I am kicking off another comparison since it sorta got my interest. While I am not a target shooter, I have some peripheral interest in high magnification scopes and they are interesting from an optical standpoint. For a little while now, if you really wanted a high mag scope and you had some money to spend, you got a March. March seems to have been administering a (maybe well deserved) beating to Leupold and Nightforce despite their occasional attempts to fight back.
Some folks in Europe, however, are apparently using IORs a lot, which I find odd since my recent experience with IORs has not been great. I live in the US, so for a lot of people here the IOR experience has been somewhat influenced by a rather colorful importer, so I will ignore IOR for now.
There is always S&B Field Target scopes and Kahles 10-50×56 Competition that looks to have been designed to compete against it.
I am, however, very interested in who can challenge March for less money, which led me to Delta Stryker HD 5-50×56, Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60×52 and Sightron SV 10-50×60.
In the future, I might expand this to other scopes, but now I am looking at these three. Still, I am kinda curious about Leupold’s 7-42×56 VX-6.
Here is teh spec table for some of them, with the threes copes I have on hand right now in bold. I will make a few videos on the subject with the first one below the spec table.
|Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60×52||Sightron SV 10-50×60||Delta Stryker HD 5-50×56||S&B
FT II 12.5-50×56
|Kahles Comp 10-50×56||Nightforce Comp 15-55×52||March 8-80×56||March HM 10-60×56|
|Main Tube Diameter||30mm||34mm||34mm||34mm||30mm||30mm||34mm||34mm|
|Eye Relief, in||3.9||3.8 – 4.5||3.5 – 3.9||2.75||3.74||3.15||3.4 -3.7||3.5 – 4|
|FOV, ft@100yards||6.3 – 1.7
5.1 @ 20x
|9.6 – 2.2
5.5 @ 20x
|21.2 – 0.72
5.37 @ 20x
|12.6 – 3.3
7.38 @ 20x
|8.7 – 1.8
4.5 @ 20x
|6.91 – 1.83
5.03 @ 20x
|13.2 – 1.3
5.2 @ 20x
|10.5 – 1.7
5.1 @ 20x
|Exit Pupil||3.22 – 0.87||5.24 – 1.2||7.2 – 1.1||4.55 – 1.18||5.4 – 1.12||3.54 – 0.93||7 – 0.7||4.11 – 0.94|
|Click Value||⅛ MOA||0.05 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad or
⅛ or ¼ MOA
|⅛ MOA||⅛ MOA||⅛ MOA||⅛ MOA|
|Adjustment per turn||10 MOA||5 mrad||10 mrad|
|Adjustment range||E: 55 MOA
W: 45 MOA
|E: 20.4 mrad
W: 17.5 mrad
|E: 30 mrad
W: 15 mrad
|E: 65 MOA
W: 32 MOA
|E: 55 MOA
W: 45 MOA
|E: 55 MOA
W: 50 MOA
|E: 60 MOA
W: 40 MOA
|E: 60 MOA
W: 40 MOA
|Close focus||15 yards||13 yards||10 meters||7.7 yards||8 yards||25 yards||10 yards||10 yards|
|Reticle Location||SFP||SFP||SFP||FFP or SFP||SFP||SFP||SFP||SFP|
|Price||$1500||$2000||$1690||$3400||$2750||$2350||$2970 – $3400||$3500|
13 Responses to “DLO Review: High Magnification Target Scopes”
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Hi! This seems like the most relevant recent article to ask this on.
I’ve heard that tracking and optics are better closer to the optical center of a scope. Is there a reason that the optical center is pretty much exclusively at the center of erector travel?
For example, let’s take something like the Athlon Cronus BTR 4.5-29×56. It has ~32mrad of elevation travel (I have 28mrad remaining on a 20moa rail with Burris Signature XTR rings set to 22moa). I’m going to do the vast, vast, vast majority of my work in the first turn of the turret – my 1000yd elevation setting is roughly 9.3 mrad with today’s weather.
