FAQ: What are CATS Targets?

As of now, CATS stands for Calibration & Training System.

Since long range shooting requires elevation and windage adjustments to accurately engage distant targets, it is apparent that a riflescope’s elevation and windage adjustment knobs have to yield precise and accurate adjustments.  When a rifleman egages distant targets and misses, he usually blames the ammo, the rifle and finally himself.  The riflescope is almost never looked at as a contribution to errors.

The rifleman has spent a lot of money on his riflescope.  He falsely assumes it is a perfectly calibrated optical instrument for shooting.

Since no low tech, affordable riflescope testing system existed in the public domain, Horus Vision invented CATS to fill the void.  CATS is designed specifically to be used at 100 yards/meters.  You do not need a 500, 1000, or 2000 yard/meter range.

In the course of testing and development, we discovered the CATS targets had additional value.  In addition to elevation and windage, you can identify problems with cant, run-out (the point on elevation where the scope no longer tracks perpendicular), and establish maximal elevation.

To learn more about CATS Targets, check out our videos…

 or read an in depth explanation here.



FAQ: What happens to dead donkeys in Australia?

Donkey Inspirational Poster
In response to last month’s article, I’m a Donkey Hunter, we have received a number of inquiries about the aftermath of a donkey hunt.  What happens to all those dead donkeys?

I first wanted to preface this question with a little background on feral donkeys in Australia. 

Donkeys originated from Africa and parts of Asia.  They were brought to Australia in the 19th century to provide additional options for transportation.  Horses were previously the primary use of transportation, but the unfamiliar foliage was poisonous and continuously making them sick.  Donkeys eventually replaced horses, as they were more resistant to environmental obstacles.

After automobiles were introduced in the early 20th century, donkeys were popping up in feral herds.  Many had been released to the wild or escaped captivity due to a lack of fences and started to become a nuisance.  

Today, there is an estimated population of over a million feral donkeys in Australia, which continue to destroy the environment.  Weed seeds are spread through donkey hair and feces, erosion is caused by donkey hooves, and overeating is depleting vegetation.  The donkeys are also spreading disease and competing for resources with livestock and domesticated animals.

Right now, feral donkeys are controlled with a number of techniques including trapping, mustering, aerial culling, on-ground culling, and fertility control. 

So now, what happens next?

I went back to our man, Bob Penfold, contributor of last month’s article, to get the 4-1-1 on dispatched donkeys… is it what’s for dinner

Bob Penfold on the Donkey Aftermath

That is the sad part about culling feral animals in the outback.  There are several problems.

We operated in really remote areas.  My wife had to drive seven hours one way just to buy groceries.  Much of the road was unsealed gravel surface, so it was a long, slow, and dangerous drive.

Horses are easy to skin.  The skin simply peels off the carcass easily and horses have lots of good meat.  They shoot them and recover the meat to supply crocodile farms.

Donkeys however are notoriously difficult to skin.  Their skin seems to be glued onto their body and it is a long and arduous job to get a skin off a donkey.

Donkeys are all head and guts, and have very little meat, so the exercise of trying to recover any value in meat from donkeys is simply not cost effective.

In any case, it would cost more to run a big refrigerator plant and transport costs to get any donkey meat to market than you could get for the meat.

So… While we used 300,000 rounds of ammunition and killed 50,000 donkeys, 10,000 horses and a bunch of feral camels we recovered no meat.

You should consider what the word “conservation” means.  It really means “wise use of a naturally renewable product.”

Think about this… When hunting deer, I never take any of the offal home with me.  We have lots of friends in the bush, including animals, such as foxes, dingoes, carrion eating birds, and even insects that rely on us feeding them, especially during the long dry winter months.  They crave any high protein that they can get.  So I do my part in supplementing them with as much balance of diet for them with what I leave for them while I take home only the best eating parts of the deer to supply my family and friends.

I call it “feeding my friends”. 

So, we simply wasted all of those animals we shot.  Can you imagine that on one ranch we shot 23,500 donkeys and on another we shot nearly 10,000.  These animals dominated the feed and water supply so the ranches could carry few cattle.  On one ranch there were 30,000 donkeys and 10,000 cattle before Dennis and I arrived.  Now there are no donkeys and 30,000 cattle on that ranch.

