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Kahles Helia CL 3x10 50mm

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2008 at 16:17
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Well, I finally mounted my new Kahles on the same Wby. 300 that the Trijicon TR22 sits.  I had a good chance to compare the two scopes.  The Kahles will be able to move around to many of the Wby. rifles as the mounting distance is equidistant on all of them as they have the same extension base on the rear.

As far as a brief review of the Kahles.  Build construction was very nice, one of the best I have seen.  Surpasses the Trijicon slightly as I think they can do a slightly better job with the tritium collector set up to make it look better.  My only beef.
 
Optics.  The Kahles was nice and crisp, again, one of the better scopes that I own, but not as good as the Trijicon.  The Trijicon was free of any blurring whosoever at the edges, nor  was their any chromatic aberration noted either.  The Kahles had a slight hint of both.  Resolution was about spot on for each.  Adjusting the sf and getting it exactly right made a difference, but also made it more difficult.  The Trijicon does not have any correction for parallax, but at 10x and the shooting distances, probably not necessary.  Contrary to popular belief and as stated in the Kahles manual, focus of not only the reticle but of the projected image can be obtained with the diopter adjustment control.  I wear anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 diopters of correction and both scopes handles it very well.  Some don't.  The brightness of the Trijicon was greater than that of the Kahles, but the objective on the former is 56 mm.  Overall, optically, the Trijicon wins out.  Now this test was performed at mid-day in the bright sun light and I have not had a chance to do any low light testing.  Optically, both are very nice scopes, my two best.  I had on hand a Leupold 4.5x14 40mm and optically it was very close to the Kahles, but just not quite.  The Trijicon eye box was more forgiving at all powers than the Kahles.  The Kahles eye box was more forgiving than the Leupold, easily.  The build quality of the Leupold in the gun metal gray is stunning.
 
What I really want to do is see how that Kahles tracks.  That is where I have heard they really stand out.  The Trijicon is good, but the rifle it is on has been a project rifle now on its second stock.  You have all heard the story about attempting to free float it and it did not work and then adding a pressure point at the fore end tip.  Well with bullets flying all over it has always been difficult to tell how accurately it tracked.  But, with the pressure point and sighting it in with the new stock so the action and barrel fit properly and snuggly, it is shooting like its suppose to and the Trijicon seems to track very well. 
 
Overall, these are my best two rifle scopes, but thus far I would rank them, number one, Trijicon and number two Kahles only by a slight margin.  If you consider that the Kahles was only slightly more expensive than the Trijicon as far as what I paid, then they are both great deals.  Also the Kahles is more compact and would find itself welcome on any size rifle, while the Trijicon would look awkard at best on a Model 7 Remington.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/16/2008 at 17:48
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Dolphin,
Just curious... besides evaluating play in the diopter, W/E knobs, SF knobs, any visible flaws in exterior finish or lens coatings, or something physically comes loose from the scope... how do you judge the "build quality" of a scope just by looking at it?  By that question, I mean without spending alot of time determining how well it tracks, evaluating optical quality, and seeing if it holds zero, etc.  After all, a riflescope is a pretty simple device on the outside.  If a given scope doesn't have flaws in the finish or something hasn't come loose from the scope body that isn't supposed to be loose, and everything works as it should, how can you say by just looking at the scope that it has better or worse build quality than another?  Are you confusing "aesthetically pleasing to your eye" with "good build quality?"  There are some really high quality scopes out there that to my eyes are ugly-looking.  I refer specifically to your comment about the Leupold gunmetal gray scope as having "stunning" build quality.  True, I think the gunmetal gray finish looks cool, but that by itself has nothing to do with build quality.  Apart from the finish, there's nothing different between it and other VX-III scopes.  I would think all 3 of those scopes would have excellent build quality, as reflected in their retail prices. 
 
The reason I ask is because I've heard you mention the "build quality" of a scope several times, and I'm just wondering how you arrive at your perception of build quality, given that all riflescopes I've seen from the mid price range on up all have well-fitted parts and most have 1 piece tubes and black matte finish, and there are very few mating parts visible on the outside, so there's not much there to evaluate externally.
 
