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Scope Review

March 2.5-25x42 Tactical Rifle Scope

Made by the DEON Optical Design Corporation in Japan.

 
Arriving home from a successful 5 day Sambar deer hunt. I was pleased to find a package waiting for me. This package contained the new March rifle scope that I had ordered from BRT Shooters Supply in Queensland, just before I departed for my hunting trip. Stuart and Annie Elliott, the owners of BRT  had done a great job and delivered the scope, on time, as promised.

The scope that I had ordered was a 2.5-25x42 Compact Tactical with Duplex wire reticle. Now this is one very interesting scope.

When I first opened the box I was surprised by the small size of this scope. It sure is one compact scope and weighs less than 22 ounces. It also has a full 10 power magnification range. Being able to vary from 2.5 power right up to 25 power is quite an amazing feature in such a compact scope. I believe that March Rifle Scopes are the only scope manufacturers to offer this feature.

 
I had a quick clean up, grabbed my scope mounting tools and shooting gear and shot off down to the range.

It was raining when I got there so I mounted the March scope on my .308 Winchester target rifle and did a quick bore sight down the barrel. I used the flat section under the elevation turret to level the scope using the action bolt race rails as a datum. This seems to work quite well and I quickly had the scope level and in position.

The rifle had a slight problem with the alignment of the scope rail, but this was easily fixed with the use of some Burris Signature Zee rings. These 30mm rings come with Posi Align poly inserts that self align the scope and permit a stress free mounting that can not damage the scope. These inserts have a + or - 10 MOA correction feature that can be used to align the scope onto the target close to its true optical centre. 

With the mounts sorted out and the scope properly torque down into its rings I waited for the rain to stop. At just after 1pm it cleared enough for us to have a 500 yard F-Class competition at the Moe Range.

First sighter hit the bank in front of the target so I made a 10 MOA adjustment with the scope. Next shot was a Bull eye 5. I made another slight scope adjustment and shot my first scoring shot that scored a super centre.

I then settled down and shot the remaining 9 shots of the round. Although I needed to make a few slight windage adjustments during the match, the scope performed without any problems and I scored a 59/60 for the round..


I then went on to shoot a 60/60 with my second round. This turned out to be my personnel best and highest score of 119/120. It also won the match and the trophy wine glass. Bloody good glass on this scope and I think it helped a great deal but this was only its first effort. Time will tell if it is any good.

 

This scope has some of the best glass that I have looked through. In good light is very clear and bright and has very good colour definition. Only a very slight amount of distortion of the image could be detected and that was right out near the edge of the image when the scope was set at 25 power. I think that the high quality of the optics is outstanding although the 42mm objective lens is not ideal for low light conditions.

 
The elevation and windage turrets are well marked and have a positive feel to the clicks. According to the specifications sheet, one complete turn of the adjustment dials is 25 MOA, and one click is ¼ MOA. Elevation and windage axes each have a total adjustment range of 100 MOA. 

Marks below the Elevation turret indicate the rotation that you are on. The bottom rotation is indicated by a Yellow mark.


 

As with all high power March scopes, this 2.5-25x42 Tactical Scope incorporate high quality, multi coated, ED lenses. These lenses are suppose to provide to reduce chromatic aberration and provide superior image resolution even at maximum magnification.

The scope came with a 3" long hood that would be handy under some light conditions to reduce side glare. The scope came with two sets of scope caps. One set was just cheap plastic and the other set were fancy leather caps with the March logo impressed into the leather.

I was not impressed with either of these sets of scope caps. These caps might be OK for a strictly target rifle but this particular scope was designed as a tactical scope for serious work, as such it deserves better protection from harsh environmental conditions found under tactical and hunting type situations. A quality set of flip up caps or rubber strap type protective lens caps would be much better.

Warranty : March scopes come with a 5 year warranty. This is not what I would expect from a premium scope manufacturer. Lifetime warranties are usually what major companies offer with this class of optical equipment.

 Reticles

The scope is equipped with a second focal plane, Di-Plex Reticle. I chose this reticle, as the scope is to be used on a multi purpose, sambar deer hunting rifle in .338 RUM. The simple design of the Di-Plex reticle is well suited to deer hunting, under all light conditions out to long range.

 

With a magnification range of 2.5 to 25 power, this scope has all hunting situations covered, from thick bush, to wide open, cross gully shots at long range. These two photo's are of my 440 yard steel gong, taken looking through the scope. It gives an indication of what it looks like at 2.5 power and 25 power. At 25 power eye position is fairly critical with this compact scope. For pure target work I would pick a longer scope.