We call it conservation hunting.  Changing an environment from a worthless chunk of real estate into a thriving produce producing area.  We did that to that area.

One day a rancher came into camp and asked the question “what do you think that I think is the best part about you hunters being here?”

I answered, “The money we pay you for the permission to hunt?”

“No that was not the best part,” was his reply.

 “The donkeys that we kill for you?” I suggested.

 “No, not that part.”

The rancher went on to explain that before we turned up to shoot his donkeys, each year he would take a helicopter (at huge expense) and shoot 1000 donkeys with 1000 rounds of ammo (also very expensive).  He told us that for weeks after, he would see donkeys with half their head shot off still alive, some with their jaw blown off, still alive in agony and starving to death and bad stuff like that.

However, it was a sad fact of life that it was the only way to stop the donkey population getting into his cattle areas.  The cost to him was enormous.

 Then he told us, “Since your American hunters have been here, you have killed over 7,000 donkeys and saved my ranch.  During that time I have never seen one wounded donkey on my ranch and that is the best thing about you guys being here.”

That made us pretty proud.  We hunters are conservationists of the highest order.  We pour lots of money into the conservation area in license fees and taxes.  We humanly remove these destructive animals by carefully killing them cleanly with one shot and leave no wounded and/or suffering animals.  We take great pride and care to do the job in the best possible way to have no wounded or suffering animals, just dead animals with one clean instant shot per animal.  We simply turn their lights off just as you turn your lights off as you go to bed each night.  They feel nothing, just die instantly.

 If I had a choice then, that is how I would like to end my life painlessly and instantly. 

Living in surburban USA the way that you do, it is a bit hard to realise the way it is out here where ranches are 500 miles from towns and a good size ranch is two million acres.

I taught a lot of hunters how to shoot and how to cleanly kill every animal with one well placed shot.  Dick and Mary Cabelas of “Cabelas” were some of my favourite people.  They, like Dennis came many times to learn from me as they were serious conservationists and wanted to know how to kill their game cleanly with one shot and with the animal instantly dispatched.

So I hope you understand a little better now of how we did this and how sensitive we are about taking care of our wildlife.  It is a bit of an issue of course, about why we choose to kill them when we respect them so much.  But if the only way to protect them from themselves is to trim the numbers then we believe that we should do it expertly and inflict no pain.


FAQ: What’s New for 2011?

A question automatically rolling in with the new year is, “What new products do youHorus Kestrel have?” As well as, “What will you have for SHOT Show?” 

I am not going to disclose full details, but I will give you a teaser of what to expect for the new year, which we will be introducing at SHOT:

  • Horus Kestrel: Horus ATrag embedded in the Kestrel 4500 NV Pocket Weather Meter.  Features auto weather input, five customizable targets, extensive gun list, integrated Bluetooth data transfer capabilities, and much more all in one hand-held unit.  Watch the Horus Kestrel Video for more insight on this exciting product.
  • HDMR Scope: 3.5-21x50mm with H58 Reticle – A multipurpose scope meant for all weapon  platforms, multiple types of engagement, and versatile ranges of distance.
  • Excursion Spotting Scope: 15-45x60mm with H32 Reticle – Horus Vision innovation embedded in a Bushnell Spotter.  The Excursion is 1st Focal Plane with compact, folded path technology, and adjustments for focus and diopter.
  • Hubble Spotting Scope:15-40x60mm with H32 Reticle – The Hubble is a compact scope, slim enough to fit in the cargo thigh pocket of military issued pants, making it conducive for field use.  The Hubble has all the valuable qualities needed in a spotting scope at an unbeatable price.
  • TReMoR: The newest reticle brought to you from Horus Vision and Accuracy 1st.  The TReMoR is a mil based reticle with ballistic wind dots, functional with all calibers. The TReMor also features the Accuracy 1st speed shooting method built-in.
For more in depth information, you will have to come see us at SHOT Show, booth # 1053.  If you can’t make the show, don’t fret! I will have a recap with all the details in the next newsletter, as well as updates on our website.

FAQ: Why is the Horus Warranty Only One Year?

For the time being, we offer a One Year Warranty instead of a Lifetime Warranty for the sole reason of keeping our prices affordable.  Chris Farley said it well in the 1995 movie Tommy BoyWhy would you want to shoulder costs for a chronic equipment abuser who continues to send his scope back year after year from hammering tent stakes with it and “accidentally” backing over it with his truck?  You can pay a decent price for a scope, or you can pay for an expensive warranty, or you can do both… or neither- it’s really up to you.