Interesting review.  The TR22 must be one helluva scope!  I've considered getting one of the Accupoints, but I don't like 56mm objectives, so if I did, it would probably be the 3-9X40.  I think the BAC lit triangle reticle design is really nice!  I just don't have a rifle needing a scope at the moment.
 
I would be interested in seeing if your impressions of all 3 are the same after you've used the scopes in the field for a couple months in varying conditions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/17/2008 at 07:24
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Build quality with rifle scopes is the same as any other product like automobiles and watches both of which I am fanatics about.  I look at how the lines of the product parts meet and how even they are like those of the hood meeting the body of a car and how even they are all around.  The quality of the of the diopter ring housing and the molding of any pieces like the mag. ring or diopter ring to see if each indentation is the same and equally spaced.  The quality of materials used like the difference between a Dodge Neon and a Audi A4, the former uses cheap plastic and fake chrome the latter uses clearly higher quality materials no fake chrome and is one of many reasons it costs more.  Turret construction, is it cheap looking stamped metal folded together or does it look like higher grade materials were used.  For example a vx-I turrets look no better than some Chicom crap.  If you compare a Simmons Blazer to the Kahles you will immediately understand what I mean in quality of build.  A Simmons Blazer has rough edges left from poor molding with bits hanging off, the parts do not fit together well, turrets look cheaply made, when you turn them, they do no rotate perfectly in a circle, but oblong, etc.  If you look at the cheap scopes and move up you will see how the quality of build improves.  When comparing to scopes that have such excellent build quality it is difficult to make significant differences.  It is like comparing an Audi A8 versus a Mercedes Benz S500, but give the relatively poor reliability record of high end German cars, that is where the analogy with rifle scopes end.
 
Thats why I want to get the Kahles out side, because where I have heard it really excels is in its tracking ability.  Some one else posted that they got rid of theirs because they did not think it tracked correctly, I wonder if that was because that they had a scope that had a .32 inch change for every click at 100 yards and were expecting .25 inch change.  Regardless, it has been too hot here and you know how those barrels heat up.  Maybe this weekend.  Will keep you posted.  By the way, I have to turn the diopter ring almost 1 and half times around to focus it. 
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By the way, on my TR22, it states, Made in Japan.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/17/2008 at 18:36
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I guess my point on the build quality question is this...
 
You mentioned build quality multiple times here.  Similarly, I heard you mention not long ago that you thought a Swaro scope didn't appear to you to have "build quality" as good as a Leupold scope, and I'm just curious of what specific aspect(s) of those 2 scopes gave you that impression?  Among these 3 scopes mentioned in your review, after you determine that they all 3 have no visible external flaws and the knobs and dials work smoothly with no excess slop, what else is there to evaluate with just a cursory inspection?  I don't pose this line of questioning in a sarcastic or condescending manner at all; I'm seriously just curious, since you've mentioned build quality multiple times in the context of just handling scopes and looking them over visually.
 
Unlike a car or a gun, which have many fitted, mating parts that are readily visible, A typical riflescope is usually very simple on the outside, but complex on the inside.  Externally, what do you have?  You've got a main tube (nowadays, usually 1 piece), 2 W/E turrets, and sometimes an additional turret for side focus (and maybe another knob for illumination if it's a lit reticle scope), a power ring (if it's a variable), and either a threaded eyepiece or a fast focus diopter eyepiece.  That's pretty much it as far as external features go.  True, a really cheap scope will look cheap, but we're not talking about cheap scopes here.  All 3 scopes mentioned in your post are high quality instruments.  Once you get past about $250 - $300, all of the above parts from all manufacturers I've ever seen are well-fitted and don't have visible machine marks, loose rubber on eyepieces and power rings, and have an even finish, whether matte or gloss. 
 
