MTC Viper 4-16 X 50IR scope
It's fair to say that in life, you usually get what you pay for. However, sometimes you get far less, which isn't nice, but on other occasions, you get a whole lot more, which is nice. The latter appears to be the philosophy of the Optisan company of China, who make components for a lot of the big Japanese firms, resulting in their slogan "Japan's secret optics". Their own brand of optics are now being distributed in the UK by MTC Optics, run by Gary Cooper, top HFT shooter and airgun journalist. Earlier this year, he met up with representatives from Optisan at the Shot Show in America, and it looks like being a successful relationship. As soon as I saw the Viper scopes on Gary's stand, I knew I had to get one for review, and if you read the following, you'll know why I was so keen.
First up, there's a 30mm, one-piece tube, anodised in a subtle shade of good old matt black. The large body allows for the fitment of nice big internal lenses, which produce a crisp, clear image. Each lens has an ETE Microlux light enhancing coating, to ensure the image stays as bright as possible as it travels through the body tube to the user's eye. The objective lens is 50mm, and the magnification is adjustable from 4 to 16 times.
Flip up scope covers are usually something you have to buy as an extra; not so with this scope, as they come ready fitted. The covers aren't the usual plastic either, they're alloy, and even have O-rings in them, to keep dust and rain at bay.
The magnification adjuster has an attractive machined gripping surface, and this styling is carried through to the fast focus eyepiece. I thought at first that people who have to screw the rear lens out a bit to get a clear sight picture, would have to make do with the flip up cover flipping to the side or down. However, by using the purpose made keys that come in the box, it's possible to loosen the cover's locking collars, by engaging the little studs in the holes provided. After this, the covers can then be rotated to the upright position, and then locked in place - neat.
The 1/8th MOA 'sniper style' elevation and windage adjusters are equally high tech, as they lock in place once set, by pushing them down. This ensures that once set, nothing can rotate them; if you do want to alter anything, it's just a matter of pulling them up slightly. Most exposed turrets can be set back to 0 once the rifle has been zeroed, but it's usually the case that you have to loosen a few grub screws. Not with the Viper though, a locking ring similar to those found on traditional ocular lenses, holds the numbered drum in place. This is a very well thought out optic…
Wheel Of Fortune
Side-wheel parallax adjusters used to be available only on scopes costing an arm and a leg, but in recent times, they've been cropping up on products that are within the reach of most shooters. The Viper's wheel rotates smoothly, with targets snapping in and out of focus nicely. This is no high magnification Field Target scope, but it range-finds very well over hunting distances, and focuses down to 10 yards. Should you wish, a larger wheel, that once again is included, can be attached over the standard version. Fitting the biggun' doesn't interfere with another added feature, which is the rotating adjuster for the illuminated reticle. It clicks round from OFF, all the way up to 11, which is a little dazzling, and I found 2 or 3 to be just right. Turning the brightness control doesn't alter the side-wheel setting by the way. Illuminated reticles can be a real boon when shooting at dawn and dusk or when shooting in gloomy woodland.
MTC's own-design Small Calibre Ballistic Reticle (SCBR) incorporates dots and lines to form a central crosshair, with plenty of aim-points above the central cross that can be used for hold under, with reference points on the horizontal lines that can be used to compensate for wind. The Christmas tree style lower portion is employed when hold over is require as ranges increase. Reticules like this are not new, but we are now spoilt for choice when compared to years ago, when the only style widely available was the 30/30 cross-hair. MTC include a copy of the SCBR in the user manual, so that owners can photocopy it, and write on the ranges that correspond to various aim points on the crosshair. Once you've used a set up like this for a while, you get to remember where to aim, but it's nice to have something to refer to now and again.
And There's More
A three-inch sunshade is also included in the box, which is a useful extra, as are the mounts. It's good to see such a comprehensive package, and all you need to do is supply a suitable rifle. I used the Viper 4-16 X 50 on a BSA Scorpion, and it proved to be a very nice set up. I used the rifle/scope combination in all sorts of conditions, on the range and in the field. It was a pleasure to use, as the sight picture was crisp in all light levels, and the reticle made for precise shot placement. The scope attracted a lot of interest at the shooting club I belong to, with one member ordering one the following day. MTC now have a network of dealers throughout the country, a list of which is on the company's website.
Shooting optics have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and we've never had it so good. The Viper scopes are simply stunning, and there's one feature I haven't even mentioned yet, and that's the price. The 4-16 X 50IR as reviewed here is only £235, now that's a bargain!
These optics could sell for a lot more and people would still be getting a great deal (in more ways than one) so for this sort of money they'll be flying off the shelves. Other MTC Viper scopes available are, the 3-12 X 44IR (£215), the 6-24 X 56IR (£259) and the 8-32 X 60IR (£299).
MTC may be a new company, but the people behind it know what shooters want, and it looks like Optisan will be supplying just that, so this partnership looks like being a force to be reckoned with in the future.
|Name||MTC Viper 4-16 X 50IR|
|Features||Patented push-lock turret adjusters, side-wheel parallax ring, (larger wheel supplied) illuminated reticle, built-in scope caps, 3" sunshade, free mounts.|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates