Dark Lord of Optics
episode 69 | Feb 8, 2022
Experts & Industry Leaders

Ep. 69: ILya Koshkin the Dark Lord of Optics

ILya Koshkin, AKA The Dark Lord of Optics, is an optical physicist who is extremely passionate about sharing his love and knowledge of all things optics in a straightforward and understandable way. With over 2 decades of experience in imaging, optoelectronics and electro-optics ILya works with a wide range of visible and infrared imaging systems, lasers, targeting payloads and weapon sights and has also dabbled in spectroradiometry and hyperspectral imaging. This is to say, ILya’s knowledge and experience with optics is extremely well founded. Having come from the USSR, ILya also has a unique perspective on politics and has written numerous papers on the subject.
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[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I'm Travis Bader, and this is the Silvercore Podcast. Silvercore has been providing its members with the skills and knowledge necessary to be confident and proficient in the outdoors for over 20 years, and we make it easier for people to deepen their connection to the natural world. If you enjoy the positive and educational content we provide, please let others know by sharing, commenting, and following so that you can join in on everything that Silvercore stands for.

[00:00:39] I want to take a moment to reflect on the life of Paul Rogan, who recently passed and who founded and produced the Canadian access to firearms newspaper since 1984, my friend Donovan is carrying on the legacy that Paul created by continuing publication of the news. Canada's largest print by itself and the shooting sports for those who are interested, I've put a link in the description.

[00:01:03] If you've ever had an interest in optics, weather, scopes, binoculars, thermal night, vision and more you're in luck today, I'm joined by the dark Lord of optics himself. Welcome to the Silvercore Podcast, iLya Koshkin. 

[00:01:17] ILya Koshkin: Wow. Thank you for having me. And it's a self-proclaimed dark road of optics. So the, I did not really come up with that.

[00:01:24] Travis Bader: Well, I'm going to ask you about that in a little bit, but for the listeners, for those who aren't aware is an optical physicist who has a talent for taking complex ideas and problems and relaying them in the most simplistic way. So that they're understandable by everyone. He does this through his website and YouTube channel named the dark Lord of optics and https://darklordofoptics.locals.Com.

[00:01:44] And I'm gonna have links to that in the description. So you guys can check it out. Now Eylea, I received an email from a good friend of mine and past Silvercore Podcast guests, Paul Ballard, who in turn, got the email from firearms instructor and mutual friend, Curtis Miller. Chuck saying, you have to check out this Elliot fellow I did.

[00:02:03] And the content that you provide is amazing. And so I jumped at the chance to have you on as a guest here 

[00:02:10] ILya Koshkin: and amazing. I don't know either one of those guys know you probably don't. I probably should. 

[00:02:16] Travis Bader: Well, you know, we spoke off air about kind of the best way to get this information across. And we're talking about breaking this into segments and where we do a general overview of you and what you're about and a bit about optics and what people should be thinking about.

[00:02:32] And we can follow this up at a later point with questions that people might have more specific to optics. And you're talking about more of a, sort of a white board lesson where we get into the ins and outs of what. What people should be looking for in optics and a bit of an education there. So, uh, we'll, we'll have that available at a later date as well.

[00:02:55] ILya Koshkin: So I was like a good plan. 

[00:02:57] Travis Bader: So Ilya, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into this wonderful world of optics? 

[00:03:05] ILya Koshkin: Uh, three lectures, OCD? Uh, no, uh, it was kind of a funky story. Uh, I'm an optical physicist by education. I have degree in applied physics from a place called Caltech in California, but not on a, what we call classical optomechanical systems like rifle scopes.

[00:03:28] My field of expertise is actually electronics, uh, image, sensors, cameras, surveillance systems, targeting systems. I worked on things at top in space flight and the drones, that kind of stuff. I, when I was in college, I purely by accident, uh, ended up getting into guns and shooting mostly because I don't handle failure.

[00:03:50] Very well. Friend of mine dragged me out to a shooting range. We rented a gun that fired five shots at the target from I think, seven yards. Uh, another single shot even touched the paper. Oh no. So I think I've mentioned that I don't handle failure very well. So fast forward, 25 years here we are. But basically I started shooting, right.

[00:04:10] I bought a hand gun. I bought a rifle. I bought a cheap Chinese, uh, scope to put on that rifle and it promptly fell apart. I hit the internet looking for, uh, looking for information and the stuff I got. It's a nice way of saying this. Let's go with asinine. I think that's not getting anybody to democratize.

[00:04:35] And here's the catch. I didn't know much of anything about rifle school, but I had a good background in optics. So I started digging, took a couple apart, uh, bought a couple here and there. And I started, uh, talking about my impressions and comparing optics and trying to explain why everybody else is wrong and I'm right.

[00:04:55] Something that makes me want to do that. Uh, but in this case, most other people were wrong and I was right for a simple reason that I did not approach this from a shooter standpoint, I approached it from a nerdy guy standpoint and that was different enough. Uh, when the company called as WFA op in Texas, they have a forum called optic stock.

[00:05:21] That's where I somehow landed purely by accident. Uh, they reached out to me and said, Hey, um, we'll like what you do with. And we will offer you a deal. And the deal was that whatever they had in stock, I was able to purchase at a reasonable discount. So I could play with it, do a review, sell it, sell it and not lose money.

[00:05:40] And that's really what got me into this. Okay. So you owe it all to a significant degree to has WFM still friendly with them. They're good people. And, um, I started basically writing things up and it went from there. I, uh, then at some point I got tired of repeating myself on different forums. So I started a website where I could write this up a post it and then link to it.

[00:06:06] And then I did another website because I needed a better blogging function. That's the download of options.com. I started YouTube channel purely by accident. Once again, after shot show, I want you to talk into a camera to record things while I remember them. And people started watching that, so, okay. I'll have a YouTube channel.

[00:06:27] Yeah. I and that at some point I realized this is taking me a lot of time and that it can be monetized. What was, I was trying to figure out how to monetize had guns. And Emma came on, came knocking and said, do you want to do some writing for us? So I started writing for guns and animals, especially in just publications.

[00:06:46] And here we are, my hobby became a side business and my wife could no longer tell me to stop doing it because it is a job. Right. Because a 

[00:06:54] Travis Bader: job. Yeah, I hear you. Well, w what is your full business that you 

[00:06:58] ILya Koshkin: do? So for my day job, I run a small company that builds electro-optical test equipment, the types of things that they use to test that characterize once again, all the different optical systems I've mentioned before, including rifle, scopes, among other things, and lenses and cameras, uh, lots of, lots of targeting systems would go on unmanned, aerial vehicles, things like that, more or less.

[00:07:23] Anything that has to do with optics or electronics. We do equipment to test and make sense of it and in an odd sort of way. So I've spent a part of my career, developing image, sensors, and cameras and stuff like that for movies and also for the military and probably an even larger, even when I was doing that, a very significant part of what I did was always test measurement and characterization.

[00:07:45] So the specific niche where I've always worked, wasn't trying to understand and quantify how well things work. Right? So when I started, uh, doing reviews and rifle, scopes, the mindset I had was extremely applicable because I've spent my entire professional career trying to figure out how things work, whether they do what they're supposed to, if not what is wrong, and then verbalize it to non-technical people who can tell the us from an album as far as anything technical goes, that is what they did.

[00:08:22] Right now, when I say, get Del DAS from an elbow, I'm not trying to be derogatory. Right, right. They do other things that I go to the stand. Sure. I spent the entirety of my career sitting on this board a bit with the technical and non-technical people because they don't understand each other. And I translate and 

[00:08:42] Travis Bader: you're rushing background will lend you to being very forthright.

[00:08:45] And so would say blunt in your approach to relaying information, which 

[00:08:49] ILya Koshkin: is refreshing, that's more of a personality than Russian background 

[00:08:54] Travis Bader: really well. I think a lot of my Russian friends have the same personality traits as 

[00:09:00] ILya Koshkin: yourself. I think that says more about you than Russians, for sure. It, 

[00:09:04] Travis Bader: it very well may be you select your friends, right.

[00:09:07] You know, show me your friends. I'll show you who you are. Right. Well, there you go. That's a spirit. Um, you also have a patent out on. For image sensor, combining high D dynamic range. 

[00:09:19] ILya Koshkin: I did some work with HDR, high dynamic range imagers in the best, but to be fair. So my patent, in that case, just combined a few existing techniques because we were trying to develop an image sensor that would eventually be applicable for automotive applications or something called ADAS or automated driver assist systems.

[00:09:38] And that is a very different, it's an imaging application, but it's also sensing application because you're trying to send the dangerous and you will need image sensors that are able to see both very dark and very bright, uh, parts of this in simultaneously. Right? So that was an attempt to do that to the best of my knowledge.

