Element Optics is a fairly new riflescope company. They are backed by FX Airguns, which is a pretty decent recommendation right there. FX makes exemplary airguns.
I met with them during SHOT earlier this year. They seemed like a good group of people, so I figured once they have something to look at I should pay attention. The guys behind the company are all shooters and have technical tendencies, which usually yields good results.
So far, my initial cautious optimism is probing to be accurate. Their first product is a Japanese-made Nexus 5-20×50 and it is a really nice scope. For a first scope from a new company, it is downright outstanding.
It is intended as a precision scope, but given that it weighs in at a comparatively svelte 28 ounces, it is more of a crossover design by modern standards. While not as light as traditional hunting scopes, it is light enough to be used for hunting, while having the feature set appropriate for precision shooting. In other words, you can use for pretty much anything that does not require 1x (and even that is kinda doable with an offset red dot were I so inclined).
I liked the scope enough to place, albeit provisionally for now, on my list of recommendations which is really unusual for a new product from a new company. The recommendation is provisional because I want to see how it holds up over long term. However, given that the scope is OEM’ed by Light Optics Works in Japan, I do not anticipate any major issues.
The big thing that jumped out at me is that, somewhat unusually, nothing bad jumped out at me. This is a really well rounded design. It does everything well and, given the price, very well. Most importantly, there are no glaring weaknesses. It is not going to make me give up my Tangent Theta any time soon, but it doesn’t cost like on either.
Here is the spec table:
|Tract Toric UHD 4-20×50||Element Nexus 5-20×50||SWFA SSHD 5-20×50||Meopta Optika6 3-18×50||EOTech Vudu 5-25×50||Burris XTR III 3.3-18×50||Crimson Trace 5-series 3-18×50||Brownell MPO 3-18×50|
|Main Tube Diameter||30mm||30mm||30mm||30mm||34mm||34mm||34mm||34mm|
|Eye Relief, in||3.9||3.7 – 3||4||3.94||3.5||3.25 – 4||3.54 – 3.82||3.4|
|FOV, ft@100yds||24.5 – 4.9|
|23.3 – 5.8 |
11.6 @ 10x
|20.1-5.1 10.2@10x||33.6 – 5.7|
10.3 @ 10x
|23.3 – 4.7|
11.8 @ 10x
|37.7 – 6.8|
12.24 @ 10x
|33.2 – 6.2|
|35 – 6.2|
|Exit Pupil||8 – 2.5||9.5 – 2.8||5.5 – 2.1||8.6 – 2.7|
|Click Value||0.1 mrad||0.1 mrad||0.1 |
|0.1 mrad||0.1 |
|Adj per turn||10 mrad||10 |
|10 mrad||10 mrad||10 |
|10 mrad; no rev counter||10 |
|Adjustment range, mrad||19||E: 23.2|
|E: 40 |
|Close Focus||25 yards||10 yards||35 |
|10 yards||50 yards||25 |
The closest competitors Nexus has in terms of price and specs are Tract Toric 4-20×50, SWFA SSHD 5-20×50, Burris XTR III 3.3-18×50 and EOTech Vudu 5-25×50. I have tested all except for the XTR III which is not yet available with illumination.
Simply looking at the specs, Nexus is one of the better rounded ones here. Toric and SWFA have narrow-ish FOV. XTR III does not yet have illumination. SWFA and EOTech do not come with decent tree reticles (Horus’ mosquito net in the EOTech is not my cup of tee). SWFA does not have zero-stop.
The only weakneses Nexus has spec-wise are non-locking turrets and lack of a track record. Track record comes with time, and locking turrets can be a little controversial since they often make click feel worse. Personally, I would leave the zerostop equipped elevation turret as is and make windage turret either covered or locking.
Turret feel is very good. The turrets are not very loud, but very tactile. Tracking is just about spot on, but I’ll be keeping track of how that holds up with use. The turrets are not very large which is helpful for the whole crossover business, but with 10 mrad per turn, those 0.1mrad clicks are nicely spaced out.
Optically, the scope is similarly well rounded. Color is pretty neutral. Resolution is very respectable as is contrast. Edge performance is a little better than average. There is some chromatic aberration at higher magnifications, but not too much. It is similar to SWFA and Tract in that regard and better than the shorter Vudu. Low light is a little better than I expected, largely owing to well controlled flare. All scopes have some flare, so if space allows it, use the included sunshade. Nexus is no exception there, but it is a little better than average.
It is available with four different reticle, two in MOA and two in mrad. I tested their mrad tree reticle called APR-1D. It is generally a pretty decent design, but there are a couple of incongruencies there. I go over all of that in the video below that has a bunch of “through the scope” imagery.
In a nutshell, the tree goes all the way to the edge of the image on low power (30+ mrad) which is both useless and distracting. Also, the tree is based on 0.2mrad base unit, while the main stadia are based on 0.5mrad. it is common problem with many reticles, but I find it a little bipolar.
The guys behind the brand are shooters and they are getting a lot of input from other shooters. Reticles are a personal thing and this one is better than most I have seen. I am sure they will be listening to market feedback and making changes if needed. I could be wildly off-base here anyway.
Here is the video. Let me know if I missed anything that should be covered.