MTC has gone small with its new Copperhead 3-12×44 telescopic sight, but Mike Morton wants to know if it’s gone large on performance
MTC Optics names its telescopic sights after various snakes, and after bringing out some larger models last year in the shape of the King Cobra, the company downsized its most recent releases with the new Copperhead line of smaller scopes.
The Copperhead range launched with a pair of second focal plane (F2) models – the 3-12×44, as seen here, and the 4-16×44, priced at £300 and £315 respectively. These inaugural Copperheads offer pull-up/lock-down elevation and windage turrets, side parallax adjustment from infinity down to 10 yards, a fast-focus eyepiece and flip-up lens covers.
MTC equipped these scopes with its new AMD2 reticle, with uncluttered graduations for easy trajectory and wind allowances. There’s also an illuminated central crosshair offering six brightness settings.
In the animal kingdom, copperheads are a type of venomous pit viper that get their name from the colouration of their heads, which can sometimes take on a metallic sheen.
MTC has taken the 3-12×44 Copperhead’s design cues from its serpentine namesake, with some copper-coloured aesthetic touches in the shape of a ring around the objective bell, a stylised logo on the side parallax turret and an oval inlay on the side of the ocular bell.
As with the metallic accents on the King Cobra scopes, the ones on the Copperhead are similarly elegant, with their dull sheen complementing the anodised black of the rest of the sight very well.
Key specs: MTC 3-12×44 Copperhead telescopic sight
Manufacturer: MTC (mtcoptics.com)
Model: 3-12×44 F2 (4-16×44 also available)
Magnification range: 3-12x
Objective lens diameter: 44mm
Field of view @ 100m: 10.7m – 2.6m
Eye Relief: 90mm
Parallax range: 10m – infinity
Adjustment per click: 1cm @100m
Max turret adjustment: 116cm @ 100m
Clicks per turret revolution: 60
Mils per turret revolution: 6
Tube diameter: 30mm
Illuminated reticle: Red with separate on/off and brightness control
Reticle type: AMD2
Reticle position: Second Focal Plane
This telescopic sight has a 30mm body, measures 248mm in length and weighs 568g. This makes it shorter and lighter than comparable scopes, and a good choice for smaller, lighter rifles, so I paired the review sample with my Weihrauch HW100 BP.
The semi-target-style turrets on the Copperhead feature click-stop windage and elevation adjustments in one tenths of a milliradian, where one click equals 1cm at 100m, or 2.5mm at 25m. Adjustments can be made by pulling up the turret cap, making the required clicks and then pushing the cap down, locking it in place.
The turret caps can be removed and reset at the “0” mark once you’ve set your chosen zero, all with the help of a suitable coin such as the ever-useful five pence piece.
An optional extra is available in the shape of a sidewheel to pop over the parallax control.
I think this is a good idea, because in my experience very few shooters using a smaller-magnification optic like this would actually want to fit a sidewheel, and leaving it out of the basic package probably helps keep down the cost.
Having said that, I did find the parallax control to be rather stiff, but that may only be on this particular example and in any case it may ease up with extended use.
One thing I was a little disappointed by was the decision to abandon MTC’s usual screw-on, magnetic flip-up lens covers for a regular push-on non-magnetised set. I find the magnetic covers extremely reliable and easy to use, but at least the ones supplied with this scope do work as intended.
MTC has equipped the Copperhead with its new AMD2 (Advanced Mil Dot 2) multi-aimpoint reticle. This features a nicely bracketed central crosshair, minimal elevation graduations for holdunder, but plenty of markings for holdover, and only a few markings for windage.
I like this reticle a lot. It provides an ultra-clean sight picture where it counts, while still giving you enough additional aids for shooting at distances beyond the set zero.
More aim points would certainly be useful on a larger scope for more intricate target work or longer-range shooting, but the little Copperhead is best suited for duties such as hunting, plinking and HFT where an overly complex reticle would probably be more of a hindrance than a help.
By happy chance, I also found that at 25 yards and at 12x magnification, a pigeon’s head perfectly fills the crosshair brackets, making for some great rudimentary rangefinding.
The reticle is illuminated with six levels of brightness in red, with the IR control on the left-hand of the saddle, outboard of the parallax control.
There are off positions between each of the brightness settings, meaning you can quickly switch on the exact setting you want, without first having to work your way through the other five.
I used to consider illuminated reticles to be a bit of a gimmick, but over the years I’ve learned to appreciate how useful they are in certain situations.
With any scope I test, I always like to “shoot the box” to verify the tracking of the windage and elevation adjustments and to ensure they can make a perfect return to zero.
You can alter the number of clicks to suit your own needs, but in my case this involved me taking a shot at the bull, then adjusting elevation up by 20 clicks and taking a second shot, while maintaining the same point of aim.
The next step was to the adjust windage right by 20 clicks and firing a third shot, yet again aiming at the bull, adjusting the elevation down by 20 clicks followed by a fourth shot, then finally adjusting the windage left by 20 clicks and taking the fifth and final shot.
If the scope adjustments are working correctly, the pellet holes should make the corners of a perfect square, and the last pellet should land in the same place as the first – back in the bull.
Bear in mind that this test does rely on you using a rifle that’s capable of shooting accurately and consistently. My Copperhead and HW100 pairing saw the fifth pellet hole touch the first, both bang in the bull, at the combination’s zero distance of 30 yards, meaning that the scope passed this test with flying colours.
Optical clarity was very good, with the Copperhead delivering a nice clear sight picture even in murky low-light conditions.
Paper targets can suffer from printing errors and colour bleed, and therefore don’t necessarily offer a fair representation of what a scope has to offer, so I try to make use of more natural vegetation where possible.
Blades of grass, leaves and flowers are all great subjects to view when testing a scope, and the leaves of a wintercreeper were superbly sharp through the Copperhead.
Edge-to-edge clarity was good, with just a hint of blurriness at the periphery. Some lenses provide you with a workable, half-decent sight picture, but the experience can be a bit “meh”. The Copperhead, on the other hand, was a joy to look through.
According to MTC, the Copperhead will parallax down to 10 metres, which I confirmed at the range with the magnification turned up to the full 12x. And turning the mag down to 3x allowed me to get a sharp sight picture at a closer distance of seven metres.
The advice to people encountering a copperhead in the wild is that while it’s not usually lethal, it’s best left alone. My advice about MTC’s Copperhead is different, because it won’t be lethal on your wallet, and it’s well worth taking home.