BSA Optics Panther 3.5-10x50
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- Last updated: 13/12/2016
In the course of my role as an airgun products evaluator, I occasionally stumble across gear that I’m really not aware of. So it was, with this little gem from BSA.
There’s always been a fair bit of brand sharing in the field of riflescopes, with several companies often putting their name to a generic product, often manufactured by one of the Japanese or more recently Chinese optic giants. But to be fair to BSA, their ‘BSA Optics’ division seems to have come up with some designs that really do stand out, with a character all of their own.
The Panther series includes a 3-10x44 spec, two parallax adjustable models; 2.5-10x44AO, and 6.5-20x44AO, and then the model under review here – the 3.5-10x50.
A Hunter - Naturally
With the specification of a riflescope often defining its role in life, our Panther is clearly billed as primarily a hunting scope. Variable magnification of between 3.5 and 10x gives a useful range that allows for good clarity at those impossibly close targets that occasionally present themselves. On 10x, crisp clarity comes in at around 20yards, and stays fairly good out to maximum airgun ranges, although the slightly blurred image at close range of 8yds is still ‘shootable’– ranges this close are sometimes required in pest control (and even HFT). Dialled down to the minimum 3.5x mag, gives clarity down to a very useful 6yds
The reticle used in this scope range is the Duplex or 30/30 design, consisting of a simple fine cross-hair, widening to 4 thick ‘posts’. With the current trend for ‘Mil dots’, this reticle design may appear basic, yet with practise, much information can be gleaned. Having built in proportion to the reticle is the all important factor, and with the Panther set on 10x magnification, the fine lines on the cross hair perfectly bracket a standard FT target kill area at 25yds, giving reference points and a sense of target size from which to work.
This scope works in the second focal plane; that is to say, when the magnification is increased, the reticle appears to get smaller and the gap proportion increases between cross-hair and target.
The 50mm objective lens on this scope is suitably rugged, and with that elongated hood, a purposeful profile is afforded. The hood doubles as a sunshade and rain deflector, to help protect the lens, and it certainly looks the part.
Turrets are of the rather superb, snap up/ adjust/ lock down variety. This highly effective design means when the turrets need adjusting, they are just gripped and pulled up (moving about 3mm); the necessary adjustment is made, then to lock the zero in place, they are just snapped back down again – no screwdriver or coins to be seen! Marvellous stuff, and the clicks are fairly positive too.
The spec continues with ¼” click adjustments (at 100yds), so 16 clicks moves the impact 1” at 25yds; and with 11 revolutions of the turret possible from one end to the other, plenty of adjustment exists.
On the range, to test the turret integrity, I conducted the usual set measurement up, right, down, then left again, and the shots came back on zero with no cause for concern.
With a retail price of around £145 this BSA Panther model makes a great scope for hunting forays. As for any other suitable discipline, I’ve regularly competed in HFT shoots with a 30/30 reticle, but there’s no doubting that Mil dots probably make things a little easier.
Nicely packaged and slickly presented, this BSA scope is a worthy bearer of the famous badge.
PRICE: £145 approx