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Link Posted: 1/19/2012 9:21:26 AM EDT
Good stuff, thank you! ^^^
Link Posted: 1/19/2012 1:30:07 PM EDT
That Premier looks outstanding. Although the price is pretty dang high.
Link Posted: 1/23/2012 11:06:31 PM EDT
The Swarovski booth has a fountain. Yes, that's right with water and everything. I did not notice it on my first visit to the booth because I came in the back way but as I was running across the shot show floor at 4:00pm on Friday trying to get to Boyt to pick up my cases before they closed the place down (actually, after I sort of had to run past the gate attendant) there it was in all its glory. Water cascading in true Vegas fashion over the logo and into a pool at the bottom. I am saddened to have not had time to photograph it. Still, it underlines my next point. Swarovski has some class. Most booths don't have a floor but they had a nice raised wooden platform with tables, chairs, flower, arrangements, and a fountain. Felt like nice cafe on a crisp summer morning. I wonder how they got all the water there. The booth was kind of out in the open so it must have taken quite a long hose. And how did they get rid of it after the show. I'm glad I wasn't left holding the bag...err bucket on that one.
Swarovski treats you right to. I got better service at the Swarovski booth than at any of the Vegas restaurants on my trip. I got my very own sales associate as well as some refreshments. But enough about the booth set up. You are here for the optics and optics you shall get.

Swarovski Z6i next to the GRSC 1-6 reference scope.

This was my first opportunity to examine the Z6i 1-6x24 rifle scope. This was the first of the >4x erector ratio scopes and though originally designed for dangerous game has become a dominant presence in the 3 gun world to the significant surprise of its creators who now have it as one of their fastest selling products. Upon examination of the optic it becomes clear why. The clarity is quite good, significantly better than the reference GRSC 1-6x and the field of view is much more generous. The lens coatings have been improved for this year as have many features on the Swarovski line general. The illumination is quite bright. The scope uses a flash dot type illumination rather than a whole reticle illumination design. This provides for better close quarters speed at the expense of low light ranging capability. The illumination is digital and allows the user to have separate settings for day and night settings separated by a toggle switch, the center position of which is off. Like many digitally illuminated scopes it also features a battery save function that turns the illumination off if the rifle is canted to its side to far or held vertical. This feature can, however, be disabled by the user. Unlike most 1-(n) power scopes the Swarovski's illumination housing is on top of the eye piece leaving the left side of the saddle open. While this may not seem relevant it does allow a greater field of view for the left eye when using the scope both eyes open at 1x and no doubt contributes to the scopes popularity. I can tell you that subjectively I felt very comfortable and quick behind this scope. How exactly the interplay of clarity, field of view, exit pupil, and illumination contributed to this I cannot exactly quantify but it was a good experiance.

Z6i on full illumination at 1x

Z6i on full illumination at 4x

The adjustments on this scope are finger adjustable and capped with a pull up feature allowing the user to set the zero. The caps store spare batteries inside. Adjustment clicks are .15mil and feel very good. Similarly the power ring and diopter turn smoothly and with the resistance one would desire.
For a long time Swarovski did not offer this optic with any kind of ranging or drop compensating reticle. They now offer the BRT reticle in addition to a german #4 and a sort of #4 with circle option. A very complete instruction manual is included with the BRT scopes on how to properly range and compensate for bullet drop using this reticle. Stickers with reference values are even included as well as some extra ones that can be printed upon to match your specific loads and rifle using Swarovski's ballistic resource. The user is also reminded that this is a second focal plane reticle and ranging is therefore only to be performed on 6x. The intent of this reticle seems to be to provide as minimalist and universal drop and windage system as possible. This accomplishes universality and reduces clutter but sets a high bar for competence and training in the user. I expect that this can be a very effective reticle for the 3 gunner who has the practice, patience, and knowledge to supplement the information provided on the reticle with a great deal of information out of his or her head. While reading the literature has given me a bit more appreciation of this reticle than I originally had, My recent time studying and practicing ranging for my article on the subject coupled with my knowledge of the average potential users time and money budget for practice leads me to the conclusion that this reticle is probably only of real benefit to a select group of individuals who are fairly serious about competition in 3 gun.
My overall impression of the Z6i is that it is a very solid design that will continue to have a powerful hold on competitive 3 gunners but that the reticle and adjustment increments, somewhat limit its desirability amongst a larger audience. I also think that this scope will sell better amongst those who have tried it than its features alone would indicate. It is a comfortable optic to use.
Link Posted: 1/26/2012 9:02:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: BigJimFish] [#4]
Kahles k16i 1-6x24mm 2012 Shot Show mini review

In 2012 Kahles has decided to enter the American tactical market. Not a bad Idea since it has been my observation that when people buy expensive optics in America whether for hunting, competition, or any other use they tend to buy an optic with tactical features and styling. And why not, having a reticle capable of ranging, illumination, and nice adjustments does not make an optic less effective for hunting or competition. In most cases it makes it at least marginally more effective. The better question is why anyone buying a high dollar optic wouldn't demand this greater degree of functionality.

Kahles is entering the tactical market with two scopes. One is a 6-24x56mm sniper scope called the k624i and the second is a 1-6x24mm known as the k16i. We will be examining the k16i 1-6x24mm. This one is not yet up on their website and was in late prototype stage at the show.

The Scope is second focal plane and has .15mil finger adjustable capped adjustments. These felt a bit soft and not great at the show but I was informed that Kahles likewise did not find them to its liking and that this is the aspect of the scope being changed between the prototype that I handled and the release version. I found the field of view very good in this optic but the clarity did not meet with my expectations. The GRSC I brought with me was a bit better and it is a significantly cheaper optic. I also do not really like the reticle in the k16i. The central, rapid aiming portion of the reticle is a circle dot which is fine but the portion for bullet drop and ranging appears to offer only what I can assume is a vertical mil scale. This portion doesn't really get it done for me. It strikes me as if they were going for mil scale function but weren't happy with that stylistically and wanted to make it look more like a rapid ranging reticle. I don't think the result captures the full functionality of either system. The illumination is pretty bright in this reticle and illuminates only the circle dot portion. Normally I would balk at the elimination of ranging functionality that illuminating only the center section results in but in this case I don't care for the ranging portion and am happier with it unlit.

All in all at $2,722 msrp I just find this scope very expensive for what it delivers. It's light weight advantage just doesn't make up for a less than desirable reticle and optics that are not as clear as they should be at this price. Here are some picks:

Link Posted: 1/27/2012 9:13:56 AM EDT
Tag to remind me to review the Leupold Pig Plex VX-R
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 1:44:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FrankSL:
Tag to remind me to review the Leupold Pig Plex VX-R

I'm very interested in reading this!!

Also, and forgive me if I missed it, but has anyone done a review on a Burris XTR 1.5-6x40 with the 7.62 reticle? I can't seem to find any good info on it!
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 8:34:44 PM EDT
Shot show 2012 mini review of Leupold's new offerings.

As I approached the Leupold Tactical booth on the first day of shot show this was the was the first display my attention was drawn to. Ridding atop the M2 .50 cal machine gun sits the Leupold Mk 8 CQBSS 1.1-8x24mm rifle scope. The casual observer might see this arrangement as a clever demonstration on the part of Leupold to demonstrate the extreme durability of their product in an, eye catching, comical, and unmistakably convincing way. Behold, a rifle scope that can stand up to .50 BMG.... At 500 rounds per minute. I admit to finding the arrangement comical in appearance. A non sequitur in firearms design. A sniper scope on a belt fed machine gun.
None of this effect was Leupolds intention when designing this display. In fact, they felt offended when I referred to it as striking me as comical in appearance and I felt a little bad for bringing it up. You see, Leupold has a contract with the Marines to produce the CQBSS for the M2 and also MK 19 platforms. The display is no marketing ploy, it is simply an example of the product in use. Marine gunners, particularly in Afghanistan, often engage targets, who appear only marginally different from civilians, at quite exceptional ranges.  Having an 8x magnification capability on your vehicle mounted machine gun or grenade launcher is not a bad idea for spotting your.  In fact, the record for the longest combat kill at 2,286 yds was held by one Carlos Hathcock from 1967 all the way up until 2002. He accomplished this feat by mounting a 10x Unertl scope on an M2 machine gun and working the trigger in such a way as to fire a single round at a time. The Marines have a long memory. For the record, I still find it comical to mount a sniper scope on an M2. I found it comical when I read it in Hathcock's biography and I bet his fellow Marines found it comical back when he first suggested the idea and then designed the mount to accomplish it.
This Shot was also my first opportunity to handle the CQBSS in person. Now, for most of the other scopes that I have reviews of there is a side by side comparison of the scope being reviewed with my reference GRSC scope as well as a discussion of the comparative optics performance. That is because those manufactures booths do not resemble the front gate of Ohio stadium at the end of a Buckeyes game and so a writer has a place to sit down and do some comparisons. The Leupold Tactical booth will not be winning any awards for booth design I'm afraid. It was not very large, did not have any seating, and given the number of new and interesting products being introduced into the market it was something of a mob scene. What I will tell you is that the CQBSS looked good when I examined it as best could be done in the situation. The unique spring loaded locking pinch turrets seemed to work fine. And the optics were clear and didn't show any obvious optical problems. The Leupold folks did their best to be accommodating in the situation but it was just a pretty busy place.
At this point you are probably thinking that while pontifications on the deployment strategy of the CQBSS are well and good you are much more interested in reading mini reviews on the new Mark 6 and 8 scopes. I'm afraid that while these were at the show and no doubt you have seen and heard about them from others they have an NDA attached to them and are not officially released yet so I can't really comment on them beyond giving you a picture of the CMR-W reticle for the Mark 6 1-6x which oddly is marked for immediate release while the scope is not. Here is an image of the 5.56 M855 version (It also exists in 7.62 M118LR).