[00:09:58] Only one company is currently using my patents because I came up with it when I worked at somebody else, they have the rights. 

[00:10:04] Travis Bader: Gotcha. Fair enough. So we were talking a little bit off air about how. Relay your information through the dark Lord optics, calm and as well as YouTube. And if people were to check one out or the over the other, where would you prefer to see people going?

[00:10:22] ILya Koshkin: Okay, well, this becomes, this becomes a little bit of a complicated question. YouTube is undoubtedly a bigger audience, and I'm also the rumble and all of those, right? So I tried to kind of cross-pollinate the way the modern political environment goes. I am assuming that at some point, Facebook and YouTube will get rid of all the people like me.

[00:10:47] They start with a bigger channels, first budget monetizing and all that. Then they'll get to the small fish like me. So dark Lord of optics.com is hosted by a platform called locals. And that's sort of the focal point of everything that. 'cause, uh, it's a first amendment friendly thing. I do talk about politics.

[00:11:06] And when I do that on YouTube, they basically kill all my videos, right. Because they disagree with my, uh, political stance. Unlike the people at YouTube, I used to live in the Soviet union. So my political stance is extremely ambiguous. I don't want to clarify, I don't want to live in a Soviet union again.

[00:11:25] I hear you. So locals basically has everything that I do is converged on, uh, locals. But if you're trying to find me, there's only one dark load of optics, squid, literally. So search for dark, lot of optics and all my different content pops 

[00:11:44] Travis Bader: up. How do you come up with that name? The dark Lord of objects.

[00:11:47] Somebody 

[00:11:48] ILya Koshkin: called me that actually. Um, what was the guy's name west? I think we were having some sort of a profound, uh, argument on the internet forum on optic. Right. And as one does, yeah, this, this is going to sound very modest, but you guys will have to forgive me. I don't lose arguments about optics very much sure.

[00:12:12] For several reasons. Not because I'm that good because I don't get into arguments that I'm not going to win. Right, right. Uh, because I got to choose my battles. Uh, Wes felt,

[00:12:26] and as argument gets protracted, my natural dark sense of humor and cynicism kind of float to the surface. Right. So fel west felt a little bit wounded and came up with this dark Lord of optics because I think he made it fellowship, but he took it with a good sense of humor. And I thought it was hilarious.

[00:12:45] And somebody else started calling me that I said, oh yeah, I'll just do that. So I don't have 

[00:12:50] Travis Bader: to, do you remember what the 

[00:12:52] ILya Koshkin: argument was about? Yeah. And I can rifle sculps um, Wes, uh, mark and I were, are getting mark. Uh, he, unfortunately I'm still in touch with a guy, but he kind of deleted most of his online presence.

[00:13:06] Uh, loved Nick and rifle scopes. I did not like the low-light before months of those, because similar priced at the time Zeiss conquest was better and where skim up with a dark Lord thing. And, uh, the other guy says, you go descend into your a base, you know? Yeah. It is absolutely great place to check low-light performance and that's sort of how Steve rolled from there.

[00:13:33] We were all having an absolute blast with it, with the. That's 

[00:13:37] Travis Bader: funny. So we were also talking about any affiliations with any other optics companies out there, and you made it very clear that you aren't in order for you to be able to do what you do. You're not directly affiliated or sponsored through any, right.

[00:13:54] ILya Koshkin: So I cannot be sponsored by an optics company because I have to remain unbiased. And the reason why people listen to what I have to say in the subject is that I am unbiased. I'm quite friendly with good number of companies. And I rip them a new one at one time or the other, and most of them will take it like adults think it's instructive.

[00:14:17] Goodness. As men get better. Yeah. From a standpoint of, uh, monetizing my presence on the web. I gave it a lot of time. So my YouTube channel is monetized or though there's almost nothing there since so many guns. He use D monetized. Uh, I do have some affiliate accounts, but most of the larger companies, like if I provide those into, let's say brown, your Optech, I will make some small sort of a commission, but then very particular, I mostly deal with people who sell a large variety of brands, right?

[00:14:49] They don't care to commend and neither do I. The primary revenue stream for me is actually a subscription on my dark Lord of optics.com website. If you want to comment, there is a small payroll and going forward, I am planning to rely more on that than on anything else, because that way my loyalty is only to my audience.

[00:15:09] I don't owe anybody else. Anything. 

[00:15:13] Travis Bader: That's. So you lived in the Soviet union up to what? Age? 15. 

[00:15:20] ILya Koshkin: I came to United States in 1991 and finished high school in California? 

[00:15:26] Travis Bader: No. Okay. So most of your formidable years were spent over in the Soviet union union? Yeah, 

[00:15:32] ILya Koshkin: the first major world event I remember was a bridge near the general secretary of the communist party of the Soviet union dying in 1981.

[00:15:41] Then I was too busy being an obnoxious kid. And then I remember Chernobyl hit in 1986. And that was sort of around the start of the Perestroika. My formative years was essentially the collapse of Soviet union. Very memorable. 

[00:15:55] Travis Bader: Yeah, I'd say so there's some definite lessons to be learned by watching what happened.

[00:16:00] I don't 

[00:16:00] ILya Koshkin: know. I don't think we learned them very well. Not looking at what's happening 

[00:16:04] Travis Bader: now. Yeah. Yeah. I'd have to say. Yeah, interesting without delving too far into the, uh, the political realm, but 

[00:16:13] ILya Koshkin: that's another podcast right 

[00:16:14] Travis Bader: there. I think so. Yeah. You know, the Silvercore Podcast, I started this as a way to share positivity within the industry and to highlight people who have a passion for what they do and share that passion with others.

[00:16:27] And I have no problem talking about different political things that are going on. I always try to highlight it with like, what, what can we do moving forward? Or what can we do in a more positive light? Cause I don't know too many problems that were solved just by sitting in a basement and complaining about them, that, 

[00:16:45] ILya Koshkin: um, health attitude, the problem with talking about politics is it's, uh, it, uh, soon enough all other conversations stop, right?

[00:16:57] The only thing I can say that's short and fundamental is it stop trying to make the world better, make yourself better? 

[00:17:07] Travis Bader: I like. 

[00:17:09] ILya Koshkin: I like the whole problems start within. When you give up on making yourself and people around you better and start solving problems, you have no reach or impact understanding of, and that probably translates to the vast majority of problems we have.

[00:17:28] Now. 

[00:17:30] Travis Bader: That's probably the most concise I've ever heard. My fundamental thoughts on the issue made. I don't think I could have said that in such a short snippet, but that is that's very true. The more you want to change things that are happening outside, the more you start applying your value structure on to other people and putting your expectations as to how it should be solved without introspectively looking at how you can make things better yourself.

[00:17:57] ILya Koshkin: There's that, but there's a lot, there's a lot more to it. Um, we have a drive to feel good about. And then, uh, by that same extension, it's much easier to feel good about yourself. If there is no way to evaluate whether you did anything good or not. And if you're protesting global warming, poverty, monk, penguins, and Antarctica, or something like that, do you feel good by protesting, but there is no actionable way to measure if you made the difference.

[00:18:28] So you get to feel good without producing any results. The closer to you are the things you're looking to change, improve, whatever, use the word, the verb that agrees with you, the more actionable things are. And the more likely you are to be disappointed with your efforts. Yeah. Okay. That's a good point.

[00:18:49] We should be doing things that we can see, feel, and touch and be ready to be disappointed because it'll make her a better man. 

[00:19:01] Travis Bader: I like that. Well, let's talk a little bit. Upticks. Let's talk about w from a very broad, general sense. Cause I know we're going to delve into this from a more technical aspect of things in a future chat, but what are some of the more common misconceptions in optics that you hear you find?

[00:19:26] And that's, that's a massive open question. 

[00:19:28] ILya Koshkin: Yeah, let's see.

[00:19:38] So there are a few years ago started writing two books, one of the politics, one on this rifle scopes, and I've been kind of, I decided that instead of publishing them, I'm going to convert them to a bunch of essays. And that's one of the things that goes out to my website bit by bit times just started doing that.

[00:20:00] The biggest single biggest, most fundamental. Problem is that, and this is driven by rifle, scope, marketing, really all by document, whatever else is that we spent too much time worrying. What's inside that thing. What kind of lens it has, what kind of coaching it has are, what kind of metal it has, what kind of what, and these are things that are easy to talk about, but it's very hard to ascertain whether any of that makes any real practical difference.

[00:20:31] If you really want one concise thing, I think of a rifle scope or binocular as a spotting scope as a black box, something is going in, something's going out how Ian it gets converted to our should not matter to you as long as what comes out is good enough. Uh, so think, uh, and this is, uh, once again, this, my background is, uh, making some stuff.

