Discovery VT-1 3-12x44 AO
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- Last updated: 21/08/2019
Nothing stands still in our commercial world and, whilst products may not always break new ground, companies need to be seen to be evolving and improving with subtle alterations. Discovery Optics have already gained a foothold for their well-designed, value for money hardware and, on offer here, is one of their brand-new VT-1 Pro range of scopes.
The VT-1 Pro 3-12X42 AO is the smallest specification offered, as there are also 4-16x42 and 6-24x42 models in the range. Of course, a 3-12x variable magnification specification gives us everything we need for Hunter Filed Target (HFT), and general hunting or just general shooting needs, where keeping magnification down, normally to a useable maximum of 10x, and the objective sub 44mm makes sense. So, the relative compactness is indeed a bonus. In addition, this model comes fitted with the HMD 1 Half Mil reticle, set in the second focal plane, which has much to offer. Low profile turrets are a welcome feature, whilst a separately moving parallax collar on the objective bell and magnification indicator window, are all offered as new features. The former is seen by some as old hat, when compared to the more modern, saddle-mounted drum. However, there’s a lot to get hold of on the objective, with more space for markings. Double screw mounts come supplied, as standard, and there are also elasticated lens caps, a cleaning cloth and sunshade.
Handle this scope and that highly practical, matt, non-reflective finish, applied to the one-piece CNC machined, aluminium alloy body tube, looks and feels right. With the VT-1 securely fastened in place within the split ring mounts, I was all ready to get started. Whilst grip is at a premium, on the ridged turret screw caps, they are a little rough on the fingers. Likewise, the front parallax bell, fast focus at the rear, and magnification collar, and whilst all these controllers feature a reassuring amount of resistance in operation, my fingers were thankful for a rest after an extended period of twiddling.
Turret clicks are 1/10 Mil value and are very positive, with an audible click and distinct feel. The elevation turret did become a little stiff on test, but that slim-line profile is hugely preferable to the trend for huge target types, that seem everywhere at the moment. We simply don’t need such overkill for airgun scopes, unless of course you plan on taking on a Field Target course, where dedicated optics are all part of the equipment specification and dialling for each target distance a prerequisite.
On test, zero came in in a fully predictable way and the usual box tracking proved the VT-1’s internal mechanism was functioning correctly. Minimum distance for focus and parallax error adjustment, is marked up at 15 yards on the objective collar and specified on the manufacturer’s stats card in the box as 10 yards. On test and with the scope set to my preferred 9x magnification, min focus came down to 8 yards. At the full 12x mag, this switched to around 13 yards. Differing personal eyesight inevitably offers up variation in this area, to a greater or lesser degree, but on a scope of this type, a few yards of variation over the official markings is all but irrelevant. Ranges, incidentally, are printed on the parallax collar as 15, 25, 50, 100, 200 yards, infinity ∞.
As for magnification, this model features a new mag indicator window as stated; although, something of a needless gimmick in my book. Likewise, the drilled screw-on sunshade. A neat accessory that has a practical function of course, but perforated? Surely the idea is to keep the light out and not let it in, but this has been a sort of design feature for Discovery, ever since they first appeared in our scene.
Discovery claim improved performance with these scopes, and their technical spec includes the VCF optical system, with ‘fully multi-green coated ‘ lenses. Their TES (torus erector support technology), offers increased durability, reliability, and resistance to recoil and, whilst these are bold claims, our test period certainly showed this model in a favourable light.
Image quality is extremely good, with no noticeable aberrations and an edge to edge clarity through the normal airgun target distances, is impressive to say the least. HFT shooters will set the parallax dial to around 23-25yds and then leave it, in keeping with the key ‘no touch for the duration of the shoot’ ‘rule and, working on this basis, I found clarity to be sharp and useable throughout the distances. Favour the ‘blur-out’ approach, to confirm those longer shots, and you may be disappointed however, since the image was crystal clear at 35 and 45 yards. That suits me, as I want to see a crisp image at distance, and the HMD 1 Half Mil reticle is another impressive feature. Half Mil spacings mean fine proportional bracketing of kill sizes can be a big bonus, and there is of course a multitude of aim points, which for we airgunners is probably more of what this reticle pattern is about . For me though, the big advantage of this pattern and design is the German style thick outer borders. Yes, if you view a target up in a darkish tree, you may still lose the fine central section of reticle, but the outer thick posts will invariably help the eye re-track and locate, thus, it’s far harder to completely lose the sight picture.
No huge advance in cutting edge technology here then, yet the revised reticle on offer and optical image quality, give this model real appeal, all for frankly silly money. This has always been one constant feature of all Discovery optics, and one I guess that keeps them popular. The scope’s body tube is nitrogen gas purged with full O-ring seals, and specified as waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. All the usual features in other words, and at £99 including, as mentioned, mounts, caps and sunshade, the VT-1 3-12x42 AO has to be hard to beat in this price sector. Yes, made in China, but no surprises there, as the majority of optics in our area are of a similar stable and they long ago learned what we want.