The layout of the reticle should already be somewhat familiar to most of my readers since most of the elements have been used in other popular designs before. There is a close quarters circle dot, or more precisely horseshoe dot in the center reminiscent of the Central element of the GRSC scopes. For rapid ranging 18" shoulder width brackets appear below this at corresponding distances in the fashion of an ACOG.  Added to this reticle are also windage bars that I and apparently many others had been soliciting. (In fact in early 2010 I sent Leupold a reticle design including many of these features with the intention of improving the CQ/T scope.) For those who prefer calculation ranging what appears to be a mil scale is also included on the upper part of the reticle. Really, a quite complete design allowing the operator great flexibility in ranging methods. It should be interesting to see how it performs in testing.  

Both the CQBSS and the Mark 6 1-6x will be getting a formal review from me with the S&B and PR 1-8x scopes and the March 1-10 when the logistics of obtaining all 5 at the same time are feasible. That looks to be pretty likely in early to late spring from what I can gather.

This brings us to the other side of Leupold. As many of you know a few years back Leupold created an autonomous, smaller, and far more mobile tactical division in an attempt to regain a hold on the tactical market that, at that time, was clearly slipping from their grasp. As is evidenced by the plethora of new and relevant products released since then as well as the mob scene at the booth this strategy is clearly paying dividends.

Meanwhile back at the substantially larger (yet still table deficient) Leupold / Redfield booth at the other side of the exhibit hall. A new product has been launched in the form of the VX-6 1-6x. This is a 1-6x scope with a clearly daytime bright flash dot type illumination at a very attractive price point. I was able to sit down and evaluate it next to my reference GRSC 1-6x.

Clarity wise it seemed very on par with the GRSC though it offered a much more generous field of view. The turrets are a capped 1/4th moa variety that feature a finger adjustable mechanism that pulls up to allow user to set the zero. They felt good though not really great. As you may note Leupold has switched to a 30mm tube on this scope as well as the much preferred euro type diopter. Unfortunately the reticles available do not include any ranging features. They are a German #4, a Duplex, and a Circle Dot post. Really, for the user not concerned with ranging this scope will be a very popular item. I cringe though at what it could be with the addition of the ranging capabilities brought about by a better reticle.

Before I leave the VX6 1-6 I should mention its unique illumination system. In addition to being very bright indeed it is a digital mechanism that remembers the users previous setting. It also auto shuts off if left motionless for 5 min but includes a motion sensor to immediately turn of if picked up. A battery saver for all those who have burned though their batteries by accidentally leaving the scope on without the risk associated with automatically shutting off the illumination when it may be needed at a moments notice.

Here are the pics though the VX-6:
1x full illumination:

6x full illumination:

That wraps up Leupold. I think perhaps I will do IOR Valdada next.
Link Posted: 1/27/2012 10:07:22 PM EDT
I.O.R. Valdada 1-10x26mm Eliminators Shot show 2012 mini reviews.

For those of you who do not know. IOR is a European optics manufacturer founded in 1936 in Romania that went on to produce some of the advanced sniper scopes used by the U.S.S.R. during the cold war era. Of particular note was IOR's version of the PSO-1 sniper scope. In 1990 IOR optics began to be imported into the U.S. by Valdada. IOR Valdada has shown remarkable speed and agility in designing and bringing new optics to market. It is notable that in an era when many brands put forward optics that are designed and manufactured by third party's and differ very little internally from optics marketed by other competing brands who use the same third party manufacturer, IOR designs and manufactures its own product. Of interest today will be the two new 1-10x power scopes introduced this year.  These are the 1-10x26mm Eliminator and the 1-10x26mm Eliminator L.T.S. They sit at $2895 and $2375 respectively.

I have here pictured from top to bottom: The IOR Valdada pitbull, The Eliminator, and the Eliminator L.T.S.

You will note that my reference GRSC 1-6x present as a size and optical comparison in all other articles of this series is not shown in this picture. I was told by Val that I was not to picture that scope next to his and that I was not to use it as an optical comparison as he saw it as unfair to compare a 1-6x scope with 1-10x designs. Similarly, Val told me that, should I do a full review of these scopes as I had planned, I would not be able to compare them to the Leupold, S&B, Premier, and possibly USO 1-8x designs as that would also be an unfair comparison due to the different power ranges. I have had no other scope manufacturer even attempt to make such demands on my reviews and I see little reason to spend my time and energy doing a full review of optics that I cannot compare to other optics which I think my reader might find of interest. This review is all you are going to get from me when it comes to reviews of the IOR 1-10x offerings.

First I will talk about the $2895 Eliminator. To say that this scope is loaded with features is an understatement. To start things off it has a side focus parallax knob. This is the only scope in the 1-(n)x scope class to have an adjustable parallax. Immediately behind this control is a digital dual focal plane illumination control system. In the first focal plane was a green illuminated mil scale reticle in the sample at the booth. I was told though that this is not the normal reticle and that usually this scope will be equipped with the Christmas tree style mil scale reticle shown in the pics of the LTS scope. In the second focal plane is an amber illuminated flash dot. It is worth noting that this dot did not seem as bright that of other (apparently non-competing) scopes and a bit of stray illumination light was visible on the edges. Either plane illumination can be activated on its own or both at once.

The knobs on the Eliminator are likewise quite loaded. The elevation knob is huge and has a zero stop as well as the ability for the user to set the knobs indicator to the users zero (both require use of a set screw.) Interestingly a second zero point indicator also exists on this knob that the user can simply turn into position. This might come in handy for an individual competing at two set ranges and this particular demo scope had been taken off of a competitive 3-gunners rig. Like the elevation, the windage can also be set to the users zero and has an optional zero stop. Both knobs are very large, offer plenty of adjustment range, have good feeling positive clicks, and are in .1mil increments to match the reticle.

Now we get to the tricky part. IOR Valdada was one of the unfortunate companies to have their booth in one of the auxiliary rooms and not in one of the two giant exhibition halls. If I remember correctly, Shot says that this is determined by luck of the draw. Given who was where, I have my suspicions. Given the difference in the foot traffic, I think differential pricing is in order. I also understand that these rooms are actually located in the Venetian and not the Sands. While its all connected, due to confusing maps, it can be difficult to locate these rooms and they seem to be designed as conference rooms or banquet halls. In either case, not as  exhibition halls. The lighting is a sort of peachy color in these rooms that appears even more different from the main exhibition hall lighting in person than in the pictures. Without a reference scope to provide a comparison to I am making my best guess on these next observations.  I found the field of view small on the eliminator. I likewise found the eyebox on 1 as well as 10 power to be very limited. So small that it was very difficult to line the scope up to get pictures through it. This is expected, dictated by physics in point of fact, at 10x but not at 1x. The clarity was hard to judge for me because of the funky lighting and there is little I can say about it except that it did not wow me. Things looked very muddy, but the lighting was not only less ample than in the exhibition hall but also a bit muddy in color itself so who is really to say. What I can say is that this scope has a lot of features, is very large, and weighs a great deal. Here are the pics through the reticle:

Eliminator at 1x with 2nd focal plane illuminated dot at maximum brightness:

Eliminator at 10x with 1st focal plane illumination at maximum brightness:

In many ways the Eliminator L.T.S. is similar to its more expensive brother. It appears to be built off of the same, or more likely very similar, optical design. and my subjective observations on it optically are the same. The differences between the two are that on the L.T.S. parallax is fixed, the reticle is second focal plane only, illumination is analog, and the windage and elevation knobs are both of the type used for the Eliminator's windage. A notable consequence of these changes is that the illumination on the L.T.S. only lights a dot in the middle of the reticle. Normally this illumination scheme can be problematic because it hinders a scopes ability to range in low light, but when dealing with a 2nd focal plane 10x scope with only a 26mm objective you are not going to be doing any ranging in low light anyway. There will not be enough light to see anything. This can be ameliorated with the first focal plane scope because turning down the power will help with your light problem and you can still range but on the 2nd focal plane, if you turn down the power your reticle is no longer the right size relative to the target and so you are consequently not able to range for a different reason. The bottom line is that if you want to range in low light you need the full rock and roll Eliminator and not the L.T.S.  Here are the pics through the L.T.S. keep in mind that this Christmas tree reticle is also the normal reticle option in the Eliminatior.

L.T.S. at 1x with maximum illumination:

L.T.S. at 10x with maximum illumination:

Link Posted: 1/27/2012 11:50:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 33shooter] [#9]
I am very interested in the Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5x24mm FFP!  Any chance you saw that?

Your shot coverage is the best so far. Great scopes coming this year. And interesting that SS is releasing a 1-6x24 HD. Seems people are listening.

Link Posted: 1/28/2012 1:17:56 AM EDT
I am very interested in the Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5x24mm FFP! Any chance you saw that?

I did.

I have a lot of these mini reviews still to go but I expect they will all be done in the next two weeks and that the table will be updated as well.
Link Posted: 1/28/2012 2:15:51 PM EDT
I looked at as many scopes and optics as I could at SHOT because I'll never have the chance to see that much high end stuff in one place again.

The doo doo brown S&B with the HK logo on the side 1.1-8x (i think) was awesome but I think the ELCAN specter DR trumped every 1-4x out there.  I had it in my mind to get a NF 1-4 but I feel the elcan is almost as good as an aimpoint and as good as an acog.
Link Posted: 1/28/2012 5:29:47 PM EDT
The doo doo brown S&B with the HK logo on the side 1.1-8x (i think) was awesome but I think the ELCAN specter DR trumped every 1-4x out there. I had it in my mind to get a NF 1-4 but I feel the elcan is almost as good as an aimpoint and as good as an acog.

