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Riflescopes test 2023

A year ago we did the Riflescope Test 2022 and almost three years ago we did the Optical test of riflescopes. And we thought that it would be nice to repeat this test, especially with some new types of riflescopes. And so we again took several different scopes of ours and our friends (that is, our own pieces, nothing was given by the manufacturer or importer) and got down to business. Last time we did it outside and inside, so the optical result was in good and bad light together. However, after this year's experience, we did an optical test only on the indoor shooting range - because we verified that in good light the differences will not show up so much. Only in difficult conditions. And again, we also did a tracking test... So it's a fairly comprehensive evaluation, including long-term experience from the user's point of view.

However, I must admit that this is a subjective result after all. But based on the experience of multiple shooters with years of experience.

In this test, we wanted to test riflescopes for tactical shooting, Dynamic Precision Shooting, or even for hunting at longer distances. We were three shooters, both without eye defects and with defects. We were between 45 and 65 years old. We already know that younger shooters simply see better in the dark (if they don't have an eye defect) and the differences are therefore better recognized by older shooters...

We had the scopes removed from the guns, only with the mounts (except for one new piece that hadn't been mounted yet). All the others are used, and I bought the new one on purpose, because I wanted to try tracking on a different piece than last year... And so we can also evaluate their durability, reliability and long-term experience, both from an optical point of view and from a user point of view. This time we focused on ease of use and general user-friendliness of individual devices...

We did the test at an indoor shooting range, where the observation and lighting conditions are quite difficult - it's just dark there... Each scope was clamped on a tripod, and we used the other tripod together with the shooting bag as a chin support for safe and stable observation. This also gave us the opportunity to directly compare how big their eyebox is and how easy it is to work with them in terms of quickly and intuitively finding the right eye position. And there simply are differences between them…

We also again compared whether the reticle fits against reality and also how the clicking fits - i.e. the tracking test. This time we did it only up and down - and always repeatedly by 10 MIL, or 1 meter at a distance of 100 meters. We measured the distance precisely with a construction laser, and the test target has a grid accurate to the millimeter.

As can be seen from this picture, the reticle does not fit 100% with reality. In this case it was showing 99cm at 10 MIL in the scope. And that means we rated it 99. We proceeded the same way with the tracking test - we clicked 100 clicks up and read the real value. If the reticle or tracking does not fit, you can work with it - compensate for this imperfection in the ballistic charts. Some ballistics applications even allow this directly. However, it is necessary to know exactly how much your particular scope have. Our values apply only to the tested pieces, not as a standard for the type of scope... We consider tracking with a deviation of less than 1% to be a good result. A larger deviation already needs to be compensated. It is worth noting the fact that none of the scopes had a problem with repeatedly returning to the zero position when repeatedly adjusting those 100 clicks (only 80 in the case of the Blaser). All of them were reliable in this.

Originally, I also had a camera ready to be attached to the riflescope - TRIGGERCam 2.1 (it is in the opening picture together with the riflescopes), but it reduces the brightness and in this case the image would be really bad (just like the recording from the camera), so on it didn't happen. It was just really dark. On a normal day this is not a problem, but in these conditions the testing would be heavily affected...

This is the resulting chart of the optical part of the test according to the FinnAccuracy methodology. This time we already knew what and how to do and I consider these values to be accurate. Moreover, it is the average of observations of three shooters. The charts (this and from past year) showed that with some rifle scopes you can see differently in the dark than in good light, so the chart is slightly different from the last test (it was a combination of good and bad light).

On the optical side, we have to say that three riflescopes stood out - the Nightforce ATACR was the best for everyone, followed by the Vortex Razor III and the Leupold Mark5. These three were really optically better than the others. And not only measured results, but also the subjective perception of the image - and we all agreed on that.

Mechanical properties - i.e. tracking and dimensions of the reticle, as well as the rating of the turrets are here. The last figure is our overall impression of the mechanical handling and features (for example, it is also about how easily it clicks 100 clicks and returns to zero again and again) combined with the optical quality and ease of use of the reticle. Simply our overall impression of the scope in direct comparison with others. In this regard, it must be said that we were generally convinced by the same scopes that convinced us optically as well. They are simply better user-friendly models than others...