That said, the reason I went for 42moa elevation was because I’m occasionally going to plink at 1mi, which takes almost exactly 29mrad, and I prefer a 1mrad hold for elevation to a 7.4mrad hold for elevation. (Knowing where zero is relative to the travel limit, I’ll probably bump up to 50moa soon.)
Would it be possible to design a scope with the optical center at ~9mrad from one end of erector travel, that still has ~23mrad going the other direction?
Along those lines, would it be possible to design a scope that has built-in cant as well, so you have ~5mrad of negative elevation and the vast majority of travel in positive elevation – when mounted on a flat rail you can zero at 100yd, and you naturally have most of the scope’s travel for distance shooting?
The useful range of erector travel is defined by the optics. Since relevant optical elements are typically round, the center of useful travel and the optical center should be one and the same. With many modern scopes, the optical quality near the edges of the adjustment range is quite good, but I would still recommend staying a bit away from it.
For an application like yours where you end a lot of adjustment once in a while, I would consider using one of the Tarac Bravo devices or something along those lines.
The new March Genesis scope uses external adjustment to simplify the optics a bit. Elcan scopes have used external adjustment for years as well. Always looking through the optical center is one of the things they use as an advantage.
Thank you for clarifying that – I had assumed we were limited by travel of the erector itself, with a trade-off between a longer erector tube deflecting more and thus requiring more radial space but allowing coarser threads for the same distance per turn. (My background being primarily mechanical widget design, I’m typically constrained by packaging and manufacturing precision.)
When you say “round”, do you mean “spherical”, “radially balanced”, or both? Presumably, it’s simpler to manufacture a radially balanced spheroid to high precision on a lathe-style grinder, but from what little I remember from my optics class there are other shapes that are much better as far as distortion is concerned, and CNC lathes are extremely good these days. Naturally, the reduced simplicity would command a higher price.
I’ll look into the various flavors of Tarac, thank you for the recommendation.
When talking about lenses, spherical usually refers to surface shape. A lens has two surfaces that can be flat, convex or concave. Spherical surfaces are the easiest to make, so most optical elements in a riflescopes are of that type, but we do see aspherical surfaces pop up more often since that often allows for better aberration corrections with fewer elements.
Round means that the optical element is physically round, i.e. radially symmetric around the optical axis: if you grab a lens and look at it straight one it looks like a round piece.
As far as the travel of the erector goes, note that I said “useful range”. You can make an erector with more travel, but if it goes outside of the range defined by the optics ahead of it in the optical system, it will start losing part of the image (vignetting).
The erector is designed with the amount of travel appropriate for the optical system.
Thank you for all the great reviews you do. I was wondering if you had a chance to look through a NF 15-55×52 and if it is worth the extra price over the Golden Eagle?
I have seen the NF Competition and it is an excellent scope. That having been said, once you get into that price range, you should really be looking at March scopes. I really like the Golden Eagle for the price, although personally I decided to stick with the Delta 5-50×56. Both are are good. Once you decide to go above $2k, I think March rules the roost.
Thanks for the info/advice! The March 48×52 HM looks interesting but the eye relief is pretty short at a published 2.6-3.2″. I’d probably end up with scope eye. LOL
What are you shooting? Scopes of these types are typically used on fairly hefty target rifles that really do not kick much.
I’m looking for a scope for a 6BR shooting paper mainly at 100 yards and will try my hand at free recoil.
I have not shot free recoil, so I can’t help you there.
A couple more question for the DLO. Have you looked through the Sightron 45×45 with the ED glass? How does it compare with the glass on the GE? Thank you!
Oh, and is it a disadvantage to have only a 45mm objective lens with 45x power and the resulting exit pupil?
Unfortunately, I have not tested that scope. 45x fixed power is not my cup of tea. Small exit pupil is definitely a disadvantage for general purpose shooting, but for benchrest, it might work quite nicely.
Since that is usually done during the day and you have a nicely stable shooting position, keeping the objective small keeps the scope light. That helps squeezing in under the weight limitations.