Almost all manufacturers use the same production methods to produce the parts you see on the outside.  The tube is turned in a CNC lathe, then either grit blasted or polished, then anodized.  The power ring is turned and in some cases, milled, sometimes with rubber gripping rings glued on.  The turrets and turret caps are either turned & milled, extruded, or injection molded.  Some of the most expensive scopes you can buy may even have plastic turrets and turret caps (i.e. Zeiss), which gives the visual appearance of lesser build quality to some eyes (I admit to being someone who looks unfavorably toward plastic parts, even though functionally, they are probably just as durable).  None of these mating parts can have excessive gaps in them or the parts would either wobble or the scope would leak because of too much clearance between moving parts that must be sealed with o-rings. 
 
As long as there isn't excessive play / sloppiness in the knobs, power ring, and diopter or obvious flaws in the finish, which is usually not the case with "mid level and up" priced scopes, really, what else is there to note on the exterior of a scope beyond whether or not you like the scopes aesthetics?  All decent quality scopes on the outside will appear to have good build quality because there just isn't much on the exterior of a scope to evaluate.  Since the manufacturers use the same methods for finishing the exterior, the good scopes are going to be well-finished on the outside, and that may very well have no relation to whether or not the lines of the scope are aesthetically appealing to the eye.  You can get a hint of whether or not the lens coatings are a high quality broadband multicoating.  By looking straight into the objective lens, you shouldn't be able to see a prominent reflection of yourself and you shouldn't see any white light reflections off the glass.  But, almost everything that really counts in terms of build quality is hidden on the inside of the scope.  So ultimately, barring obvious external flaws, true construction quality cannot be determined without evaluating the scope's optical and mechanical performance through actual use. 


Edited by RifleDude - June/17/2008 at 18:59
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Originally posted by Dolphin Dolphin wrote:

By the way, on my TR22, it states, Made in Japan.
 
Yes, the Trijicon's optics are made by Light Optical Works, the same company who makes the Bushnell Elite and several other good quality Japanese made scopes.
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Ted, I am surprised by your in detailed questioning regarding build quality, considering your background.  While rifle scopes on the outside seem to present a much simpler representation of the inner workings as compared to say an automobile or watch, this is relative.  As I stated, if you have ever looked at a really cheap scope the build quality become significantly different.  Having grown up as a kid hunting, I could not afford the best optics and bought what I could afford.  Therefore I started out with the cheapo stuff and have worked up, reluctantly to the higher end stuff.  There is a difference.  I am sorry that I did not give the nod to the Kahles over the Trijicon, but objectively I could not do that.  What I do every day in my life is objectively evaluate every person I see and make serious decisions about what to do with them.  I evaluate images, whether they be nuclear or ultrasound and make these decisions on a daily basis without having to to hesitate for several days, so my ability to evaluate and look at images as well as products is very acute.  I look at a rifle scope in a very detailed manner, much like I do a patient.  Nothing goes beyond my inspection.  Simple exterior coatings, the printing of the name of the manufacturer and any other detail of the scope goes without scrutiny.  All of this reflects the internal build, just like an automobile or watch.  I know you Ted, when you go out and buy an automobile, you look at the quality of build on the external aspect, which reflects the build on the internal aspect.  I approach any purchase I make in the same way.  One more thing.  The Made in Japan stamp on my TR22 means the scope was made entirely in Japan.
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My question has nothing whatsoever to do with which scope you preferred at all.  Even though I'm interested in hearing your review, ultimately I don't care which scope you liked better; I'm just trying to understand what you found better about the "build quality" of one scope vs. another, since you've frequently mentioned the topic.  In fact, I'm not even speaking to the scopes mentioned in this thread per se, but on what you're gauging "build quality" when looking at the exterior of high-end scopes that aren't likely to exhibit noticeable flaws.  I ask this precisely because of my manufacturing background in fact, because all the major exterior components from any decent quality scope manufacturer these days is CNC machined.  As such, the parts are fitted to within a gnat hair of one another, and you will not notice any flaws such as uneven edges of mating surfaces that you mention.  You have to use precision measuring equipment to gauge part-to-part variability in CNC machined parts; the human eye alone cannot see these variations, as is the nature of CNC machining.   There are no molded parts on the exterior of a scope that you mention, except for maybe small parts like turret caps, rubber trim, and sometimes turret knobs.  Everything else you see is CNC machined and anodized 6061T6 aluminum alloy.  I'm well aware of how to spot cheaply made scopes.  We're not talking about cheap scopes here, so quality construction is pretty much a given with the models discussed.  You aren't going to be able to tell anything about how well a decent quality scope is constructed by holding it and looking at the outside.  You will only be able to judge subjectively whether or not you like its aesthetics. 
 