We have also found that if anything is going to go wrong with a good rifle scope, it will do so almost immediately.  You have a whole year to shake out any manufacturing defects or workmanship.  And although our products aren’t perfect yet, we are striving to make them more so every day.

We do get inquiries about our Warranty, and we are sensitive to our consumers, so we will continue to evaluate our policies with your feedback as guidance.  However, the feedback we currently hear (in the online forums and through our customer calls) indicates that the warranty is not an issue, and that the minority of people complaining loudest about the one year limit have never even bought a scope from us- they just don’t like the policy because of what they “might” need in the future.  We have troops taking our equipment into harm’s way overseas and swear by them- we couldn’t sleep easily at night if we knew we gave them gear we had no confidence in.

If you feel we should offer something different, please let us know your thoughts.  To view the current Warranty Policy, please visit our Terms page on the Horus website.


FAQ: What is the Horus Reticle?

The Horus Reticle is a patented grid system, which eliminates the need to adjust elevation and windage knobs once you have zeroed out your scope and gun. 

The Horus reticle also provides the unique capability of 2nd Shot Correction.  It aligns for an immediate corrective shot in the event the first shot misses.

To get a better understanding of how the reticle works, check out our demo here: Horus Reticle Demo

What Reticles are Available?

Horus Vision has a variety of reticles for a variety of purposes.  Some reticles evolve and some are phased out to update and balance our product line.  To see the latest and greatest, periodically consult our website for changes.

Currently, the reticles available are:

  • H425
  • H70
  • H58
  • H50
  • H37
  • H36
  • H32
  • H25 

How Can I Purchase a Reticle?

Each reticle is embedded in a specific scope through Horus Vision, which is manufactured by Japan Optics.  Here is the current name of each scope with corresponding reticle, sold through Horus’ website:

  • Hawk = H425
  • Predator = H70
  • Blackbird = H58
  • Talon = H50
  • Falcon = H37 and H25
  • Spotting Scope = H36 or H32
  • Raptor = H25

For more information on availability, consult the Horus Vision website. 

How Do I Determine Which Scope/Reticle I Should Get?

Each reticle and scope combination has a specific purpose.  Here is a very basic guide on the use of each scope/reticle:

  • Hawk H425 = Sporting, No Parallax, Non-Illuminated
  • Predator H70 = Varmint Hunting, Non-Illuminated
  • Blackbird H58= Rapid Engagement, Illuminated
  • Talon H50 = Rapid Engagement, Illuminated
  • Falcon H37 = Ultra Long-Range Tactical, Illuminated
  • Falcon H25 = Long-Range Tactical, Illuminated
  • Raptor H25 = Long-Range Tactical, Non-Illuminated
  • Spotting Scope H36 = Easy Ranging, 2nd Shot Grid
  • Spotting Scope H32 = Easy Milling, 2nd Shot Grid 

Can I Mix and Match Reticles?

No.  Reticles are embedded in specific scope types (as seen above).  We are unable to take special orders for reticle placement in scopes that differ from the ones they already correspond with.

Why Won’t You Retrofit Reticles in Different Scopes?

Retrofitting reticles is quite a processand is not cost effective for us or the customer.  It’s like replacing the flywheel of a truck engine.  The flywheel isn’t that expensive but the labor involved in taking the engine in and out, replacing, fixing, realigning, etc., etc., well, you get the idea. 

Can I Have the Horus Reticle Embedded in Other Company’s Scopes?

Horus Vision licenses our reticles.  Companies with reticle agreements have the rights to embed Horus reticles into their scopes.  Horus Vision does not play a part in those company’s production decisions or processing, so you will have to contact the specific company for more information. 

Here is a list of companies who currently have reticle agreements with Horus Vision:

  • Bushnell
  • Carl Zeiss Optical
  • Leupold
  • Nightforce
  • Premier Reticles
  • Schmidt & Bender
  • US Optics



FAQ: What is Horus Vision’s Current Ballistic Software?

Horus Vision’s current software is ATrag version 3.83, which currently comes in two options, 2X and MX

What is ATrag Compatible With?