[00:20:58] How do you test a rifle scope? Take a rifle scope. You put a camera behind it, you project some reasonable image at it. That's you know exactly what you're projecting. You take a camera. Hopefully the camera is very high quality so that it's not corrupting the image. And you look at the image that comes out.

[00:21:17] The image that comes out is what matters, what the rifle scope does. There's a bunch of lenses in there and all that. How exactly that image gets massaged makes no difference. All of them phrase it, it makes a difference. Makes no difference to you. The details of what happens is that they're intellectually interesting.

[00:21:36] They're interesting. From a technical standpoint, I can't explain most of them to you in a way that we will truly understand. Now, you think you understand that you don't, they're not that difficult, but they really weird optics is a very strange science because you can't really touch and feel it right.

[00:21:54] Mechanical engineers going to optics. It takes them a couple of years to change their mind. Because you can use your intuition does not work in optics if you are a mechanical guy, right. Without some background, but we all understand what an image is because we all, or most of us, everybody who uses the rifle scope has eyes and can see let's talk about that.

[00:22:13] Right? Sure. And we all understand what an image gets, right? That's this rifle scope holds zero. Is the image pleasing it, dealing with it by not colors, is the image pleasing. Does it give me a headache? You have to think about it in terms of output, not in terms of what's inside the box. Does that make sense?

[00:22:35] It totally makes sense. 

[00:22:36] Travis Bader: Yeah. So it would be kind of like. Getting glasses, right. Prescription for one person, I don't wear glasses. I put them on and they're not going to work for me. So what could be pleasing to my eyes or pleasing to somebody else's eyes could be two very different 

[00:22:50] ILya Koshkin: things. It's rather simple.

[00:22:52] Yeah. There will be some differences. Right? Uh, but you know, nice rifle scopes will be nice for nearly everyone. They are designed for a broad range of human eye conditions and the IPS can adjust for it. But when you start trying to figure out what exact kind of lens material was used inside, and I see this all the time, people on forums go, readopt something on shot websites.

[00:23:12] Oh yeah. This rifle scope is amazing because it uses this type of glass and this type of glass or this type of glass, absolute bullshit. You can barely spell the word glass, not just the type. And it makes, and they only think they know about it because somebody told them, oh yeah. When you use this glass, it's amazing ads nonsense.

[00:23:30] It's amazing when the image that comes out of it as good that's. If it stays zeroed the radicle doesn't move on the recoil and the image is good enough for you to see really well without eye fatigue. Then it's amazing. If somebody comes up and is able to do this in a rifle scope with every lens is made out of cheap plastic and the image looks good, you should buy that.

[00:23:49] One's going to be cheaper. And the images in the image is good.

[00:23:54] Travis Bader: Reticles moving. Do you find that happening too often? And most modern rifles skills. I know some older ones that I've worked with. I see radical moving, but those bottom ones seem to be meet. 

[00:24:06] ILya Koshkin: Yeah, pretty good. It depends on the price. The nice scopes are they're robust, uh, some inexpensive scopes, not so much, but then there's also always a sample to sample variation.

[00:24:16] There's a, there are quality control issues and you will find some stuff that shifts around. You will also find things that, uh, break in. I'll give you an example of. Uh, vortex strike Eagle five to 25 56. It's about self harm bucks. So it's not a cheap school, but not a very expensive one by modern standards.

[00:24:39] Um, it's a nice scope overall, but you know, whenever you think that vortex, uh, a lot of people have accused me of, uh, uh, getting, uh, preselected samples from manufacturers, right. And tested to be good. And they are not always, and also whenever I recommend the scope, then I get my hands on a few more that who bought through retail channels and double-check, but then you have, so vortex sends me this strike giggle.

[00:25:02] I start doing a tracking test and I'm adjusting vertical tracking. And when I'm two meals up, the radical moves left, I go three meals up and it comes back and the regional adjustment line. Right. Oh, interesting. And, uh, that's where it helps. I know how it's built. There is a pressure pad that sits in the rector tube.

[00:25:20] They must've been in the non-uniformity there. So I sit in front of the computer and spent 10 minutes twisting journals, uh, charity. And this deviation goes away, but the reticle did move. And if you did not spend the time figuring out what it actually does, and you decided to go shoot the competition with it when adjusting to mills your radical jump left half a mil.

[00:25:44] Travis Bader: That's interesting. So I've never actually, so I'll do a scope break-in which for me really is just me turning the turrets on the thing, counting how far it goes and checking it out. That's about all I do when I break in a scope, I don't know. Is there much more, that really goes into that process? 

[00:26:04] ILya Koshkin: Yeah.

[00:26:04] You'll have to S you have to look where the point what's happens to the point of, uh, aim and point of impact when you do this. Right. 

[00:26:11] Travis Bader: So, okay. I took that as the logical step within the, the, the twisting and turning up and down. So I 

[00:26:19] ILya Koshkin: do this thing. Uh, that is sort of the first thing I do with a lot of scopes, eh, because it gives me a good idea of, uh, uh, if I'm going to other, if there are any obvious problems, right?

[00:26:33] That's subtle problems, but are there any obits problems? Um, uh, zero it, right. I get excited and get some ammo and uncle always could use some, uh, bench practice. Anyway, I do this from bench approach, shorter round adjust, one mil up, shoot another round, one mil up, shoot another round until I essentially run out of paper.

[00:26:54] Every one meal, every two meals I get to the top. Then I just done one bill. And every time I make one shot, I go up and down a few times. So every morning the region I end up with a three or five or four, whatever amount of am I head shot groups. If I did my part, and this is once again, this is also my shooting practice Eve.

[00:27:14] I did my part. I should have roughly the same size group lined up vertically one minute. Okay. What does does, um, sometimes adjustments have histories as meaning adjustment op is not the same as adjustment down older scopes did this a lot. You adjust, then you shoot them that settles a little bit. It moves, right.

[00:27:33] And you will scopes. Don't do this as much, but I do run into this. Uh, I do run into this occasionally, right? So it tells me what happens when you adjust up, tells me what happens when you just down. It tells me if there any lateral wandering, and that does happen, not just with vortex strike Eagle. I've seen this with a few scopes here and there.

[00:27:51] Um, it kind of gives me an idea of what I'm dealing with. If, if the scope passes this with flying colors, I'm unlikely to run into mechanical issues. Right? So that's sort of the first thing that I do because it gives me a lot of. Different things any directly translates into the way I should. What I normally should almost never dial for when I called for window elevation.

[00:28:16] So work out the elevation church, quite thoroughly, the windage store at NAVAIR don't care. I check it because other people want me to, but the way I shoot other than zeroing and never touched the windage dirt. 

[00:28:29] Travis Bader: Interesting. Not even from making compensation for a spin at diff at distance, 

[00:28:36] ILya Koshkin: no bullet dredges, the reticle holes.

[00:28:38] Okay. So I prefer, well, okay. Assuming electrical I'm using cards, reticle holds for it, but yes. 

[00:28:45] Travis Bader: Well what, what's the preferred F and everyone's got opinions on this, right there would they like, as their preferred, uh, radical that they're going to be used. Some people just love the full-on grid or a Christmas tree, you or some people want something that's really fine.

[00:28:59] W what do you like, what do you typically like to see? 

[00:29:02] ILya Koshkin: Well, so I'm very fortunate in a sense that I occasionally designed radicals for. So I get to use the radicals that I like because I designed them. Awesome. Um, a good example of the type of radical I like. And so in every new design I do is slightly different.

[00:29:18] They all kind of carry some of the same themes, but then I look at the market response, use it to change something. A couple of years ago, I designed a heretical for a company called March, uh, scopes. It's a nice high-end Japanese company, the radicals called F M L T R one. Okay. So it's a tree type reticle, uh, cause a slightly more prominent primary aiming point, you know, kind of seduction in the center.

[00:29:43] And then a lot of people like I don't like ultra small dots. I think they disappeared a little bit too easily against complex backgrounds. It does have a tree, but I sized that tree so that when you're below 10, 11 power essentially disappears, it looks like a much simpler reticle. Interesting. So I made the tree fairly thin, so it's quite unobtrusive.

[00:30:07] I like three radicals. I liked some abbreviated grid radicals. Um, I don't like ho so they could essentially three radicals are the Horace radicals, right? They're basically a mosquito net designers were dream and mostly useless. Um, there's, I've done videos on this. If you want to, that's a separate conversation.

[00:30:29] There is a ton of things that are wrong with them. The guy who convinced the us military to use them as a world-class snake oil salesman and, uh, most chorus designs, in my opinion, take a good idea and then extend it to the point where it becomes a bad idea. Interesting. Want a good grid type radical Schmidt and vendors.

[00:30:49] G R is a good example. I did some very clever thing. Once again, the radical detail, radical discussion as a whole video, but I basically like somewhat compact three, three agreed type radicals where on lower magnifications the three other grade essentially fade out and you rather than distraction. 