My Elcan review is coming up soon. I have finished writing it but sent it off to have some of the technical facts of the unique optical system double checked. It is definitely different and I think that you are right in that it is every bit as good as an Acog at being and Acog and almost as good as an Aimpoint at being an Aimpoint.
Link Posted: 1/28/2012 6:54:30 PM EDT
Steiner 1-4x24mm 2012 Shot show mini review

To be perfectly honest has never been a company that has really excited me. Year after year I have looked through Steiner binoculars at my local shops, as well as this year at Shot, and never found them to be impressive in any regard. They have always seemed to be priced, branded, and advertised as top tier European optics but when I look though them they have always seemed, at best, equivalent to mid range Japanese glass.

My experience this year with their 1-4x24mm Military Tactical rifle scope just about exactly reflected my previous encounters. It is not a bad scope. It is reasonably light, and has a good field of view. It also has good click adjustments that might be a bit on the light side resistance wise but seem acceptable. These adjustments are exposed though fairly small and unobtrusive. This is not a great scope though, and it does not compete at its price point. I expected more out of the scopes clarity. It is, perhaps, slightly less clear than my reference GRSC which, not incidentally, is a $1k Japanese made scope. I should also note that the GRSC is also a first focal plane rifle scope with a 1-6x power range. The Steiner is a second focal plane with only 1-4x range. These factors make it a much easier optic to construct and coupled with its price point at around $2k, (though I understand they will be lowering that this year) I would expect much more from this optic. The only really "bright spot" was its illumination. The illumination is easily daytime bright, though this really isn't that hard to do in a high priced 2nd focal plane optic. There is just not much positive I can say about this Scope. The bottom line is that I think it should be competing at $1k not $2k.

Interestingly, Steiner's sniper scopes do not suffer from the same overconfidence that plagues the rest of the brand yet deliver more. They are priced quite low for ffp European optics and if they drop the price this year, as I hear that  they will, they will be equivalent in cost to the FFP Nightforce offerings. All of these sniper scopes have very nicely designed turrets, are mil-mil, and illuminated. This year Steiner added a 5-25x56mm to the lineup and I expect them all to be very competitive.

Here is a picture of the 1-4x24mm lined up next to my reference GRSC. I apologize for the lack of through the scope pictures. I either lost them in my misadventures with my camera or simply forgot to take them.

Link Posted: 1/28/2012 8:05:25 PM EDT
Sightron SIII 1-7x24mm Shot show 2012 mini review.

Sightron is a brand I have little personal experience with, but seems to be popular and well thought of in some target shooting crowds. This year they introduced a 1-7x24mm scope as if to one up the flood of 1-6x choices. I had an opportunity to play around a bit with this optic at Shot. The first thing that will strike you about this scope is its length.

Here is the Sightron 1-7x24mm pictured next to the GRSC reference.

The GRSC seems to be about average or perhaps slightly longer than average for the 1-(n)x scope class. The Sightron is quite simply long though if you see this image and are worried about weight be consoled that, at 20oz, it is really pretty light. I am not surprised at the length given the power range and the laws of physics which specify, indirectly, that it is much easier to make a long scope than a short one and the higher the power the longer. I am often a fan of simply giving in to this constraint as it can allow a scope to be better optically, lighter, and cheaper than a shorter version would be. I really care more about former variables than the latter. I would not call the Sightron cheap, at around $800, but it is reasonably light and I found its optics to be pretty clear edge to edge. The only real issue I had with this scope optically is that it has one of the smallest field of views I encountered. Often times scopes with a small field of view are described as making you feel like your looking through a straw. Perhaps not being helped by its distinctly straw like appearance, the Sightron exemplifies this feeling to me.

I think the adjustments on this scope are a very good place to talk about commonality in scopes today. It is well known that most brands do not entirely, or in many cases even partially, make their own scopes. A result of this trend is that a great deal of commonality can be found between brands. The most shared component of all seems to be the particular adjustments that this Sightron has. These are .1mil, (they can also be found in 1/4moa on other scopes) finger adjustable, and capped turrets. They pull up to rotate freely and allow the zero to be set and then push down for use. You can find these exact turrets, sometimes with a slightly differently styled cap, in 1/4moa or .1mil, on at least the following scopes: Sightron SIII 1-7x24mm, GRSC CRS 1-6x24mm, Weaver 1-5x tactical, Bushnell 1-6.5x24 ffp or 2fp, and the Trijicon TR24. I believe that most of these scopes are made by Light Optic of Japan though I do not think they all are. This adjustment system in whole, or in part, seems to be an off the shelf component. I refer to it as the Light Optics adjustment as short hand though it is not in only Light Optics scopes or in all of Light Optics scopes. I do not find it particularly surprising that these adjustments are found on so many scopes. They have a clean and well machined appearance, have positive tactile and audible clicks, and, at least on the GRSC 1-6x, track perfectly. These adjustments are near the top of my list of preferred adjustments for this class of scope.

Here is a close up of this adjustment mechanism (On the GRSC 1-6x):

This brings me to the illumination and reticle. The Sightron is not winning any prizes in these categories. The reticle is a simple 2nd focal plane German #4 design. It is useless for ranging and not particularly good for close quarters. Only the center dot is illuminated which might help it to be fast close quarters but sadly the illumination is not very substantial and so not helpful. Here are the pics through the scope.

The Sightron 1-7x24mm at 7x:

The Sightron 1-7x24mm at 1x:

Link Posted: 1/29/2012 9:22:42 PM EDT
Meopta ZD 1-4x22mm Shot show 2012 mini review

Meopta, after IOR Valdada, is the second of the former Soviet block optics manufacturers that I will be reviewing. Like IOR, Meopta was founded in the mid 1930s, though it was then called Optikotechna. Prior to the 2nd world war photography related products, lenses, binoculars, and riflescopes were produced. During the war as well as throughout the Soviet period, with only a brief return to primarily photographic products immediately after the war, production was of primarily military optics. In the post Soviet era Meopta exports optics and optics components widely and is heavily involved in optics research.

The Meopta K-dot has been a popular scope with 3-gunners for many years now. The primary reason for this is because that it was amongst the first daytime bright 1-(n)x scopes. It also features a very minimalist and uncluttered reticle. Reticles of this nature seem to be the most popular choices in the sport. Last year Meopta created a second K-dot scope with very similar optical design to the original but in a shorter, (integral sun shade removed) package with a 5.56mm bdc reticle and attached adjustment caps. This scope is called the ZD Tactic ZD 1-4x22 RD. If this name sounds simultaneously redundant and abbreviated to you, while being wholly distasteful, know that you are not alone. I think a finer example of the misuse of language would be hard to find. This scope retails at about $950, about $100 more than the original K-dot.

The Meopta ZD next to the refrence GRSC 1-6x:

The first thing to mention about the Meopta is that it is very close in price to the reference GRSC 1-6x. When I decided to go to Shot I had to make a choice about what to bring with me. I wanted to be able to make optical assessments on site that had some value and were not purely subjective. The only way to do this was to have a reference optic with me. I had a few choices on hand and decided to go with the 1-6x GRSC scope because, I had one on hand, at $1,000 it is right about the middle of all the optics I would be looking at price wise, I had already compared it to numerous optics from several manufacturers and had a pretty good idea where it stands, it is manufactured by probably the most common Japanese OEM, and I have a generally good opinion of it. All that being said, optics range greatly in price and few are actually within a few hundred dollars of the GRSC. The Meopta is very close indeed so the comparison is particularly poignant.

Compared to the GRSC the Meopta is shorter, about the same mass, has a significantly better field of view, has slightly less clarity, and is much more brightly illuminated. You will also note that it is 2fp and 1-4x not ffp and 1-6x. The Meopta has 1/2MOA adjustments which is within the range of good choices but they do not feel or look great. They appear unfinished, with screws and some sort of bracket visible, this  is similar to what you might see in a $350 scope. The feel is just a bit to clicky and not smooth enough for my taste. The power ring and diopter move nicely though. All in all it stacks up to the GRSC like one might expect. It is better in some areas and inferior in others. The choice will very much depend on what the individual thinks is most important in an optic. This would be particularly true reticle wise as they lie on opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to how much stuff they put on it.

Meopta ZD at 1x with maximum illumination:

Meopta ZD at 4x with maximum illumination:

As you can see in the pics the ZD reticle is really not very different from the original K-dot. Basically the bottom vertical line has been replaced with chevrons at 4.58MOA, 7.98MOA, and 12.11MOA (at 4x.) Meopta characterizes this as a 5.56mm reticle but I really don't find these number to line up particularly well with my 100 yard zero m855 table and they have not supplied clarification. I think that given the magnitude of the gaps between the numbers and the numbers themselves it is probably possible to line them up with something 5.56mm or .308 if the chevrons represent 300, 400 and 500 yard aim points though the round would need to drop faster than m855 out of a 14.5" barrel. I think perhaps a 77gr. round of some variety might do the trick. In any case, ranging elements are not present so you have some guesswork on your hands anyway. Probably the better thing to say about this reticle is that it does not loose the flavor of the original k-dot and will probably be popular with the same minimalist favoring crowd. If you like daytime bright minimalist reticles Meopta is still in your court.
Link Posted: 1/29/2012 11:16:50 PM EDT
Sightmark 1-6x24mm and Firefield 1-6x Shot show 2012 mini reviews:

I have turned a corner in 2012. I have decided that I am going to review inexpensive Chinese scopes. This has been a concession for me. Like, I imagine, every other reviewer, I am a bit of an optics snob. Deep down inside I lust for the best, brightest, clearest, most expensive pieces of glass and am never truly satisfied without them. This is a sad state since I make below the median American income and can't really afford any of them, though I save up and buy better than I probably should. Being in Vegas with its amazing spectacle of wealth and poverty may have helped point this out to me and push me in the direction of spending more time on optics for the average man. The man like me, but that spends what he ought to on optics instead of what he wants to. Certainly being at Shot and seeing all of the different low priced optics pointed out an even more compelling reason to review the lower price brackets to me. There is a great deal more difference between scopes in the low price brackets than in the high ones (actually the mid range is probably the most mundane of all.) It is not uncommon for a scope at $215 to trounce a scope at $360 even when they are imported by the same company. From the standpoint of a person writing reviews this is the gravy and in the spirit of the turkey who gave you the gravy, I give you two of the optics imported by Sellmark:  The Sightmark 1-6x24mm and the Firefield 1-6x30 (it does not have a 30mm objective but rather 30mm tube they just don't know any better.)

