It was a cold, late November morning during the last weekend of Montana’s general deer season. I was sitting in one of my favorite glassing points looking for a tall 4x5 with deep forks that I had been trying to shoot for the past three days. I glassed up the buck at about 600 yards walking across an open face chasing four does. By the time I got my rifle set up, pulled out my ballistics sheet, and dialed to the correct holdover, the buck and his does had already made it into the thick timber, never to be seen again. This seemed to be an all too common occurrence during my mountain hunts, so I decided I needed to find a faster way to obtain my ballistic solutions. Two months later, I picked up a pair of Leica Geovid 8x56 3200 binoculars and have been extremely pleased. The glass is amazing, and the ballistic program makes long range shots as easy as pushing a button.
The glass featured in the Geovids is nothing short of what you would expect from a high-end binocular from Leica. The edge to edge clarity of the glass is superb. Since I started using the Geovids, my spotting scope has seen much less action than it has in previous seasons. I have found that in most conditions, I can find and judge animals effectively out to about 1800 yards thanks to the optical quality of these binoculars. It should also be noted that the Geovid’s light transmission is second to none. In previous seasons, once the sun set, I had a hard time picking up animals through my glass, which essentially rendered the last 30 minutes of the hunt useless. I saw a noticeable difference in low light performance when I compared Geovids to the other binoculars I had used in the past. This past spring, I was able to find and judge bears up to the end of legal shooting light, which is 30 minutes after sunset. The glass used in Leica’s Geovid Binoculars completely exceeded my expectations.
Although the glass quality of these binoculars is excellent, the range-finding and ballistic features are what bring the Geovids to a whole new level of optical performance. The range finder on the model I am using is rated to 3000 yards, but I have consistently hit hillsides all the way to 3800 yards. Of course, 3800 yards is not even close to a practical shooting distance but having the ability to range extreme distances can be helpful when making stalks on distant animals. For example, if you glass up a bull at 2200 yards and you range the ridge before him at 1800 yards, you know that if you get to the ridge before the bull you will have a 400 yard shot.
Once you close the distance into a range that you are comfortable shooting, the ballistic program in the Geovids makes holdovers a breeze. Simply range your target, and the Geovids will display a holdover solution calculated with your custom ballistic curve while considering air pressure, humidity, temperature, elevation, and your shooting angle. All you have to do is dial to the correct holdover, estimate the wind, and squeeze the trigger! I have tested the Geovid ballistic calculator extensively and have found the holdover solutions to be extremely accurate out to 1100 yards. There are only two problems that I identified with the ballistic program in these binoculars. First, Leica’s online ballistics program only allows for the G1 ballistics scale to be used. This isn’t a huge deal, but it will require you to do some velocity truing if you are shooting a boat-tailed projectile. The second problem I identified was the ballistics program did not have any outputs for estimated wind holdovers. Of course, a laser rangefinder is not able to calculate wind drift, but similar products on the market will display an estimated wind holdover for a 5 mph and 10 mph wind along with the holdover calculation. This isn’t a major problem because after all, a long-range shooter should know his wind calls, but a 5 mph wind holdover would be a handy feature to add to the program.
Overall, the Leica Geovid Binocular has been the best all around Western big game hunting binocular that I have used, and they will most definitely be strapped to my chest this fall. The Geovid should be a top contender for anybody who is looking to upgrade their glass before the start of the season!
Written by: Max DeMarco