[00:31:10] Travis Bader: Got it.

[00:31:11] And would that be your biggest, uh, negative point that you see about a horse style? Radical is just that it's just too distracting. Uh, 

[00:31:19] ILya Koshkin: oh no, God, no, that's just the beginning. Um, uh, several, uh, several, if you want to go there now. 

[00:31:25] Travis Bader: Sure. I want to hear 

[00:31:26] ILya Koshkin: so when you design a reticle, what are you looking to achieve?

[00:31:35] What are trying to get? What kind of functionality are you looking to build? And the catches you have to build in all the functionality that you need and none of the functionality that. And once again, that's a, I like these simple, somewhat from the mental phrases in case you didn't notice. Right. Uh, try to define it's a fundamental principle in the short way.

[00:31:59] And this is the most fundamental thing I can say about radicals in your long range shooting. How many times have you used the radical to hold 30 Millar agent holdover? I haven't. So why do so many chorus radicals, extended grid all the way down to the Logan notification that just looks, it looks like mosquito net 30, 40 million agenda.

[00:32:22] Travis Bader: That's a good point. Probably from a marketing standpoint, central 

[00:32:27] ILya Koshkin: market's great. All them Monday night quarterbacks in bold ninjas. Look at us. Oh yeah. I can shoot a testicle off of, uh, off of a mosque oxides in Alaska while I'm an Oregon, you know, it's does not need to be there. And it is district, you know, Since then they'll put a normal rifle, scopes, a virtual or rifle, scopes have some sort of distortion as you start going away from the center.

[00:32:51] And you're kind of like setting for the edges and the centers different. We all dial it in for the center, right? Not want to use the radical holes that would require different paradox compensation. That's a good point. We want to be aiming that far away from the center, right? Practical terms that the 50 million radio for most schools, it varies from school to school.

[00:33:14] And when you move you're on loan modification and exit people as big, when you move your eyes behind the scope, you will see all the edges kind of swim and distort like almost like a, um, fishbowl effect. Right? Right. Notice that that stuff is there. That effect is not particularly distracting. Unless some income Pope decided to extend his reticle all the way to the edges.

[00:33:36] And now the lines of the radical it's supposed to be straight, all look like waving crap. Right. And you will see nothing else. You will just be like. Right. Okay. That is distracting. Yeah. When you are taking a quick glance at heretical, there has to be center primary aiming point, and your eye has to be drawn to that.

[00:33:55] When you look through a Horus radical Egypt denied tremor three, or God forbid, tremor five, uh, when you glance at it, where's the primary aiming point. What's somewhere in there. Right? Right. Where when you haven't slept for 36 hours, can you pick it out in one glance? You can't. 

[00:34:18] Travis Bader: No, it's, it's a little 

[00:34:19] ILya Koshkin: bit of surgeon.

[00:34:20] Okay. Correct. So you want and low magnification. So when you are using, and then on top of it, right. So if you're shooting far away and it requires 20 million agent of holdover or whatever else, okay. You're probably going to be on somewhat high magnification, except with the, if you're trying to do 20 million region with a radical, you have to dial back on magnification because when you made the Reginald.

[00:34:43] Travis Bader: Right. 

[00:34:44] ILya Koshkin: So why is it there? And if you're trying to keep the unification comparatively high, so you just see the 20 million radiant holdover point, you're aiming with the edge of the field of view. How are you going to spot something if you missed? And I guarantee if you are doing 20 million region of holdover, that is a really good chance.

[00:35:02] You cannot miss and have to correct. See that in the edge of your rifle scope. No. So you'd have to drop a notification even further. Right? Right now, everything is waving distorted, and you could don't see your target as well because you got gaming with the wrong part of the image, 

[00:35:20] Travis Bader: scope manufacturers and Ms.

[00:35:21] Love you. Oh, so you brought up a term, which, uh, people who've used rifle scopes will understand some people who might be getting into it might not be. You talk about parallax now. Uh, On the side of some scopes, you're going to have a parallax adjustment. And some people will call that they're focusing on.

[00:35:44] They say, Hey, I just bring it into focus. And some people say, no, no, no, it's a, it's a parallax thing. I've heard some say you have to gently move your head back and forth and watch that reticle to see where it's moving in, adjust that parallax knob until the radical deviates, the least amount, which is difficult without inducing other movement on the, um, on the scope.

[00:36:04] And some people say if it's in focus, you're good. Uh, what, what are your thoughts about, 

[00:36:11] ILya Koshkin: uh, yes. And all of the above, uh, depends on what you're looking to do depending on how big of a target you're shooting, uh, site focus or paradox, not easy to focus. Knob rifle scope has three optical systems in it.

[00:36:23] Objective, erector and IPS. Right? There are two focal planes front for co-parents second focal plane for most long range. Precision scopes these days, uh, in front of focal plane, clearly. Uh, so let's say you have your reticle in the front focal plane and it's fixed to the front of your Eretria tube and it's fixed in place.

[00:36:45] It been scores up and down when you adjusted with a digitalization, but front back it's fixed in place. The way optics work, the objective of the rifle scope is kind of like a camera lens, right? When you're looking at an object, let's say a hundred yards away, the objective creates an image at a particular spot behind it.

[00:37:05] We want that spot to be where the reticle is, so that the image created, but objective as a super imposed on the radical. Okay. So you adjust your side, focus, snob and what it does. It moves the image that's generated by the objective lens, front and back a little bit for enough movement. Okay. Now you've switched and you're looking at something that is 500 yards away.

[00:37:28] And when you look at something that's further away. If you did not adjust your site focus, snob or whichever focusing method, you have the image more forward a little bit. It's no longer superimposed the reticle. And now when you move your head, the radical superimposed on the image. Okay. So focus in parallax adjustment are functionally the same thing.

[00:37:50] So then you go to your site, focus now and adjust that very slightly and it physically moves location that image and superimposes on the superimposes, that image and the reticle. Again, you with me 100%. Excellent. All of that works if you just did the IPS correctly, 

[00:38:09] Travis Bader: right? 

[00:38:11] ILya Koshkin: Okay. So the site focus, essentially it just the objective lens or the rifle scope to super impose the image on the radicle while the IPS focus, adjust everything.

[00:38:23] That's uh, everything is behind the radicle sorter so that your art. Is looking at the spot where the radicalism focus. Right. Okay. Did you have, you have to set up your IPS correctly and there is a couple of methods to do that. If your IP is set up correctly, from the standpoint of the site focused dirt, the sharpest you mentioned was Al will also be the one that's superimposed in the radical, you know, we'll give you minimal paradox.

[00:38:55] Travis Bader: I love it. So when people talk about a parallax free scope, there's no such thing would there be, or I guess if it's at a set distance, you could say everything at this distance. Yeah. So 

[00:39:06] ILya Koshkin: you can say that, um, some scopes will have very high, uh, depth of field. Okay. Right. The greatest depth of field of any conventional rifle scope.

[00:39:16] I know all of you as a Canadian should be proud. Uh, what the hell is that thing?

[00:39:29] Tangent theater. I had a couple of them here just a moment ago. 

[00:39:33] Travis Bader: Good. Old hands and feta. 

[00:39:35] ILya Koshkin: Uh, you day like misplace a $5,000 school.

[00:39:47] So here's a tangent data. Five to 25 by 56 is cause the greatest depth of field of them all. Interestingly, uh, interestingly, when the score has very high depth, the field, it's actually harder to figure out where that focus is perfect, but now the are was, is not going to be very large the way it's, uh, the way this thing is designed.

[00:40:08] Okay. If you're shooting bench rest, you need it to be perfectly dialed out. If you're shooting objects of finite size, let's say metal plates. That's not what we're talking about, but let's say metal plates. Uh, your error is likely to be with it. Okay. So for example, with all that, my danger dangerous that I use, and I use a lot of different scopes.

[00:40:31] So when you see if you in front of me behind me, I mean, I'm doing a comparison right now on some fancy 50 millimeter scopes 

[00:40:41] Travis Bader: who we grow. There's a couple of bucks. Hey, 

[00:40:46] ILya Koshkin: uh, that's about 20 grand on a truck to drop that. That's okay. On the one of them is mine.

[00:40:57] Travis Bader: Hold on. There we go. For the list. As you can see this, uh, Ilya just held up a bar with what was it? Was there a 

[00:41:04] ILya Koshkin: seven on there? Six rifles, scopes, tangent theater, us optics, Steiner, Schmidt, them bander March. And did all, this is the religious direction. The rifle scope. Yeah. Zeiss is supposed to becoming shorter 

[00:41:18] Travis Bader: when you deal with that much.

