Updated: May 2
Choosing the best optic to compliment your system and specific needs
Measure Twice, Cut Once
At Best of the West Arizona, everything we do is geared toward helping hunters harvest big game with one shot as clean and ethically as possible and nothing is as rewarding as seeing our customers' hunts end with a big ole buck, bull, or ram. We genuinely care about your success in the field and we’ll make sure you’re set up properly, right from the start.
That being said, choosing the right Huskemaw Optic for your custom build or Accurizer Service can be somewhat of a challenge. Over the years, we’ve had numerous customers switch scope models after the fact because they didn’t consult with us before selecting their optic the first time around. There’s a lot to consider when choosing your optic as the features and capabilities of Huskemaw models can vary. In this article, I’ll walk you through the features of each model scope as well as the thought processes I use when pairing customers with the Huskemaw Optic that's best for them.
Things always work out better for our customers when they consult with us first. We’re experts in this field, we do this every day, we know the Huskemaw brand as well as anybody and we won’t steer you wrong. Give us a call ahead of time and let us help you do it right the first time.
Some of the things I need to know from customers is how they plan to use their long-range system, what caliber they’re shooting, what species they plan to hunt, the conditions and terrain features of the areas they hunt, as well as their budget. All these factors combined help me zero in on the best optic to suit their unique and individual needs. So lets break it down by product.
The 5-30x56 Tactical Hunter is by far our personal favorite and it also happens to be our #1 seller. The 5-30 has been our “go-to” for many years because it is the perfect combination of features and capabilities for the conditions we hunt and the game we pursue. Arizona and the other western states we hunt offer big open terrain so we prefer the larger 56mm objective for its wider field of view and the 30x magnification for getting in tight on the target before we break a shot. In big country like we have out west, the wide field of view of the 56mm objective helps the hunter see the terrain features around their target as reference points when acquiring and relocating their target. Then, when it's time to zoom in and make the shot, you’ve got 30x magnification to get you in close.
I routinely have customers at the shop just amazed at the difference between 20x and 30x magnification when I set them up looking at a nearby hillside about 450 yards away. The 30x magnification offers a huge advantage over 20x scopes because the extra magnification allows you to “aim small”. You’ve likely heard the saying, “Aim small, miss small”. I learned this term as a kid learning to shoot archery but it applies equally to rifle hunting too. The 30x magnification offered by the 5-30 allows you to zoom in tight and place the shot exactly where you want it. This helps immensely with overall accuracy especially when hunting small-bodied game like antelope and Coues deer.
One of my absolute favorite features of the Tactical Hunter line is the internal bubble level. Everyone naturally cant’s their rifle when shooting - everyone - even on flat ground. In the field where terrain is uneven and angular “level” becomes even more difficult to perceive so shooters are often way off without even knowing it. At long-range, canting just a little bit can displace your shot to the point you can wound an animal or miss them completely. We sometimes demonstrate this with our long-range students and even veteran hunters are shocked by how much they can miss with just a little bit of cant.
Huskemaw’s internal “anti-cant” bubble level sits on the floor of the reticle so it doesn't impede your field of view but it's there to help you compensate just before you squeeze a shot off. Because the level is in the reticle and not mounted on the scope tube the shooter can maintain cheek weld, stay in the scope, and have a visual on their prey while simultaneously ensuring level. This internal bubble level is an amazing innovation as it eliminates a major variable when shooting long-range - and we’re always trying to eliminate variables.
Last but not least, one of my favorite features of the Tactical Hunter line is the larger turret. By larger I mean larger in circumference than a Blue Diamond turret. The larger circumference of the Tactical turret means there's more room to print yardage on. This is something I demonstrate to customers all the time. I show them a side-by-side comparison of a Tactical turret next to a Blue Diamond turret for the exact same caliber. Put simply, you’ll get more yardage on a single revolution of a Tactical turret than a Blue Diamond turret simply by virtue of their circumference.
Maximum yardage on a single revolution is an important factor for the hunter to consider when choosing their model Huskemaw because that is the max yardage you're able to dial without having to take extra steps. Most Tactical turrets we make will max out around 1100-1300 yards on a single revolution versus 900-1000 yards on a Blue Diamond Turret (depending on caliber and bullet speed). This is important to consider because many magnum calibers are carrying enough kinetic energy to produce an ethical harvest of big game beyond the yardage limitations of a Blue Diamond turret; that's why it's nice to have the extra yardage afforded by Tactical turrets to make a shot at those longer ranges when conditions warrant.
It’s just nice to have that extra yardage in the event you need it. Even if you never plan on harvesting an animal at those ranges I encourage students and customers to practice at those ranges because doing so teaches you a lot about external ballistics and can expose weaknesses in your setup.
