Redfield Revolution 4-12x40mm Riflescope
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Back in 1909, John Redfield founded the Redfield Gun Sight Company. Redfield aperture sights were widely used in the decades before telescopic sights became popular and were particularly favored by target shooters. Later, Redfield became one of the leading manufacturers of riflescopes and scope mounts in the world. From the end of the 1940's onward, Leupold and Redfield were the premier American scope manufacturers and competed for the carriage trade.
Unfortunately, Redfield eventually fell upon hard times, partly due to bad management decisions and partly due to factors beyond their control, and in 1997 Redfield closed its doors. The Company was sold, resold and sold again to owners that included among them Blount, ATK, Meade Optical and then ATK again. ATK retains the rights to Redfield mounts and rings, which are interchangeable with Leupold STD rings and bases. Along the way, some of those owners attempted to bring back the Redfield name on imported riflescopes, but for whatever reasons (probably mostly financial) these arrangements never came to fruition.
In April 2008, Leupold & Stevens purchased the once prestigious Redfield optics brand and all associated intellectual property. When Leupold acquired the Redfield name, we were not alone in wondering what they would do with it. That question has now been answered. Leupold has restored the Redfield name to its proper place as a made in America riflescope brand.
The new Redfield Revolution scopes are not inferior goods imported from Red China or anywhere else; they are produced entirely in Beaverton (a suburb of Portland), Oregon USA. The optical tubes are CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum bar stock, just as are Leupold scopes. When you mount one of these new Redfield scopes on your rifle, you can do so with the same pride and confidence as your father did in 1960, only the new Redfield Revolution scopes incorporate modern optical technology and will outperform any mid-20th Century riflescope.
They are very reasonably priced, retailing for around $80-$100 less than equivalent Leupold VX-I scopes. This puts them in direct competition with imported scopes that, while they may work, are simply not a match for the inherent quality of the new Redfield Revolution scopes.
The Redfield Revolution line includes 2-7x33mm, 3-9x40mm, 3-9x50mm and 4-12x40mm models. It was a sample of the latter that was sent to us for evaluation.
Our 4-12x40mm Redfield Revolution scope with the new Accu-Range reticle arrived in September 2009, but we were requested to keep the new line a secret until December, when it would be announced to the public. Our test scope was supplied in a wooden box much like that used to package Redfield scopes in the 1950's. A quaint touch, but probably only applicable to the initial production run. Included with the scope were a Product Registration Card, an Owner's Manual and a sheet explaining the Accu-Range reticle. The little Owner's Manual contains a lot of useful information about riflescopes that many life-long hunters and shooters may not aware of and we strongly suggest that you read it!
The scope itself wears a dull matte finish with a minimum of graphics. There is a slender red oval on the left side of the adjustment turret with the name "Redfield" and an "R" in a small red shield of the right side of the ocular bell. That is it, except for the three rings around the ocular tube that have traditionally identified genuine Redfield riflescopes. Those three unobtrusive rings were, at one time, as well known among serious shooters as the famous gold ring around the objective of Leupold riflescopes and it is nice to see them back. Small white numbers, "4 - 6 - 8- 10 - 12" indicate the approximate magnification set by the finely checkered zoom ring. The latter turns with just the right amount of friction to insure that it will stay put.
Threaded aluminum (not plastic) caps protect the low, finger-tip adjustable, windage and elevation adjustment knobs, which are clearly marked with white numbers and hash marks and click in ¼ MOA increments. These Accu-Track adjustments are positive and repeatable. For easy gripping even when wearing shooting gloves, the windage and elevation adjustment caps, eyepiece locking ring and zoom ring are graced by the same ultra-fine checkering as the three traditional Redfield rings around the ocular bell.
Although it is not mentioned in the introductory advertising campaign, we found that our Redfield's objective and ocular bells are threaded to accept Leupold Rain-Coat and other filters and accessories. Here are some of the other features of the new Redfield Revolution riflescopes:
Here are the specifications of the Redfield Revolution 4-12x40 riflescope featured in this review:
While we are at it, this is how our friends at Leupold / Redfield introduced their new Redfield Revolution scopes:
"Made in Oregon using state-of-the-art design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing techniques, the Redfield Revolution™ produces optical, mechanical and functional superiority that no import can rival. The Illuminator Lens System™ combines premium lenses with cutting edge vapor-deposition coatings for best-in-class light transmission in the critical low-light/blue wavelengths most common when game is active. For absolute long-range precision, the available Accu-Range™ reticle provides hold points to 500 yards with matchless simplicity and deadly accuracy, while meticulous attention to detail generates the ultimate repeatability and reliability of the Accu-Trac™ adjustment system. Painstaking design effort resulted in Redfield’s exclusive Rapid Target Acquisition™ (RTA) technology, meaning no more missed opportunities because you couldn’t find the “sweet spot” behind the scope. And, tested to levels that literally render competitive scopes useless, you can rest assured that your Revolution™ is absolutely waterproof, fog proof, shock proof, and covered by the Redfield Full Lifetime Warranty. Quality American craftsmanship that sends the competition home on a slow boat. Redfield, The Soul Of The American Hunter™."
That line about, "tested to levels that literally render competitive scopes useless" is not hyperbole. During our visit to the Leupold factory, which you can read about in an article on the Scopes and Sport Optics page, we were introduced to their high-tech recoil simulation test equipment (the "Mangler"), which can be used to reproduce both the amplitude and duration of any recoil pulse. This machine routinely reduces competitive scopes to pieces that are swept out of the Mangler with a whiskbroom. Leupold and Redfield scopes are literally the toughest in the world.