The Sightmark 1-6x24mm next to the reference GRSC:

The Sightmark 1-6x24mm will be the foil in this combined review. At $360 msrp it is the vastly more expensive of the two scopes and yet I believe it to be the lesser scope. It's reticle is a sort of circle dot  that is far to dimly lit for a 2fp scope. It also has an amazingly small field of view and yet does not seem to reap the edge to edge clarity rewards that typically accompany this sacrifice. In fact, this scope has a view so hazy that I'm sure you will immediately notice it even through the resized pictures. Perhaps the most amusing aspect of this scope is the adjustments. They are very similar to the ones that the infamous Counter Sniper scopes sport if not identical. Now, I do not accuse Sightmark of the gross advertising overstatement of the Counter Sniper scopes, (which I will not be reviewing by the way) but these are not good adjustments. They lock but feel very poor and if the reviews I have read on the Counter Sniper scopes are any indication they are not durable as well. This scope is simply not worth your $360. You could purchase a great deal more with that money from quite a few different makers.

The Sightmark at 1x with full illumination:

The Sightmark at 6x with full illumination:

Speaking of the more your can purchase here is the Firefield 1-6x scope next to the reference GRSC:

To my eyes this scope immediately appeared the better of the two and the finish actually doesn't look bad next to the much more expensive Japanese scope (I assure you that it is not optically it's equal.) The finish and machining on this scope look very good. Its adjustments, which are simple exposed 1/2moa adjustments, also feel ok. The power ring and diopter fell fine as well. I was quite surprised when I looked through the scope and found it to be FFP. Front focal plane scopes are significantly more difficult to construct and get right. There is much debate regarding how worthwhile, or even desirable, this is in a 1-(n)x scope as it is more difficult to illuminate brightly as well as to manufacture. Despite the focal plan difference, illumination on this scope was much brighter than its rival, though it was a bit bloomy in the process. I have no love for the simple mil-hash reticle this scope sports at 1x but provided it is accurate it would offer ranging at 6x. Now, I don't want to make this little $215 scope out to be more than it is. The optics were similar to the above scope, offering a small field of view, insubstantial clarity, and a less then stellar eyebox. It's only $215 though and really, what can you expect in a $215 ffp 1-6x scope that even comes with rings. You can expect less than this scope delivers that is for darn sure.  

I thought I might be mistaken about either, or both, of these scopes so I called over the Sellmark folks and asked them if I had these two scopes price points correctly identified. They confirmed that I did. I then asked them if they were aware that the less expensive scope was vastly the superior one. They were apparently not aware of this though it seemed to cause no particular distress and only a little surprise. The sales person than took a look at the sugar and the vinegar I had placed before him and decided to go with the former asking me if I would like to do a full review of the Firefield. I just may take him up on this offer and do a low cost round up later this year.

The Firefield 1-6x at 1x with not quite maximum illumination:

The Firefield 1-6x at 6x with not quite maximum illumination:

Link Posted: 1/30/2012 11:13:47 AM EDT
Thank you for doing this.  What a wealth of info this has been.  This year will should provide great reading as these scopes are put to their paces
Link Posted: 1/31/2012 2:43:51 PM EDT
excellent updates, thank you !

All it's doing is making me want the GRSC 1-6 though....
Link Posted: 1/31/2012 5:38:10 PM EDT
Konus M-30 1-4x24mm Shot show 2012 mini-review

Shot show was my first opportunity to view the Konus M30 1-4x24mm. Probably the best and worst thing that I can say about this scope is that it is uninteresting. At $369 it enters the market at a point already crowded and it really does nothing to distinguish itself. If you have and love a Konus you would probably buy this one. If not, its not going to convert you to the brand. The reticle does not stand out in the least. It is a 2nd focal plane duplex style that has a central dot illuminated, though not brightly. The field of view is perhaps this scopes most lacking feature. It,s field of view is significantly smaller then the GRSC reference despite the fact that, on a 1-4x 2nd focal plane scope, it is not difficult to have a much larger field of view and most optics, even in this price bracket, do. The clarity of this scope seems about in line with the average clarity at its price point. Turrets are small capped and finger adjustable with 1/2MOA clicks. They are illustrative, in many ways, of the fit and finish of the scope in general: Not terrible but also not great. I greet this scope with a resounding Meh.

The Konus M-30 1-4x24mm next to the GRSC 1-6x reference:

The Konus at 1x with maximum illumination:

The Konus at 4x with maximum illumination:

Link Posted: 1/31/2012 7:39:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Xanatos903] [#20]
Scope got here today. It's my first time reviewing something, so let me know what you think.

Mueller Speed Shot 1-4x24. I was hesitant to pick this up, especially because it's just recently been released, and the Primary Arms 1-4 was also in my price range. I found this on Arf for $130 with the Primary Arms mount and figured, "Fuck it. I can sell it if it doesn't work out." So, I spent the money and it came just in time for my professors to dump work on me so I can't go shoot.

The scope, and weird colored lenses. I've used shooting glasses with this same color before, and they definitely work for making things easier to see. I don't know if I could do it if I'm shooting with both eyes open on 1x though.

I do like having an illuminated reticle. On this scope, 1 is good enough to be picked up against a bright background (inside with lights on, anyway). 11 is overkill, probably in all situations. 1x with the illumination on 1:

4x with illumination on 1:

1x with illumination on 1:

1x with illumination on 11:

Yes, the 11 does "bleed" out a bit. Inside, it's definitely annoying. Outside it probably won't be nearly that bad.

Moar pictars:

I picked up the preproduction model. Mueller says that the only difference between these and the production models is that the white numbering for the magnification is on the front of the ring, rather than the back. You can see how it's positioned in those pictures above. It was stupid to do it like that, but it's not a pain in the ass to raise my head and see how magnified I am if I even care enough to do it.

First impression: It's a high quality scope. The lenses are extremely clear. Maybe not on par with a Leupy, but they're damn good for the price I paid. The turrets give positive clicks (1 click=1/2 inch), and the reticle is easy to pick up. I wish I had something like a BDC reticle though, but I'll be putting a 50 yard zero on it, so it won't be too bad for the ranges I'm shooting at. The magnification ring is also hard to move, and it has a long distance to travel from 1-4. I'll be trying to find a cat-tail that will fit to make it a bit easier.

Both eyes open shooting is probably going to be easy, especially with the illuminated reticle.

I'm very impressed with this scope- even more so with the price I paid for it. If you guys are looking for a cheap 1-4, Mueller is running a sale on their preproduction units (the same that I've got) until they're out for $160, which when the Primary Arms is $115, may not be that good of a deal. I wish I had a Primary Arms to compare side-by-side, but I'm sure I'll eventually get that chance.

Things that don't really fit in anywhere:
It uses standard CR2032 batteries.
Close objects are actually magnified a bit, as you can see in some of the pictures.
Eye relief is ~3.5in.
Having just the dot is strange, but nice. It's easy to pick up, and the field of view is almost entirely clear. Unfortunately, a BDC reticle would probably be much more useful.

We'll see how it holds up to shooting whenever I get around to it.

Edit: Updated links to photos so they stay up.

Shooting it turned out pretty well. The reticle was easily visible in daylight around the 7th setting, and the scope was easily zeroed. The glass was very clear, allowing me to make out small targets at 100 yards easily. I really wish I could do some more extensive testing, but that will come with more use.

Buy with confidence.
Link Posted: 2/2/2012 2:58:45 PM EDT
Horus Talon 1-4x24mm Shot show 2012 mini review

The first thing to know about Horus, for those of you who are not familiar with the company, is that they are all about the reticle. I am a proponent of reticles in that I believe them to be a very important part of the scope and not to be overlooked by slapping a duplex in it and calling it good enough. A good reticle is so much more than a simple aiming point. I think there are few reasons better to choose an optic than that you think it has an excellent reticle. Horus reticles can be found not only in their mid-ranged products but also in the much more expensive U.S. Optics and Leupold Tactical lines. Their reticles all have a distinctively Horus appearance to them in that they consist primarily of a large and intricate mil-grid. The idea is to accomplish mil based ranging, windage, and bullet drop all without messing with the adjustments. The grid provides ample information for getting this done. I have read passionate opinions for and against the Horus system. There really doesn't seem to be great deal of middle ground regarding whether the reticles are the greatest design in the history of rifle scopes or to busy, easy to get lost in, and a terrible idea. It you are a fan, or curious enough to lay down some dough to try one, by far the cheapest way to do so is a Horus scope. Horus charges a great deal of money to other companies for use of their reticle. As a result, buying a Leupold or USO with a Horus reticle generally costs about $400 more than with a different reticle though this premium can be greatly reduced by buying on the used market.

