Minox ZP5 3-15 x 56
- By Pete Moore
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 18/01/2019
The Minox name is not new to the optics industry and their first claim to fame was the subminiature camera (often called the spy camera) invented by Walter Zapp in 1936. Today, they are based in Germany and offer a wide range of optics and cameras. Recognising the value of different requirements, they offer two lines; Hunting and Tactical. The latter covers a range of 1” and 30mm bodied scopes, along with game cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes and night vision monoculars. On test, is the middle ground in their Tactical ZP series of offerings, the ZP5 3-15x56, described by Minox as their ‘universal tactical riflescope!’
Smallest is their ZP8 1-8 x 24, with its 8x zoom range it offers a close-range combat sight with a medium distance capability. At the top end is the ZP 5 5-26 x 56 with a 5x zoom range it’s the long-distance option. As can be seen, very much in keeping with the likes of Schmidt & Bender with their tactical optics. The ZP8 is a little specialised and would probably suit Service and Practical Rifle users, but the 3-15 x 50 is a good bet for most other needs.
This model offers the traditional 3x zoom range and has its reticle in the first focal plane (FFP), so regardless of magnification, values remain the same, unlike a second focal plane (SFP) system where it must be set at a pre-determined magnification. Typically, it’s a reasonably large build with a 34mm body tube, which is more common these days. It weighs a hefty 910-grams (2 lbs) and is 350mm long (14.75”) and comes with the large Tenebraex (Tactical Tough) lens caps. Unusually, its fast-focus eyepiece has a locking collar, so maintaining your setting.
The magnification ring has shallow gripping slots, not helped by the stiff movement, but a raised dialling fin makes up for that short coming in all conditions. Markings are in white with the 3, 5 10 and 15 positions black on a white square, for quick reference. Being a 34mm body tube, the saddle is big, as are the tactical turrets. The good news is the whole thing including the reticles are in M-Rad notation, so no MOA/Mil-Dot confusion.
The elevation turret is double turn and gives a top to bottom movement of 28 M-Rad (103.6”) give or take and are sub-divided into 1/10th and ½ Mil divisions. Practical, is the hesitation system, which at first seemed you only get a single turn after zeroing. You go around once and come up against a stop but push through and continue rotating and the tension goes away, and you can dial the second turn. As soon as you get to that point, a pair of white dots appear either side of the fixed pointer triangle marking, so you know where you are. Windage is split and offers just under a full turn from a central position after zeroing, divisions and sub-divisions are the same but all the numbers 1-6 are prefixed by an R or L indicating direction. Argon gas-purged they are water-proof to 15 m and fog-proof too, plus a 90mm eye relief means safe use on heavier calibres.
Actual turret movement is more than the 2-turns in elevation and sub-1 in windage after zeroing, full movement offers 3.75 in elevation and 1.75 in windage. Given that this system uses zero stops, you have to remove the turrets to zero, but when you do, the exposed spindle cannot be rotated. What you do is slacken off the locking screws and allow the turret to rise about 1/8”, where it disengages from the base and re-lock it to the shaft and you can now turn it. Once sorted, it’s important to note that it has to be pushed fully down then locked; if not, you will lose both your zero stop positions and in the case of elevation the 2nd-turn indicator. Turrets are clearly marked and have triangle pointers, which match up with those on the saddle, which are clearly visible in the aim.
The 3-15x50 offers three reticle options, all M-Rad types; MR2, MR5 and traditional Mil-Dot. The first two use hash lines instead of dots and have inverted L-shaped ranging grids either side of the 6 O’clock stadia. The left is an AQRAS (Advanced Quick Ranging Scale) that works with any target size, on the right the more precise Mil-Dot pattern. MR5 uses medium bars and 1 and 0.5 Mil subtensions, plus the 6 O’clock stadia is marked to the bottom. MR2 is more precise with 1, 0.5 and 0.2 subtensions, with an open Dual-X cross hair; here, only the slim centre cross is lit. On the left of the saddle are combined rheostat (0-11) with automatic 3 hour shut off and parallax drums, the latter is not marked with ranges but an increasing width wedge and ∞.
Being FFP, the scale of the reticle will dictate magnification settings, Minox says it’s useable from 3-15x, for me it did not really come in until 5x. However, at 15x, the stadia are still slim yet easy to see, and as most work is going to be at high mag no real problems. I used the scope on a number of rifle types and calibres and it worked well, values were true, so dialling in a correction can be done in confidence and optical quality excellent. Price-wise, it’s up there with Schmidt & Bender; against it, is the Minox name might be less associated with this sort of optic!