Intended for bench rest and F-Class rifle shooting, the Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class provides high optical and mechanical qualities, while dispelling the myth that claims that precision rifle shooting can be practised only with an expensive equipment
The Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class is a rifle scope designed for target shooting in the bench rest and, as the reticle name implies, F-Class specialties, but well suited to most static high precision shooting disciplines.
These are often considered expensive sports, but F-Class was born to the opposite purpose: its name comes from canadian shooter George Farquharson who, in his late years, tried to find a way to continue to shoot accurately despite his aging eyes and body. To do so, Farquharson added a scope to a TR rile, a bipod to steady it and a sandbag to rest the stock upon.
These were simple and affordable modifications. The new “Farquharson TR Class” or, for brevity, F-Class, became a standard class in itself to allow shooters to continue competing in Target Rifle specialties, even when age makes it difficult to shoot from your elbows a heavy rifle with iron sights. With time the F-Class became very popular among all kinds of shooters, more and more sophisticated components were introduced and, as it often happens, prices skyrocketed.
Fortunately, there is still no need to spend the equivalent of a citycar in shooting equipment to be competitive, and the Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class is here to prove it.
Advancements in lens coating processes, modern computer aided design methods and CNC manufacturing machines allow to reach the same quality of once extremely expensive scopes at a fraction of the price.
It is thus thanks to modern technology that the Latitude 8-32x60 has great optical quality: the 60 mm objective collects a lot of light and provides a good exit pupil and a luminous and crisp sight picture thanks to multilayered lens coating for best light transmission and elimination of any internal reflections that may induce glare or a hazy image.
Given that target shooting matches are held in broad daylight, one could surmise light gathering capabilities are not as crucial in a target scope as they are in a hunting scope meant to be used mostly in twilight conditions, but when you start talking about over 30x magnification, you see how quickly the exit pupil of a scope shrinks, and how important objective lens diameter becomes.
Large diameter lenses have always been expensive, the chances of a defect that would require the lens to be scrapped increasing with the square of the diameter, but modern manufacturing processes help keep defects to a minimum, with a positive effect on the finished product cost.
The 8-32 magnification range is best suited to target shooting where shooting distances can easily reach beyond 600 yards, allowing the shooter to select the best magnification range for each stage. The scope is internally nitrogen-purged, but this has become such a standard procedure, even in the lowest-end scopes, that it is almost superfluous to mention it.
Definition is super-crisp and without noticeable peripheral distortion at all magnifications, helping the eye of the shooter to look through the glass for a long time without tiring.
But glass clarity is useless without solid, dependable, and consistent mechanics.
Up until recently, the internal mechanisms of more affordable optics were made of plastic, or roughly machined metal that led to unreliability, inconsistency between adjustments, early wear of the mechanisms or all of the above. These problems were unacceptable in a match scope that has to be constantly adjusted for ballistic trajectory and wind compensation, and that has to provide repeatable, accurate adjustments: target shooting scopes were extremely expensive.
Again, modern technology comes to the rescue and, thanks to CNC machined parts, the Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class has precisely machined, all-metal mechanisms wich offer reliability, consistency and repeatability of adjustments, and a long service life in turrets that are continuously adjusted during a match.
The turrets feature neat clicks and can be easily zeroed by removing just one torx screw. A clearly readable scale provides information on the adjustment dialled in, while a zero-stop feature allows the shooter to quickly return the turret to zero.
It also has parallax compensation and even features an illuminated reticle (just the center dot is lit up).
While first focal plane reticles are today the most popular (mostly because military snipers prefer this kind of setup) they are not necessarily the best choice.
The reticle is a super-clean fine crosshair with center dot and is placed on the second focal plane.
First focal plane reticles have the peculiarity that the reticle is placed in front of the erector tube and thus is magnified with the sight picture, which is a very useful feature in a tactical reticle with range finding capabilities, as the proportion between reticle and target remain the same, but it becomes an issue on a target scope, where the shooter wants the clean, simple reticle to be as fine as possible: even the finest reticle would become too thick when magnified more than 30 times…
The 34mm tube allows for a lot of adjustment in the turrets, so that canted rails are not always necessary: the Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class has a whopping 110 MOA of elevation adjustment.
The Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60 F-Class offers the performance of a high-end scope, both optically and mechanically-wise at a price (MSRP is 960$ at the time of writing) that, while admittedly not by any means cheap, is still very affordable, in the original spirit of the target shooting category it is meant for.