The 5-20x50 Tactical Hunter is the newest optic in the Huskemaw line and as such, it also features the internal bubble level like the 5-30x56 but it has another cool feature a lot of hunters like - the illuminating reticle. The illuminating reticle of the 5-20TH features a red light and a knob outside the parallax that allows the shooter to adjust across 10 different intensities. Varying ambient light conditions require different intensities of the reticle so in low light conditions the shooter may choose a lower intensity because the illuminating reticle is so easily visible in low light while brighter ambient conditions may require a higher intensity. Either way, the shooter can choose. When the reticle is not illuminated it looks just like all our other Huskemaw scopes.
Customers who like this optic and especially the illuminating reticle are those who tend to hunt edges. Whether you’re hunting the edges of agricultural fields or wooded clear cuts, the contrast between the open edge and the tree line can create a shadowy contrast in low light that washes out the standard black reticle. The illuminating reticle however gives the hunter the option to light it up so the hunter can see it and hold it on the target for greater precision.
As its name implies the 5-20x50TH features a 50mm objective and 20x magnification. If you hunt in places that offer shot opportunities out to 600-700 yard max then a 50mm objective and 20x magnification should suit you well. Another consideration is non-magnum calibers like the 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, .270 or 30.06 carry sufficient kinetic energy to ethically harvest big game to about those same distances so again, the 5-20TH may be a good option for hunters using those calibers. While on the subject of the 5-20x50TH it was our first optic to feature German F2 Schott glass which is as crisp and clear as any long-range optic on the market today. This same glass is now found in our 5-30x56TH as well.
Without a doubt, this is the most popular scope in the Huskemaw line. From its price point to its simple features it suits most every long-range hunter's needs and it's a great scope for both the novice and veteran long-range hunter. Marked by its blue turret, the name comes from the protective light-enhancing coating used on the optics lenses. It’s also one of the most recognizable optics on the market today. Its trademark blue turret is easy to spot and can be seen in photos on websites and social media pages around the world, usually with a happy hunter and big ole buck or bull sitting right next to them.
The 50mm objective and 20x magnification make this an all-around good combination for hunting vast western expenses as well as the open agriculture of the midwest and many places along the eastern seaboard. Unlike our Tactical Hunter line it does not have an internal bubble level so we simply affix an auxiliary level on the scope tube or base rail.
As I mentioned before the Blue Diamond turret is physically smaller in diameter than our Tactical turrets, meaning less yardage is printed on a single revolution. This certainly is not the end of the world, however, it is an important metric to consider. If a Blue Diamond is your optic of choice and yardage beyond 900 yards is desirable, we may simply recommend a “Continuous Yardage” turret that maximizes the utility of our dual-stack system.
As you’re probably aware, Huskemaw’s patented dual-stack turret systems allow the hunter the option of having two different elevations on two different turrets on the scope at the same time (our preferred configuration) or in some circumstances we’ll configure a Continuous Yardage turret that allows the shooter to lift up the outer turret when it reaches max yardage and reveal the inside turret which is designed to pick up the yardage where the outer turret left off. In this configuration the inside turret allows the shooter to “continue” dialing, 975, 1,000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400 yards, etc., etc. With all that said, many hunters are more than comfortable with 900+ yards as the max distance on their turret which again makes the Blue Diamond series a popular option for many.
The 5-20x50 Blue Diamond comes at a respectable price point for a premium long-range optic. At $1699 it fits within most budgets and it gets you one hell of a long-range optic. Although it’s not always my first choice for hunting I am perfectly comfortable using this optic myself or setting customers up with it regardless of caliber especially if it's the price point they can afford. The 5-20x50 Blue Diamond will get it done and the customer will have years of productive hunting with it.
The Huskemaw 4-16 is a staple in our line of scopes. No matter how many of the other models we sell or recommend, there’s always a few customers who are better suited for this optic. Many of the 4-16’s we recommend are for hunters who are hunting in terrain with potential shots of less than 700 yards and more often inside of 500 yards. Hunters from the midwest often prefer this optic especially when that's the only place they hunt. If 400-600 yards is your max range you may consider the 4-16 for your build.
Many of my customers from Florida, California, parts of Texas, Kansas, Georgia will never hunt or shoot beyond 500 yards making the 4-16 a great option for them but if you plan on taking that same rifle to hunt places with big open expanses you should probably consider other Huskemaw options.
We also have customers who hunt on horseback and therefore carry their rifle in a scabbard. The profile of the 5-20x50 isn't always a good fit for them but the slimmer profile of the 4-16x42 makes it an ideal pack rifle when being carried in this manner.
I hope this article was helpful and if not give us a call and let's discuss your specific situation in more detail. We are committed to helping succeed in the field and we’ll spend as much time as necessary helping you get set up right from the start. Our line of Huskemaw scopes feature some of the best long-range hunting optics on the market today and they’re all backed by a Lifetime Warranty. That's why Huskemaw is the only brand we sell and the only brand we stand behind. Shoot us a call and you’ll NEVER MISS AGAIN!