December 21st, 2019

Vortex Fury HD 5000 Rangefinder Binoculars Field Test

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury HD 5000 LRF Binoculars Review

Field Test by Colton Reid, AccurateShooter Hunting Editor
As a solo backcountry hunter, I try to carry as little weight as possible. Each step is a reminder to bring only the most essential/effective equipment. Each item in my pack must earn its precious backpack real estate. That’s why I favor gear that serves multiple purposes — and binoculars are no exception. In a previous optics review, I field-tested Zeiss Victory RF 10×42 ranging binoculars and the results were beyond expectation — they are outstanding. However, such superior, upper-eschelon ranging optics from Zeiss cost over $3000.00. And Leica Geovid HD-B 3000 ranging binoculars cost around $2500.00.

For those looking for a more affordable option, there are several mid-range binoculars with integrated ranging capability. One popular choice is the Vortex Fury HD 5000 10×42 LRF Binoculars. Priced at around $1200 on Amazon, the Fury HD 5000 is half the price of some European LRF Binoculars. Yet the Fury HD 5000 LRF Binos still combine two optical systems (magnification and laser ranging) into one that is more valuable than the sum of the parts.

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury HD 5000 Look and Feel
The Fury binoculars are compact and relatively light — a modest 2 pounds. They are covered by a rubber armor exterior that feels sturdy enough to survive some hard falls, but is also comfortable to hold. The compact size did offer a challenge in determining how best to place my thumbs (see top photo). The rangefinder controls (Measure, Menu) are easy to access and are distinguishable by the braille-like bumps that cover them. Considering that these buttons are going to be located and pressed without looking at the top of the binoculars each time, it was perhaps a poor design choice to place the raised Vortex logo adjacent to the controls. But after a little practice I was able to quickly locate the measure button when ranging in the field.

The eye cups are comfortable and offer four discrete eye relief positions. The focus and diopter knobs are large and easy to turn but also provide resistance to rotation. Resistance is useful for maintaining the previous positional setting.

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury 5000 — Rangefinding Performance
The Vortex Fury’s rangefinder function, along with its menu, is simple and intuitive. In my humble opinion, simple is better. The display is a red LED projection in the right optic. As noted in another review, the red display can be difficult to distinguish against a tan/brown image, so I used max brightness at all times to ensure display visibility. The display menu covers the core items: distance (line of sight or angle compensated), measurement units (yards/meters), brightness, and the ability to display either the strongest “Best” signal or the “Last Result” to help range objects behind trees or brush. The rangefinder also enables scan mode (continuous ranging) that updates displayed distance every three-quarters of a second as you sweep over the terrain.

In the field, rangefinder performance was good. I could consistently range objects at distances out to around 1500 yards. Beyond that, the rangefinder struggled with hills, trees, and brush. Ranging Longer distances required a rock or something more reflective. I will likely never shoot targets at or beyond 1500 yards, but the ability to range objects at those distances is extremely useful when scouting in the field. I routinely use my rangefinder to measure the distance to my next vantage point or staging area for a stalk, which can be over a mile away.

Optics — How Good is the Glass?
I should first note that it is difficult to quantitatively compare optical systems without objective data from sophisticated scientific measurement systems used in optics labs. Consequently, I must rely on a qualitative comparison with a known reference. In this case I compared the Fury HD against my tried and true Swarovski Habicht porro-prism binoculars.

With that disclaimer, I would rate the Vortex Fury optics as good to very good. In ample daylight, the Fury and Habicht binoculars were comparable. The main difference being that the Fury required a more precise adjustment of the focus knob in order to capture a crisp image. In low light, the Habichts had the advantage. The Fury images appeared slightly darker than the Habichts and the image sharpness in the Fury seemed to degrade more quickly with the fading light.

That may be partially linked to lower light transmission but also to the more sensitive focus knob of the Fury. With that sensitivity it could be difficult to tell which knob position yielded the best image. That being said, I was still able to spot deer with the Furys in low light (see image). What is more, I didn’t have to switch between my binoculars and a rangefinder to determine distance or suffer the reorientation of a different magnification and field of view. That is a huge benefit!

The Verdict
Overall, I was happy with the Vortex Fury’s performance. Both the optics and rangefinder were what I would consider mid-range in terms of performance. But for a street price of about $1200.00, that is a good value. Yes you can do better, but you’ll have to pay more than twice as much. Considering my recommendation is always to buy the best optics you can afford, the Vortex Fury HD 5000 would be a good choice for serious hunters on a budget. These are solidly made. Vortex states the aluminum alloy body is nitrogen-purged, and O-ring sealed to provide a waterproof, fogproof and shockproof product.

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October 20th, 2019

Optics Review: Steiner 2033 8×30 Military Marine Binoculars

Steiner model 2033 8x30 military marine binoculars

A while back your Editor was in New Mexico, on a prairie dog expedition. While in the field, my companions and I used two pairs of Steiner 8x30mm Military/Marine binoculars to spot the critters. Finding the Prairie Dogs (PDs) could be challenging in the high grass. Often, a PD would reveal only its head — a small target at distances approaching 400 yards. We really needed sharp optics with high contrast to spot the dogs hiding behind tufts of grass or dry brush.

The Steiner Military/Marine binoculars performed superbly. I came away very impressed with these armored 8x30mm binoculars (now called Model 2033). The glass is bright and super-sharp. And the rubber-armored body is truly rugged. These binoculars offer both right and left diopters — important for me as my right eye requires more correction than the left eye. One great feature of the Steiners is the focusing system which keeps everything you can see in focus. This really is a big deal. You don’t have to constantly fiddle with focus — everything past about 20 yards is in sharp focus all the time.

As one Steiner owner reports: “Focusing set-up is worth the price of admission. Set it and forget. Amazing. This single feature makes these worth owning.” And the sharpness is impressive. I compared the Steiners’ image with a 6.5-20×40 Leupold EFR riflescope set at 8X. Both 8×30 Steiners were brighter than the Leupold scope, and the Steiners resolved individual blades of grass and fine details better than the Leupold. Of course, comparing a binocular optic with a riflescope is like comparing apples and oranges. The advantages of binoculars (compared to a monocular scope) are well known — the brain combines the two images (left eye and right eye) to create a more vivid, 3D effect, with greater perceived contrast.

Good Binoculars are a “Must-Have” Item for Hunters
After three days in the prairie dog fields I came away convinced that a good set of binoculars is absolutely essential for any varmint hunter. As the PD population was fairly thin where we were shooting, we probably spent five minutes glassing for every minute actually behind the trigger. Over 90% of the dogs were first spotted with binos rather than riflescopes. We had a fixed (non-rotating) bench so it was difficult to swing the rifle more than about 30° from one side to another (60° total arc). With the binoculars, and their wide field of view, we could quickly scan a much wider arc.

Steiner 8×30 Military/Marine Binocs are Just $249.99
At the end of our hunt, I told my host that I planned to purchase a Steiner 8×30 Military/Marine Binocular similar to the one we used during our hunt. When I arrived home I was amazed to see that the Steiner 2033 8×30 Military/Marine is available for $249.99 on Amazon.com, with free shipping. That’s a great value, considering the ruggedness and optical quality of the unit.

The Steiner 210 10×50 Military/Marine is also offered on Amazon.com. It has more magnification and better low-light performance. However, it currently runs about $469.99, more than twice the price of the 8×30 Military/Marine! Unless you really need the 10×50’s extra low-light capability, the 8×30 M/M is the smart choice.

Steiner 8x30 biniculars
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