What I'm asking you is how can you say -- just based on exterior appearance alone -- that one quality scope obviously has superior build quality to another, given scopes of the pedigree mentioned?  I'm specifically asking you this question with regards to your earlier Swaro vs. Leupold comparison, where you asserted that the Leupold had higher build quality than the Swaro.  This thread and repeated mentions of build quality only reminded me of this earlier comment you made a few weeks ago.  For instance, I can tell you with absolute certainty that when looking at the exterior of both a Swaro and a Leupold, both scopes have a similar high degree of fit and finish, they only have different styling.  There is unlikely to be any finish flaws with either.  Leupold etches the lettering on their scopes, and Swaro prints theirs.  Leupold offers a glossy finish; Swaro doesn't.  Technically, Swaro goes to a greater extent (and expense) in blending its power rings with the ocular housings than Leupold does and they are also much smoother turning.  Swaro's power rings have a rubber surface attached; Leupold's rings are bare serrated aluminum.  All individual design decisions, nothing more, nothing less.  Both have very positive adjustment clicks.  Neither have poorly fitted parts.  Keep in mind that I own several scopes each from all the brands mentioned in this thread except Trijicon.  I promise you I'm every bit as picky about equipment as anyone else, and I can honestly tell you that there is nothing on the exterior of these scopes that would hint at higher or lower quality construction vs. another scope of similar price point.  My point is simply that there ain't much to comment about on the exterior of a hunting scope, because it's essentially a contoured tube with a couple knobs attached.  The good ones all share exactly the same manufacturing methods for the aluminum components and aren't going to have immediately recognizable flaws on the outside.
 
What I'm asking you is specifically, what parts of these scopes you've compared gives you the impression of either greater or lesser build quality vs. another?  One have a nicer color of black than another?  Other than the fact the gunmetal gray is cool and unique looking, what gives the gunmetal gray Leupold a higher degree of build quality than a black Leupold of the same model sufficient to rate it as "stunning?"  You mentioned generalities about parting lines, finishes, printed lettering, etc. but those scopes aren't likely to exhibit flaws in any of those categories.  You mentioned that you thought the TR22 could have employed a better method of covering the fiber optic bundle.  OK, I get that, but that is an appearance thing, and I'm not sure what other method they could have used to bring sunlight to the fiber optic bundle.  But, you've never said specifically what features causes you to proclaim one scope is better built than another.  Again, I'm not taking about Trijicon vs. Kahles here. 
 
I'm not sure why you continue emphasizing the "made in Japan" thing.  I know full well that at least the component parts of Trijicon scopes are made in Japan, and I think of that as a good thing BTW.  From what little exposure I have to the Accupoint scopes, I like them, so you don't have to sell me on them.  FWIW, I talked to the Trijicon folks a couple months ago at the booth they had at the Dallas Safari Club show.  The rep there told me these scopes have component parts made in Japan, but according to him, assembly is done in their facility in Wixom, MI, because they handle and install the tritium lamps themselves.  Whether or not this is true, I can't verify, so I have to take him at his word.  But, that's a trivial point that has no relevance whatsoever to me anyway.


