Meopta ZD 1-4x22mm Shot show 2012 mini review
By Les (Jim) Fischer (BigJimFish on AR15.com and Snipershide)
January 29, 2012
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 1-4×22 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.