April 16, 2020
The evening sun glinted off the distant paddles, twin cream-colored beacons floating above a sea of willow. He appeared big, but at maybe two miles it was hard to make out the bull’s size. One thing was certain: The moose was coming to my veteran guide Lucas Lougheed’s cow calls.
With each stride, the bull covered 2 yards. Before long, he was within a quarter mile of our elevated shooting position on the flank of a jagged mountain. Although the bull was within range, Lougheed cautioned against pulling the trigger on a 1,500-pound animal so far from a river. “Trust me,” said Lougheed. “If you shoot him there, we’ll spend the next 3 days packing meat. Wait until I call him to the riverbank.”
Just as predicted, the bull kept coming. In response to Lougheed’s nasally call, the bull would grunt ooh-waw, ooh-waw, with every second stride, each growing louder until the hulking mass disappeared into a thicket beneath our perch. Although no longer visible, we could see trees sway as the testosterone-crazed bull thrashed with his mighty rack. Suddenly, he appeared in the middle of the river with raging water flowing past his chest. When his hoofs hit the riverbank, I eased my safety forward and settled the crosshairs on the largest game animal I’d ever seen.
Two days earlier, I was in a floatplane as it hummed a monotonous tune above the endless boreal forests and mountains flanked in tundra that has never been stamped by a Vibram sole. We were over the southwestern Yukon, a land as primitive and wild as it is big. Larger in size than California yet home to only 40,000, the Yukon has one of the lowest human densities on the planet at .18 people per square mile. (For comparison, California has nearly 40 million residents.)
An hour into the flight, the pilot pointed to a murky turquoise ribbon on the horizon. Our landing strip was the Donjek River, a tributary of the Yukon River that drains one of the largest wilderness areas on earth. After landing on its glacial waters and taxiing to shore, I pried my hunting gear and Blaser R8 rifle from the cramped fuselage and set foot on one of the world’s last frontiers. From here, Lougheed and I would ply remote rivers and muskeg swamps for a shot at the largest member of the deer family — the Alaska-Yukon moose.
While success on a hunt hinges on many factors, nothing rivals the confidence of knowing a once-in-a-lifetime-shot will go where it’s aimed. After arriving at a small plywood cabin 80 miles from the nearest road, I reassembled my rifle, set it against a table and prepared to check zero. Imagine the pang of horror I felt as my rifle tipped over and impacted, scope first, onto the planks of the cabin’s floor. Uh-oh.
I was in the middle of nowhere on a hunt of a lifetime and I may have just broken my scope.
Fortunately, my Blaser .30-’06 wore an optic from a company that knows a thing or two about durability. Trijicon’s newest offering, the Credo 2-10x36mm, is designed and tested to endure abuse that only the military and foolish hunters dish out.
The word “credo” comes from the Latin word for “I believe.” Each of the nine models, ranging from 1-4x24mm to 4-16x50mm, have been drop tested, shock and vibration tested, immersion tested and built to sustain Alaska-to-Africa temperature swings from -20 to 140-degrees Fahrenheit.
Modern scopes are tough, but that doesn’t mean they can withstand abuse. To check the scope for damage, Lougheed fired up the jet boat and ran a cardboard target 50 yards across the river. I settled prone and fired three shots through the Blaser. To my surprise, the first 165-grain Federal Fusion bullet landed a quarter inch low. Two more clustered within a half inch, exactly where they should have. “Dead moose,” said Lougheed. “Thank God,” I sighed.
However, durability wasn’t the only reason I brought the new Credo 2-10x36mm on this adventure. Additional reasons were magnification range, turret configuration, reticle selection and illumination. The Yukon is home to giants, including grizzlies that have little fear of humans. In the rare event we had a bear encounter, my scope had to be usable at close range.
From the bench or an open ridge, high-magnification optics are amazing tools that allow pinpoint bullet placement. Their downfalls are size, weight and the lack of low-end magnification. For the moose hunt, I chose the 2-10x36mm due to its blend of size and performance. It’s compact enough to maintain proper balance on a lightweight rifle, enough magnification for distant shots and a 2X bottom-end for quick shooting. For longer shots, a 2-10X gives up very little, especially when it’s equipped with dialable turrets and a quality reticle.
Trijicon’s Credo 2-10x36mm features a capped windage and exposed elevation turret with 8 mils of travel per rotation. With my .30-’06’s 100-yard zero, 8 mils would provide enough elevation to just under 800 yards. The turrets provide solid clicks and track consistently. A zero stop prevents the shooter from dialing below their selected impact point.
Inside the scope, the Credo features a first focal plane (FFP) milliradians (MRAD) precision-tree reticle. This reticle provides 12 mils of elevation in half-mil increments and windage dots to compensate for wind. Since it’s FFP, holds remain the same at any magnification setting. Unlike many reticles that are complex or busy, Trijicon’s MRAD reticle is clean and crisp — and useful! It was perfect for this hunt.
Despite their advantages, FFP reticles have one issue: at low power, fine reticles can be hard to see. This is where the Credo’s CR2032 battery-powered LED illumination comes in. On low power, adding illumination ensures that the reticle is visible. Ten illumination settings and an off position between each allows the scope to perform from dusk to dawn.
When my shot in the Yukon occurred, the sun was still above the horizon, so I didn’t utilize the Credo’s illuminated reticle. Instead, I followed Lougheed’s instruction by pasting the reticle on the bull’s massive neck. His goal was for the moose to drop on the spot, which would make processing the huge animal easier.
From high on the bluff, my SIG Sauer KILO2400 ranged the moose at 238 yards. Holding a few inches high to compensate for bullet drop, I applied 2 pounds, 3 ounces of pressure to the Blaser’s crisp trigger. Bang! Before he took a step, I yanked the bolt rearward and shoved another round into the chamber. At the second shot, the moose hit the ground.
Approaching the fallen bull, I was shocked at how much larger the Alaska Yukon subspecies is compared to moose I’ve hunted in British Columbia and Newfoundland. Each hind quarter weighed 125 pounds! A single backstrap contained more meat than a whitetail doe. It was impressive.
The 10-year-old bull was a fighter who lived and died in a harsh, beautiful environment. Nearly every muscle was bruised, beaten and punctured by the antlers of rivals.
After using (and abusing) the Trijicon Credo 2-10x36mm in the wilds of the Yukon, I returned home impressed by the optical quality and performance. From its clarity to the usefulness of the MRAD Precision Tree reticle, the Credo has a host of features that standout in a crowded field. This is a lot of scope for $1,400, but my favorite attribute of the Credo can’t be found on a spec sheet.
What impacted me most was the scope’s ability to withstand the jarring drop I inflicted on Day One. After witnessing that, I have complete confidence in the Credo’s ability to deliver a bullet exactly where it should go.
Trijicon Credo 2-10x36mm
- Power: 2-10X
- Objective: 36mm
- Tube Diameter: 30mm
- Elevation Adjustment: .1 mil per click
- Windage: .1 mil per click
- Reticle: Illuminated MRAD Precision Tree
- Length: 13.1 in.
- Weight: 1.43 lbs.
- Eye Relief: 3.4 in. – 3.9 in.
- MSRP: $1,400
- Manufacturer: Trijicon, 800-338-0563, trijicon.com
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