Until this week, I’d never shot a “dual reticle scope.”
Quite frankly, I didn’t really understand the concept. I was also somewhat dubious of the claim that a dual reticle scope offered a one-shot zero. I was used to shooting more — a lot more — to zero an optic.
Enter Shepherd Scopes.
They’re based in Largo, Florida, just north of St. Petersburg.
It’s a unique firm. The principals are all optical engineers, chemists and other scientists, says Patrick Bass, Shepherd’s executive vice president.
Currently, they’ve got no salespersons or marketing gurus, but in my humble opinion, they’re not necessary. Their scopes will sell and market themselves.
Patrick brought a selection of single and dual reticle Shepherd Scopes to the Manatee Gun and Archery Club Thursday for us to examine. He also brought some of their new red-dots, binoculars and a fantastic thermal scope. He was showcasing the new products. This wasn’t a thorough T&E. That will come later, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Regardless of the number of reticles, the first thing you notice about a Shepherd Scope is the clarity.
These scopes are bright! It’s almost as though they gather light. I asked Patrick about the glass his firm uses.
“It’s not the glass. All glass is about the same. It’s about the coatings you put on them,” he explained.
A one-shot zero
The first scope we tried was the Shepherd DRS 3-10×40 dual reticle mounted on a Ruger 10-22 in 22LR. It retails for $799.
I fired three rounds at a 100-yard target, and noticed the rounds impacted low and right, about four inches from the center of the bull.
Patrick talked me through the zeroing phase, which is far easier to do than it is to describe. It’s an intuitive process.
Keeping the crosshairs centered on the target, I used the large zeroing knobs to move the small cross hairs to the bullet holes.
Then I used the small scope knobs to move the large crosshairs onto the small reticle.
The whole process took only a couple minutes. Now that I know what I’m doing, zeroing a Shepherd Scope would only take seconds.
Once the scope was zeroed, I fired three more rounds and, of course, all struck the center of the bull.
Click here for a behind-the-scenes photo gallery from The Gun Writer brand manager Carrie Rasmussen.
I have never zeroed a scope so fast in my life.
Sure, I shot two three-round strings, but I now realize that only one shot would be needed.
Patrick said a Tier-1 special forces unit from a friendly country has expressed a lot of interest in Shepherd’s dual reticle system. They believe, and I agree, that zeroing a scope with the dual-reticle system would be easier to teach to indigenous sniper candidates — who may lack English language skills and are often poorly educated.
Members of this same Tier-1 unit, Patrick said, mounted one of Shepherd Scopes red-dots onto a fully-automatic shotgun, and then fired several drums of ammunition. The red-dot held up to the arduous test, he said.
A tactical combo for under $2,000
Next, we tried a Shepherd Phantom 1-6×24 first focal plane scope that was mounted on the Ranger Proof RPC2
Carbine, with a proprietary Shepherd Mount.
This is a fantastic tactical scope, on a great carbine.
Patrick said the two firms will begin marketing the scope, mount and carbine for around $1,600.
To be clear, you’d be hard-pressed to buy such a high-precision system for less than $2,000.
Better than an SVD
My shooting partner for the day was Alex Popeskou, owner of the Berkoot International Protection Agency in Sarasota.
Alex is a former Soviet warrant officer who served in a special mission unit of the Red Army’s airborne forces.
He’s spent a lot of time downrange, in conflicts we know about and many we don’t.
But until Thursday, the only scoped weapon he’d ever fired was the SVD, so I couldn’t wait to put him on an American rifle with American glass.
He loved Shepherd’s DRS 6-18×40 dual reticle, which was mounted on a Savage .308 with Shepherd’s proprietary rings, which retail for around $150, but are rock-solid.
“It’s super,” he said. “Better than SVD.” I concur.
The entire Gun Writer team was blown away by Shepherd Scopes entire product line, which was far too extensive to thoroughly review in just one day.
We will have T&E’s of their individual products coming soon, which we’re all looking forward to conducting.
These are innovative high-quality, high-precision American-made products, available at very reasonable prices.
Shepherd Scopes will be a game-changer in the long-range shooting world. I can’t wait to shoot more of them.