[00:41:21] Oh 

[00:41:21] ILya Koshkin: yeah. Uh, I just sent one back there. Yeah, but anyhow, so to get back to their original depth of field conversation with danger theater scopes, if I'm shooting further out, I essentially just, uh, uh, set the parallax in the three to 400 yard range. I never have to mess with it. So the paradox is never perfectly Del dog, but it's good enough where I can keep hit the small things and I can transition between targets quite quickly.

[00:41:50] One of the strings let's have tangent datas and quite a few like his accomplice. Good. And, uh, Minox a few others, but the agent is the best at that. 

[00:41:59] Travis Bader: I'm trying to say like by a measurable amount or are we just talking, but 

[00:42:03] ILya Koshkin: I can see it. I can measure it. And this Delfield has other advantages for shooting in strange air and stuff.

[00:42:12] Travis Bader: Um, so stranger, you mean just like more particles float in the air? 

[00:42:16] ILya Koshkin: Uh, when, uh, so I have more experience shooting when it's hot and not super humid because I live in California now. I live in New Mexico. Yeah. Um, once in the civic show, I've had a bunch of fences, 56 millimeter scopes. I started looking at them with a PRS buddy of mine.

[00:42:31] And so we're looking at them and they look good in closer distances, close to distant tangent theaters. It doesn't have the highest resolution contrast to call. They're very good. Um, then we start looking further out and the it starting warming up and Niraj starts popping up at 6, 7, 800 yards. And looking at the target through that neurotic tangent, uh, aged out other scopes, and the difference became Opus and that's depth of field and, and, and, uh, um, the ability to rent a color color is very important.

[00:43:02] So just in terms of how we perceive images, 

[00:43:06] Travis Bader: but that's going to be pretty subjective to 

[00:43:09] ILya Koshkin: yes and no. Uh, how was he? Color's a little bit subjective, but we all see color. And a color is a huge component of how we understand images, right? Um, if you have an image that's super sharp, but the colors are a little bit blend.

[00:43:29] It is super sharp objective that can measure it. But in terms of how sharp it looks to your eye, it will frequently lose look, especially under difficult lighting conditions, less sharp than ultimately lower resolution image, where the colors pop more, right, because of how we perceive. So something that's not well covered in the industry is that how we see things is more about the brain than the eye, as far as far as the camera and go to the eyes, a very primitive camera.

[00:44:02] What is remarkable is how well our brain makes sense of those things. Right. And we have no idea how it does it. We have no means to replicated within the machine vision world. We sort of give up and trying to understand how human brain does this. And we've gone off on a different tangent trying to make automated machine vision cameras better, but the way we are doing this as glued different than the way our brain does it, no idea how the brain gets an image.

[00:44:30] So remarkable out of such a primitive camera as a human, right, right. Big part. We know of how the brain processes, this is color information. One of the big reasons you use your lose, your visual acuity as the light drops is that all of a sudden, you see colors, a look less and a rifle scope that has good enough contrast to maintain some semblance of color vision into lower light levels will look markedly better than objective is sharper imaging optic that does not pertain the view ability to see color and to as late of a, as late of a light, uh, It's a little bit light environment.

[00:45:10] Right. Okay. Makes sense. It totally a hundred percent. Absolutely. Excellent. So, 

[00:45:18] Travis Bader: uh, so when you talk about the IPS being set up and, and the parallax being dependent on the IPS being properly set up and we're talking, I guess we're adjusting the diopter on your scope. There's a few ways to do it. How often do you find people are incorrectly adjusting that diopter?

[00:45:38] ILya Koshkin: Oh, how much of your audience do want to lose? 

[00:45:45] Travis Bader: Maybe we saved that for the, um, uh, for the next podcast. We get a little bit more technical. 

[00:45:51] ILya Koshkin: No, nine out of 10. Really actually did a couple of videos on YouTube on how to focus, how to focus rifles, go by pieces. And it's different for front vocal pen versus second focal plane scopes.

[00:46:03] And it's different for conventional rifle, scopes versus low power variables. It's not markedly different, but you're trying to achieve a slightly different effect and there are different priorities, but that is a fairly lengthy conversation. 

[00:46:16] Travis Bader: Well, tell you what, if you want to get those links over to me, I'll put them in the description so people can just go straight over to your YouTube page.

[00:46:22] Uh, 

[00:46:23] ILya Koshkin: I will, uh, dig them up. I need to redo those videos. They're fairly old, but it's just me sketching things in front of the whiteboard, but they should be legible enough. 

[00:46:34] Travis Bader: Well, so light gathering. So there's, there's a lot of people that talk about the whole light gathering myth. When I asked, is this something we got what?

[00:46:44] A maximum of eight millimeters for the human eye to be able to actually accept.

[00:46:53] You told me about this. 

[00:46:57] ILya Koshkin: Okay. So in Mong, the very vast field of marketable bullshit out in the optics industry, that's one of them. Uh, everybody goes, all right, I can only dilate to seven millimeters. And because of that, uh, exit pupil, that's more than seven millimeters. Doesn't do anything for you. Ass nonsense.

[00:47:21] First of all, um, some people I can dilate the 12 millimeters they're young and have large eyes sunken or Deloitte, much. As you get older, your ideal elation ability for your eye to dilate goes down. That's why you lose the ability to see at night, uh, your ability to have, uh, your eye of your eye. People to contract also goes down.

[00:47:44] That's why you can see things up close. I don't know how old you are. Travis. 

[00:47:49] Travis Bader: 44 as of 

[00:47:52] ILya Koshkin: the same age, 45. So you're beginning to see some of those wonderful effects. Um, I started a couple of years ago, almost cried my eyes, but, um, uh, we don't know, basically we don't know, you can kind of measure how far your IPO dilates, but what kind of light conditions and dilates onto how dark it needs to get.

[00:48:17] And then your eyes are wonderfully dark adapted, and you look at your rifle scope. There's an image, looks a little brighter and there's something bright in it. That's far away and immediately, uh, IP will contracts. Again, it changes all the time, but the way your eye works, it doesn't elect to be fixed in one spot.

[00:48:34] So if you have a large editor for your eye, if it's forced to be fixed in one spot, it gets tired really fast. It likes to move around. And as it moves around that, essentially think of it as almost like snaps images and construction. That's one of the things that helps. Uh, brain to see much better, so larger exit people can be helpful, but in the rifle scope, exit pupil is a large exit.

[00:48:58] People means lower magnification magnification also helps you see, right? So there is a balance and it's going to be different for different situations in different environments. Hmm. Okay. Uh, light gathering by itself as an godawful term, uh, because your rifle scope does not go start walking out of the metals and gathering light.

[00:49:18] Uh, there is an objective lens day immature and everything that falls on that objective lens from whatever field of view your are dealing with, which is the magnification, uh, enters into the rifle scope. Some of it last, you have the reflection of different surfaces, sketching, a little bit of absorption and stuff like that.

[00:49:39] And most of it makes it out of that. Okay, so it doesn't gather anything, but you do have a larger collecting aperture than your unaided art, right? So this is, I have this danger data here, 56 per meter objective. Right. If you have it sitting, let's say on, I don't know, uh, for, for the ease, let's say I've got it sitting on 23 power.

[00:50:10] Right? So that means I have two millimeter exit pupil, right? Yeah. So all of the light that got into that rifle scope, uh, got, uh, barring some transmission losses through the, through the scope gods to your eye, but here's the catch, right? So your objective lens diameter for most of the magnification is stays the same, but on lower magnifications, there is more light.

[00:50:36] It's collecting it from a wider angle. You feel the views, right? Or lower modifications. Right. So it will look a little bit brighter, but no matter how you slice it, it's going to give you more light and more information than your, I need your day.

[00:50:52] Travis Bader: So if we were to, well let's, how would the iBox? So I remember there was a handhold. I was using one time and had a really large iBox on there, which I thought was desirable. I liked that it was easy to get clear glass from a, from a large distance. Is there a drawback to having a large iBox other than perhaps a cost of making these sort of things?

[00:51:15] ILya Koshkin: Yeah. Every time somebody says I box, I imagined this wooden box full of guys. I hate that term, but I don't have a better one. I, uh, I often say I really flexibility, but I think I'm giving up and beginning to use iBox I read the box. Um, there is a certain re uh, range of, uh, positions for your eye that the IP is correct.

[00:51:37] And it's not shaped like a box, 

[00:51:39] Travis Bader: right. It's more clinical, right.

[00:51:45] ILya Koshkin: It's more like an ellipsoid action. Okay. Um, but um,

[00:51:54] nice designed IPS will give you better. iBox right. So there are trade-offs right. Everything in optics is a compromise. For example, you mentioned the scope as Eco's eco zero compromise optics, really nice, very, very high in the scopes that have done a very good job marketing themselves. And the company has done a very good job marketing, but the scopes market themselves, why they are designed.

