whatsnew By: Patrick Meitin | May, 19
I was lucky enough to secure an IR-Hunter MK3 60mm thermal riflescope loaner unit (4.5x optical and 36x digital zoom with seven-degree FOV) while working on a varmint/predator book. It was mounted atop an Alexander Arms AWS 6.5 Grendel via the unit’s dual-lever LaRue mount. I had a single evening to sight-in (which luckily proved quite simple) before heading off to Texas to hunt hogs.
The IR-Hunter is purpose built for hunting efficiency, including user-friendly ergonomics and intuitive operation. Up front, I’m technologically challenged, yet I learned to navigate the IR-Hunter after a single read-through of the basic instructions and some tinkering around evening campfires on the varmint-shooting road trip between Idaho and Texas. The IR-Hunter’s advanced technology, instead of causing confusion, actually makes it simple to operate.
Digital Focus Control (DFC) focuses the image to the optimum setting to sharpen overall picture. The side-mounted on/off switch is easy to operate (five-second start-up time), and three tactical turret knobs operate an eight-point drop-down menu option including: Operating Mode, Contrast Control, Unit Calibration, Stadiametric Rangefinder, Reticle Choice (Thermal Subtension for longer ranges, Thermal Combat with crosshair height/width 36 MOA at 100 yards and Thermal Dot with 100-yard gaps between dots), image capture, image review and complete default-menu settings.
I applaud Trijicon engineers here; I sometimes get the feeling designers are more interested in showing the world how smart they are than making electronics practical for end users. The IR-Hunter is a breeze to operate.
Besides operational efficiency, the unit’s internal technology really makes it stand out. It includes industry-leading 12 micron (with 60 Hz frame rate), 640x480 thermal sensor and digital OLED display technology, translating directly into superior image quality, ultra-fast frame rates and lag-free controls, so targets are seen in real time, not what the processor captured seconds ago. (This is important on shifting or fleeing predators/hogs).
Twelve-micron technology also relinquishes a 42 percent increase in magnification over 17-micron systems using the same optical components. Combined, you get clearer, crisper images in a wide array of ambient conditions, especially in complete darkness.
MaxPol technology allows three white and three black-hot modes for maximum image latitude in changing conditions. Edge Detect technology defines the target with lower display brightness when preserving nighttime vision acuity is important. Stadiametric Rangefinder technology allows establishing target size and correlating range marks, the distance then provided as a range readout display. Enhanced Target Recognition (ETR) focuses processing power on the target, allowing the thermal sensor to operate within a more defined temperature area and provide precise detail and eliminate “washout.”
Like other Trijicon products, the IR-Hunter is tested to MIL-STD-810G methods and procedures, meaning it is built to withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations and shock, and it is fully sealed against rain, humidity sand and dust inside a 6061-T6 aluminum housing. Other features include azimuth/elevation position readouts, battery extender, IR Window lens protection (shielding the most expensive portion of the optic and it’s also replaceable), first focal plane-type reticle function, -6 to +2 diopter adjustment, 27mm eye relief and an eye guard recoil protection/light discipline rubber eyepiece. The unit weighs 37 ounces, measures 7.6 inches long, 3.1 inches high and 3.3 inches wide. trijicon.com
– Patrick Meitin
Bergara Premier Highlander
The Premier Highlander rifle is Bergara’s newest offering with the company’s well-known reputation for accuracy. The Highlander offers a good shape and feel for a hunting rifle with many features that give it great function and an attractive look. All Premier Series rifles are built using Bergara barrels and feature TriggerTech triggers among other high-end components. Premier rifles are personally qualified for accuracy by Bergara rifle builders prior to shipment and are guaranteed to produce sub-MOA groups using quality factory ammunition.
The Premier Series is an extension of the Custom Series, but with standardized features for greater efficiencies in parts, production and assembly – providing nearly custom performance. The Highlander features barrel lengths of 20, 22 and 24 inches. Available cartridges include the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Ackley Improved, .308 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and the .300 PRC. MSRP: $1,850. bergara.online/us
Black Hills Ammunition 6mm Creedmoor ELD
Black Hills Ammunition is now loading the 6mm Creedmoor, adding more velocity and long-range performance capability to its lineup of precision rifle ammunition. This offering is loaded with a choice of two accurate, high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets from Hornady: a 103-grain ELD-X hunting bullet (G1 BC .512) at 2,950 fps and a 108-grain ELD-M match bullet (G1 BC .536) at 2,900 fps. Both bullets have proven to be accurate and provide options whether you are competing or looking for an effective, flat-shooting hunting load. black-hills.com