Dallas is a beautiful city, and traveling to the Dallas Safari Club convention is one of the highlights of our year. Now that we're back and (slightly) rested, we thought we'd take a few minutes to report in on the top products of this year's DSC convention.
So, without further ado, from bottom to top here are the winners of this year's show.
While an honorable mention goes to Zeiss' awesome 36mm Victory V8 (and specifically, the 4.8-35x60 beast), the #10 spot has to go to the workhorse Conquest HD5, which edged out the V8 by a notch or two. Amongst this group, the 3-15x50 magnification level seemed to be a bit more popular than the 5-25x50.
This one took us a bit by surprise - usually we see a lot of movement by the ever-popular Swarovski Z6, but gaining a ton of momentum at this year's show was the thin and lightweight Swarovski Z5, and specifically, the 3.5-18x44 with BRH reticle.
The pinnacle of evolution of Leica laser rangefinding binoculars, the brand-new Leica Geovid HD-B Edition 2200 was a predictable hit at the Dallas show - many hunters eagerly swept up these optically brilliant rangefinders equipped with Leica's ballistic calculator.
One thing that I did not know about these binoculars, trivia-wise - the minimum range for these binoculars is very close, only 5 or 10 yards, depending; this makes this binocular/rangefinder a viable option for archery hunters who seek a close-in rangefinder. Good to know, good to know.
Though the Edition 2200 Geovid binoculars were certainly a hit, the awesome deal we have for our current stock of last-gen Geovid HD-B's is simply too good to pass up for many convention-goers, even at the expense of the new technology.
Marked down to $2399 from $3,249, this awesome deal pushed the 40049 Geovid HD-B over its successor at this year's Dallas show.
Not a big shocker here - the value proposition for the Nightforce Advanced Tactical Riflescope, or ATACR, is such that it shows its face on many of our top lists; however, considering that this is a safari/hunting show, this is pretty impressive.
Amongst those who took shiny (well, matte) new ATACR riflescopes home with them from Dallas, it was a pretty even distribution of 4-16, 5-25, and the new 7-35x56; this just goes to show how well-rounded this line of scopes is, and a mainstay of the Nightforce lineup.
Nightforce's other scopes did really well, also, including the NXS and Competition lines; however, the ATACR was the leader of this pack by far.
The latest and greatest of Swarovski's riflescope lineup did not disappoint - with its 8X zoom ratio, FLEXCHANGE reticle, and Ballistic Turret Flex system, the Z8i was a big mover.
Out of the lineup of Z8i scopes, the most popular turned out to be the 2-16x50.
Always a powerhouse at the Safari shows, the Blaser R8 continues to be the workhorse safari and hunting rifle of choice. This year, we spent most of our focus on our Blaser special buys - Grade 9 R8's in .308, 300 Winchester Magnum, .30-06 and .375 H&H - and this went over quite well.
IR Defense's IR HUNTER MkIII 60mm thermal scope absolutely exploded onto the show scene. With 4.5-36x digital magnification, an intuitive and easy-to-use turret menu system, and IR Defense's shockingly clear and fast 60Hz thermal sensor, the MkIII easily edged out its competition.
So what about this scope makes it worth the push? Well, the ability to instantly and securely mount to any picatinny rail helps, but really the menu system and the magnification pushes this unit up into the top 5 in this list. Let's face it, many of us are sincerely ready to do some serious depredation - and this scope is like the cheat codes for getting rid of hogs and predators.
One of the top contenders for this list, Swarovski's elegant and brilliant rangefinding binocular is a heavyweight at the hunting and safari venues; these laser-rangefinding binoculars are ergonomic, easy to use, and optically superb.
Completely unexpectedly crushing this show is the REAP-IR by IR Defense. I definitely couldn't have predicted this...but can't say I'm completely surprised. The REAP-IR is an awesome scope that provides a ton of value in a small package.
So why did the REAP-IR prove to be the hottest thing since sliced bread at a safari convention? Here's my theory...
- You get the resolution, contrast, and technology of all of IR Defense's technology in an IR Patrol-sized package, but with better reticles than the IR Patrol
- The mounting system is simple, solid, and almost universal - everybody's got a pic rail now
- 2.5-20x magnification is enough to do almost anything right
- Speculation about imminent price increase as Trijicon (who recently acquired IR Defense) moves to re-brand their product line
- and last, the name is pronounced "reaper" - which is what you're about to be as soon as you get this bad boy mounted and zeroed to your rifle.
Looking forward to 2018, Dallas - hopefully it'll be a bit warmer.