[00:52:19] So they're extremely forgiving to get behind. And all of the user controls are really well done. Small calibrated, no sharp edges, just a great user experience. Objective, if you looked at the images, very, very good, but let's say attention to is obstacles. In my opinion. So the guys I'm friendly with the guys at Z comp.

[00:52:36] Every time I say that, I think they're about to have an aneurysm, but so far nobody died. They're good people. I like them. They don't like it when I say that, but to their great credit, they still talk to me. Right. It just speaks well of them. There are companies who no longer do, uh, to get that super forgiving IPS, uh, uh, I box, they ended up giving up a little bit of field of view.

[00:53:02] The image looked huge because of how the IP stands field. The view is, is a bad mid-pack for fancy scopes, for example, right? That's one of the compromises. You do not have to make that compromise too much. I just started looking at the latest vortex razor, a gen three, six to 36 by 56. It has extremely forgiving iBox Adams has rather than wide field of view.

[00:53:27] So they changed something in design, right? Every time they come up with a new design, the compromise gets less restrictive. Um, really, really nice scope by the way, uh, amazingly nice. Give her what it costs. Um, but my significantly better than I expected, I'm friends with a bunch of people at vortex that told me it's going to be very nice.

[00:53:50] I told them they're full of shit. I'm looking at it. Those Besters were right. It is a unusually nice for what it costs. They wouldn't be able to keep them in stock for a couple of years, at least. But then, but I digress. So that's the, there are compromises, uh, to the iBox their regional rifle scope. That was the most forgiving of my position.

[00:54:13] Wasn't did the hand salt, uh, one of my favorite designs overall, it's still the three to 12 by 56 cents sold. I thought it was a wonderful scope. Yeah. Um, but, um, it's also easier to do when you have lower magnification larger. That's a good point, add lower erector ratios, menu, the ratio between a high, low magnification.

[00:54:33] So all of those help, but a lot of it is just good design

[00:54:40] and technologies move forward. Right? So I mean, w what I was going to just mention with the same Hensoldt right. The saw the cancel doesn't care about civil and market, and it's, they develop a scope for the military. And while there, then they'll sell it to civilians the latest and greatest, not that new anymore is a three and a half to 26 by 56.

[00:55:04] Right. And, uh, when it first came out, it was $7,000 and everybody was running around saying how wonderful it is. Uh, you know, that's, that's either people who haven't seen it to people who justify. Shelling out seven grand, right? It was built for a particular purpose. They had to make it very short. Um, the elevation, it has to have a lot of adjustment image.

[00:55:27] Quality is not that great compared to the speaking. It's not as easy to get behind as the older simpler consults. And the church is unadulterated crap because the military forced them to stick with 18 minute radiant and the comparative small dam or the tourists. So the clicks are not that distinct.

[00:55:44] It's, well-built, it's robust. It's good for the constraints, the food on it. But if you are not operating with the same constraints, the military wants you to very short. So they put a clip on in front of it and all that sort of stuff. The German military, if you're not operating with those constraints, you just wasted seven grand and you'll go buy something else for less money.

[00:56:02] Right. Right. But here's a confirmation bias for you. If you, people who bought them, they went around saying how wonderful, how amazing this thing. Because if you just spent seven grand, what else are you going to say? You're 

[00:56:16] Travis Bader: not going to turn around and say this piece of garbage, unless you got lots of money, 

[00:56:19] ILya Koshkin: not a piece of garbage.

[00:56:21] No. It's w if you're operating within the constraints that were in that large tender, that it was designed for, it is a very impressive effort. It's not that great of a scope for the rest of us. 

[00:56:34] Travis Bader: Well, with constant advancements in optics and scopes, I mean, everyone looks like they're a lot of it's marketing from my perspective.

[00:56:42] And from talking to you now, uh, integrating electronics within the scope, whether that'd be illuminated reticles or like, uh, uh, laser rangefinders or, uh, levels digital levels to tell you if your level or not. Is there anything that is being currently marketed that you think is like, what a gimmick? And is there anything that's kind of really getting you excited that, uh, the optics world is, is moving to.

[00:57:11] ILya Koshkin: Uh, the other things that are interesting and within those that get mix, um, I've been looking a lot at thermals and clip-ons and stuff like that. That's sort of my field of expertise, right? So I've spent a lot more time with thermal imagers than everything. Anything else? Some of them are still orbiting the earth and looking at your license plate.

[00:57:29] Uh,

[00:57:34] a lot of, uh, gimme craze in the marketing. I have to say a lot of the gimme Curie is in, when you start going into electronics, you have this tendency to put everything and the kitchen sink into the wifi ser the 28 different versions of Bluetooth plea porn from your cell phone as you're looking for the school, but I don't know what else to do.

[00:57:57] Right. All that crap just drains the battery really. Uh, but a lot of it is useful innovation and the market will eventually kind of filter through all the nonsense. I think I eliminated radicals that there stayed the most exciting thing for me is the active, radical stuff. That's going to make a huge difference.

[00:58:20] Uh, vortex, just, I think one or $2.8 billion contract for the next, uh, NGS w rifle scope, uh, look that up. Uh, it's a rifle scope with integrated laser range finder, a normal radicle and an active projected radicle. So that I think is all the information that's publicly available. So I can say more all the select obstacle integration makes a ton of sense when you can overlay some sort of projected reticle features that reflect the ballistic solution.

[00:58:51] When you can combine a normal fixed, radical to use normal conventional shooting with a active, actively controlled projectors radical that's when you have something special, because then everything else, all your Clevelands, all of those sorts, other things can easily, uh, fetal on there. Right. Right now, for example, I'll give you an example.

[00:59:10] You have, let's say you're hog hunting at night, right? You have your thermal clip on, in front of the rifle scope. You can only look through the clip-on. If you have your laser range finder built into the rifle scope. Normally like, actually, like a lot of them are now no longer works because it doesn't see through the clip-on.

[00:59:29] Right. Right. Okay. So while this new solution has an offset is a range finder that can see around the clip on whatever else. And it could project a ballistic solution radical. What if you extended it? Uh, what if you extended it further, you could, uh, use the next generation of this actual radical technology to project and.

[00:59:48] And, or just overlay an image on there. Now, your Cleveland doesn't have to be in front of the rifle school. Couldn't be on the side of the hand card, uh, more cited. So that will point you in the same direction and you'll use a normal scope. And at some point, whether you're kind of on a hand guard, you press a button and you just got your thermal image overlaid.

[01:00:05] Travis Bader: Very cool. 

[01:00:07] ILya Koshkin: Uh, I familiar with the Shiner a CQT, 

[01:00:10] Travis Bader: uh, I, I, I've not used one note, but I've, I'm somewhat 

[01:00:14] ILya Koshkin: familiar. So I saw I've played with it for quite a long time, but then I find the, remember that I have it and asked me to send it back. I'm a little sore about that. Uh, it's basically a combination of a normal reflects a site with a projected thermal.

[01:00:29] When you look a use the thermal optic, uh, you lose situational awareness because the image looks very different. And you're looking through this thing. CQT souls, the situational awareness problem. If you're going to be doing, using a fused optic for self-defense purposes, It's expensive, 10 grad, that's expensive, but it's basically reflex site that also gives you thermal.

[01:00:51] You can't hide from this stupid thing and you have not lost any of your situational awareness. You can use a magnifier with it. You can use a flashlight will work fine, you see it all, and you still have a little interesting it's, uh, you know, a really, really impressive effort. You know, it's going to come down on prices.

[01:01:08] They sure make more of them and all that. So these are the kinds of things that excite me that I find interesting. And most of them are in a fusion of a traditional optics with electronics. 

[01:01:21] Travis Bader: Um, so if you were based on the current market and you're telling somebody entry-level, let's say, and I don't know, price range, K keep it.

[01:01:33] What would you consider a good, rather than constraining you by the amount of money that somebody is going to be sending. Uh, what would you recommend somebody be considering when purchasing their first optic? And we'll break it into, let's say for a hunting optic and maybe something that's going to be used for maybe PRS 10 style shooting.

[01:01:53] Uh, so two different categories. 

[01:01:55] ILya Koshkin: So conventional big game hunting, 

[01:01:57] Travis Bader: right? Yes. 

[01:02:01] ILya Koshkin: Are they ever going to do PRS or other things? Is it the same person? Is it just the guy who's going to take out his rifle and go try to, uh, shoot a deer twice a year. 

[01:02:09] Travis Bader: Okay. Well, originally I was thinking like, you know, just the guy shooting, just a hunting and the separate one, but you know, you raise a good point.

[01:02:16] A lot of people will want an all-in-one thing that they can do their target shooting and their hunting with. 

