Mike Morton tests MTC’s new 4-16×50 F2 scope, the latest member of the King Cobra family, but this time it’s a second focal plane optic
TC is beefing up its collection of King Cobra scopes, with the original 6-24×50 F1 now being joined by the first of the new entrants – the 4-16×50 F2. This is a second focal plane scope, but anyone who’s familiar with the first focal plane original will feel right at home with this new optic as it’s similar in terms of its length, weight, control layout and – with one exception – the way it looks.
When choosing a telescopic sight, or any other item of shooting equipment for that matter, we all know that its specifications, suitability for purpose, ease of use, build quality and value for money should be the top priorities. But if we’re honest we also know that the way something looks can also influence our choice, and along with optical quality and operation, there’s plenty of aesthetic appeal with MTC’s new telescopic sight.
In nature, the king cobra is distinguishable from other cobras by its size and neck patterns, and the same can be said of the King Cobra 4-16×50 F2, which has a 50mm objective lens and a copper ring around the objective bell.
The copper embellishments also include a stylised logo on the side parallax turret as well as an oval inlay on the side of the ocular bell. But if you’re the sort of shooter who cares about bang, not bling, then don’t worry because the copper accents are actually quite restrained. They look elegant, having a dull sheen that complements the anodised black of the main components very well.
The turrets on the F2 feature click-stop windage and elevation adjustment in mils, where one click equals 1cm at 100m, and adjustments can be made simply by pulling up the turret cap, making the required number of clicks then pushing the cap back down, locking it in place. The turret caps can also be completely removed and reset at the “0” mark once you’ve set your chosen zero, but while the King Cobra F1 required a hex key to do this, the F2 just needs a coin.
Manufacturer: MTC (mtcoptics.com)
Model: King Cobra 4-16×50 F2
Objective lens: 50mm
FOV @ 100m: 8.2m to 2m
Eye relief: 105mm to 100mm
Parallax setting: 10m to infinity
Click value: 1cm @100m
Windage adjustment: 10 mils
Elevation adjustment: 10 mils
Clicks per turret revolution: 60
Mils per turret revolution: 6
Tube diameter: 30mm
Reticle: SCB2 (Small Calibre Ballistic)
Illuminated reticle: Yes, with separate on/off and brightness control
With a 30mm body and measuring 360mm in length and 750 grams in weight, it’s neither the smallest nor lightest scope, but that 4-16x magnification range means the F2 can be employed in a number of scenarios. MTC reckons this scope is suitable for hunting, HFT, Field Target, Extreme Benchrest and plinking, and depending on the type of rifle you’re using, I’d tend to agree.
My advice to fellow shooters who are looking for a new scope is to match the specifications of the sight they need to the type of rifle they have and the type of shooting they do, as a well-chosen scope will let them unlock the full potential of their airgun.
Smaller scopes work well with shorter rifles like bullpups, while a longer scope such as the King Cobra F2 is best suited on a full-length rifle. Another piece of advice, that’s admittedly less easy to follow, is to mount a prospective purchase onto a rifle to see exactly how it performs in a real-world shooting environment.
The original King Cobra 6-24×50 F1 is a wonderful scope, but first focal plane scopes aren’t for everyone, and with the introduction of the 4-16×50 F2, which retails for £330 compared with £370 for the F1, MTC is giving shooters a choice. Both SFP and FFP have their pros and cons, and the decision will be based on the type of shooting it’s used for, along with the shooter’s personal preference.
With the second focal plane F2, the reticle will remain the same size regardless of magnification level. The main advantage here is the fact that the crosshairs will always be the same thickness, ideally neither too thick to obscure a small target, nor too thin that they can’t easily be seen at lower levels of magnification.
MTC has equipped the F2 with its SCB2 (small calibre ballistic) multi-aimpoint reticle. It’s always difficult to balance the reticle in terms of having enough aim points to make it useful to account for pellet or slug drop at different distances, while keeping it uncluttered enough so it doesn’t prove a distraction. I think MTC has got the balance just about right here as it’s a nice, clean design.
The reticle offers six levels of illumination in red, with the IR control being located on the left-hand side of the saddle, outboard of the parallax control, with off positions between each of the brightness settings, meaning you won’t have to work your way through all six to easily find your required level of brightness.
One of the strengths of a second focal plane scope is the fact that the reticle remains the same size, regardless of magnification, but this is potentially a weakness if you don’t like the thickness of the crosshairs. These are quite thin, which suits my type of shooting, but they may be a little too thin for some people. If that’s the case, there’s a simple trick that can help, and that’s to use the illuminated reticle by day.
This will instantly highlight the central cross and its surrounding T-shaped brackets that combine to make it look a bit like a Maltese cross, especially at one of the higher brightness settings.
One test I like to carry out with any new scope is “shooting the box”, which involves taking a shot at your set zero, dialling up a certain number of clicks, in my case 10, then taking a second shot, dialling across to the right by 10 clicks and taking a third shot, going down by 10 clicks and taking a fourth, then dialling left by 10 and taking a final shot, which should see a perfect return to zero, all the while sticking to the initial aim point.
The King Cobra F2, mounted on my Daysate Red Wolf, passed this test with ease, so much so that I decided to repeat it, only this time dialling down, left, up and right before again seeing the same pellet-on-pellet return to zero. I was also impressed by the feel of the controls, with each click being nice and positive, with no tendency for the elevation or windage turrets to wander.
The parallax and magnification controls were similarly pleasing to use, both of them being smooth in operation, and requiring enough torque to keep them in place and prevent them from inadvertently being turned, but not so much force that they lost fidelity.
This was useful with the side parallax control when magnification was turned up to the maximum 16x. Only tiny movements of the parallax control are needed to get the sight picture perfect. If the control is stiff, it’s easy to apply too much pressure and turn the control too far.
Anyone who’s had similar problems adjusting the rear view mirror of a car will know what I mean. While a sidewheel is available, which would make the job easier, I found the turret control simple enough to adjust using just my fingers.
Being able to shoot the box and having smooth controls will count for nothing if the scope doesn ‘t have good glass, but luckily there are no worries on this front as optical quality was simply spectacular for a scope of such a relatively low price as this.
Image quality was clear at all ranges out to the maximum 100 yards that I tested this scope at, with a bright sight picture and excellent edge-to-edge clarity. The scope was tested over several weeks in both bright and overcast conditions.
Most scopes will produce good results in bright light, so I always make sure to test them in low-light conditions as well.
It must be an optical illusion, as no series of lenses will allow a 100% transfer of light, but the sight picture actually appeared brighter than it really was, thanks to the 50mm objective lens and correspondingly larger exit pupil.
While this scope could easily find its way onto a rimfire or centrefire rifle, it’s well suited for airgun use as it can parallax down to 10 metres.
I tested this by measuring the distance and checking the clarity of the sight picture at the various magnification settings. Wildflowers are an excellent subject to carry out this type of test as they offer more complex shapes and colours than a manmade target, and I was pleased to find a perfectly clear image at the full 16x magnification.
Another feature that I appreciated was the inclusion of MTC’s standard magnetic flip-up lens covers, the rear one of which contains a 2x magnifier to help shooters read the parallax and turret verniers.
While I didn’t make use of that feature, I do like the fact that the lens covers are always accessible, unlike bikini covers which need to be removed before use, are very light in weight, and open and close reliably and securely.
This is a very accomplished optic and the quality of the glass is stunning. I’ve been well and truly bitten by this particular King Cobra, but luckily for me, it just happens to be a love bite.