Vortex Viper PST II 5-25x56

This scope is quite old in design and it shows. It simply does not offer as much user comfort as others. It does not have locking turrets, their operation is not quite 100%, and neither the tracking nor the dimensions of the reticle were as we would like. In general, it can be said that it is a reliable rifle scope, but it does not shine or offend us. We've been using a few of them for years and they're perfectly OK, but there are better options these days...

The EBR-7c reticle is the gold standard and it is still great. It is easy and fast to work with and relatively intuitive.

Vortex Razor II 4,5-27x56

This was the king of American PRS for a long time. This was due to its excellent mechanical properties and reliability combined with a favorable price. Although it lost his throne, it is still in second place in this statistic. However, its design is already older and the Razor III has surpassed it. Its rather essential characteristic is its weight. It is extremely heavy! This shouldn't be a problem in theory, but it doesn't help the weapon's good balance much... And that's why it loses a lot of points in our rating. Optically it looks a bit strange, it's hard to describe - like you see less detail. Mechanically, however, it is great, and setting the zero and dial - that's just great!

The reticle is the same as in the PST II - the EBR-7c.

Vortex Razor III 6-36x56

It is newer than the Razor II and is a really good successor. Optically, it is significantly better, while maintaining all the good features. We were pleasantly surprised by this scope, we expected it to be good and it really is. Unfortunately, compared to its predecessor, its price in our country has risen quite a bit, and that's just a shame. Anyway, in our opinion, it ranks right behind the ATACR along with the Leupold. It's just a great choice.

The EBR-7D reticle differs from its predecessors in that it does not have 0.5 MIL marks, but is divided by 0.2 MIL. It's smoother, but not as intuitive and fast. It's also a little more tiny overall, so it works well. Although the lines have the same thickness as before, they are overall smaller and do not obstruct the field of vision as much.

Vortex Razor AMG 6-24x50

At the time of its launch, it was a lighter version of the super heavy Razor II. Mechanically it is the same, the turrets are great, and optically it is a bit better - even though it is one of the few in our test that only has a 50mm lens and a 30mm tube. And that's noticeable. However, due to its size and weight, it is great for hunting, tactics, or simply a lighter weapon assembly. It's an excellent scope and I'm surprised it hasn't had a successor yet... However, it's true that it was significantly more expensive than the Razor II.

The EBR-7b reticle is very similar to the 7c type and there is not much to complain about.

Delta Stryker HD 4,5-30x56

It is the Polish riflescope of their top line. And he played with us enough... Optically, it surprised us quite pleasantly at first. And then came the cold shower when we started manipulate with the turrets... So it surprised us too - and quite unpleasantly. I didn't expect such a terrible turn of the turrets. It's like you want to snap something on a sponge... It was quite disappointing for the price.

The LRD-1T reticle does not look bad, but at higher magnifications it is really wide and a bit bulky and the scope is generally not very forgiving.

Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56

In our opinion, this one is still unbeaten. Optically the best and mechanically great. The only flaws in the beauty are the vertical dial - that it is not locking and has 12 MILs per turn (why?). The lines are very close together. It's on the verge of starting to annoy you. Therefore, this particular piece has a special cover in white color, on which it can be read better... It is a sturdy and reliable rifle scope that is easy to handle.

The Mil-XT reticle is excellent and easy to work with. It does have lines of 0.2 MILs, but since they are "left / right / left / right" it is not confusing or slow to work with.

Overall, it is the winner of our test for the third time, and its biggest flaw is - the price... Unfortunately, the price here is 40% higher than the Razor III and almost twice as much as the Mark5!

I have to apologize here because I made a mistake - the picture shows the HighMaster 5-42x56 model, which we had ready at the beginning, but due to the fact that there were quite a lot of people, weapons and riflescopes on site, we then tested the described 5-40x56 and I didn't realize I didn't have the one photographed... Harry

March-FX 5-40x56 Gen II

This is an interesting riflescope, which is said to be top notch optically... Well... It's not... First of all, it's not very forgiving and also has quite bad image edges. We were also quite disappointed with the overall contrast, the picture is just so dull. The turrets do not have a lock and their operation is not like the top in our test. Definitely disappointing for the price. It's not the first March that didn't live up to our expectations...

