When Leupold bought the rights to Redfield name a few years back, noone knew exactly what they plannned to do with it. Redfield used to be a major competitor for Leupold years back, but the brand changed names a number of times over the years and ended up languishing (and I am being generous here). The most common conspiracy theory stated that Leupold bought the name in order to make sure that noone resurrects it. The truth turned out to be a lot simpler (and a lot more beneficial to consumers). Leupold simply decided to make Redfield into a line of affordable products: riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes and rangefinders. By and large, these are well priced optics (largely, the same Leupold designs we see on lower end Leupolds, except they are lower priced) accompanied by rather sophisticated and apparently successful marketing efforts.
For the time being, there is only one spotter in Redfield’s line-up, called Rampage. The configuration is a very common one: 20-60x60 and the spotter retails for just over $200. To be blunt, I do not know of any high magnification optics in this price range that I can recommend and this case is not an exception. If you absolutely must have a spotter for $200, the Redfield is as good as any (especially if you keep it below 27-28x), but you should really be looking at higher end products.
The laser rangefinders are called Raider 550. There are two models available that only differ in exterior finish. Generally speaking, my view on rangefinders closely mirrors that on high magnification optics (see above). The Redfield works, but at ranges where it works reliably, it is not very needed. The Raider is based on a 6x23 monocular, which is comparatively decent optically. It is not any worse than similarly priced rangefinders (and better than most), but I do not recommend those a whole lot either.
Here we have some products that will make me less likely to cause a heart attack somewhere in Oregon (where Leupold/Redfield headquarters are located). The binoculars are called Rebel (8x32 and 10x42) and Renegade (7x50 and 10x50). Rebel binoculars are roof prism designs and when I last looked at them I was not impressed. In my opinion, proper roof prism binos are a little too difficult to build for this price range. Once again, this is a simple consequence of low pricing. However, porro prism Renegades, especially the 7x50 model, are very serviceable. They are not particularly compact, but they balance well and image quality is quite respectable. This configuration is not difficult to build, and for the money, the performance is very good. This configuration generally lands itself well to low-light use and Renegade is not exception.
All right, now I am finally going to have a chance to get into good graces of Redfield product manager: I like these scopes (and not only because they are called Revolution). There is nothing revolutionary about their design. These are the same basic designs that Leupold has been making for years that are slightly refreshed for Redfield and given different cosmetic details. Ordinarily, that would not be all that exciting. These are essentially the same as Leupold VX-1 scopes, which I am not a big fan of. However, I am not a big fan of them at VX-1 prices. Redfield Revolution scopes run about 40% cheaper, and that easily gets my attention. The available configurations are 2-7x33, 3-9x40, 3-9x50 and 4-12x40. They are available with a choice of two reticles: simple duplex and AccuRange, which provides for a limited holdover capability along with a circle in the center which aids target acquisition:
Out of the four models, Redfield offers, I like the two smaller models the most. 3-9x40 makes for a nice allround rifle scope, while the 2-7x33, especially with the Accu-Range, is a good choice for a lightweight mountain rifle or a modern lever gun, as well as for any typical deer rifle:
As far as the competition goes, there is quite a bit in this price range, but Redfield Revolution stacks up pretty well. Sightron S1 is a little cheaper and slightly worse optically, but offers #4 reticle that stands out well in low light. Vortex Diamondback, Nikon Buckmaster and Burris Fullfield II are a little more expensive and offer somewhat better glass (especially the Vortex). Nikon ProStaff is similarly priced, but not as good as the Redfield. Leupold Rifleman is more expensive than Redfield Revolution, and is essentially the same design, but with lower end anti-reflective coatings. Rifleman does offer a very visible heavy duplex, but on balance, I prefer the Redfield Revolution and the versatility of the Accu-Range reticle.
All Redfield scopes are pretty easy to mount and have long and flexible eyerelief. However, if your rifle requires the longest possible mounting length, one of the 40mm Redfields is your best bet, while the 3-9x50 model has the shortest tube length out of the four. Also, while all of these have eyerelief that changes a bit with magnification, the 4-12x40 model is the worst in that regard, with more than an inch of difference in eye relief between low and high mag.
Actual magnifications are slightly different than the model descriptions indicate: 2-7x33 is a 2.5-6.5x, 3-9x40 is 3.3-8.5x, 3-9x50 is 3.3-8.4x and 4-12x40 is 4.5-11.4x
While most of the competition utilizes 3x erectors, Redfield scopes are built on a 2.6x erector mechanism. On the plus side, they have minimal tunnel effect at low magnification and the decrease in versatility due to lower magnification range is hardly noticeable.
All of Redfield scopes are designed for rifles chambered for centerfire cartridges, and the few models I have seen were set at the factory to be parallax free somewhere between 100 and 150 yards (depending on the environmental conditions).
When all is said and done, at the time of this writing, the re-introduced Redfield scopes have been out in the field for almost a year. They have been sold in considerable quantities and I have not heard of any reliability problems, nor did I expect any. These are well executed and affordable designs.
This article was written for Webyshops.com by Ilya Koshkin, who operates an independent Optics Review site www.OpticsThoughts.com