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