January when I was planning this, along with an update on where I’m currently at:

  • April through May – Collect data. This is where I’m at right now. Although a few manufacturers didn’t get me scopes until mid-April, and its taken me twice the man-hours I originally estimated … I’m still hopeful to be able to wrap up all the testing by the end of May. That may be optimistic, but I’ve been trying to keep it on track. I’ve completed over 50% of the tests at this point, which has taken over 100 hours in the field. Although it has cost more time than I expected, I’m getting some very clean data that I think should make for a great article.
  • June – Analyze Data, Create Charts, & Write Content. A good field test is more than just gathering data. Data is not information, so I plan to put significant effort into transforming all of the raw data into charts and visuals that speak clearly and are easy to understand and draw conclusions from. This is actually where I have a lot of strength and professional experience. To see an example of what I’m talking about, check out my Rangefinder Field Test. Ultimately I want this to be really useful for people, so this is an important step I won’t skip … and it takes a lot of time and attention to detail to do well.
  • Late June through July – Publish Results. I’ll start publishing the results as I work through them, and this could start late June. So we’re likely about 4-6 weeks out from this.

I’m still hoping to hit this schedule, so hang in there … I promise I want to know the results as much as anyone else out there! That’s why I’m putting so much time into this. Based on what I’m seeing so far, it will be worth the wait!

This past weekend I conducted the optical resolution and contrast tests, which went very well. I ended up conducting these as double-blind tests, which means the people who took part in the test and the conductor of the test (me) didn’t know which scope was which. I wrapped up each scope so they weren’t identifiable, but still allowed testers to adjust the focus. I did this to mitigate bias testers might have related to a particular brand, to ensure this was a level playing field. Even though I’m familiar with these scopes at this point, I seriously couldn’t tell which was which. In fact, I thought I knew a couple times and it turned out I was wrong. I also selected testers who weren’t familiar with these scopes (or reticles), and the testers represented a wide range of ages (low 30’s to upper 70’s). I’ll share more details regarding exactly how the tests were conducted when I post the results, but here are a few pics from the tests.



More About The Field Tests

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. His engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and ability to present technical and complex information in a unbiased and straight-forward fashion has quickly caught the attention of the industry. For more info on Cal, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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  1. Looking forward to the data and reviews since I’ve purchased one of the scopes used in your test.

  2. Can’t wait for the final results! I have not yet purchased a scope yet, this just might be the decision maker for me.

  3. Robert Patterson

    Man, you are one glutton for punishment. OCD can sometimes be a bad thing; here it is a force for good. As someone who has published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, I can relate to what you’re doing and you have my deepest admiration. Like thousands of others (OK, maybe dozens), I too await with baited breath to see your results, and will certainly take them into account before purchasing my next long distance scope this summer. (New rifle on the way – wahoo!!)

  4. Arrrgh, I have saved up $3500 to use towards an exceptional scope (hopefully I won’t use my whole budget so I have some for other accessories) and it is burning a hole in my pocket. Like when I was a kid:”Are we there yet?”