Skimp on your rifle, but never skimp on glass. And if there’s one piece of hunting gear that matters more than any other, it’s not part of the weapon at all. It’s your binoculars.
From Maven, a small company in Lander, Wyoming, comes the 9X45 B.2 binoculars and they did not skimp.
If you’re a dedicated hunter, especially in South Texas or out West, you’re likely to spend a whole lot of time looking through the dual tubes, eyes pressed tight, fingers wrapped around the brim of your cap for support. You’ll be there not only in the constant search for game, but also to find where you can move to without prying eyes of critters that might alarm your prey.
Always fully observe an area prior to occupying it.
But if you really want to learn the value of good binoculars, don’t ask a hunter. Ask a birder. I was never much of a bird watcher until I went down to Costa Rica for a few weeks. After that, I was hooked.
With a solid set of binoculars and a field guide, sitting down under the cottonwoods in Big Bend National Park watching a host of feathered friends made the hours seem like minutes. Before you know it, the sun is setting and you still remember seeing that preening pyrrhuloxia .
Of course, binoculars are absolutely vital for the hunter as well.
I was both cursed and blessed during this review. I took the B.2 model with me on a South Texas rabbit hunt in hopes of bagging hasenpfeffer supplied by the report of Ruger Single Six.
Unfortunately, my hunt was the morning after a full moon, and the rabbits just weren’t hopping in the daylight after likely having their fill in the relative safety of the evening moonlight.
I did, however, see one small cottontail near the edge of a dirt road. I was watching it through the B.2s in the hopes of figuring out how to get close enough to take it with my revolver, when a flash filled the objective. A red tailed hawk beat me to dinner (and handily). All he left was bits of fur, and a heck of show.
Binoculars need to be light enough to wear all day. They need to be easy to handle and still rugged. Above all, they have to have a clear, sharp image that’s viewable even in the twilight.
The B.2’s image quality is shockingly good. I don’t mean good at this price. I mean shockingly good at any price. Crystal clear, edge to edge. The above image was taken with my phone’s camera held up against the glass. Those trees are about 470 yards away.
It makes no sense to me, since the lenses are both made in Japan and maybe even in the same factory, but there is a noticeable clarity difference between these and my Vortex Razor HDs. When comparing these to an old set of Bushnells, my Nikons, or a set of Viper HDs, there’s no comparison at all.
If those are the level of binoculars you’re used to, the Maven B.2 is a huge step up. The clarity and light transmission on the B.2 really is that good.
The Maven website states that the B.2 comes with an “Abbe-Koenig prism and an ocular field flattener.” I don’t know what an “ocular field flattener” is, but the Abbe-Koenig prism is a very well known type of roof prism long used in binoculars.
Its value is that it flips the image without significant light loss. It does, however, suffer from loss of contrast, but coating one of the lenses can fix this problem. Whatever the coating is that Maven uses and whatever an “ocular field flattener is” the results are obvious. Plenty of contrast and great light transmission that results in solid performance at dawn and dusk, when it matters most.
The B.2 comes with all the bells and whistles. Rubberized lens caps fore and aft. Neoprene neck strap. Lens cleaning cloth. Fancy double micro-fiber cloth carrying bag, that also doubles as a cleaning cloth.
The knurled focus knob moves smoothly with no catches or grit. It stays in place unless intentionally pushed, but moves easily with a finger and works well with winter gloves on.
The binoculars are supposed to be waterproof for thirty minutes in one meter of water. I just put these in the tub overnight. The next day, I hung them out on the clothesline to dry. After a day in the sun, I found they performed perfectly well.
The objective caps telescope out for use with the naked eye or glasses. I’ve had some binoculars, even some of significant cost, fail here. The problem is when any grit gets into the telescoping caps, they get stuck.
To test this, I opened the caps and firmly secured both lens covers. I then buried the binoculars in cedar mulch. Then I took them out and blew the whole thing off with an air compressor. The telescoping caps functioned just fine, and after a quick wipedown, they suffered no grit or loss of function.
The base color scheme of the Maven B.2s is a bit flashy. Grey and silver and bright metallic orange, they definitely stand out. For deer and most game, that won’t matter at all. For birds, it very well may. But you don’t have to settle for stock.
Maven allows you to build your own custom optic by choosing your frame, magnification, and the ability to completely customize the color of each portion of the optic. If you want a particular version of camo, it’s available.
This version is the 9X45mm, but you can also choose the exact same B.2 model with either a 7X or 11X magnification. The 7X is $50 less, the 11X is $50 more. Want them engraved? That’s available on every set of binoculars.
The Maven B.2 excels in every aspect, with the exception of weight. At 33.3oz, they weigh slightly more than the larger and similarly priced 10X50mm Leupold Santiam 10X50mm binoculars, as well as the 42mm and 50mm versions of Vortex’s Razor HD line.
The B.2 comes with Maven’s “unconditional lifetime warranty.” According to the website:
All Maven optics come with an unconditional lifetime warranty. If your optic becomes damaged or is at all defective (not including deliberate or cosmetic damage that does not hinder product performance), contact us immediately for repair or replacement. We don’t care where or when you bought it or if it was your fault or not – if it says Maven, we will take care of it.
I hadn’t had the chance to spend much time with Maven’s products until readers asked me to review some, and I’m glad they did. The B.2 is a strong entry into a very full market, and would be welcome around any serious hunter’s neck.
Specifications: Maven 9X45 B.2
Size: 7.1 in.
Weight: 33.3 oz.
Extra-low Dispersion ED Glass
Waterproof and Fog Proof
Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
Price: $1,000 (as reviewed)
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall **** 1/2
Exceptional glass, smooth and solid controls, and wide customization options make these optics outshine more established brands. They are a little heavy, but otherwise the Maven B.2 perform on par with any binocular set at any price.