Shilba Gold Medal Scopes
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- Last updated: 24/05/2019
I test a lot of scopes and if I like them, I buy them; these Shilba scopes have certainly whetted the appetite. With so many new scope models and designs on the market, the traditional scope manufacturers are taking a bashing from similarly well speced rifle scopes that are a fraction of the cost. Are they all good value for money?
The Shilba range have a long history and are now made in China but still using higher grade Japanese optics; so, good performance but cheaper manufacturing costs, which means value to the end user, you.
Dave Mills from X-Calibre UK imports the entire Shilba range of scopes that range from classic, varmint, target and these Gold Medal range.
There is a scope or design suited for air rifles, rimfires up to centrefire use, be it target or hunting usage. I had the compact 1-4 X 24mm and 2.5-10 X 50mm scopes on test, which represent a wide range of potential sporting usages from rats, wild boar to foxes and deer stalking.
These both use an aluminium 30mm tube with fast focus, illuminated reticle and high-resolution, multi-coated lenses.
Both scopes feel very well made and finished, which is a good start and all the zoom and adjustment controls feel smooth and noiseless. Both have the same aircraft grade aluminium main tube, again both at 30mm size. This is for maximum adjustment and less for more light transmission, due to the same size erector tube within the scope’s body. It is one piece and therefore strong and even the heavyhanded will not crush the tube with over tightening the screws. The overall finish is a tough, smooth, matt black colour, so anti-reflective and practical to wipe over when wet or grime covered.
Both have a fast-focus eye piece that has a rubber edging that helps protect the eye from harsh recoiling rifles like the 458 Lott test rifle. It also acts as a non-slip grip to adjust the focus easily, to produce a sharp reticle and image.
The zoom adjustment rings too are smooth and stiff to use. This is a good thing, as it ensures a good fit between zoom ring and scope internals, to stop variations in zoom range to maintain zero integrity. They both zoom anti clockwise and the compact scope has indicated zoom markers of 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4x magnification, whilst the larger scope has 2.5, 3 to 10 inclusive markings. All letterings are in an antique gold finish, so a good overall smart practical finish.
Internally, parts are all CNC machined for a more precision fit but no details on materials used i.e. metal or plastic? As this makes a difference to overall consistent sight adjustment and keeping the zero, zeroed. However, the scope is nitrogen purged to ensure a fog free image in extreme temperate changes and, judging by the field tests, the scope’s integrity is without question.
The scope is made in China, but the lenses remain sourced from Japan, like the origin Shilba scopes. This means good quality optics are fitted to these scopes and, as such, the image and sharpness is improved. These lenses are HR 400 rated, which means that they are highresolution with a proprietary multi coated surface. This gives a sharp, vignette free image and is clear right up to the outer edge of the view. More in the field test.
Illuminated reticles are mainstream now and people expect them on a scope at any price point. These Shilbas have the choice of either a red or green illuminated reticle, of which the only part illuminated is the centre dot. I like and prefer this, as it concentrates the eye to the aiming point and does not destroy your natural night vison or low light vision when taking the shot.
The illumination turret is sited to the left middle of the main tube and uses a CR2032 battery and the adjustment wheel is graduated in five increments, 1-5 for both green or red illumination. At the ‘R’ and ‘G’ settings, the illumination is off and at the half way points between each setting it is still on, so you have to scroll all the way through the settings to get the light level you want. But each setting is precise and secure, so won’t shift. The illuminated dot is clear without any bleed to the edge, so good.
Elevation and windage both utilise the same mechanism for both scopes, with low, sporting type turrets with a waterproof cap that is removed to adjust. The 1-4 X 24mm scope has an adjustment of ½-inch per click at 100-yards and the 2.5- 10 X 50mm scope uses the ¼ inch adjustment range.
The turrets are marked in five increments per segment with a total of 14 main segments. Each scope has a total of ten revolutions per turret; so, plenty of adjustment range if you so need it. You get a set of lenses covers on elasticated straps and lens cloth with every scope and a five-year warranty
I fitted the smaller Gold Medal scope to a 458 Lott, so death or glory and the 2.5-10 X 50mm scope to an RPA 22 BR rifle.
The compact 1-4 X 24mm is my favourite, as it is a very versatile scope that can be used on all kinds of rifles. It gives a very good field of view and the large eyepiece also gives a wide, bright image that is pretty much parallax free with this lower mag scope. Its light too and with a good overall mounting area to the scope body can be fitted to very low to the rifles action. It has a 3-inch eye relief, I would prefer more to be honest. Don’t underestimate the small objective lens on this model; at 24mm, it still allows light to enter and more importantly the multi coated Japanese optics gather that light precisely and without any aberrations. You get a good, flat, distortion-free image and the colour retention is good low. At low light the Shilbas performed well for scopes in this price range and I was happy with the performance.
The bigger 2.5-10 X 50mm scope is your standard zoom and objective size for a sporting scope. It mounts lower than a 56mm and its 2.5x low end mag allows a good field of view at closer ranges and the 10x top mag is all you need for a longer shot. Again, image quality was very good; clear, bright and sharp images across the magnification range. That illuminated reticle with dot was precise at delivering a well-aimed shot; one crow at 175-yards thought he was safe from the Shilba, wrong. It’s a good all-round performer and, for the money, good value too.
Price for each scope is £325 and £375 respectively; that’s a good price for scopes with this specification of features and lens quality. That’s the crux really, for the vast majority of shooters that don’t or can’t afford premium prices then they will not be disappointed with these scopes for nearly all their shooting needs or style of rifle. Put simply, Shilba offer good value, looks and performance.
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