The software is compatible with devices running Windows Mobile 5 & 6, such as:  


TDS Recon (for more rugged use)

Trimble Nomad 

At present, ATrag is not compatible with:

-PC or Laptops running XP, Vista or Windows 7



We do not support Palm anymore.

How Can I Purchase ATrag?

The software can be purchased a la carte in a CF or SD card, or with one of two PDA units from our website.  

The units we sell on our website are:


TDS Recon 

What Chip Format Do I Need for Each Device?

If you decide to purchase the software alone, because you already have a compatible device, you will need the following formats in conjunction with the specified handheld device:

 -HP iPAQ = SD card

-TDS Recon = CF card

-Trimble Nomad = SD or CF card will work 

What is the Difference Between 2X and MX?

The very basic difference is if you are not going to shoot beyond 1000 yards, then 2X will work fine. 

For the super serious long-range shooting enthusiast, MX is the better choice.  It takes Coriolis and spin drift into account, and it allows you to “bracket” wind calls with two wind speeds.  MX also includes a ballistic truing function, ballistic coefficient interpolation, and tracks multiple targets.

This simple chart helps decipher the differences:













Do I Need a Horus Scope to Use Your Software?

No.  As long as you know your turret click in equal increments (i.e. every click is 1/4 MOA), then our software will work with any scope.  ATrag will show results in MILs, TMOA and SMOA.  It will also give results as number of clicks per MIL, or TMOA or SMOA. 

When is the Next Version of ATrag Available?

ATrag 4.0 is currently in a strenuous test trial and is not available until further notice.  We will announce its induction through an electronic memo, as well as several other channels, upon release.  If you or others are interested, please have them sign-up to our newsletter through our website and stay subscribed.  Keep track of the latest breaking news on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and smoke signals.

What about Horus’ Ballistic Software in a Kestrel?

The rumors are true!  Horus and Kestrel have teamed up to create a breakthrough product- the Horus Kestrel!  The Horus Kestrel will have Horus’ ATrag software embedded in a 4500NV configurated Kestrel Pocket Weather Meter.  Be one of the first to see it at the 2011 SHOT Show.

The Horus Kestrel is currently in production and is not available until further notice.  We will announce its induction through an electronic memo, as well as several other channels, upon release.  If you or others are interested, please have them sign-up to our newsletter through our website and stay subscribed.  Keep track of the latest breaking news on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and smoke signals.


FAQ: How Do I Zero My Weapon and How Do I Maintain It?

How do I zero my weapon?

When you buy your riflescope, a wonderful idea would be to attach it to the gun and VOILA! You’re ready to shoot!

Unfortunately, that fantasy is not the reality, and there are some steps that need to be taken to align the crosshairs of the scope with the muzzle of the gun.

What you need to zero in your weapon

  • Rifle
  • Rings
  • Scope
  • A Range or Appropriate Shooting Location with all the Proper Precautions
  • Sand Bags or Mechanical Rest
  • Two Boxes of Ammunition (at least)
  • Ear and Eye Protection

Step 1: You need to be familiar with your gun and scope.  Know where the windage and elevation knobs are on your scope.  The elevation knob is usually on the top, and the windage should be on the right.

  • If you have never mounted a scope to your gun and you’re unsure, PLEASE take it to a competent gunsmith and have them mount it.

Step 2: At the range, a common distance to zero is at 100 yards, but your may wish to select different depending on purpose or preference.

Step 3: You need to position your rifle in a secure set-up, whether it is on a table, with sandbags or a mechanical rest, or in the prone position.  This will enhance your ability to make a consistent shot.  You should avoid kneeling or standing without a table or some means of steadying the rifle securely.  The elimination of vibrations or wavering is absolutely essential in obtaining a good zero.  You want your set-up to be consistent each time.  A good, steady rest is the key for a consistent, repeatable zero. 

Step 4: Now, in order to make sure your first shot is on the paper and to save ammo, I suggest you boresight your rifle. TIME OUT! 

  • To boresight, remove the bolt from the rifle and make sure your rifle is secure on sandbags or on a mechanical rest.  Look through the rifle bore from the rear of the rifle.    Locate the target and place in the middle of the bore.  You will want to move the rifle until you can see the target centered in the field of view through the barrel.  Once you have done that, do not move the rifle, but adjust the scope, using the elevation and windage knobs accordingly to align the crosshairs on the target.