[01:02:20] ILya Koshkin: Uh, that's actually not where I was getting, um, normal, uh, shooting at point blank distance. Well, you don't have to do hold overs and stuff like that. Most conventional context scopes will work fine, but if this is a guy who will spend most of his time shooting PRS through the year, then we'll go hunt in November.

[01:02:43] I would actually recommend some sort of front focal plane object in both cases so that he, because he will not resist the temptation to ask me how I know, uh, will not resist the temptation to use his country rifles, to shoot at ups in distances. Occasionally it happens, right? So the single choice for all of the above is the vortex razor HD LHD four and a half to 22 by 50 it's a front focal plane scope.

[01:03:06] It's under 22 ounces. And I have a rifle called the fix that I use for hunting and precision and everything. Uh, and the scope can do all of that, right? Because it's fairly lightweight. Most precision oriented scopes are our habit, but that's an example of what's. What's called the crossover.

[01:03:28] Uh, a rifle scope has been around for a long time. I don't think it's easily available in Canada, though. You may want to consider moving. Uh, it's an as WFA three to nine by 42, it's a front vocal pen scope made in Japan. Um, simple, robust, uh, really, really, well-made not super heavy, simple like meal scale radical.

[01:03:50] You can use the scope to shoot far away or just use it as a regular hunting scope. And it has a very good reputation for being robust about 600 bucks. That's a good price point. Uh, it doesn't do anything exotic. It doesn't have elimination radical. It doesn't, uh, shine your shoes. Doesn't tie your shoelaces.

[01:04:10] It's a, but it's a simple and robust thing. If you're budget for hunting scope, basically don't go super exotic. They've worked x-ray's edge deal HD that I was talking about as in the $1,500 range. Now, if I were just setting up a basic. Hunting a rifle. There are two options select the most, although that's not short of two options.

[01:04:32] One is that as WFA 3, 2 9 scope, just put it on and use that also to shoot far away, dial you hold where the article, if you want a more traditional second focal plane scope with some learning long range capability, vortex. HDL is the second focal plane scopes are under a thousand dollars in the U S three to 15 by 42 through the 15 by 50.

[01:04:52] And they are also reasonably lightweight, but nice Leopold VX five is in that same, uh, in that same conversation, uh, tracked toric three to 15 by 42. You're looking for the second or front focal plane scope, but about three or four on the low end. That's not too heavy. Right. And if I had to list all of them, if I tried to list all of them here, you will have enough material for eight podcasts.

[01:05:18] There's a lot of them. Okay. Uh, You pick one from the company that has good customer support and has good enough field of view. And that has heretical that's visible enough on low power. 

[01:05:31] Travis Bader: You know, I've, I've used a loophole my entire life, uh, like their scopes. And, but from the customer support standpoint, I got to say, vortex has been just phenomenal in the way that, I mean, you could be on Instagram and message them, and they'll walk you through cycling your rifle when you're, uh, on the range via messenger system, 

[01:05:54] ILya Koshkin: big players right now do have good customer support.

[01:05:57] And a lot of it was driven by the pressure created by waters. Waters has had that amazing customer support, arguably the longest. So they're better at it, but it's generally good customer support, right? Uh, across the board, there are some manufacturers still that insist on not doing this very well and they'll learn their lesson.

[01:06:20] Travis Bader: So have you ever come out and had just blanket warnings for certain types of optics, stay away 

[01:06:27] ILya Koshkin: all the Amazon brands fee, Archie monster from all that crap just don't do it. Yeah. I think of it this way. If they're selling a skull for 200 bucks and it has every feature known to man, if it sells for two current box, that means the retailer makes, I don't know, 50, 60 bucks on it distributor, another 50 bucks, then the manufacturer sold it to somebody else.

[01:06:54] So basically it costs 25 bucks to make. It has 16 optical elements, machined, aluminum jurors, all sorts of stuff. And it cost 25 bucks to make you going to trust that. Yeah, no, here's the catch. Every once in a while somebody will find a good one, right? Then he'll hit every forum saying that yay, my $25 or whatever it is.

[01:07:14] If you have any Russian audience, they will appreciate what I just said. Uh, Is just as amazing as the $5,000 Schmidt and abandon you overpaid by $4,900, right? It's you just got to have a good one and it will fall apart in you eventually, but since you will likely never use it, they'll sit in the safe to be pulled out and shown to unsuspecting victims.

[01:07:34] Occasionally it will never fail on you because you're never going to do anything with it. If you use it full buy, there are cheap, simple sculpts that have been made for a long time. Right? If you are in a budget, go buy burst fulfilled $250 made in the Philippines they've been making forever and a day it's cheap to make because the simple scope it is robust, right?

[01:07:55] For the mentally. There is these brands that are really crappy, have been weeded out from most regular competitive landscape. They go through eBay, Amazon, basically, they're trying to get to people who have not been around, got a world, a long enough goodbye. But if you stick with reputable brands or some of the smaller companies that were started by people from reputable brands, athletic will not as that small of a company anymore, good company case came out.

[01:08:28] Guys came out of Bush, not started their own. Do really well attract, attract optics, small company out of New York. Two guys from Nikon came out, started their own brand and amazing customer support. Good guys, small company really take care of their customers, uh, as WFA does very good job, but you know, we talked about war techs and loophole, uh, SIG changes stuff very quickly.

[01:08:48] Sometimes I don't know what to make heads or tails of. Okay. I'm not impressed with budgets. I scopes higher end stuff is good. It seems to be good budget stuff from Zeiss has so much variation that I don't know what to make out of it. Uh, Bush and other companies that are mystifying to me, that changing product quite so rapidly that for a guy like me, who makes her commendations it's totally useless.

[01:09:09] I can just look at the scope. States could not actually use these things and spend a lot of time. Right. If you're changing your product lines every year, I can't recommend your products because I don't have enough time. Right. By the time I'm done evaluating it, you just discontinue at it. Okay, great.

[01:09:23] That's helpful. Uh, so I look at stuff that's been a, that's been out in Maine for a little while where I've been able to, and if I recommend something, then I'll go and track. How does for people who bought it from American foundation. So I ended up with reasonably good feel of how the product performs.

[01:09:42] So you will not find the recommendations on my websites, uh, of something that just gets rotated every year, because I can't in good faith, evaluate the performance. There's a type factor too. Yeah, it makes sense. So look for things, either from very reputable companies, all look for things that have been made for a little while.

[01:10:04] Travis Bader: Well, on that note, is there anything else that we should be touching on before we start looking at rap?

[01:10:14] ILya Koshkin: We haven't talked at all about observation optics. 

[01:10:17] Travis Bader: We, didn't not one bet

[01:10:21] ILya Koshkin: by not killers and a spotting scopes.

[01:10:29] If you're a hunter or precision shooter, you should have a, by not a hundred percent. If you are primarily a shooter, you should be considering a binocular with a built-in laser range finder or a radicle, or both mobile barely exists. They used to be much worse. Now they're actually getting pretty decent.

[01:10:50] Okay. To be fair. I still hunt with a conventional binocular using vortex razor, Ugg 10 by 50 and a separate, uh, like a rangefinder . Uh, but I'm carefully investigating all the binomials with built in laser rangefinders and they get to increasing the better soon enough there isn't going to be. Penalty or not optics aware.

[01:11:12] I can just switch to that. They're already laser range finder binoculars. They do not have enough Pendleton optics, but they're very expensive. Like the, like, uh, three, two hundred.com $3,000, like a sort of size, but not goes with the integrated laser range. Finders are amazing. I might still pick one up, but for now I'm okay with the separate ones, 

[01:11:31] Travis Bader: but over the SIG, the kilos 

[01:11:34] ILya Koshkin: with this.

[01:11:34] So I actually use the kilo range rangefinder for quite awhile at the latest, a skill of 10 K uh LRF by not like I haven't seen yet. Yeah. So 

[01:11:46] Travis Bader: I've been impressed with their laser range finder capabilities, I think like has got better glass. 

[01:11:51] ILya Koshkin: Yeah, the LRF, uh, on seeks is very good though. The lack of has very, very natural Ahrefs.

[01:11:57] I mean, I just switched from a sick to like a dedicated laser range finder. Um, I can compromise in the binocular on this so much. And as far as the laser range finder works. So it kind of depends on what you're doing right for hunting. Do you really need to laser rate to laser that pronghorn at 8,000 yards now for longer in shooting, sometimes you want to be able to laser them into a ballistic solution fairly far out.

[01:12:27] Right? So from hunting for hunting standpoint, I, I am not really willing to compromise on the quality of the binocular doesn't. I'm going to spend a lot of more time staring through binocular than lasing stuff. Okay. And if the animal is 2000 yards away, I'm not shooting it at that distance anyway. Right.

[01:12:48] And better modern laser range finders will raise, will laser a large object at a distance. I know roughly where that animal is. I don't have to laser the actual animal just to being, uh, further than I can lays is already a piece of information. Good. So with the laser, I try and you can buy an ocular.

