Testing a product in the field or at a range can be challenging. Finding quality time and the right place to complete a good review of a shooting product makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes a last-minute trip provides the perfect opportunity to put a product through its paces.
I was fortunate to be able to travel to South Carolina and McConnell Hall Shooting Preserve recently. Along with a couple of deer hunts, I was able to break out the Trijicon ACOG and a complimenting 1X Red Dot for a wild boar hunt on the last day of my business/pleasure trip.
A wild boar hunt is an excellent opportunity to test equipment. It’s difficult to simulate quick target acquisition under pressure and making an accurate shot. Testing a product in real-time is a great experience.
I was scheduled to travel back home Friday evening after a long week of meetings, planning, and a little South Carolina hunting fun. This particular Friday morning Richard McConnell and I positioned ourselves in a perfect blind to have an opportunity at a huge eight-point white-tail buck we saw earlier in the week. It was a cool and overcast morning. Muzzleloader season just opened a couple days earlier and he outfitted me with his personal rifle. If you haven’t shot a muzzleloader, it’s a trip. The 50 caliber bullet doesn’t travel very far…maybe 125 to 130 yards max and there is serious drop at that distance. The recoil is firm, but not excessive.
To make a long story short, we saw our huge eight-point buck at about 125 yards at day break. He was grazing in the grass at first sunlight, turned broadside and I took the shot…and missed. The bullet had to go just under his belly. I didn’t compensate enough for the distance. Of course we walked down to the area to see if I got him, or worse, wounded him. As we approached the target area there were no signs of blood. As I looked up, I couldn’t believe my eyes; the big-boy white tail buck was only about 20 yards away from us and thankfully looked unharmed. He decided to leave the scene of the missed shot, white tail and huge eight-point rack bouncing off into the woods. (We did see him again later in the day none the worse for the experience.)
So, after missing the shot and getting over my disappointment we decided a hog hunt would be appropriate since the muzzleloader shot probably made deer hunting this morning much more difficult.
I broke out the ACOG, mounted it to the AR-15 in a matter of less than a minute. Using my LaserLyte boresighter, I zeroed the optic in at 100 yards in about 3 to 4 minutes total. I zeroed in the 1X optic at 50 yards at the same time. I didn’t have time to fire off any shots to make final fine-tuning adjustments. I had to trust the boresighter and the quick adjustments I made with the ACOG. I have to say, the small adjustments with the Trijicon were very easy and quick.
Richard had to run a couple of errands after our white tail experience. He suggested I take the muzzleloader with me just in case I saw the big white tail while I was out and about. He directed me to a stand on the top of a rise with a great vantage point for wild boar and deer. It was about a 500 yard walk from where we were to the stand.
I made it through the horse meadow, past the mare horse pen, and the tower was in sight, about 250 yards away.
I was walking very quietly with the muzzleloader over my left shoulder, and the AR-15 with ACOG on the rail in my right hand when I walked through a slight bend in the path and saw some movement about 40 yards ahead. The black movement startled me a bit. It was about seven or eight hogs right in front of me. Damn! I wasn’t expecting to even see one this time of day. They were either very busy eating, or I was very stealthy on my approach. I would bet they were busy eating as I’m not the smallest or stealthiest guy especially carrying two firearms. They didn’t spot me but I needed to get a shot off quick before they scurried away. I shouldered the AR, looked through the ACOG with both eyes opened, put the illuminated reticle on the largest hog and pulled the trigger.
Pig down! One shot…a few seconds into my hunt, and BAM! Score!
I noticed I did shoot a little higher than I wanted. It was operator error on this shot though. I didn’t compensate for the close yardage and using 3.5 ACOG Scope. The adrenaline, the surprise, the excitement got to me a little. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good shot, but if I was a little more experienced with the ACOG, I would have been able to get a more accurate shot off for sure.
I turned the AR slightly on the next shot on another hog to use the offset 1X red dot at this close distance and another pig down! This time I was able to use the correct optic for this distance.
I stood there for a few minutes trying to take it all in since it happened so fast. I was so pumped. Both optics performed superbly under stress. What a great combination, an ACOG along with an offset 1X red dot.
I did keep going to the tower stand to see what else I could see and figure out what just happened. It was still early and I wanted to experience the ACOG optic and hunting a little while longer.
As I sat down in the stand I immediately saw another group of about five or six hogs off to my right, about 150-200 yards away. A very large male hog stopped in an open path. Again, I quickly moved the AR-15 into position, put the ACOG red illuminated reticle right on the kill-zone and pulled the trigger.
Another pig down.
It must have been the overcast morning. There were so many hogs out and about this overcast day. I was amazed. Richard told me there was another hunter on the property about a mile away and saw similar activity. That hunter got a hog with a bow and arrow. Mine with an AR and ACOG. The abundance of wild boar this morning was the luck of the draw I suppose.
We don’t have many feral hogs in the Northwest. I have to tell you, for my second day hog hunting ever and first time seeing them, I had an amazing experience. I was able to forget my missed shot on the buck…for a while anyway!
This is a field review of the Trijicon ACOG of course, not a hog hunting article, but I have to tell you the clarity of the glass on a heavy overcast morning was awesome. The quick target acquisition from about 40 yards to 175 yards was amazingly simple with the illuminated reticle. Mounting the optic and making the adjustments for accuracy is very easy.
I didn’t realize how critical clarity of the glass can be until you need to pick up a target very quickly and make a split-second decision to pull the trigger.
The Trijicon ACOG optic is definitely going on my Christmas list this year! Now, what 1X red dot optic will I put with the Trijicon ACOG will be the next question!
If you have the budget and are looking for a great fixed optic, I would put the Trijicon ACOG at the top of your list. Teaming this up with a quality 1X red dot is a formidable combination!
The Trijicon ACOG has a long history and great reputation. The outstanding reputation is well deserved.
I’m still replaying the missed shot on the huge eight-point buck in my mind! I’ll be back for more wild boars and that big boy white tail soon! I hope with my own Trijicon ACOG and not just a test unit. I wonder if they make one for a muzzleloader? Maybe I would have a nice trophy buck right now if I used the Trijicon!