Trusted Tools for Battling Bulls

Aside from escaping the daily grind, part of my mission during this elk adventure was to test EOTech’s XPS-2.

As a military-proven combat sight, I was confident its rock-solid design could withstand unforeseen Rocky Mountain punishment and help me get on target in the moment of truth. However, elk hunting with a rifle is commonly a distance game, so it wasn’t until I spent some quality time at the range with this sight that I trusted in its long-range capabilities.

I seated my EOTech on an XS Sight Systems custom Picatinny rail atop a Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle chambered in .308 Win. Yes, EOTech sights are primarily known to accompany ARs. But for nostalgic reasons, I personally wanted to take my first elk with a bolt rifle. The moment I shouldered the compact Ruger and squeezed its crisp factory trigger, I knew I had found my scabbard companion. An EOTech sits higher than most traditional riflescopes, so I ensured a consistent cheek weld by attaching a sleek Blackhawk cheek pad.

After testing five popular brands of big game ammo—all tipped with high-weight-retention bullets—I selected Federal’s 165-grain Trophy Bonded Tip. This round is known for reliable expansion and deep penetration, which are all key characteristics of a legit elk cartridge.

At 100 yards, I was punching consistent 1-inch groups from a bench with my rifle resting on sandbags. I had never considered shooting beyond 50 yards without magnification, but the tiny 1 MOA center aiming dot in EOTech’s A65 reticle makes it a cinch. When I extended my range to 200 yards, that’s where EOTech’s G33 3X magnifier came in handy. If you can’t believe I was able to put bullets within 2 inches of each other, I won’t blame you—but I have the paper to prove it.

The question remains: Is the EOTech an ideal rifle sight for big game hunting? I’d argue it’s a great fit if you’re planning to shoot 150 yards or less; add the magnifier and it’s a 250-yard sight. Most hunters never exceed those ranges in the field, and ethically, most shouldn’t without extensive practice and training. If you’re a spot-and-stalk hunter who often faces quick shot opportunities at closer ranges, the rapid target acquisition of an EOTech is unmatched. The more time you have to focus on a critter’s kill zone, rather than searching for the animal through a scope, the better chance you’ll have of making a sure shot.

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