Edited by RifleDude - June/18/2008 at 06:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/18/2008 at 18:19
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I am very familiar with CNC machining and the fact that most high end components of whether they be rifle scopes or many other parts of alot other precision made parts of other products are made this way.  But, I would venture to say that if you ask the average person, the term "build quality" can be applied to any product, whether this is a rifle scope or automobile or watch.  That is all that I am saying.  While individual pieces are CNC machined, when the scope is put together, I have seen some scopes that did have uneven fitting all around that seam.  These were mid-priced scope, but affected my scoring of their build quality.  The feel of the AO or SF adjustment and if it bottoms out in a mushing or positive manner.  The same with other adjustments rings such as the mag ring.  Take the Simmons scope that I recently bought.  First.  The mag ring and sf rings both did not bottom out in a firm positive manner, but were mushy.  I have seen many scopes with an AO ring that did not rotate in a concentric manner.  This was evident when mounted on the rifle and the objective clearance was close.  As the AO ring was rotated, it became closer to the barrel and I have some that bottomed out.  Now these were scopes that were not in this price range, but I apply the same means of evaluating a scope to any in any price range.  With reference to the tritium collecting source on the Trijicon.  There are obviously many other means of making not only look better, but of better build quality.  The plastic overlying the Tritium source just looks like cheap plastic and does not reflect the quality of the remainder of the rest of the scope.  As I mentioned in another post, I had to glue the rubber mag ring back to a very nice CNC machined aluminum ring on the scope when it became loose in an area encompassing about one quarter of the area.  I would prefer a better quality mag ring made out of a firmer form of some type of plastic or related product, instead of the non-CNC'ed molded piece of rubber.  Now, the rubber piece is quite functional as it provides a nice positive grip in the rain, which I have used in those condition.  I will concede that the comment about the Leupold was probably based on the color of the Leupold, as it is a really gorgeous looking scope.  But, it does use premium parts all around.  I could go into extreme detail about other ways to evaluate the scope, but these are many.  By the way, I do believe etched is superior to printing when it comes to placing the name on the scope.  As far as the Japanese thing goes.  I was told by Trijicon over the phone that the lenses were made in Japan and the scope assembled in Michigan.  But, I was always under the impression, when a product states "Made in Japan" on it, then that is were it was made.  That is all I am saying.
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Cool.  I just wanted to learn how you determine the ultimate quality of a scope simply by holding it in your hands, so I could apply this incredible skill.Wink  None of the flaws you describe, re: uneven lines or poorly mated parts are typical of $400+ scopes.  Most of Simmons' scopes are low end, which explains your experience with them.
 
Keep in mind that $2000 Zeiss Victory VM/V scopes all have injection molded plastic turret knobs and caps, and yet they are some of the finest scopes money can buy.
 
You're still dodging my question on the Leupold vs. Swaro build quality comments and speaking in generalities rather than specifics, but that's o.k., you don't owe me an explanation for anything and are entitled to your opinions.
 
I do think you are confusing "build quality" with aesthetics, which isn't the same thing; the latter being a very subjective judgment.  Some of the features that affect your perception of build quality may be intentional design features, not poorly executed construction.
 
BTW, what you are seeing on the ocular housing of your TR22 isn't the tritium source; it is the fiber optic bundle that collects sunlight to the reticle, much like is seen on fiber optic bow sights.  The only way you can expose the fiber to light and yet not have the fiber optic material exposed is to cover it with clear plastic in some way. 
 


Edited by RifleDude - June/18/2008 at 19:30
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In the case of the Leupold, yea I was making a comment more on the aesthetics, but otherwise when comparing scopes especially of lower cost to higher cost you can defiantly see the build quality difference.  I will admit that when comparing these upper end scopes, there is not much to concede in any direction.  You are correct about the TR22, the plastic housing does cover the fiber optic light collecting bundles that transmit light to the tritium triangle.  But, I do wish they would have built it in a way that was up to the other excellent built standards of the rest of the scope.  Next time you get a hand on one, take a close look at it.  My comment on Leupold versus Swarovski build quality, I admit was probably rather flippant.  But I do believe in commenting on build quality of any product including rifle scopes.
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Oh, Ted one more thing.  The apparent brightness of the Kahles versus the Trijicon despite the difference in the objective size may have partly been due to the difference in reticles and perceived brightness.  Of course the Trijicon has the post and triangle while the Kahles has a 4a reticle that clutters the view some what that may give the perception of less light transmission, while not true.
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Regardless of the opical virtues of the Accupoints, I like the super cool lit triangle reticle and the fact it gives an uncluttered sight picture so much that it alone is justification in my mind to own one of these scopes.  I've never looked through one in dim light to see how bright the triangle is in those conditions, though.  I don't like a lit reticle that's so bright it overpowers the view through the scope, negating the advantage of illumination.  That may not be the case with the Trijicon; I don't know.

