is the Rifles editor for Field & Stream. His writing ability and
knowledge of firearms are often referred to as "godlike."
The Meopta MeoPro HTR is designed for hunting at long range.
the scope. If you’re going to go shooting at animals at long range, you
can’t get by with the usual 3X-9X. Or let me put it another way: You
can, but you’re going to miss a great deal. What you need is lots of
power, and a scope with either tactical or target adjustments. By sheer
dumb luck, or maybe because God reads this blog, the absolute perfect
scope for the 6.5-300 Accurmark arrived within a day or two of me getting the rifle.
It’s called the Meopta Meopro 6.5-20x50 HTR, and in it, and in Meopta
in general, I see a number of uncanny parallels with Swarovski in the
early 1990s when it began its charge to prominence. Back then, Swarovski
was an obscure Austrian company known mostly for its crystal. It made
good, but not great, scopes, and had a name that few Americans can
pronounce. However, the head of the Swarovski family had bigger
ambitions, so he came to the U.S., and listened to what people thought
of his scopes, and scopes in general.
Unlike most European makers who try to crack the American market, he
really paid attention, and very soon its scopes got better and better
and better and this, combined with a truly balls-out publicity drive
rocketed Swarovski to where it is now, although people still can’t
pronounce the name unless they’re Austrian.
Same with Meopta, which sounds vaguely oriental, although it’s
located in the Czech Republic. For a number of years it’s made its
reputation on delivering two lines of very good scopes MeoStar (made
over there, and the more expensive of the two) and MeoPro (assembled
here and less costly). Every year their president comes to the SHOT Show
and listens to the ranting of myself, and others like me, and it’s
showing up in what they make.
The MeoPro HTR is designed for hunting at long range, and it is
damned near perfect. Despite all that magnification, it weighs only 22
ounces. Its 50mm objective lets in plenty of light, but you can still
mount the scope with low rings. There’s third-dial parallax adjustment
and a reticle called the Windmax 8 which is like a Duplex-style with
hashmarks for windage allowance.
This makes particular sense because smart long-range shooters know
that if you want to aim with precision, you put clicks of elevation on
the scope rather than use stadia wires, but the same does not apply for
windage, because wind shifts, and if you go putting in clicks for that,
you will very soon become hopelessly lost.
The dials are target style, and have great big white letters on them
that even geezer eyes can read without using the magnifier on a Swiss
Army Knife (yes, it has come to this). Moreover, the “throw” on the
dials is very long and very firm, so if you want to put in one click or
32 you can do it time after time without having to wonder if you just
dialed in what you wanted or whether you’re way off.
The optics are first-rate, as they are on all Meoptas, and the
real-world price is $999.99. This, I realize, is not cheap, but when you
consider that tactical and target scopes of this quality cost three
times as much, that puts it in perspective. In the past few years I’ve
been able to use a number of Meopta scopes, but this is the best of
them. It fits with a long-range hunting rifle like Astaire fit with
Rogers, Martin fit with Lewis, and Abbot fit with Costello. If you don’t
know who those people are, the hell with you.
One more word about expense and long range. It’s a story Ed Zern was
fond of, and it concerns a farmer whose hens wouldn’t lay, so he
advertised for a stud rooster, but never really found one who packed the
gear. Then one day he felt a peck on his ankle and looked down. There
was a scrawny banty rooster looking up at him.
“Who the hell are you?” said the farmer.
“I saw your ad in the paper,” said the rooster, “I’m here to service your hens.”
“Get lost,” said the farmer, “I wouldn’t bother to put you in a stewpot.”
“You’re making a big mistake,” said the rooster. “Give me a chance. What have you got to lose?”
Well, that made sense, and the rooster was as good as his word. Soon
there were eggs all over the place, so many that the farmer could hardly
collect them all. But the little rooster commenced to look gant (which
is how they say “gaunt” up he-ah) and the farmer warned him to start
taking it easy because he didn’t want the bird to die from exhaustion.
But there were still eggs all over the place, and one day the farmer
saw a little form lying in the Lower Forty, and buzzards circling.
Frantically, he ran out to where the rooster lay, and all he could say
in his anguish was “Why?”
The rooster popped an eye open.
“Shhh,” he said. “You see those buzzards? If you want to f**k a buzzard you have to play a buzzard’s game.*”
In the wonderful world of long-range shooting, some equipment can do
the job and a lot can’t. The stuff that can costs money. If you want to
f**k a buzzard…
*Ed belonged to a social order called the Winchester Irregulars, who
liked this story so much they adopted that sentence, in Latin, as the
club motto. It goes Si vis habere confutuere et alietum, alietum ludere ludum.
Ave atque vale.