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Leupold Gold Ring v. Mojave Pro Guide

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2016 at 20:32
duke76 View Drop Down
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Hi everyone.  A few years ago when I was an urbanite my new pair of Leupold Gold Ring 10x42 binoculars were liberated from my truck by one of the local inner city Democrats.  I'm no bino expert, but those were the nicest binoculars I've ever had and I loved using them.  I saved for a while to get them and at the time they cost me around $700. Naturally, once they were stolen in 2012, I discovered Leupold did not make them anymore.  And of course, they never turned up in the pawn shops and were never heard from again.

So I bought a cheap pair of Vortex to get me through a Texas deer hunt and they were ok but not nearly good enough for me to count points clearly at 100 yards or beyond.  After searching and failing to find a used pair of Gold Rings that were affordable, I landed on the Mojave Pro Guide HD 10x42 for around $330 new.  The reviews were really good on them so i bought them.

So my question is, are these new Pro Guides as good as the older but more expensive Gold Rings? Meaning, are they generally as clear or bright?  I ask because my memory of the Gold Ring's view was that they were more crisp and bright than the Mojaves.  I have the chance to get a used pair of Gold Rings that are fairly affordable, but don't want to spend anymore money if the reality is that they're no better optically.  I also know that we tend to look back fondly on things we used to have and build them up to be better than what they were.

Your wise input is appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2016 at 21:50
WJC View Drop Down
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Just a couple of points, and welcome.

Leupold didn't make them. They had priority but didn't manufacture. Any given Asian bino might come into the country under a dozen names, differing only in that name, cosmetics, cost, and perhaps AR coatings. Seven hundred dollars will outfit you very well. You can spend MUCH more if you want bragging rights, but to me, that's wasteful. Your best bet is to find not the best bino, but the most reliable vendor.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 06:35
duke76 View Drop Down
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Do you mean Leupold didn't make the Gold Rings or the Mojaves?  I've researched on this forum and others where the sweet spot is in value, and it seems that you pay around $400 to $500 for decent binos, then if you spend $1,000, you get slightly better -- maybe -- and then to get any noticeable improvement beyond that you have to spend nearly $2,000 on Swaros or Zeiss.

I can't justify $2,000 on binos as that's about half of a good deer hunt if the difference is more about cork sniffery.  But if say a $1,000 pair of Trinovids is noticeably better than the Mojave Pro Guides, I might spend that.

My memory was that the Gold Ring 10x42 were all the binos I would ever need.  And for some reason, the Mojave Pro Guides don't seem quite as sharp or bright.  But I could have a faulty memory.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 08:55
JGRaider View Drop Down
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duke, we can get into a huge conversation on where various binoculars are made, and some will surprise you quite alot if you knew (Zeiss Conquest HD made in Japan for instance).

I own the GR HD's and still consider them superior to the Mojave Pro Guide.  The GR optics are a bit sharper and brighter to me, and the build quality of the GR is superior.   Something about the feel of the Mojave makes them feel cheap in my hands.  

I am an optics junkie and must say that the new Tract Toric UHD 8x42 that I received 3 weeks ago is the best binocular I've personally used  or owned under $2000.   I've compared them to the GR HD, Meopta Meostar HD, SLCneu, SLC HD, Conquest HD, and Mojave HD like the one your asking about.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 09:01
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http://www.samplelist.com/Binoculars-C3392.aspx

This is one of the hidden gems of SWFA, www.samplelist.com


They have a huge selection of demo/used binos and you can pick up a steal.


Several comparable bino's on there to you're older GR that would fill the void for good value.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/02/2016 at 10:48
WJC View Drop Down
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 Do you mean Leupold didn't make the Gold Rings or the Mojaves?  

Yup. that’s exactly what I mean. There are a few specialized military binos made in the US, but there hasn’t been an American line of CONSUMER binos since shortly after the Second World War, speculation and embellishment of that speculation notwithstanding. Yes, that includes Bushnell, too! Dave was a guy with a degree from USC in Foreign Commerce, not an optical engineer or tech.