It's more difficult to judge differences in image brightness when comparing a lit reticle scope to a conventional reticle scope, because you have to separate in your mind reticle visibility from the image detail you can resolve in low light.
 
Setup a resolution target at some distance away and compare the two scopes to see which one can resolve the smallest set of line-pairs at various magnifications, making sure you have the scopes steadied well enough you don't have any movement.
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Yea, this triangle is not over powering at all.  Even in very dim light with the power turned up all the well, it is just right and does not light up the "view" whatoever.  It looks like this weekend is going to be alot cooler and I will have chance to get out and do some real comparisons as well as shoot that 257 Wby.  I guess you already figured out my eyes are alot worse than yours as I really have to turn the diopter adjusments quite a bit on any scope.  I will keep you posted.  Let me keep you straight, I love that damn Kahles and would not trade it for anything, just like the Trijicon.  When it comes to aesthetics, it has the Trijicon beat hands down, with it compact sleek look that could fit on any rifle.  When the box arrived, my first thought was they sent me the wrong scope, it was so small.  I would like you said, get the 3x9 Trijicon, but like you I do not need another scope.  I really did not need the Kahles, but for the price, I could not turn it down.
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Well I finally got a chance to take the Kahles out to the range and compare it against the Trijicon.  A few more comments on the build quality of the Kahles.  The turrets have a rubber seal and when screwing down the caps they come to a complete stop unlike any scope I have ever seen, which oozes quality build.  The clicks were positive with just the right amount of pressure so as not to over click, perfection, the best I have ever seen on a rifle scope.  The clicks on the Trijicon are close, but not as crisp.  As far as resolution, both were equal.  Using some resolution charts that I printed off of the internet and fine tuning the Kahles with the diopter adjustment and the sf adjustment, there was no difference in the two scopes.  Both were the best I have ever peered through.  Brightness appeared equal in the mid day sun.  I previously mentioned that the Kahles has some blurring and chromatic aberration at the very edges.  This was noticed again, but I figured out it was only at distances of probably less than 50 yards, maybe even less, but at distances greater than this disappeared completely.  This was on 10x.  I did not have time to check it at other power mags.  I did play with the sf adjustment and diopter adjustments extensively, but no difference.  It is minimal.  The Trijicon was perfectly free of any such problems from edge to edge at any distance.  At first I thought the Kahles had better color rendition, but after repeatedly looking through both scopes, I could find no differences.  Bottom line, I find them to be equal considering all things given.  The Kahles is more compact and would find itself home on a greater variety of rifles than the Trijicon making a more versatile choice.  It also mounts lower to the rifle making it less strainfull to sight in through the scope.  If I had to buy one of the two scopes to keep and use on several rifles it would be the Kahles for these reasons, but the optics and price on the Trijicon are hard to beat.  I hope that Trijicon will introduce some more models in various configurations that will complement what they already have.  I believe they are on the right path by introducing more conventional reticles and hopefully this will carry over into newer models.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2008 at 12:22
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One more thing I forgot to mention.  The turrets on the Trijicon can be reset to zero by simply lifting them up and turning them to zero.  The Kahles have to be loosened via screw and turned to zero and re-tightened, which is a plus on the Trijicon side.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2008 at 13:25
Ed Connelly View Drop Down
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A question about the Trijicons:  On what scopes are they going to be utilizing conventional 4A type reticles ( with the illuminated little dot..)?? Whatever
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2008 at 14:57
ccoker View Drop Down
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that's good to know about the resettable turrets
I called today to ask because I want to try the 3-9
I have a CL 3-10 with the multizero reticle which I have not yet tested or starting using that feature


#4 is available only on the 1.25-4 which requires extended eye relief mount


Edited by ccoker - June/26/2008 at 15:04
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