By: Chris Parkin
While many of the well established optical manufacturers continue to present solid dependable units, March are a relative new kid on the block but keen to impress us with their pursuit of ultimate mechanics, optics and versatility. Whilst 3x and 4x erector tubes (e.g. 3-9 or 4-16x zoom capabilities) have been with us for many years, Swarovski introduced the Z6 with 6x magnification ranges and now we see March, are offering a 10x erector tube allowing a 2.5x to zoom to 25x or on some of their dedicated target models, 5-50x and even 8-80x zoom. This may be very attractive to a dedicated target shooter but I was keen to see if it could apply to a scope more suited to a field, tactical or hunting rifle.
With a 42mm Objective lens, overall size and weight are refreshingly modest with a 1010To the power ofTo the power ofsmoothly anodised one piece, 30mm aluminium maintube. We know that we are not looking at an ordinary scope when we get to the turrets. These low profile target turrets are calibrated in Minutes of Angle (MOA) and each well-defined click is ¼ MOA. A full 25 MOA is available in one turn and overall travel is 100 MOA for both elevation and windage, the latter being similarly calibrated and clearly marked with Left and Right directions. Hash marks are revealed beneath the elevation dial to indicate which turn you are using and although there isn’t a direct turret rotation indicator, a central screw atop the dial allows you to adjust a zero stop control so you at least can’t lose zero. Simple Allen screws allow rotation of the indicator dial, aligning all marks after your primary zero is set, and this rounds off what I consider to be a neat setup, offering all you need without unnecessary bells and whistles.
Oh so simple…
On the left side of the central saddle we find the parallax control dial. Reasonably firm with no backlash, it offers clear focus from 10 yards to infinity and I found not only did the markings correspond with the distance, but true parallax correction also coincided correctly with clear image focus. This isn’t always the case and I congratulate March for this kind of optical and mechanical precision. Within the drum we find a soft grey rubberised push button controlling the reticle illumination. First push illuminates, further touches increase brightness and your fifth push extinguishes the function. I found this a very simple and fast way to control a function that is often over complicated and - importantly on a smaller scope - it is neither stealing space from your scope tube or cluttering an otherwise parallel ocular lens body, here finished with a fast focus eyepiece.
March honestly specifies the technical variation in eye relief to the mm with zoom setting but I did not find any variation particularly noticeable or problematic. Field of view was an acceptable 42 feet at 100 yards on the lowest magnification. The MTR-1 reticle fitted is a simple fine cross with hash marks traversing it at set intervals. The nice feature here is that on the side of the eyepiece, the subtension (amount of angle represented) of these hash marks is specified at both 10x and 20x magnification. A spotter can easily call fall of shot for the shooter to immediately dial in or aim off a specific correction. This is not dissimilar to Mil-dot reticles but here it corresponds, MOA reticle to MOA turrets. Yes the reticle is in the second focal plane so remains consistent in size but with the zoom ring being clearly marked with red numbers for both 10x and 20x, it is hard to go wrong and certainly made zeroing a 3 shot job. A 75mm sunshade was supplied along with soft rubber lens caps but these were not elasticated and fell off easily when sliding the rifle in and out of a case.
If Carlsberg made scopes…
Gary Costello, the UK importer of March scopes, is an F-Class world champion,. He won with a March and this is perhaps his inspiration to bring this brand into the UK. Along with the scope he kindly sent a set of March mounts to fit a Weaver/Picatinny rail and this allowed me to test it with both a .222 in the field and my larger .260 at long-range steel plate targets. Considering the Deon Optical Corporation have only been manufacturing March scopes since 2004, they have certainly picked up the necessary skills, not only in optical and mechanical design, but perhaps more exclusively, they seem to have almost made the scope to fulfil the needs of a shooter who wants a ‘do all’ rifle. For example, at 2.5x you can see and track a target at close range through cover with reticle illumination, at 25x you can engage tiny steel targets at beyond 1000 yards alongside the generous elevation on offer.
Tracking, adjustments and general adjustability of the scope seem to be boringly effective with reliable click values, parallax settings and return to zero. Although finer than my slightly tricky eyes prefer, when illuminated no dazzle was encountered with just subtle brightness doing what it should, drawing the reticle quickly into your field of view, not taking over. In a similar way to the Zeiss No.60, this makes a fine reticle excellent for precision daylight shooting AND for low light conditions on larger, closer targets often taken in a hurry. The image presented from the fully coated and waterproofed optics offers edge-to-edge clarity with clear, honest colour resolution. A 50mm objective option would complement the proportions and styling of some rifles.
As light faded, this `Japanese` glass was not quite able to hang on to the coat tails of `German` glass but, when considering the optical/mechanical versatility shown here in both size, weight and magnification range… I’m difficult to impress, but my hat is off to March! This is one of the most versatile, broad ability scopes I have ever used.
|Model||March 2.5-25 x 42 MTR-1 (D25V42TI)|
|Click value||¼ MOA|
|Overall travel||100 MOA|
|Eye Relief||approx 90mm|
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