Now when I was looking at the type of reticle that I wanted. I was keen on a simple Duplex type reticle for hunting. As it turned out this was the last scope available with this type of reticle. So I immediately placed an order with BRT. Later when discussing the issue of March scope reticle design, with Stuart Elliott, he made some interesting comments. Repeated below is some of his expert advice.

"Now to the question of the reticles. The duplex reticle and standard style crosshair or even crosshair and dot reticles are tradition wire reticles. That means they are made from special wire connected to a frame. It's interesting that originally in many scopes they used to actually use spider web. Spiderweb is so fine yet strong and slightly flexible. It was good for that purpose.  No man made substance is as strong as spiderweb for its size and weight. None of these type of reticles can be illuminated in any brand of scope.
Now glass etched reticles? Basically they use a laser to cut the very fine lines for a reticle design onto optical glass. This cuts grooves similar to a cut crystal in a glass. Then they place another piece of glass against this first piece of glass and seal it. Vacuum seal. Now that etched glass with the reticle engraved can be installed into a frame and into the scope in a similar way to the frame of a standard wire reticle. Now the lines on this glass etched reticle look black. That IS NOT because they paint it black, its just the way the light reflects off the angle surface, that it appears black. So now if they install into the body of the scope an illumination globe that will shine at an angle (usually from the top) the reticle will reflect that colour. Usually red. If you increase the brightness of the torch (so to speak) then the lines on that reticle show that brightness increase. So if you have a glass etched reticle in a non illuminated scope it simply means they leave out the torch system. Thus a cost saving.

 
Glass etched reticles are still more expensive to do properly than traditional wire reticles but it does allow the designer to plan a reticle with lots of fancy shapes, spacings, lines etc. There are some reticles which are a combination of both. For the March scope that is the MML reticle where the outer thick lines are not etched and only the etched centre part illuminates. Doing thick reticle designs in glass etched doesn't seem to work too well (my thoughts) thus the use of traditional methods for the standard style of reticles (eg, duplex).
 
I don't actually think there is a difference in accuracy or actual reliability between the two systems. It boils down to cost and the slight difference that thick reticles in the etched version you never seem to see.

 
Just by the way, the method they use to make a dot reticle from a standard crosshair, is clamp or squash the two wires together and ever so slightly bend them across each other. I am not sure how March do this, but Wally Seibert, a scope man we know from the U.S. used to change reticles in Leupolds and Weaver scopes for benchrest. He used spiderweb. He assembled them on a frame with tension across each and then had a special frame made, like two knife edges opposed and he used to clamp the intersection of the web. That squashed part looks like a dot. Under very high magnification it is actually diamond shaped but looks like a dot to the eye. Interesting.

 
All these glass etched reticles now days are easy to design, just more expensive to make.
 
Regards,
Stuart


 

Tactical Dial Zero Stop

The Tactical model elevation dial has a 0-set function. Essentially this means you can sight in the rifle at your desired distance then set the zero stop so that you don't loose track of your zero position. To set the zero stop, you hold the elevation turret and screw down the centre of the turret with a coin or screwdriver until the screw hits the bottom of its travel. With it set in this position it is impossible to turn the elevation turret down past your zero setting.

 

The windage turret dial is clearly marked with an R and L to indicate the direction of travel. This is a good feature. Vertical marks indicate what rotation you are on. Parallax adjustment is very sensitive to small changes in movement as can be seen by the small distance between the 100 and infinity mark. This could be due to the compact size of the scope and its high magnification power.

 

 

March 2.5-25x42 Tactical Rifle Scope - Tall Target Test

 

Dialed to  point

Distance from aim mark

Total dialed

Actual movement at 99 yards

Group size

Zero

+3"

0 MOA

N/A

0.75"

-10 MOA

-7.7"

-10 MOA

-10.3 MOA

0.1"

-20 MOA

-18.25"

-20 MOA

-20.5 MOA

0.6"

+10 MOA

+13

+30 MOA

+30.15 MOA

0.4"

+20 MOA

+23.4"

+40 MOA

+40.2 MOA

0.5

         

Left 5 MOA

Left 5.5"

     

Left 10 MOA

Left 10.25"

     

Right 15 MOA

Right 5.5"

     

Left 5 MOA

Inside zero group.