Reticle aside, lets have a look at the Horus. When I first gave the Horus a once over its appearance did not impress. The finish and machining does not look great, though I was happy to see an optics company using a good mount to display its optic. When looking through the Horus, and comparing it to my reference, its ratings improve. It is front focal plane, (no surprise with it's reticle) and has the same dim illumination you might expect from a ffp design, but its clarity is almost that of the GRSC, and its field of view is better. Not bad in a $650 optic with a unique reticle. The adjustments are capped and finger adjustable. They are also quite low profile. Despite this small stature they feel ok, certainly good enough given you are not going to be using them for anything but zeroing since you have the Horus reticle. All in all I find the Horus Talon to be a pretty good container for the H50 reticle. Incidentally, it did not escape my attention that in this review my refrence scope and the scope under review are probably the two optics most well known optics, for their reticles, in the industry.

The Horus Talon 1-4x24mm next to the reference GRSC:

The Horus at 1x with maximum illumination:

The Horus at 4x with maximum illumination:

Link Posted: 2/3/2012 3:09:16 PM EDT
Hawke Endurance 1-4x24mm 2012 Shot Show mini review

Though Hawke has become an increasingly popular purveyor of optics, Shot Show was my first experience with their products. This is probably not unusual since brick and mortar stores seem to carry less product every year and internet shopping becomes more and more popular. I suppose I should be happy since if everybody could go out and handle all of their perspective choices, I would be a little less important as a reviewer. Still, I have mixed feelings about it all. I fear that brand name and legacy has become too important and that perhaps a great many people end up buying the wrong product for lack of research. Well, you aren't one of those people, so I should probably get back on point and talk about the scope.

The Hawke is a 1-4x24mm second focal plane scope with a German #4 reticle that has only a central dot illuminated. Despite being 2nd focal plane, this dot is not daytime bright, as is clearly apparent in the photos. The adjustments on this scope are 1/4", click, capped, and are finger adjustable (I should probably stop even mentioning finger adjustable in my reviews as coin operated adjustments have become so rare). The adjustments feel pretty good, better than I expect in this price range. They also sport set screws around the top so I expect the zero can be adjusted by the user. Worth mentioning is that these scopes come with screw on scope caps for the objective and eyepiece. These covers do not flip up, though, so I expect you will still use Butler Creek's to save time. The power ring felt smooth, but was a little looser than I would expect. The diopter was simply too loose for my taste and, oddly, had click adjustments. I have not seen click adjustments on a diopter before and I am not sure why anyone would want such a feature.

Overall the optics were not impressive. The field of view was small; smaller than I would expect in a 1-4x 2fp scope at this price point. The clarity was a bit better. It was more along the lines of what I would expect at this price point as well as can be told with only a $1k reference scope. The really problematic part of this optic was not the field of view or clarity but rather an odd effect I noticed at 1x. Every scope bends the image as you move your head off center behind the scope, but on the Hawke this effect was much more pronounced. Usually the viewer does not notice this bending when not specifically trying to look for it, but on the Hawke it stood out to the point that I think anyone would notice it and be annoyed.

The Hawke Endurance 1-4x24mm next to the GRSC reference:

The Hawke at 1x with maximum illumination:

The Hawke at 4x with maximum illumination:

Now, at this point, you might be wondering why I said all that stuff about folks putting too much weight on brand if the new guy I was preparing to write about was not going to be getting a great review. The fact is that Hawke is not a manufacturer:  they are a brand name. They market a number of products from different OEMs under the Hawke brand. This means that someone rating things by brand will have difficulty when categorizing Hawke optics as they represent different quality levels under their different lines to a greater extent than, say, Leupold within its American made VX lines (all of which are made by Leupold). This practice of housing products made by more than one OEM under the same brand is becoming more common and, I think, can be difficult for the consumer completely sort out. Almost all of the "American" optics brands are now labels for products made by other companies overseas. The result is that the consumer must judge and shop carefully as the brand has more to do with the warranty service you will get than the actual optic.

My case in point is the Hawke Sapphire compact binoculars. I was not overly impressed with the Endurance 1-4x scope, but these little binoculars looked quite nice. I had brought with me some reference binoculars to go with the scope, so I am not just blowing smoke. If you judged these binoculars based on the scope review you might not have had a look. You would be missing out. They are affordably priced at around $300 but are very good.
Link Posted: 2/3/2012 3:55:29 PM EDT
I also made the rounds of the Shot Show and spent a day in just the optics section.  We will be putting Aimpoint M-4's on our carbines but will use the Meopta for the SOCOM16's.
Link Posted: 2/3/2012 5:07:07 PM EDT
I was there as well for the whole week, and I had the exact opposite impression of the Steiner 1-4x, and I'm an optics snob too.  They said there was a big difference between the 1-4x they had stand-laone, and the one mounted on one of the demo guns.  I looked at the one on the demo gun, and it was one of the most impressive 1-4x scopes I have ever seen.  The glass clarity reminded me of Swarovski, the illumination was one of the brightest I have seen, it had zero-stop on very low-profile uncapped knobs, one of the smoothest magnification rings-if not the smoothest, and in-between OFF for the illumination rheostat.

I have zero connection with Steiner, and no motivation other than what I saw to make my statements.  I do agree that the $1700 price point on their 1-4x will be a big turn-off, since so many 1-6x, 1-8x, and 1-10x scopes are becoming the rage.  The exit pupil and eye-relief was very forgiving on the Steiner 1-4x as well.

I was also impressed with Kahles new tactical line of rifle optics, especially the weight and features.  I believe they had a 1-6x as well.  Maybe it was covered already.
Link Posted: 2/5/2012 5:34:30 PM EDT
Leatherwood Hi-Lux CMR and DMR Shot show 2012 mini reviews

I suppose the first thing to highlight in this review is that, as you might have guessed, there is going to be a second 1-4x Leatherwood scope in the near future. My e-mail from their president seems to indicate that this scope will be called the DMR though I had it in my notes from Shot as the CMR 4. This is probably as good a time as any to mention that Leatherwood was the last stop of day 2 for me and I was substantially rushed by the impending closing of Shot for the day. Unfortunately, I never got back and the time crunch, coupled with the elapsed time since, has made my notes and my mind a bit foggy on some details. Nevertheless, I shall tell you what I know. I do not guarantee any perfection or clarity in these little Shot blurbs. They are just that, blurbs, any quality is purely coincidental and will not be repeated.

Externally, the new scope appears very similar to the original CMR. The differences have more to do with functionality than with appearance. Actually, in the below photo of the Leatherwood president holding both optics, I am not totally sure which is which. I think the scope without the add on rail is the old model, but I could be wrong. I do know that the through the scope pictures are of the new optic and you will notice that the illumination scheme is slightly different as well as the reticle itself. Previously, only the horseshoe portion illuminated. On the new scope, the horseshoe and bdc portions illuminate though not brightly. You will also note that a mill ladder now appears below the bdc portion as well as to the left and right of the central portion. I applaud Leatherwoods dual mode, stadia and calculation, ranging system. This has been improved on the DMR and the adjustments have been changed to mil from 1/2 moa.

John Wu, the Hi-Lux president with both the existing CMR and forthcoming DMR scopes:

The new DMR at 1x with illuminaiton at max:

The new DMR at 4x with illumination at max:

Now, you are no doubt thinking, at this point, that a switch from MOA to mil and a few tweaks to the reticle are not enough to justify the $599 msrp on the DMR vs. the $320, with mount, street price on the CMR. I assure you that, despite the similarities in the design of the optical system, they are not made with the same components. The new DMR has significantly improved clarity as well as better adjustments. The clarity is not that of the $1k reference GRSC but is better than the CMR. The turrets actually feel very good on the DMR. They are now capped and slightly smaller than the original CMR but the big difference is that they feel solid instead of a bit soft and squidgey. Both scopes have smooth power and diopter rings and they both have an interesting integrated cat tale that can be installed by the user on the power ring.

When the CMR first hit the market, about a year and a half ago, I expected, based primarily on the reticle, great success. From what the Leatherwood folks have told me this has been the case. Reviews on forums, such as this one, have delivered them something of a word of mouth advertising campaign. I remember following this, with some interest, last year and all of the reviews I have read have been good. Given the number of reviews, this is a very good testament to the durability of the product. Durability is always the primary concern for optics in this price range. While both optics do not over deliver on optical performance, mechanical performance, or illumination relative to other optics at their price ranges they do deliver better reticles and features than most and seem to be, in the case of the CMR, holding up well. I see no reason why the prospective buyer should expect unhappiness from these optics. It is very likely that I will be doing a full review of at least one of the Leatherwood scopes in the near future so stay tuned.

The DMR next to the GRSC reference scope.

Link Posted: 2/7/2012 5:48:49 PM EDT
Kruger T4i 1-4x24 and DTS 1,2-8x40 Shot show 2012 mini reviews

Ever since the first prototype a few years back the DTS has drawn a great deal of attention. The optics world is populated mostly by scopes that are very similar to one another. Actually, given the amount of outsourcing, many are identical optical platforms with different reticles and different brands. The DTS is not one of those scopes. It is the answer to the question I am endlessly getting, "Does anybody make a scope that is a true red dot on 1x and yet has a magnified optic for higher power use?" Unfortunately, the answer is, "Yes, the DTS is such a scope, but I don't think you will like it."

The DTS is a true red dot at 1x and functions exactly as you would expect a red dot to function. It uses a projected dot aiming point, does not involve any refraction, and therefore has the huge eyebox and infinite eye relief one would expect from this class of optic. The next part of the design is a bit tricky. Since a red dot features a projected aiming point, and no refraction, it is not easy to incorporate into a magnified optic that absolutely must refract (or, in the style of many large telescopes, reflect) light. Kruger accomplishes this by installing a set of mirrors similar to the ones in the viewfinder of an SLR camera to divert light from the magnified tube to the user, whose eye is located behind the red dot. The mirror is up when you use the magnified portion and down for the red dot. (Incidentally, for those of you in the sciences or who were paying to much attention earlier, these mirrors are not curved and do not serve as part of the magnification system they just divert the image.) Externally, the scope looks like a red dot on top of a magnified optic because that is exactly what it is. There is a separate reticle and set of elevation and windage adjustments for each portion. The only difference between a high power rifle scope, with a piggyback red dot, and the DTS is that, on the DTS, the mirrors allow the same eye position for both. It is very advantageous to have the same eye position for both close quarter and ranged optic use. The question is, is it important enough to give up good clarity, good adjustments, and a good field of view? Unfortunately, this is what you will be sacrificing because the DTS does not excel in these areas.

