BSA Red Dot Scope
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- Last updated: 26/05/2020
Think BSA, and we automatically think of their expansive range of airguns; yet this famous brand also market a host of accessories and equipment, all aimed at making life easier for the shooting enthusiast. Unsurprisingly, that includes a range of scopes and sights, and one such item in the list that had me intrigued was what the company term their Tactical Weapon Red Dot with Laser sight.
A quick phone call to their marketing department soon had one winging its way to my test facility and having had one to play with for a while now, it’s time to share my findings.
The unit is sold as a complete kit, so what’s in the box? The main central body is the Red Dot sight, with the lower section an integral laser. A small picatinny rail sits on the top – again all integral with the main body – and clamped to this is a flashlight. The entire assembly is bolted to a 2.4-inch one piece mount, that is designed to clamp to a picatinny/weaver style rail; and if this poses a problem a multitude of outlets now sell adaptor rails to convert from dovetail to picatinny and vice versa. I used a Hawke adaptor rail, and fitting the unit was a piece of cake, allowing me to clamp to a BSA Scorpion for the duration.
The sight unit comes pretty well ready assembled, just needing the rubber eye-piece shroud to be pushed into place at the rear. The idea here is to keep excessive back light out and accentuate the image, but if you don’t want to use it then a simple alternative rubber rim (also supplied) can be pushed into place.
Batteries are required and come supplied. Firstly, the red dot sight derives power from one disc-style CR2032 battery. This is accessed by unscrewing the left side cap on the rheostat control turret. Replace the battery and screw back hand tight. The flashlight needs two CR123A batteries, and these are accessed via the screw-off rear section of the lamp body.
This sight is all about versatility, but having now tested the unit in various conditions I would recommend the use of the red dot system in daylight, and then using the laser in conjunction with the flashlight for lamping.
Zeroing the Red Dot system is done via the two small screwcap turrets, and these have neat little rubber straps to presumably stop them getting lost. However, it’s impossible to unscrew them with the straps on, and once the straps have been disconnected they become fairly pointless in my book. The turrets are quarter inch clicks and require a small screwdriver. Adjustment was easy and fairly precise.
I must say I do appreciate red dot sights, and this unit, whilst offering no magnification at all, works brilliantly. The dot only shows in red incidentally, and I found that, despite coming with nine brightness levels, I only needed brightness level 3 in daylight, which worked brilliantly. Plenty bright enough, yet with no glare, so eyes stay relaxed. Keeping the image central is the key to minimise parallax error, but I’m always amazed at just how accurate it is possible to be with these things. The Scorpion on loan tore groups out to 30-yards coverable with a 5p piece, which I reckon is pretty damn good.
Moving to the night kit, the basic instruction leaflet saves just a half-inch paragraph about the laser, and adjustment is fairly basic. I fathomed that with the red dot zeroed the plan would be to adjust the laser dot to coincide with the red dot, and hope they overlapped when the gun was held firm, and each element was switched on and off to compare.
To switch the laser on, just turn the rheostat dial on the left turret to ‘ON’. This is the only control to worry about for the laser, as all the other settings on the rheostat relate to the Red Dot. Zeroing the laser is fairly basic with height set using the bottom wheel, and windage set using a small Allen key in the left side socket. It feels crude, but the end result was achieved. It’s stating the obvious, but the laser is no use on its own and has to be used in conjunction with the lamp, so as to see the target!
The beam of the lamp can be tightened and focused, or widened, simply by winding the lamp head in or out. In addition, as with many lamp kits of this type, the on/off button can be switched to a cabled pressure switch, which can be stuck onto the gun’s stock/pistol grip. The additional switch is supplied, and just needs the back end of the lamp to be removed, and the switch cable to be screwed into the back of the unit in its place. Stick the pressure pad where you like, and you’re ready for action. With 140-Lumen power at the flick of a switch, it’s an impressive piece of kit, given its ultra-compact dimensions, and in conjunction with the set laser, usable out to around 30-yards in realistic scenarios.
At this range the light thrown and the laser dot size itself are usable, but the moment we opt to shoot at live quarry, the game changes. The acid test is at what range you can consistently produce groups of an inch, and in live hunting scenarios when the heart is racing and adrenalin is pumping, this marker may not be so easy to achieve. Practise, as always is the key, but be guided by results achieved.
Having multi-use built into this sight is quite appealing, and whilst I would regularly use the Red Dot option, which really impressed, just knowing that the lamping set-up is ready and waiting is reassuring. The unit has a robust feel to it and gets all the usual waterproof/ shockproof guarantees too, so if you want to inject a fresh feel to your shooting, a radical new sight set-up such as this could well be the answer.
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