Gray’s Best Awards 2016

Acrylic painting of camper

SHOOTING: Meopta MeoStar B1 15×56 HD

Meopta MeoStar B1 15x56 HDBetween the standard 8- to 10-powered hunting binocular and the 20X to 30X spotting scope, there lies the neglected (but very useful) high-powered binocular. These can be carried on horseback, in vehicles, or on boats. Although high-powered binoculars have been available for a long time, most have one or two drawbacks: too heavy, too bulky, or too expensive if you get really good ones (and poor ones are useless). The Czech optics company, Meopta, has now entered this field with several models that combine the weight and bulk advantages of modern optics at a price most hunters can afford. Their Meostar B1 15×56 HD is the most powerful of the group, and with a price in the neighborhood of $1,600 retail, it is only about two-thirds the cost of comparable binoculars from other premium optics makers. Using such high-powered glass is almost an art in itself; they don’t require a tripod, like a spotting scope, but they do demand a solid rest. This can be a log, a rock with your pack as a cushion, or a horse’s saddle. For this reason, the design of the binocular is important. The Meopta fits the requirements perfectly, with soft rubber armor that grips firmly, and no sharp corners to cause rocking or tilting. For pure usability, it would be hard to imagine a better binocular of this class. Optically, of course, it is up there with the big European names. For those of a technical bent, all the details on glass, coatings, and light transmission can be found at the Meopta website. Practically, however, this is a GRAY’S BEST and then some.