The DTS sits at $1500, and at this price, the prospective buyer could buy a Dr. or Jpoint type red dot, a mount, and still have $1000 dollars to pick out a high power optic. Given the options in 3-9x, fixed 10x, or even higher powered scopes with adjustable parallax. It is not hard to see that, at $1,500, the DTS is against some strong possibilities from the conventional scope world.

I applaud Kruger for its innovations in combining a true red dot with a conventional rifle scope, as well as in the use of a carbon fiber chassis. I think that these innovations represent early examples of things that may become commonplace in the future.  That being said, this scope strikes me more as a prototype next generation scope, or proof of concept than as a marketable product. I think that there are probably some niche users for whom the DTS makes sense, but for most users, the uniform eye position is not worth the sacrifices.

The Kruger DTS next to the Kruger T4i 1-4x24mm and the reference GRSC 1-6x:]

The DTS at 1x in red dot mode:

The DTS at 8x in magnified mode:

In addition to the DTS, Kruger also showed a conventional 1-4x scope in a product line they are calling the Tacdriver T4i. I have pictured this scope above with it's big brother and the reference GRSC. It is my understanding that, while Kruger has done a 1-4x before, this one is brand new. As such, the reticle in it for the show was not the final and is not pictured in this review. They are calling the final reticle the CQR and it appears to have some mil elements, a sort of circle dot, and some generic drop lines.

The T4i 1-4x will land somewhere around $249. Its adjustments are 1/4th MOA and feel good. They also have the added feature of popping up to adjust and down to lock. The clarity of this scope is about what you would expect at $250 or perhaps a little better. Field of view is in line with the GRSC, that is to say average. The illumination is also about average, for a second focal plane scope. It is bright, but I wouldn't call it daytime bright. All in all, the T4i seems to be better than average mechanically and optically at its price point.
Link Posted: 2/8/2012 1:50:52 AM EDT
Ok Jim, where is the Bushnell stuff you promised...it's been over a week!
Link Posted: 2/9/2012 6:14:36 PM EDT
Ok Jim, where is the Bushnell stuff you promised...it's been over a week!

There are 4 left before Bushnell. Fortunately, most are short so probably only a week or so more. The Nikon today is #17 so there have been a great many of these mini reviews. They have turned out to be more work than I thought. I think you'll like the Bushnell though. It's a pretty good scope. All light optic stuff is.
Link Posted: 2/9/2012 6:16:08 PM EDT
Nikon M-223 1-4x20mm Shot show 2012 mini review

Most companies that make rifle scopes are not very large and do not command name recognition outside of their industry. You do not hear about most rifle scope companies on the news, or see their commercials on television. Nikon is the big exception to this. It is a giant corporation owned by the Mitsubishi Group, an even more giant corporation. It is very unlikely that you have never owned a product manufactured by Nikon. This is especially true since, in addition to making optics, Nikon is also the world's second largest semiconductor fabricator. I mention all of this because I think it is important to keep in mind the history that we, me and you, have with Nikon when viewing Nikon rifle scopes, as that history will undoubtedly influence us.

My history with Nikon is as follows. I purchased my first Nikon product in the late 1990's. This pair of 8x32 Venturer LX binoculars was the absolute top of Nikon's lineup and was quite competitive with the much more expensive, Swarovski and Leica offerings, despite the huge price differential. My Venturers are still made, though they are now called the Premier LX, and are now Nikons number 2 binoculars behind the new EDG models. I had a chance to see these at Shot and compare them to my Venturers. The EDGs are quite remarkable. Nikon's binoculars are excellent and, I think, underrated.

I think that this little digression into the world of binoculars was important to illustrate what Nikon is capable of when it puts its mind to something. With its incredible size, expertise, and economy of scale, Nikon can produce an optic as good as anyone in the world for significantly cheaper than their competitors. To some extent because of my history with Nikon, and because of their capabilities, I expected Nikon to do this with rifle scopes.  They have not and I feel, though I have no right to, betrayed. Nikon is a "me-too" player in the world of riflescopes and not an industry leader. I see this trend across the board with their product line. The features are generally tired retreads of what other companies were doing 15 years ago. In the unusual event that they try to get contemporary, such as with the M-223 line, little thought appears to be put into the features. It is not that Nikon makes bad rifle scopes. Often the clarity and optical design is better than the average for their price point. The scopes are just unimaginative and uninspiring. It is like an A student performing C work. It might be as good as most of the other students can do but it is very disappointing for the teacher. I find myself reminiscing of times, some 15 years ago, when I used to think, "Gee, wouldn't it be great if Nikon would make rifle scopes." The answer was not what I expected.

I suppose after you suffered though all of that you must really want to read the M-223 1-4x20mm review. The first thing to note about the M-223 is that it is 1" in a world of 30mm scopes. I think that it may be the only 1" scope in this entire Shot report. It is not like 1" is the end of the world:  I have a 1" Zeiss Conquest on my Anschutz and I rather enjoy the light weight. Small girth, and consequently a smaller objective, just starts us off in the wrong direction. The second thing I noticed about the M-223 was the color mismatch between the power ring and the rest of the body. The power ring appears to be a cheap little cast part that is made out of a different metal than the rest of the body and thus, has this odd, lustrous, rounded, cast look. Its appearance grates on me. Speaking of grating appearances, contrasting with the narrow tube are giant exposed adjustments that look like they are off of a 6-18x high powered scope. On a scope that high powered, large adjustments might be used, in concert with a ranging reticle, to aid in drop compensation. This scope has no ranging elements in the reticle to facilitate such function. The turrets only serve as decoration, an invitation to get bumped causing loss of your zero, and to remind you that the M-223 is not a well thought out scope design. Keeping with the theme of things I don't like, the reticle is a duplex with an odd larger dot in the center. It looks almost as if they put that dot in there to reflect illumination, but sadly there is no illumination. I can say that the glass appears better than average at this price range, with a field of view that is also average. The power ring and diopter also feel fine, despite the appearance. Probably the best thing that can be said for the Nikon is that it has an excellent warranty so you can keep it forever. You judge for yourself the attractiveness of that proposition.

The M-223 1-4x20mm next to the reference GRSC:

The M-223 at 1x:

The M-223 at 4x:

Link Posted: 2/13/2012 11:48:36 PM EDT
Weaver Tactical 1-5x24mm Shot Show 2012 mini-review

Weaver is an excellent example of a typical "American" optics company today in that, so far as I can tell, it doesn't really make any optics, certainly none in America. The Weaver name has also been bought and sold a number of times since its founding and, consequently, the Weaver you see today has little to nothing to do with the Weaver of even five years ago.  Five years ago, Weaver was owned by Mead:  a small scale company that makes primarily telescopes. Today, it is owned by Alliant Techsystems (ATK):  a truly massive defense contractor. The Weaver name has been drug though the mud as well as resurrected a number of times in this company's long history of being bought and sold. For what it is worth, ATK seems interested in resurrection and not evisceration. Nevertheless, because Weaver follows what I will refer to as "the American model" of production, characterized by offering a product line with models manufactured by a number of different OEM's located in different countries around the world, the consumer would be wise not to extrapolate from the details of this review to other Weaver products.

The Weaver we will be looking at today is from their new Tactical line and is the 1-5x24mm model. Based on the fit and finish, adjustments, and glass; I would be quite surprised if this scope is not Light Optics product. This is especially true since a little birdie told me a while back that Light Optic had a 1-5x ffp design that they were shopping around for potential buyers with. I actually think that it is very likely that the whole new Tactical line that Weaver is offering consists of Light Optics products. Though none of the MSRP's in this line are very impressive, the street prices are quite attractive, lower than most Light Optics products go for from other brands. In some cases, they are lower by half.

The Weaver Tactical 1-5x24mm next to the GRSC reference:

When compared side by side with the GRSC reference scope, the clarity of the Weaver is indistinguishable and it has a slightly larger field of view. The adjustments are of the very common capped,  pull-up-to-set-zero push-down-to-adjust, type seen on many Light Optics products as well as a few products produced by other makers. These adjustments feel very good. In the case of this scope, they are 1/4moa, though given the mil elements in the reticle, they should probably be .1mil. The caps for the adjustments are large and knurled and feature a very nice secondary compartment for extra batteries. As expected, power adjust and diopter feel very good. The illumination knob has settings for green and red illumination depending on which way you turn it. The same styling used on the adjustment caps is used here. This allows for the battery to be changed without a coin or screwdriver which is a nice touch. Due to the ffp design of the scope, illumination is not daytime bright at 1x. The full reticle is illuminated for ranging use in low light.

The reticle that Weaver has designed for this scope is a hybrid that contains mil elements horizontally to the left and right of the center 200-yard zero point as well as chest width drop lines vertically below the center point. The drop lines are for 400, 500, and 600 yards. Weaver claims in their literature that these are 20" wide at the specified range, but their dimensioned diagram seems to indicate 23.6". A broken circle surrounds the central dot for close quarters speed. All of the elements have a uniform and fairly bulky line width. I have mixed feelings about this reticle. It is not bad, like many of the reticles in this class, but it's not great. I think its kind of half-baked. Maybe if you like your eggs kind of runny and your cookies mushy this is the one for you. I can't help but think it could have easily been better by tailoring the line width a bit, adding a 300-yard line, and matching the adjustments to the mils on the reticle. You know:  cooking it fully. Nitpicking aside, you could do much worse than this scope. It lacks refinement but gets the basics correct.

