Tasco EXP Rifle Scopes
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

 

When it comes to selecting a quality scope, shooters have never had it as good as they do today. The most difficult part is not finding a good scope, but deciding upon which scope to choose. There are hundreds of rifle scopes on the market today, by at least a dozen optics manufacturers and importers. 

Perusing the multitude of scopes in a well-stocked gun store can be slightly confusing to a shooter just looking for a good quality scope to mount atop his hunting rifle. It doesn't take long to realize that a person can spend more on the scope than on a fine rifle. 

There is, if one looks in the right places, a good scope to suit just about anyone's budget. As a rule with scopes, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. There is a reason that the no-name scope in the plain white box costs twenty bucks. There is also, at the other end of the price scale, scopes that sell for well over a thousand dollars. They are fine sighting devices, but a shooter has to decide for himself the point at which expensive is too expensive.

Another important consideration when choosing a scope, is that of weight and bulk. Many of the finest optics are so bulky and heavy as to affect the balance and aesthetics of the rifle. 

With hunting optics, most things are a compromise. A large objective lens allows for a brighter image in low light, but must be mounted  well above the bore line, requiring the shooter to lift his head off of the stock. That is not conducive to accurate shooting. A too small objective lens places the scope low on the rifle for a good cheek weld on the stock, but can be too dark at high magnification with fading light. 

The trend these days is toward larger objective lenses and higher magnification, resulting in the scopes being mounted higher over the bore. Many scopes on the market have objective lenses of 56 millimeters and larger. To me, this is too big for a hunting rifle. I like a scope mounted as low on the rifle as possible. Most of my rifle scopes have objectives of 40mm or smaller, with my favorite 2 x 7 power having a 32mm objective. I do admit, however, that a 32mm scope gives up a few minutes of hunting time for long shots as the light is fading.

Tasco has come up with a better idea for shooters who want a large objective lens while permitting the scope to be mounted lower on the rifle.  The new EXP Extreme Performance line has an oval objective lens. This lens system is not to be confused with the scopes sold as "wide-view" types in the past, having an asymmetrical ocular lens. These scopes, while offering a wider field of view, admitted no more light into the scope than a round ocular lens.

The Tasco EXP scope received for testing is a variable of  3 to 9 power magnification, giving a wide range of magnification suitable to just about any hunting situation. The objective lens on this EXP measures 54mm wide by 42mm high. This gives the shooter the option of mounting the scope as low as any other 42mm scope, with the light-gathering ability of a much larger objective lens. The area of the objective lens is about 1/3 greater than other 42mm scopes.

The lenses of the EXP scopes are fully coated to allow the maximum amount of light through the scope without loss due to reflection. The exit pupil diameter is a generous 14.6mm at three power, and 4.866 at nine power, allowing a clear bright image at both dawn and dusk. In testing, the EXP gave good clear images well after legal hunting light had passed. Being able to crank up the power for target identification is a real plus in low light conditions.

The Tasco EXP was mounted onto a Browning A-bolt 30-06 in Millett rings and bases for purposes of this test. The oval objective allowed mounting low enough for a reasonably tight cheek weld. The EXP has the now familiar 30/30 Tasco reticle, with wider horizontal reticle wire than vertical, resulting in a pleasing and comfortable field-of-view.

The entire scope has a dull, matte, thin-rubber type coating. This is not like the so-called "armored" coatings seen on other scopes, but a nice, smooth finish with a quality look and feel. The scope has a fast-focus type of eye piece, without a lock ring. It is easily turned, as is the power ring, for adjustments. The windage and elevation turret caps are, while being unobtrusive, easily removed even with gloved fingers to make sighting adjustments. The turrets are also finger-adjustable without the use of a coin or screwdriver, and each click moves the point of impact relative to point of aim 1/4 minute of angle.

For testing the structural integrity of the scope sealing used by Tasco, I left the scope outside in below-freezing temperatures, and also immersed the scope in warm water. No internal fogging was observed after exposure to these conditions. The water was wiped off, and the optics were as clear as ever.

The dimensions of the 3x9 EXP is an over-all length of about 13 3/4 inches, a width of 2 1/2 inches at the objective lens, and a height of 2 1/8 inches at the objective. Weight is just over 19 ounces. The EXP is supplied with a set of black, removable lens covers. Effective eye relief is three inches.

One of the best features of this scope, is Tasco's No-Fault Lifetime Warranty. It basically means that if the scope fails, for any reason, Tasco will repair or replace it.

The Tasco EXP is also offered in a 1.5 to 5 power variable that should prove well-suited for hunting in dense to sparse cover. Most hunters will probably go with the versatility of the 3 to 9 power as tested here.

The Tasco EXP is a great idea for those wanting maximum brightness in a hunting scope, allowing low mounting and bright optics in a good-looking, durable scope, at a very reasonable price. You can pay a lot more for a scope of lesser quality. 

The EXP can be found at most good gun shops, and at mail-order outlets such as Midway (1-800-243-3220). I think that you will find the price surprisingly low for the quality received.

For more information on the EXP and other Tasco products, check out their website at:  www.tascosales.com

Jeff Quinn

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Click the pictures to see a larger version.

 

Tasco's EXP 3-9x variable: an excellent scope at a very reasonable price.

 

 

The EXP's oval objective lens allows the greater light transmission of a large objective lens while maintaining the ability to mount the scope low above the bore axis.

 

 

The Tasco EXP features windage and elevation turrets that are easily adjustable even with gloved fingers. The adjustments are positive and accurate.

 

 

As can be seen from these pictures, the EXP is a quality scope, with sleek and rugged design. The oval objective bell exhibits greater light-gathering capability than the standard round bell, but the scope does not have to be mounted higher. This allows proper cheek weld and potentially greater field accuracy.

 

 

The Tasco EXP scope, coupled with a quality rifle like the author's beloved Browning A-bolt .30-06, is a hard to beat hunting combination!