Step 5: Once you’ve sighted in, reinsert the bolt and get the rifle in a steady shooting position. 

  • Recommendation: Dry fire now! Carefully sight in the target and very gently squeeze the trigger. Practice 5-10 times to get acquainted with the trigger for a smooth, rather than jerky pull.

Step 6: Now you’re ready to affirm the boresighted zero.  Load the rifle with one shell and check your shooting position.  Make sure the rifle is solidly mounted on a rest, and adjust your shoulder and cheek on the gun with adequate pressure.  Line the crosshairs of the scope on the center of the target. Now, gently press the trigger for the shot.

  • Here you will want to fire three shots, to make sure the grouping is consistent, eliminating any flyers.

Step 7: Identify where your bullets struck the target by looking through a spotting- or riflescope, or physically examining the target.  In most cases than not, hopefully they land where you intended.

Step 8: If necessary, you can make corrections to further refine your zero.  To correct to the dead center of the target, adjust the elevation and windage knobs accordingly. 

  • If the bullet struck low and right, for example, you’ll want to adjust the elevation knob on top, upping the appropriate distance, so the elevation is correct.  Sometimes this is a guessing game.  The same holds true for windage.  Look on the knob for the indicator of which direction controls movement to the left/right on the side.  Since the bullet struck too far to the right, in this case, you’ll be adjusting the knob (left) to the appropriate distance.
  • Repeat Step 6 

Step 9: More often than not, you will need to make several refinements in order to find the perfect zero.

  • We recommend shooting three shots each time, again, to eliminate flyers.

 Note: Based on a hundred yard zero for…

  • Hunting rifles, a 1 ½ – 2 inch zero is a respectable group for hunting ammo
  • Long range hunting rifles, a 1 inch zero is a respectable group
  • Target Rifles, a sub-half minute is a respectable group

Step 10: Double check the tension on the screws to make sure they are tight.  If not, tighten and shoot again to make sure you have the same zero.  Make any adjustments, if necessary, and shoot again. 

BAM! You should have hit the bull’s-eye! You are zeroed in and ready to rock!

SUGGESTION: Before leaving the range, check that screws on your scope mount and your pillar bolts are tight. Repeat Step 6 to assure you have the perfect zero.

Why can’t I maintain that perfect zero?

A question we receive more than often is, “How do I maintain that perfect zero once I’ve already done it?  I seem to keep losing it.”

Keeping a perfect zero is tough, because there are a combination of mechanical and physiological factors that can alter the configuration of the relationship with the scope and gun.

  • Here is a video of the president of Horus Vision with a simple guide to zeroing your riflescope.

What changes your zero?


When you clean your gun, you are moving parts around, which most likely will shift your alignment


  • Any time you tighten:
  • Screws
  • Rings
  • Pillar Bolts

You are again shifting the original alignment, especially if you do not apply equal distribution of torque on component parts

To avoid unequal distribution, a torque tool is a good way to tighten everything up equally.

Mixing Ammo

To maintain the perfect zero, you cannot switch up the ammunition.  You have to shoot with the same brand, types, and weights.


Dramatic ranges of temperature will change your zero, because the air density affects the velocity of the bullet.  With increased temperature, there is a higher velocity.

Personal Shooting Practices

If you change up any of the following, you will most likely alter your zero:

  • Having another individual shoot the gun for you
  • Holding loose vs. tight on the shoulder
  • Holding loose vs. tight on the cheek weld

Differing your Gun Rest

Be sure to use the same kind of gun rest, whether it is a sand bag, mechanical rest, box, etc.  It should be stable and easy to repeat the same position every time.

Transportation of Weapon

Even if you don’t mishandle your weapon in the slightest, it is possible that a shift of zero could occur.

Turret Knobs Not Covered

If the turret knobs are not protected, they can rub against clothing, gear, storage bags, scabbard, etc.  If the knobs turn, it will definitely shift over your alignment and cause your point of impact to be off.

Defective scope

Having a defective scope is a possibility, but it is not likely.  If you have taken conscientious efforts to avoid any of the above in your shooting endeavors and you still aren’t accomplishing that zero, then maybe you really do have a defective scope and need to get that checked!