The Weaver Tactical 1-5x24mm at 1x with full, red, illumination:

The Weaver Tactical 1-5x24mm at 5x with full, red, illumination:

Link Posted: 2/15/2012 5:53:14 PM EDT
Bushnell tactical 1-6.5x24mm Shot Show 2012 mini-review

A great deal of excitement has surrounded the new Bushnell 1-6.5x24mm scopes. I suppose this is not a surprise. It have observed, that there are quite a few individuals, particularly in the mid priced market, that are brand loyal to either Bushnell or Leupold. This is probably a very good endorsement of these two brands. If they produced a bunch of poor products or jerked their customers around they probably wouldn't' have much of a following.  This year Bushnell has decided to jump headfirst into the "Tactical world" by releasing a very complete line starting at 1-6.5x24mm and going all the way up to 6-24x50mm.

The Bushnell tactical 1-6.5x24mm next to the GRSC refrence:

Allow me to digress for a moment to talk about the word "Tactical" today. I hate it. I would probably hate any word that is used with such frequency and marketing gusto but tactical draws my special ire because I think that all the marketing gusto is advertising something it ought not to, killing people, and is applied to just about any product I find remotely interesting. I will not bother explain why I think killing people is usually a bad idea and certainly never something to glorify, but I would like to go into why these scopes tend to be the ones I find interesting. I, like presumably many of you, use my rifles for many different purposes including, hunting, varmint elimination, and competition. Quite a few of these purposes benefit from having the ability to range a target, compensate for bullet drop, illuminate the reticle for low light use, or dial down the power down to unity for comfortable and fast use with both eyes open. Though all of these features might benefit someone in the business of killing other someones, I suspect that they much more often benefit folks in less morally precarious applications. I am not sure why the last few years have been so instrumental in bringing more useful features to the market, nor why these features must be marketed in the way that they are, but I applaud the first trend and am dubious of the second.

And now for something completely different. Bushnell has decided, with its tactical line, to avoid the sfp / ffp debate as well as the stadia / calculation debate by simply offering models with both type of reticle in either focal plane. They have, however, decided on putting all the chips on the metric system and all of the models have .1mil turrets with mostly mil ranging elements. I applaud the turrets matching the reticle. This really isn't rocket science to get right but most folks seem to still get it wrong so I suppose congratulations are still in order.

Speaking of the reticle, both the ffp and 2fp models that I had a chance to play with at the show had, what appeared to be, a mil scale reticle. This reticle consisted of a central horseshoe with a vertical mil scale below it. To the right and left were a few lines that might be mil related but were unlabeled and to few and far apart to be of much use ranging. I understand these scopes are also available with a stadia based reticle and bdc. I have found no documentation regarding the specifics of this but it appears similar to Trijicon's chest width ranging system. I have pictured the ffp and 2fp scopes at full illumination at 1x as well as the ffp at full illumination at 6.5x. As you might expect, the 2fp version appears brighter.

Regarding the appearance of this scopes, which look identical to each other, they look and feel very good. More specifically, they look and feel like Light Optics scopes. The adjustments are the same type as are seen on the GRSC, Weaver, Sightron, and Trijicon. These adjustments seem to be a common off the shelf component. I like them, and I am not surprised to see so many brands using them. The optical clarity of these scopes is good, right on par with that of the GRSC reference but with a field of view that is slightly larger than the GRSC. All in all these, appear to be solid scopes. The only problem they might have is that priced, at $1,400 street for the ffp, they cost a good deal more than some very, very similar optics. They are counting on the Bushnell name, RainGaurd HD, and a slightly higher magnification range for a good deal of scratch.

Interestingly, Bushnell is actually charging less for some of the higher powered tactical series scopes than for this 1-6.5x24mm model. Given their mil / mil configuration, ffp design, and, in some cases, reticles that appear desirable, these scopes may prove to be class leading at their price points. This, of course, assumes the same level of manufacturing quality and optical clarity as the 1-6.5x24mm model.

The Bushnell tactical 1-6.5x24mm ffp at 1x with max illumination:

The Bushnell tactical 1-6.5x24mm 2fp at 1x with max illumination:

The Bushnell tactical 1-6.5x24mm ffp at 6.5x with max illumination:

Link Posted: 2/16/2012 4:26:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Zhukov] [#32]
<This thread is for reviews and specific questions ONLY. Please read the OP - Z>

Link Posted: 2/16/2012 5:48:30 PM EDT
Leupold VX-6 1-6x update.

Today I spoke with one of the Leupold reps regarding the VX-6 1-6x. This scope caught my eye at Shot by having a flash dot at a price point much lower than one can typically get this type of illumination. Its optics were also very good with regards to both clarity and field of view. The only rub was that it was not offered in a configuration with any ranging capability at all. I commiserated with the Leupold rep about this problem and he confided in me a secret (which I kept thank you very much, it wasn't easy for me). He told me that he had been working for some time to get a ranging capable reticle in this scope. He was not sure that it would happen, but promised to keep me informed if it did.

That brings us to today. I received an e-mail from the rep announcing success, at least partially, on his part. The VX-6 1-6x will be able to be purchased, with the Firedot SPR reticle, as an option, through the Custom Shop. I have pictured this reticle below. It is a mil ladder reticle with a circle added and flash dot illumination.

The Firedot SPR reticle:

Leupold was pushing their Custom Shop a great deal at Shot this year, especially with regards to their CDS dial system. This is a dial system that can be engraved for your specific load. To be honest, I really hadn't paid that much attention to the Custom Shop literature as, in the past, you really didn't have much in the way of features you could change that mattered. Specifically, there usually was little or no reticle or adjustment choice. You could get the scope engraved or anodized, which might be great for a retirement gift, but that was about it. In the case of this VX-6, you will be able to add this mil ranging reticle and also change the adjustments to .1mil to match the reticle: quite an upgrade in functionality.

To sum it all up, you will be able to get the VX-6 with a ranging mil reticle and mil adjustments. You will also be able to get an 8mil, one turn, zero stop, if you want it. This will all be through the Custom Shop only. I guess a cool anodizing job might be in order since you have to go custom anyway. Perhaps black with green fade and black splatter effect.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 3:59:56 AM EDT
Hey Jim, what would that cost?  That sounds like a heck of a scope with the VX-6 being a true 1x and the glass pretty good.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 7:14:37 AM EDT
Hey Jim, what would that cost? That sounds like a heck of a scope with the VX-6 being a true 1x and the glass pretty good.

Seems like I ought to have mentioned that. It is $800 before the custom shop. I am not sure what it will run after yet. I should know by mid - late next month. At that time they are sending me one for a full review with the mil reticle and mil knobs.
Link Posted: 2/17/2012 8:06:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Zhukov] [#36]
<This thread is for reviews and specific questions ONLY. Please read the OP - Z>

Link Posted: 2/17/2012 1:37:05 PM EDT
Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm T* Shot Show 2012 mini-review

Zeiss is one of the oldest and best respected optics makers in the world and, in addition to Nikon, is one of the elephants in the room. Zeiss manufactures several lines of scopes. The mid-range Conquest line of scopes is assembled in the U.S., whereas the higher lines, such as the Conquest Duralyt line, Victory line and Hensoldt brands, are made in Germany.  The scope we will be examining today is the Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm.

The first thing to note about this scope is that it does appear unmagnified at 1x. As I have explained in the introduction to my low power variable scopes thread (as well as countless other times):  how magnification is measured varies in European and American tradition. Typically, European scopes measure the magnification of a scope using the optics equations themselves. Since these are idealized physics equations that make assumptions, such as that lenses do not have thickness, they are a bit off in practice. The result of this is that to get a scope that appears 1x to the user, its equations will indicate a magnification of around 1.1x. Americans typically just list the scope as 1x if it looks 1x. This might be all well and good except that occasionally we also label scopes of 1.25x as 1x; confusing the hell out of everybody. In any case, if you want to know if this scope will appear unmagnified in use; it will.

The Victory 1.1-4x has a very similar external appearance to my Conquest 4.5-14x. Zeiss uses this shiny textured black finish that I do not find very attractive on its scopes, but that is one of the most durable finishes I have ever seen on any optic. I remember a salesperson years ago demonstrating this finish by sanding the edges of a quarter with a scope; causing no distress to the scope (not recommended). As much as I prefer other company's finishes on the day of purchase:  five years later, the Zeiss always looks better. I have no scratches on my Zeiss 4.5-14x. I can't even say that for my USO, which uses mil spec type III hard anodizing as its finish.

The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm next to the GRSC reference:

In addition to the finish, this Zeiss also appears to share the same adjustments as my 4.5-14x scope. These are 1/4moa, very small, capped adjustments that lift up to set zero and push down to turn. They are very stiff and, given their small size and weight, accomplish the goal of a 'set and forget' adjustment very well. As I'm sure you can guess in a scope of this price point, the power ring and diopter feel just fine.

This scope comes in two reticles:  the German #4 and a simple flash dot. No ranging is offered by either reticle and, coupled with adjustments well-sized for 'set and forget' use, this scope does not attempt to extend its use beyond a few hundred yards. It is possible that something is to be said for this. Many scopes in this class seem unwilling to make a decision as to what they want to do well. They might have giant, heavy adjustments for drop compensation but no ranging features to facilitate that function. The Zeiss simply opts to go with the close quarters only theme and, particularly with the flash dot reticle, executes this well.

Speaking of the flash dot, The feature that most recommends this scope is the illumination. It utilizes a daytime bright dot illumination scheme with infinitely adjustable rheostat. There are very few daytime bright flash dot type scopes in this class and the Zeiss is one of them.

