by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Meopta MeoStar Optika6 3-18X56 scope. Photo provided by Meopta.
This report covers:
- Illuminated reticle
- Second Focal plane
- Adjustment knobs
- Rapid zero correction
- Optical zoom
I told you I would be doing this — reviewing the Meopta scope within the review of the Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock. I have mounted this scope on that rifle and today I want to focus on the features and benefits this scope provides.
I’ll begin with a general description. This is a variable power scope that zooms from 3 to 18 magnifications. It has a 56mm objective lens for superior light transmission and a 30mm scope tube that accommodates larger lenses — also for better light transmission. That makes it brighter in low light, which is desirable for a hunting scope.
The etched-glass reticle is illuminated. Only the central dot lights up and there are 6 levels of brightness to choose from. Between each illumination level is what Meopta calls the “half-click” position that turns the illuminator off to save the battery.
Speaking of the battery, you can also order this scope with a DichroTech reticle that illuminates without a battery. I remember some of the old Beeman scopes made by Hakko had a similar feature and, as long as there is some light around, it works. This one is derived from the U.S. Army’s TOW missile sight so it’s no doubt a lot more sensitive. Personally, though, I’ll choose the battery for greater control.
Back to the reticle, I didn’t even know that there was a central dot at the intersection of the crosshairs until I adjusted the eyepiece that Meopta calls the Dioptric Correction adjustment. It goes from -2 diopters to +2 diopters, which allows me to wear my normal vision glasses while looking through the scope and seeing both the reticle and the target in sharp focus.
The reticle I chose to evaluate is one Meopta calls a 4C. It’s a standard duplex with ultra-fine reticle lines in the center, and of course a dot that can be illuminated but doesn’t have to be. This is a general hunting reticle with the additional precision needed for taking small targets like ground squirrels at 300 yards.
Second Focal plane
I was offered the choice between first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP) scopes, because Meopta offers both of them in this line, though each one not in every model in the line. I selected SFP because I see no advantage to FFP in the accuracy department. Sure, if a difference of half a pellet diameter at 35 yards is important to you then go with FFP, but I find the disadvantage of the reticle enlarging as the power increases too distracting.
The reason I’m now testing a Meopta scope is they have reduced the focal adjustment distance to 10 yards for airguns. I’m testing this scope on a precharged rifle right now, but after this test I intend switching it to a springer, so we are going to get a realistic test of this fine scope.
Parallax adjusts down to 10 yards. Note the illumination knob on the same knob. It turns independently.
The scope I chose to review has caps over the adjustment knobs. They protect your settings. Other models have exposed adjustment knobs that can be locked in position after adjustment by pressing them down.
Rapid zero correction
The elevation and windage knobs both allow resetting the zero. Loosen the cap screws on top of the adjustment knobs until they are almost off then lift the knobs and move them to the zero mark after you have zeroed your rifle. This allows you to have several different ranges at which the rifle and scope are zeroed. The knob has numbers with 3 tic marks between each number. Each tic is a click of adjustment, and this scope adjusts 1/4 mil (very close to 1/4-inch) at 100 yards.
For example, you set 0 as your 20 to 32-yard zero on the elevation knob, and 1.75 (three tic marks past the number one) is your 40-yard zero. And so on. I’m just making the corrections up, but that’s how it works. If this was a field target scope, this zero reset would be a huge advantage because you wouldn’t have to make or buy an auxiliary elevation knob. I imagine long range varmint hunters will use it the same way at much longer distances.
With a maximum magnification of only 18 power this scope cannot be used for serious field target competition, but if Meopta were to bring out a similar scope that went to 40 or even 60 power it would be.
One final thing about the resettable zero. If your scope isn’t centered perfectly in the rings and the gun shoots to one side of the vertical centerline close in and the other side far away, this feature can compensate for it. Example — 10-17 yards is one tic mark to the left, 18-23 yards is right on, 24-32 yards 1 tic mark to the right, 33 yards to 38 yards 2 tic marks to the right and so on.
You might expect a scope with this power and large objective lens to be long and heavy, and 20 years ago it would have been. But optics have advanced a lot in the last two decades and now you get a nice list of features in a reasonable package. It’s 14-5/8-inches long and weighs 30.5 oz. While that’s neither compact nor a featherweight, it’s reasonable for such a serious optical package.
The scope has a 30mm tube, so 30mm rings are required. The exit pupil ranges from 9.5mm (huge!) to 3.1mm at 18 power. Even at the highest power the exit pupil is large. That keeps the image from blacking out when your head isn’t perfectly aligned with the eyepiece. Target shooters want the smaller exit pupil, but hunters want it to be larger for rapid target acquisition, and on this scope it is.
There are two features on the optical zoom (the scope’s magnification) that are worth noting. The first is that the magnification numbers are on the side of the ring that faces the shooter. No more taking the rifle down off your shoulder to see what power is dialed in! The second feature is a post that can be screwed into the magnification ring to make zooming much faster and easier. I can see the utility of that for a hunter who may be in a blind awaiting quarry that might appear anywhere. The post screws into the ring and there are several holes for the shooter to select for it. I put the post in the hole farthest to the left and was able to slew between 3 and 18 power without that post bumping into anything. If you don’t like it, don’t mount it.
The long bar allows rapid magnification changes. Or remove it and the scope looks conventional.
This is my first test of a premium scope with mega-features. And I have mounted it to a rifle that’s supposed to be the bomb in rings that are the best I’ve seen in a long while. This accuracy test is going to be fun, fun, fun and I doubt her daddy will ever take her T-Bird away!