During the war, binoculars were manufactured by:

—American Optical

—Anchor Optical

—Bell & Howell

—Hayward Lumber

—Honeywell

—Kelvinator

—Kollsman

—Nash

—Nash/Kelvinator (after the merger)

—National Instruments Corporation

—New York Film Corporation

Pioneer Instruments (A division of Bendix Aviation)

—SARD (Square D)

—Spencer Optical

—Universal Camera Corporation

—Westinghouse

—Wollensak, and

—who knows who else ….

That’s a pretty impressive list. Yet most, if not all of those companies, were under subcontract to Bausch & Lomb, or perhaps the Washington Navy Yard, the name of which was changed to the Naval Gun Factory in December 1945.

I can't justify $2,000 on binos ...

Nor can most others, unless they have bought into the wall of speculation that has been erected over the last 70 years. The reason? So many things the speculators like to speculate about are well below their personal threshold of recognition. In other words ... they can’t really see the difference (although they’re quick to tell others they can)! But then, cash registers ring much louder on speculation than fact.      

My memory was that the Gold Ring 10x42 were all the binos I would ever need.  

I don’t doubt that’s true. The thing for you to consider is that there are dozens of binos out there that will make you just as happy for about the same price.

—Find, and test, a bino that you feel will fill your needs.

—Check for references on DURABILITY and LONGEVITY.

—Check for price.

—Check on the Longevity of the importer. *

—Check on the quality of the vendor’s customer service, including return or repair policies.

* A name that was once your assurance of quality may no longer do so. With competition so keen, many fine names have those names emblazoned on some pretty mediocre instruments. Don’t buy the name; buy the product!

Beatle, Paul McCartney, was once asked what kind of bass strings he used—after all a Beatle MUST use the best. His response:

“Long, shiny ones.”

If you don’t need bragging rights, you’ll do well to develop the same philosophy.

I did a piece on binos for the 2011 gear issue of Deer & Deer Hunting; it might be helpful.     



Edited by WJC - September/02/2016 at 11:49
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2016 at 11:47
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Todays equivalent of the Leupold Gold Ring is known as the Maven B1, which I recommend to you wholeheartedly  The B1 is a better glass and quite a bit lighter as well.  Both the Gold Ring and the B1 are/were made to Leupold/Maven design specifications by the Japanese firm of Kamakura.  Leupold has a significant design input with the Gold Rings.  The Maven uses a standard Kamakura outer body.  As far as I know, the Pro Guide is also a Kamakura Product.

I seriously regret selling my 8x42, GR, but the B1 I have is a better choice.  I had the Pro Guide for review, and while a nice compact glass, I concur with the statement that it is NOT a Gold Ring.  A better glass in the same body is the Opticron DBA HD, also a Kamakura product.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2016 at 08:02
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I have owned both the Mojave and gold ring. I actually bought the Mojave binos a few years ago when they came out and I hated them. I didn't like anything about them. They felt cheap to me especially considering there cost. I just purchased the gold rings brand new. I no leupold no longer makes them but I was lucky enough to find someone who had 20 brand new sealed in the box 7/12 switch power binos and I bought a set for $630. They are excellent. I like the glass, the weight isn't bad, the feel of them in my hands. Everything is great. The glass is the main component of good binoculars and I have owned them all. Swarovski, zeiss, meopta. I can't tell you that gold ring compared to them but for the price they are close to the best binoculars in the world.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/09/2016 at 20:00
duke76 View Drop Down
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Thanks guys for the helpful info.  I'll have to check out the Maven and Tract Toric models.  I wear glasses/contacts and do genuinely need the sharpness of good binos to count points and such when the deer are out 100 yards or more.  

I put myself through college working at a pawn shop and have value shopping basically bred into me.  I bought an older gold ring Leupold porro prism set of binos at the shop when I was a college student (20 years ago).  They were 7x35 I believe, came in a snazzy leather case and were literally mint.  I had never looked through anything other than Wal Mart special binoculars and I still remember how blown away I was by those things.  I could see heards of deer across fields up to a mile with clarity and crispness.  I stupdily traded them towards a gun or something.  Been trying to reclaim that "high" of great binoculars ever since then!

I've seen on eBay some green armor plated 10x40 Swaros that were porro prism.  They looked like cool military style binoculars.  And they were around $1,000 which is my absolute limit.  Anyone have any experience with those?  I dont mind the weight or size of porros.  And I would keep them covered in wet weather too since I read they're not as water tight as the newer style.
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