The Retro Redfields
The Retro Redfields
The most fun Redfields ever produced add variety to vintage builds.
When the Redfield Gunsight Company purchased the Kollmorgan Optical Corp. in 1958, there really were no huge changes in the exterior look of the scope for decades. The Redfield would become known in America as one of the dominant U.S. scope brands, second only to Weaver. Even when they introduced their metallic silhouette scopes, widefield, accu trac and lo pro scopes, the fit and finish still spoke the traditional Redfield brand. Those scopes will always be treasured and coveted by anyone who hunted during the great American scope era of the 1960’s through 80’s. Redfields were the premium brand in the States. They were higher priced than a comparable Weaver, but still attainable for most serious sportsman. If you chose another brand, you did it only to save money.
Today’s Redfield scopes have an entirely different look, and are positioned to fit an entirely different market than the Redfields of olde. Somewhere in the middle though, during a brief period at the end of the Denver, Colorado era and continuing into the first of the models produced overseas, Redfield made some of the best scopes ever. I call them the Retro Redfields because of the cool red R crosshair logo that was developed at the time.
Those first Retro scopes added to their existing line the TX series scopes with their 27mm tube, included in the box 27mm rings, and side focus. If you’ve never used a TX-27, you probably shouldn’t, because you may end up wanting one for every hunting rifle you own, and there just aren’t enough of them out there to go around. The few people that purchased them during the short time they were made seem to have fallen in love with them. You’ll see them looking for the TX-27 on forum posts anywhere there are serious shooters. When you handle one it’s easy to see why. The side focus was a huge improvement over the objective adjustment. The optics are clear and sharp. And the scopes are as durable as you’ll find. The finishes were normally black satin duradize making them hunter-friendly and helping them match up well with the guns that were evolving at the time.
After the Denver plant was closed, however, the Retro Redfields went wild for little while, before burning out. Scopes were made overseas but you definitely couldn’t see a quality difference. In fact, quite the contrary, the gloss black, matte black, and silver Illuminators, Golden 5 Stars and Widefields will go down as some of the most collectible and useable scopes of all of the Redfield years. Their striking look transcends generations in rifles, making them look great not only on the guns of their day but backwards and forwards at least 10 years. All of the models scream “fun”, but all of them are also entirely practical. A 6x20x50mm atop a varmint rifle makes a striking build that will put the hurt on predators. A 2x7 Widefield on a Ruger boat paddle in .17HMR makes a compact little setup that begs you to pick it up and plink.
Are the Retro Redfields as dearly loved and respected as those made from 1960-1990? Probably not. But they are more fun; offer more variety, more options, more finishes, more versatility and a really cool Retro Red R logo. And if you are searching for an in-the-box model for your vintage build, they are easy to spot. The most beautiful Redfields ever produced came in the most ugly box they ever printed!