[01:13:07] There's up to a certain point. I'm not willing to sacrifice an obstacle course for comp for precision PRS use and stuff like that. Uh, get the high magnification, get a high-quality 15, 18 power binocular, because you'll be staring through this thing a lot and looking through things with two eyes as much less fatiguing than with one eye.

[01:13:31] And everybody goes, oh, it's not that bad. My eye will just rest. No, it takes a long time until you sleep. Your eye is not fully rested. If you're going to be glassing for a while and then shooting, you want to cut down a knife at you. 

[01:13:42] Travis Bader: So I, I always will glass with my, um, my left eye because I'm shooting predominantly right.

[01:13:48] Eye dominant. I do 

[01:13:49] ILya Koshkin: bless with a spotting scope. Yes. Yeah. Glass with binoculars.

[01:13:55] Travis Bader: So I'll, I'll do both by nose and spotting scope, but you'd say doing both eyes to restrain on both is better, is it? 

[01:14:02] ILya Koshkin: Yeah. So the, if you're only looking through the spotting scope, are you all right? I still straining less than the last it's still straining. Okay. Because remember it's the brain that's interpreting the images, right.

[01:14:16] Okay. Good point. Uh, my, what elk hunting in New Mexico. We never needed a spotting scope. Once we'll use 10 to 12 power binoculars, sheep hunting. We only needed a spotting scope to judge, uh, the horns for finding sheep and et cetera. If I wasn't going for the biggest stuff, I wouldn't need a spotting scope.

[01:14:42] Right. But fifth generation power binoculars that a couple of people had ended up being extremely useful. Okay. Um, by. Bye high-power by an, on a tripod is quite a remarkable tool. You you'll be amazed in how far you can see with what you don't think as much manifestation. Um, if you see powered by an ocular will generally over any length of time will give you a better image than comparable quality at 2223 power spotter.

[01:15:13] Travis Bader: Interesting 

[01:15:15] ILya Koshkin: last week for everyone with this trade-off this, uh, is a little bit different for everyone, but that's the ballpark. I did some tests a little while back, uh, on, uh, 20 power by not killers versus 15 power binoculars versus a spotting scope. Uh, the 20 power binoculars had 56 millimeter objectives.

[01:15:33] So there's the pupils got a little bit too small for me glassing off of the tripod, 15 to 18 powers where the sweet spot was. Okay. I could see really far away with not that much effort. You're going to go through the glass for a long time. 

[01:15:45] Travis Bader: Interesting. Let's weaken the pack, which is nice too. 

[01:15:50] ILya Koshkin: Now if you are Traficante, you really need to look at antlers in animal ease indeed far away.

[01:15:56] The spotting scope might not be a bad thing, but, um, I'm probably a less experienced hunter than you are. So use your best judgment, but if I'm dry or riding around in a four by four and ATV or something like that, I'll, I'll happily have a spotter in it, but I'm not going to hike with it up here. 

[01:16:17] Travis Bader: yeah, she punting I'll bring the spotting scope for just making sure you're making that legal shot, but you're right.

[01:16:23] The majority of the work is done with your, your by knows. 

[01:16:27] ILya Koshkin: And it's another thing, if you think it might be taking a longer shot, right? If there's a lightweight scope that gives you a mobile notification and it's a very high quality scope, is that a spotter right here is. Uh, that's a March five to 42 by 56.

[01:16:47] Really amazing obstacle quality look heavier than I want on the sheep rifle, but it's, uh, it takes less weight to put this on a nice long range rifle than to carry an extra spotter. That's a good point. It goes up to 40 power. 

[01:17:02] Travis Bader: Yeah, that's a good consideration. 

[01:17:04] ILya Koshkin: Right? So there is more than one way to skin.

[01:17:06] A cat, um, spotting scopes do have their place, but for me, that place is not in my backpack. I did not get fat by doing unnecessary exercise. 

[01:17:20] Travis Bader: Right. So you're usually using your spotting scope, the range 

[01:17:25] ILya Koshkin: on the range all the time. Yeah. Um, but when I'm shooting a yards and stuff like that, when I'm doing precision stuff, like.

[01:17:35] And not magnification the rifle scope. So I'll use a spotting scope of him setting up behind the shooter. If I'm shooting with somebody, I set up behind them. When I look at the trace, that kind of stuff, I'm not going to set up my rifle behind somebody shooting. It could be, I mean, I'm cocky with it, but the guy in front of my 

[01:17:49] Travis Bader: rifle might be, might not be.

[01:17:51] What are your thoughts on those core spotting scopes? 

[01:17:54] ILya Koshkin: Um, the balance again, I'm a shooter, not, not a birder. I will not buy a spotting scope without a radicle. Okay. If I am spotting for somebody, I need the radical to call out corrections. If I'm trying to find something, I can use the radical for quick range estimation.

[01:18:13] Since I'm not trying to distinguish a, kolibri eating a mosquito, uh, three miles out, the radical does not get in my way. Colwell doesn't like guns. So they refuse to put the radical in their raffles, in their spotting scopes. Yeah, 

[01:18:30] Travis Bader: unfortunately, well, And so what, what radical spotting scope, uh, are you currently using?

[01:18:39] ILya Koshkin: I use an Athlon, uh, S uh, UHD Athlone Kronos. Uh, they have a, kind of a field spotter with the radical. I helped them conceptualize those radicals. So they work well for me. Very nice. If I could afford it, I'd be using a consult it's even expensive. Uh, there's another spot or coming out to the market soon.

[01:19:06] They haven't announced it yet. Which if all goes well, should work kind of like the canceled for less money. I might pick that one up. Okay. Um, so it's going to be interesting. Uh, vortex razor has a radical IPS for the 85 millimeter spot. It's actually quite nice. Uh, for quite a while I used the. Um, Swarovski S T R spotting scope with a projected, uh, eliminated radical.

[01:19:36] That was very, very nice. Let's just sold it in used Hensoldt for a while. I think Hansel had better that the field a little bit better. Okay. Both are very nice expensive though, right? Yeah. In practical terms, the one I use the most is the Athlone era's a UHG and I have a, I think it's a 22 power IPS for the radical, and that's basically enough for my purposes.

[01:19:58] I don't really need more than that. And it's small and light and I could move it around easily and we find one to more of a field support or take something into the field, actually use this guy. This is also. This is a Kronos, it's a seven to 42 magnification, 50, 60 minute Metro objective module. It's not the most amazing school, but it is quite good, but because it goes down to seven power, I can use it as a handheld monocular wouldn't I need to, right.

[01:20:28] So I actually use this quite a lot. That's good enough for my purposes.

[01:20:35] Travis Bader: Well, I think we've, uh, we've kinda covered the broad gamut about you, your background, about dark load of Octa XR, calm. Uh, it gives people some food for thought when thinking about a rifle, scopes and binoculars and spotting scopes. Um, I think, uh, from a, a more technical in-depth sort of standpoint, I would love to, to, uh, do a deep dive into some of the optics and, uh, how they work and how people should be setting them up properly.

[01:21:07] But I think that's something probably safe for, uh, for a future. 

[01:21:11] ILya Koshkin: Food for thought, go shoot. Just shoot. If you don't shoot, you do not know what you need. Shoot in different lighting conditions, shoot from different shooting positions. Get off the bench, shoot with the rear of the rifle on support. It will change how you look at rifle scopes.

[01:21:40] Yeah, it will put sitting, standing kneeling fraud, supported rear supported, learn to shoot with a sling undershoot prod with a sling, learn to shoot kneeling with a sling that supports you slightly. If you're basing your rifle scope decision based on, uh, if you're basing a rifle, scope decisions, primarily on shooting from the bench at a hundred yards, you're doing a troll.

[01:22:10] Travis Bader: Yeah, there's a hell of a lot more to it than just that the 

[01:22:13] ILya Koshkin: choice over a rifle scope is primarily driven by the application. Not by the gun. You have it sitting on. Like I keep on hearing this nonsense thousand dollars. God need a thousand dollars scope. No bullshit. The scope has to be matched to the targets.

[01:22:29] You're shooting. How far, where you're shooting them with lighting conditions, you're shooting them with and the requirements for the iBox meaning shooting positions. I have not said anything about what rifle it's on. I've had $5,000 rifles rifle scopes on $500 rifles. They were quick if you only shoot off the bat, you can put the $500 scope in a $5,000 rifle it'll work.

[01:22:53] Great. Okay. It's not about the rifle. It's about what you do with it. That's how you choose a scope. 

[01:23:03] Travis Bader: Thank you very much for being on that social core podcast relief really enjoyed our conversation and learned a lot. 

[01:23:12] ILya Koshkin: Oh, excellent. Nice conversation. I reckon we should do this again.

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