As you can tell, Leupold & Stevens are more than a little proud of their Redfield Revolution scopes and with good reason, which we discovered when we mounted our new Redfield 4-12x40mm test scope on our dedicated scope test rifle, a NEF Handi-Rifle in .223 Remington. This rifle is equipped with a Weaver base and we use Leupold quick-release rings for mounting test scopes. Mounting was straightforward and without glitches, which is one reason we use the NEF as our scope test rifle. Its long, one-piece Weaver base and absence of bolt handle clearance concerns really simplify scope mounting.
A reasonably compact 4-12x scope is a good match for the maximum point blank range of a .223 varmint rifle. It is also useful for ultra-long range big game rifles and at the conclusion of this review, the Redfield Revolution is likely to find a permanent home on one of our pronghorn antelope rifles.
The optical quality of the Redfield Revolution 4-12x40 is good. It is clear and contrasty in the middle of the field of view, although not quite at Leupold VX-2 levels, and entirely adequate at the edges. The suppression of flare and internal reflections appears good. The mechanical construction is excellent and we found the ¼ MOA click adjustments to be satisfactorily accurate and repeatable, better than most of the hunting scopes on the market.
Focusing the scope is done by turning the entire ocular bell on fine threads, the traditional "American" method. Once correct focus is achieved, the ocular bell is locked in place by means of a checkered jam ring. As with any riflescope, focus the reticle for maximum sharpness to your eye, not the target.
The Accu-Range reticle deserves some comment. It can be described as a wide Duplex reticle with a small circle in the center (around the intersection point of the crosswires) and a single dot between the lower edge of this circle and the top of the bottom post. This means that there are a number of possible aiming points along the vertical wire that can be used to compensate for bullet drop, including the normal intersection of the crosswires, the bottom of the circle, the dot below the circle, and the top of the bottom post (where it narrows to become the vertical wire). Actually, since only the bottom arc of the circle is used as an aiming point, the reticle could be simplified by eliminating the circle and replacing the spot where its bottom arc intersects the vertical crosswire with a short dash or a dot.
The supplied Accu-Range Reticle instruction sheet explains how to use the Accu-Range reticle's various aiming points with a variety of rifle cartridges. These are divided into two general groups.
Group 1 cartridges are intended to be zeroed at 200 yards and their bullets will drop 35-45 inches at 500 yards. The Group 1 cartridges and bullet weights (as factory loaded) include the .223 Rem./40 grain, .22-250/50 grain, .243 Win./100 grain, .25-06/100 grain, .25-06/120 grain, .270 Win./130 grain, .270 WSM/150 grain, .280/140 grain, 7mm Rem. Mag./150 grain, .30-06/150 grain, .300 WSM/180 grain, .300 Win. Mag./180 grain, .300 Wby./180 grain, .338 Win. Mag./200 grain and .338 RUM/250 grain.
Group 2 cartridges should be zeroed at 300 yards and their bullets will then drop less than 35 inches at 500 yards. The Group 2 cartridges and bullet weights (as factory loaded) include the .270 WSM/130 grain, .270 Wby./130 grain, 7mm WSM/140 grain, 7mm Rem. Mag./140 grain, 7mm STW/140 grain, 7mm RUM/140 grain, 7mm RUM/160 grain, .300 WSM/150 grain, .300 Win. Mag./150 grain, .300 Wby./150 grain, .300 RUM/180 grain and .30-378/180 grain.
In the case of a Group 1 cartridge, after zeroing your rifle at 200 yards so that your groups are centered precisely where the horizontal and vertical wires cross, the approximate impact distances for the lower aiming points are 300 yards at the bottom of the circle, 400 yards at the dot and 500 yards at the top of the bottom post. For Group 2 cartridges zeroed at 300 yards with the center crosswire, the lower aiming points represent 400 yards, 500 yards and 600 yards.
Naturally, for this system to be useful in the field, you must carefully verify your rifle's actual point of impact at each distance by shooting multiple groups using your preferred load at a rifle range with target stands at the appropriate distances. This must be done on a calm day with absolutely no wind, preferably at the altitude at which you intend to hunt. Don't forget to bring a lot of ammunition.
The Accu-Range reticle is fun to play with, but visually more complicated than we prefer to use for big game hunting. (It is, however, less complicated than most multi-range scope reticles.) We find that the simplest reticle is the fastest with which to line up shots in the field. Fortunately, Redfield Revolution scopes are also available with standard Duplex type ("4-Plex") reticles.
The Redfield Revolution Full Lifetime Warranty is also worth mentioning. It is good anytime, for any owner, even if you did not buy your scope new and it covers materials and workmanship for life. No sales receipt is required. Repairs are done in Beaverton, Oregon by American technicians, so it is not necessary to send your scope overseas. Leupold & Stevens, the new home of Redfield, is a fifth generation family owned business and has been located in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area since 1907, so it won't be a problem to find them should you need to do so. The new Redfield web site can be found at www.redfield.com
Although it would probably make for a more interesting review, we could find nothing of importance to criticize about the new 4-12x40 Redfield Revolution. It simply works as it was designed to and does what it is supposed to do, at a very reasonable price. Once our scope test rifle was zeroed, the Revolution allowed us to drive bullets through the target at the point of aim with monotonous regularity. Scopes like this one make our job easy and it will probably make your next hunt a bit easier, too. The next time you need a "popularly priced" riflescope, remember that you no longer have to buy an inferior import. Do yourself, American workers and the American economy a favor and think Redfield!
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