I think that the best place to leave this discussion is with the clarity and field of view. The field of view is larger than the reference GRSC and the clarity is better, too. This is despite the fact that the Zeiss is much lighter. The biggest difficulty this scope will have is arguing that at this price range it should be close quarters only and limited to 4x. The Swarovski is similarly priced, similarly featured, and 1-6x.

The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm at 1x with maximum illumination:

The Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm at 4x with maximum illumination:

Link Posted: 2/17/2012 1:38:55 PM EDT
Trijicon TR24 Shot Show 2012 mini-review

Trijicon was one of the last booths I visited on day 4 of Shot. I was booking to get done by this point which was really to bad as I would have liked to have played with the new really expensive long range rifle scopes.

The TR24 is Trijicon's entry into the 1-4x market. It was introduced to a very impatient public a few years back. I remember the discussions of how great it would be to have a 1-4x ACOG. That was not really what happened. Though no one expected the TR24 to look like an ACOG, it was expected that the familiar ACOG style BDC reticle would be present. Due to the construction of the AcucPoint scopes, floating elements, such as the ACOG scopes have, are not possible. This does not mean that it would not be possible to make a reticle similar to that of an ACOG, but it does rule out one that looks identical. Instead trying for an approximation, Trijicon has gone with two non-ranging options, a German #1 and #4. Both these reticles are very thick and, as a result, not particularly good for hold over. I spoke with the rep for a short time about reticle situation and he said they are kicking around the idea of adding a ranging capable reticle. I have heard this for years. I will believe it when I see it.

The TR24 1-4x next to the reference GRSC 1-6x:

Regarding the optic itself, a little research on my part combined with my hands on inspection has revealed that the TR24 is, in all likelihood, a Light Optics product. The glass is of the clarity one expects from that OEM. It stacks up evenly with the GRSC and looks very good. The field of view is also slightly larger, which one would expect from a 2fp scope that is 1-4x instead of 1-6x. The adjustments, on the TR24, are of the Light optic type that is seen on so many other scopes and discussed in length in the Sightron review. In the case of the Trijicon, these are 1/4moa. They feel very good and are some of my favorite adjustments for this class optic.

Really, if you are looking at this scope it is not about the adjustments, it is about the illumination. You can buy an assortment of other Light Optics manufactured scopes from a handful of other brands with a higher magnification range, better reticles, the same glass, and the same adjustments, but none of them will have a fiber / Tritium illumination scheme. This scheme requires no batteries and is easily daytime bright. In the daytime, the illumination is also adjustable by sliding a ring around the fiber pick up to cover all or part of the fiber. At night, illumination is not adjustable and may, or may not, play well with night vision systems. I suspect it is probably to bright for them. Still, daytime bright without batteries is a good selling point and this illumination scheme is in a solid scope from a well respected brand and OEM.

The TR24 1-4x with maximum illumination at 1x:

The TR24 1-4x with maximum illumination at 4x:

Link Posted: 2/17/2012 5:36:35 PM EDT
any US Optics SN-4 users?
Link Posted: 2/18/2012 10:59:41 AM EDT
Absolutely great thread Big Jim. Having just spent an hour reading it amazes me that all the high dollar manufactures are still trying to be an Aimpoint at 1X. In the event of electronic failure or a dead battery you have nothing. The technology employed by SWFA with their SS 1-4 and now 1-6 HD scopes is so much more versital and far more effective with a dead battery. I've put my Aimpoint up against my SWFA SS 1-4 HD in timed drills out to 200 yards and the SS scores slightly better. That ruby red tiny glow the manufactures are all pursuing seems to be a very expensive and less satisfactory solution to the ideal functionality of a low power variable combat optic. I've got over 5000 round down range with five different rifles shooting from 10 to 800 yards with my SWFA 1-4 HD and of this years offerings the only scopes that interest me are the new SWFA SS 1-6 HD and the Leupold 1-8. My issue with the other optics is not the quality but the design and price.
Link Posted: 2/18/2012 7:10:40 PM EDT
What does Leupold's circle dot post reticle look like or is it the same as their circle dot?
Link Posted: 2/21/2012 11:42:21 AM EDT
So, at long last my shot show reports have come to an end. Actually, I am still checking a few of the technical details on the Elcan one but since that seems to be a long process I went ahead and updated the table before posting it. For all those patient and long suffering folks who have been waiting entirely to long for that update your wait is over. If I was Apple that would mean that it is now time for you to go, wait in a long line, mortgage your firstborn, worship me, and buy my product, all to have me release another one tomorrow so you could do it all again. See things could be worse than a long delayed table update.

Here is the new table (I already updated the first post of the thread with it as well):

You will notice that I have added a number of lower cost options as per my recent discussion of scopes for the less wealthy, more practical, less anal retentive, easier to satisfy, nagging wife, child in college, un-pretentious, pragmatic, half blind anyway, or just plain cheap customer. You may also notice that a great number of the scopes got a whole lot more expensive. That is a lie. Your dollar is just worth a whole lot less than it was 3 years ago when I last updated some of these prices. Send a letter thanking your representatives in Washington for all that value they stole from you and everybody else who managed to save a few bucks, despite their taxation, by printing your money to worthlessness.

The general increase in price of optics not withstanding, I did notice significantly different cost increases depending on the optic. This has greatly increased the value proposition of some options and decreased the value of others. It is worth a once over to see if your preferred options are still the value they once were. I, for one, have to reevaluate some of my recommendations.

Thats all folks, Enjoy the new table and reviews.
Link Posted: 2/21/2012 11:43:54 AM EDT
What does Leupold's circle dot post reticle look like or is it the same as their circle dot?

I did not see an example at Shot with this reticle and have not seen any picks online of it either. I suspect we will just have to wait and see on it. Certainly it is an interesting question of what such a reticle would look like.
Link Posted: 2/21/2012 1:11:49 PM EDT
Thank you BJF! This is an incredibly well put together thread.

Thorough and articulate description of the scopes in review. This should be bookmarked by anyone serious about getting good info on many low variable tac optics.
Link Posted: 2/21/2012 4:31:50 PM EDT
Wow.. nice work.  I know that it takes a lot of time to do this type of stuff.. so thanks.  
Awesome that you even placed it in a table so we know what pages to look at.
Link Posted: 3/2/2012 5:53:04 PM EDT
Dear BigJimFish,

Kind sir, could you see your way clear to emailing me that spreadsheet?  I intend to massage it; add much more info, then re-post of course.  Thanks very much for your work so far.
Link Posted: 3/11/2012 8:56:32 PM EDT
What are the prices on the available feature upgrades

Originally Posted By BigJimFish:
Leupold VX-6 1-6x update.

Today I spoke with one of the Leupold reps regarding the VX-6 1-6x. This scope caught my eye at Shot by having a flash dot at a price point much lower than one can typically get this type of illumination. Its optics were also very good with regards to both clarity and field of view. The only rub was that it was not offered in a configuration with any ranging capability at all. I commiserated with the Leupold rep about this problem and he confided in me a secret (which I kept thank you very much, it wasn't easy for me). He told me that he had been working for some time to get a ranging capable reticle in this scope. He was not sure that it would happen, but promised to keep me informed if it did.

That brings us to today. I received an e-mail from the rep announcing success, at least partially, on his part. The VX-6 1-6x will be able to be purchased, with the Firedot SPR reticle, as an option, through the Custom Shop. I have pictured this reticle below. It is a mil ladder reticle with a circle added and flash dot illumination.

The Firedot SPR reticle:

Leupold was pushing their Custom Shop a great deal at Shot this year, especially with regards to their CDS dial system. This is a dial system that can be engraved for your specific load. To be honest, I really hadn't paid that much attention to the Custom Shop literature as, in the past, you really didn't have much in the way of features you could change that mattered. Specifically, there usually was little or no reticle or adjustment choice. You could get the scope engraved or anodized, which might be great for a retirement gift, but that was about it. In the case of this VX-6, you will be able to add this mil ranging reticle and also change the adjustments to .1mil to match the reticle: quite an upgrade in functionality.

To sum it all up, you will be able to get the VX-6 with a ranging mil reticle and mil adjustments. You will also be able to get an 8mil, one turn, zero stop, if you want it. This will all be through the Custom Shop only. I guess a cool anodizing job might be in order since you have to go custom anyway. Perhaps black with green fade and black splatter effect.

Link Posted: 3/11/2012 11:17:58 PM EDT
Can anyone tell me.. the IOR Valdada scopes with the CQB reticles... if your batteries die, can you see none, all (like the Burris MTAC), or some portion of the reticle as just black?  Thanks.

Such as this one:  http://www.midwayusa.com/product/514609/valdada-ior-tactical-rifle-scope-35mm-tube-15-8x-26mm-illuminated-cqb-bdc-reticle-matte-with-high-picatinny-style-rings

I could not find the answer here:  http://www.valdada.com/frequently-asked-questions
Link Posted: 3/12/2012 4:44:13 PM EDT
Both the IOR and the MTAC have reticles that are present without illumination. In both cases the reticle will appear black. Only red dot sights such as Aimpoints and EOtechs lack reticles in the absence of power. Both of sights you mentioned are magnified optics and not red dot sights. Both feature glass etched reticles that will be present batteries or not. With the one exception of the Kruger DTS (which is half red dot half magnified optic) I do not know of any red dot sights that feature variable magnification so if you are worried about a sight not working without power that has variable magnification you do not need to. All other sights with magnification will have reticles visible without power. (Incidentally, the DTS does have a reticle visible without batteries from 2-8x just not at 1x.)
Link Posted: 3/13/2012 8:03:19 PM EDT
Can I get a contact name for custom vx-6.  Trent at Leupold says it can not be done.
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