     

Notes on this particular tall target test

Rifle was zeroed to be 3" high at 100 yards prior to the test. The test distance was checked at 99 yards and corrected for this.

The results indicated that the elevation and windage turret adjustment was within the factory claimed figure of 1/4 MOA per click over the range of 40 MOA that was tested. The results indicate turret accuracy error of mostly well under 2% some of which can be attributed to the limit of accuracy of the test rifle and shooter. 

Backlash was minimal.

Vertical tracking was excellent. Total elevation adjustment movement was checked at 99 MOA.

 

 Low Light Test

To give the March scope a proper test, I needed to compare it against some of my other long range scopes. So for this comparison I use three other scopes.

A Bushnell 6500 Tactical model in 2.5-16x42. A Nightforce NXS in 3.5-15x50 and a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56.

As most scopes are used at their maximum setting for long range shooting, I started the test off with all scopes set at maximum. It became obvious in the failing light that the March scope set at 25 power could not keep up with the other three scopes. I then dropped all scopes back to 15 power and continued to observe as the light deteriorated. This time the Bushnell was the obvious looser. I then dropped the scopes back to 10 power and continued to observe until it got too dark to see through them all. The table below shows the results of the test.

Scopes set at maximum power

Place

Comments - Light conditions,  good to poor

NXS (56mm) 22 power

1st

Excellent brightness, sharpness, contrast and colour.

NXS (50mm) 15 power

2nd

Excellent brightness, sharpness, contrast and good colour.

Bushnell 16 power

3rd

Good brightness, not so sharp, poor contrast and dull colour

March 25 power

Last place.

Very dark image, quite sharp, good contrast until too dark, lost all colour

     
Scopes all set at 15 power

Place

Comments -  Light conditions, fading and poor

NXS (56mm) 15 power

1st

Good brightness, sharpness, contrast and colour.

NXS (50mm) 15 power

2nd

Good brightness, sharpness, fair contrast and good colour.

March 15 power

3rd

Dark image, good sharpness, poor contrast and poor colour.

Bushnell 15 power

Last place

Good brightness, poor sharpness, poor contrast and good colour.

     
Scopes all set at 10 power

 Place

Comments -  Light conditions, poor to almost dark.

NXS (56mm) 10 power

1st

Good brightness, good sharpness, good contrast and poor colour.

NXS (50mm) 10 power

2nd

OK brightness, fair sharpness, fair contrast and poor colour.

March 10 power

3rd

Very dark image, fair sharpness, poor contrast and no colour.

Bushnell 10 power

Last place

Poor brightness, Blurry image, no contrast and no colour.


 

Conclusion : The March 2.5-25x42 power scope is a very good scope but it is not magical! It is bound by the laws of physics as they apply to Optics. A quality scope with 50mm objective lens will always beat a quality scope with a 42mm objective lens in a low light test. When the March scope is compared against a scope with a similar size objective lens such as the Bushnell 6500, then the higher quality of the March scope stands out.

The March scope is  a compromise. It is very compact and light weight for its performance level. It has excellent day time optics. When using this March scope, eye position is critical for a good image. Turret adjustment is positive and accurate. Parallax adjustment is very sensitive. For low light shooting, a quality scope with a larger objective lens would outperform this March scope.

Although this is a very high quality scope, the fact that this scope only comes with a 5 year warranty is of some concern. If you are going to spend big $$$ on a scope, then you would expect it to be backed up by a long term warranty.


 

Light conditions at the start of the test.

Light conditions at the end of the test.

 

Keeping it level

Looking down The range

Picture taken through the scope.

A birds eye view of the bench.

 
March Rifle Scope Australian Distributor,

Annie and Stuart Elliot.

March Scopes

benchrest Shooters Supply

E-mail annie@benchrest.com.au

 

Specifications

ITEM (Low) (High)
Magnification 2.5x 25x
Effective Lens Diameter 42mm
Body Tube Diameter 30mm
Exit Pupil - 1.68mm

Field of View, real

8.0° 0.8°
Eye Relief 85-100mm 89-96mm
1 Click Adjustment 1/4MOA
Elevation Travel 100MOA
Windage Travel 100MOA
Focus Side Focus / Parallax
Distance 10YD-infinity
Finish Matte Black
Available Reticles Illuminated MTR-1
without Illuminated MTR-1
CH , 1/4dot , DE-Plex
Total Length  314mm
Weight 620g (21.9oz) D25V42TM model


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