Simmons Whitetail Expedition Riflescopes
By Chuck Hawks
Simmons produces something like a dozen categories of scopes, mostly in the lower price classes. Among the best known of these are the economical 8-Point line, the popular priced (2-star) Prohunter line, and the top of the line (3-star) Whitetail Expedition series.
With the introduction of the Aetec line a few years ago Simmons took a major step up in the riflescope world. The Aetec scopes were the first to offer an aspherical lens element. For those who are not familiar with optical design, perhaps I should explain that the curved surfaces of lens elements are usually segments of a sphere. This is because spherical shapes are much easier to mass-produce than other shapes. Advanced technology has made it more practical (that is, economical) to produce aspherical shapes, curves that are not segments of a sphere. These have advantages in minimizing some of the aberrations common in all lens systems. In the last decade of the 20th Century aspherical lenses began appearing in reasonably priced camera lenses. Simmons was the first riflescope company to take advantage of this new technology.
Incorporating an aspherical element in an optical formula reduces aberrations, which means sharper, clearer views, particularly at the edge of the field of view. If aspherical elements can be produced economically, as Simmons has done, the view through a moderately priced scope can rival the view seen through a much more expensive scope.
Which is where the Whitetail Expedition line comes in. All are variable power scopes built on sturdy aluminum alloy tubes. These are the second generation of Simmons scopes to incorporate aspherical elements, and they provide exceptionally clear, distortion free views that are sharp from center to edge. Simmons advertises a 30% greater field of view than average scopes of similar magnification and objective lens size, and all Whitetail Expedition scopes incorporate "WA" (for Wide Angle) in their nomenclature, as in "3-9x42mm WA." In addition, all Whitetail Expedition scopes are fully multi-coated for excellent flare suppression. The finger adjustable (no coin required) windage and elevation adjustments "click" in 1/4 MOA increments. They come with a Trueplex reticle (a copy of the excellent Leupold Duplex) and are designed to be shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof. All Whitetail Expedition scopes are furnished with a tasteful matte black finish, and are supplied with lens caps.
At this writing there are four models in the Whitetail Expedition line. The first of these is the 1.5-6x32mm WA. This scope is 11.6" long and weighs 15 ounces, so it is not a lightweight. It is, however, compact enough to allow the use of low mounting rings on most rifles. Its basic specifications include a 100 yard field of view of 72' at 1.5x and 19' at 6x, and an eye relief of 3". Its wide field of view at low power makes it a good choice for a brush country, woods, or dangerous game rifle, while its relatively high 6x magnification makes it suitable for use on flat shooting magnum calibers. I would recommend it for use on anything from the .30-30 class of woods rifle to the .338, .358 and .375 Magnum classes of heavy game rifles.
Next in the Whitetail Expedition line is the all-around 3-9x42mm WA model. This scope is 13.2" long and weighs 17.5 ounces. It is brighter than the average 3-9x variable without the bulk of the models with 50mm objectives, but it will usually require medium height mounting rings. The 100 yard field of view is 40' at 3x and 13.5' at 9x. The eye relief is 3". Like any 3-9x scope, the Whitetail Expedition 3-9x42mm is adaptable to a wide range of rifles, and is particularly suitable for use on long range and all-around rifles in calibers from .243 Winchester to 8mm Magnum.
For the hunter with a varmint rifle in calibers such as .223 Remington or .22-250, or a varmint/big game combination rifle in calibers such as .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, or .257 Roberts +P, Simmons builds the Whitetail Expedition 4-12x42mm WA. This scope is 13.46" long and weighs 21.25 ounces. Its 100 yard field of view is 29 feet at 4x and 9.6 feet at 12x, and its eye relief is 3". For extra precision the 4-12x42mm Whitetail Expedition features an adjustable front objective that lets the shooter set the distance at which the scope is parallax free.
The biggest and most powerful of the Whitetail Expedition scopes is the 6-18x42mm WA. Like the 4-12x, this scope also features an adjustable front objective that allows the shooter to eliminate parallax at any distance desired. It is 15.35" long and weighs 22.5 ounces. The 100 yard field of view is 18.3' at 6x and 6.5' at 18x, and the eye relief is 3". This is a lot of riflescope, and it is designed primarily for use on specialized, long range, varmint and predator rifles. It takes a flat shooting varmint cartridge such as the .223 WSSM, .220 Swift, .243 Winchester, .243 WSSM, or 6mm Remington to justify such a powerful scope.
Simmons Whitetail Expedition scopes come with a Lifetime Limited Warranty that says Simmons will repair or replace, without charge, any scope found to be defective in parts or workmanship. These scopes evidence a level of quality and performance well beyond their relatively modest price. They are also good looking scopes that do not seem out of place on high quality rifles. The Whitetail Expedition line deserves serious consideration from anyone purchasing a medium price riflescope.
Copyright 2003, 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.