Konus Mission HD 10×42 WA binoculars
Mat Manning puts Konus’s affordable Mission HD 10x42 WA binoculars through their paces on his woodland pest control rounds
Konus Mission HD 10x42 WA binoculars
Price as reviewed: £115
Binoculars are a very useful accessory that too many shooters overlook. Stalkers know their value when it comes to quarry observation, but they can be a real asset in other branches of our sport, from scanning fields in search of pigeon activity to planning routes along the hedgerows when trying to creep within range of rabbits. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a decent pair of binoculars for impromptu recon. I keep a cheap pair stuffed in the rack on the inside of my car door.
Konus has a reputation for producing decent optics at sensible prices, and its Mission HD 10×42 WA binoculars are built very much along those lines. They’re robust, produce a sharp, bright image courtesy of their BAK-4 prisms and multi-coated lenses and, with a recommended retail price of £115, strike a very good balance between performance and affordability.
To put the Mission HDs through their paces, I took them out on a roving session on a permission where I’m tasked with the control of rabbits and grey squirrels. This mixed woodland lost a lot of trees to ash dieback and, although several extensive blocks of conifer remain, these two pests pose a serious threat to the recently planted broadleaf saplings. Apart from enabling me to spot potential opportunities during my evening stroll, the binoculars would also help me to check for signs of squirrel damage on more established trees. (Read more on pest control with an air rifle.)
No great burden
I don’t like carrying bulky optics when shooting on the move and, at around 165mm in length and weighing 590g, the Mission HDs were no great burden. They come supplied with a padded carry case, but I opted for the webbed neck strap which, although basic, was comfortable.
These Konus binos have left and right ocular adjustment, with four clear stops of the twist-up lenses enabling you to get them just right for your eyes. They also come with removable rubber ‘shading eyecups’, which push over the rear lenses to seal out external light and prevent it from compromising image quality. Also supplied are two sets of rubber lens covers — the front ones are attached to the rubber casing and the rear ones to the neck strap, so there’s no risk of dropping and losing them in the field.
I had picked a fine, warm evening for my outing, so I wasn’t able to put the Konus’s water- and fog-proofing to the test, but I can say that they felt extremely sturdy. They sit inside a very robust rubber shell which, apart from guarding against bumps and dents, also eliminates the irritating knocking sound you can get when binoculars with a hard casing clunk against other kit.
The Mission HDs were light and unobtrusive enough for me to forget that I was carrying them through the woods, and their optical performance more than met my needs. The main focusing wheel turned smoothly, without feeling too loose, to bring the subject into sharp relief as I scanned the trees and rides ahead of me. I found the 10x magnification more than adequate for inspecting patches of stripped bark high up in the willows, although shooters who want an even more compact option will be pleased to know that there is also a smaller, lighter 8×42 option.
Gone to ground
Rabbits were noticeable by their absence as I made my way around. I would like to say this is a result of my outings with the rifle, but I have a feeling that the landowner had been out with his dogs and put the bunnies to ground shortly before my arrival.
I was scanning for rabbits when I spotted a squirrel on the edge of a ride. The bushy-tailed rodent was scratching around among the carpet of rotting pine needles, presumably foraging for tasty morsels. It was about 60m away and I was able to observe it in very clear detail through the Mission HDs. With a steep bank behind it, the squirrel offered a safe shot, but I wanted to get a bit closer.
After creeping within striking distance, I settled myself down for a kneeler. The squirrel was oblivious as I tried to frame it in the sight picture. Tufts of grass kept the rodent partially obscured, so I gave a squeak in the hope of grabbing its attention. The ruse has the desired effect and the squirrel sat upright, enabling me to roll it over with a strike to the chest.
That solitary squirrel turned out to be my only shot. The Konus Mission HD 10×42 WA binoculars had given a good account of themselves, though. Apart from helping me to put a squirrel in the bag, the dreys and tree damage their sharp, wide-angle viewing helped me to spot provided plenty of clues to where I should set up my next feeding station.
Careful recon and a stealthy approach result in a squirrel in the bag
Need to know
- Manufacturer Konus
- Model Mission HD 10×42 WA
- Contact Range Right
- Length 165mm
- Weight 590g
- Magnification 10x
- Objective lens 42mm
- Field of view 98m at 1,000m
- Features BAK-4 prisms, wide angle, multi-coated optics, fog-proof, supplied with shading eyecups, carry case, neck strap and lens cloth
Also worth considering
These binoculars weigh 555g, are 145mm long and feature Hawke’s H2 glass with BAK-4 roof prisms and multi-coated lenses, which give very clear viewing. Housed in a shockproof rubberised shell, they are nitrogen-purged, fog-proof and waterproof, and are covered by Hawke’s no-fault lifetime warranty.
Price RRP: £149
This affordable offering from Tasco is encased in a rubberised armour casing, weighs 895g and is 150mm long. O-ring seals provide effective waterproofing while nitrogen purging prevents the lenses fogging up in damp conditions. Features include BAK-4 Porro prisms, single-eye focus and multi-coated lenses.
Price RRP: £109.99
MEOPTA MEOSTAR B1 PLUS 8X32
If money is no object and you want a super-sharp set of binoculars boasting high-end build and image quality, these are well worth a look. Weighing 620g and measuring 122mmx102mm when folded, the MeoStar B1s are easy to carry and their waterproofing is sufficient to withstand complete immersion. They’re also covered by Meopta’s 30-year warranty.
Price RRP: £1,124
Robust, produce a sharp, bright image and with a recommended retail price of £115, strike a very good balance between performance and affordability.