The FML-PDKI reticle does not look bad at first glance, but in reality it is quite strong and it is not completely intuitive to work with at speed.

Blaser Infinity 2,8-20x50 iC

We also included this hunting scope in the test because the owner wanted to know how it would hold up. Optically, it's not bad at all in the dark, it just doesn't forgive the eye position too much. But mechanically it was very good - both the tracking and the reticle dimensions match. It's a little off for the reticle since it doesn't have any markings, but the 8 MIL from the center to the reinforced part fits right. The turrets are easy and safe to work with and overall it is easy and safe to work with, so it actually met our expectations.

Zero Compromise ZCO 8-40x56

ZCO has been on the rise lately so we were curious to see what it had to offer. Optically, it is relatively decent, but it does not reach the top three. Unfortunately, it is very sensitive to eye position and also has very sensitive parallax. It really tolerate zero compromise... (we were quite amused by this revelation, because the manufacturer probably did not intend it that way...) The dials are good, they are locking, but the height range is 15 MIL and that is simply a lot and thanks to lines close to each other it is not easy to estimate the correct number quickly... I really don't know what the reason for 15 pieces per turn is.

The MPCT 2 reticle is stronger than it needs to be and is not very easy or intuitive to work with compared to others. It also does not fit very well in terms of size. Even considering the price, this scope just doesn't reach the top 3...

Leupold Mark 5 5-25x56

Currently by far the most used riflescope in American PRS. And there are several reasons. Optically, it is really good, even in the dark. In our test, it belongs to the top 3 with its twin with greater magnification. It forgives errors in aiming, the parallax also forgives imprecise settings, the dials are handled well and easily - it is simply very user-friendly. Another reason is its low weight. Compared to the competition, it is significantly lighter, which you can tell immediately when you take it in your hand. Well, if we take into account the fact that it costs a little more than half the price of the ATACR... However, it also has two minuses. It has a smaller field of view than the competition (which is the price for its weight and insensitivity to parallax) and neither the tracking nor the reticle are dimensionally 100%. However, the smaller field of view results in the subjective impression that one sees more detail.

The PR2 reticle is very subtle at first glance - definitely the subtlest of all in the test. But one gets used to it relatively quickly, and the strong lines in some other riflescopes bother him all the more. And it is worth noting that it is the only one that does not have the illumination of the reticle in the basic price. This can only be had for an extra charge... Also, it doesn't have 0.2 MIL parts, but 1/2 and 1/4 MIL. It is very intuitive and fast.

Leupold Mark5 7-35x56

It's basically the same as the 5-25, but we all found it to have a slightly better image. it was also a little easier for us to work with. Unfortunately, on the other hand, it has much worse tracking and a slightly worse size of the reticle. It was not a single piece, in the past I tested 4 other pieces out of curiosity and they were similar. It is also slightly more expensive than the 5-25. In any case, considering the price, it is a super riflescope with a great image and belongs to our top 3. However, it is necessary to perform a tracking test and use corrections.

Vector Continental 34mm 4-24x56

This Chinese riflescope at a really great price (for the price of ATACR you can have 7 of them and still have some coin left) has proven itself in the long term and it's not that bad optically either. Optically, it cannot be compared with top devices, but mechanically it is excellent and its user-friendliness is really good. The dials are downright great, and the tracking and reticle dimensions are also excellent. It's also very forgiving, so it's really easy to work with. We have been using several of them for a long time and are really satisfied even after more than a year. Also, the option to set the zero stop to any value is a welcome extra.

The VEC-MBR reticle is relatively fine and especially quite open in the middle, so nothing obstructs the view. However, in the top right there is a "distance estimation part", which is the most useless and stupid thing they could have put there... (well, there could have been a picture of a donkey eating a carrot. That would have been just as useful...) Fortunately it does not interfere much. The markings are 0.2 MIL each, but you can work well with the reticle at speed.

Overall, we can say that we expected the results. After all, we have been working with most of these riflescopes for a long time, so we know their strengths and weaknesses. A pleasant surprise was the new Vortex Razor III, which ranks right behind the still unsurpassed Nightforce ATACR.

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