Andy McLachlan’s not one to keep his wallet in his pocket for too long, and this time it’s been pulled out to land a scope from Element Optics
I seem to have been talking a lot about scopes recently. Having described the choices I have made for my own shooting and given readers some thoughts regarding what I consider to be good value optics, I have once again jumped in and purchased yet another for myself.
There appears to be some misunderstanding from some shooters, particularly those that might come from a firearms background, that suitable telescopic sight options for airgunners cost less than £100 and are more than adequate for what we need.
These days, it is true that you can go into a gun shop, look through a few lenses and decide to purchase a scope that costs a lot less than even the most affordable airgun. I must here remind novice shots that it is good advice to seriously consider the scope you intend to mount onto your shiny new gun as being just as important, if not more so, than either rifle or ammunition choice for future accuracy considerations.
Obviously, practice is what the new shooter requires more than anything, and to start with, perhaps a cheaper scope will do the job perfectly well. Eventually the shooter may decide to take the sport more seriously and invest in a quality optic that performs to a higher level and reduces the number of negative variables that we try to take account of when looking for that supremely accurate shot every time.
I decided to take a look at the new range of optics from a company called Element. I remember our editor Mike Morton doing a favourable review on the Helix scope, the most affordable option of the new range within the pages of our magazine, and was interested to take a look at one myself.
I did not have to wait long as two of my friends, Dave and Jim, soon had an example sitting on top of their new FX Impacts. We were all impressed with what we saw, particularly with the quality of the turrets and the overall build quality, the clarity of the lenses and the sensible reticle choices available from the second focal plane model.
Price-wise, considering the quality, we all thought that just over four hundred quid was great value for such a quality product. I remember Dave doing the zero test whereby he dialled different levels of magnification into the optic to see if it moved the point of impact, which it didn’t, usually meaning that the scope is well built and has proper internal support to the adjustment mechanism.
This particular scope has proven to be extremely popular amongst airgunners seeking affordable quality, with a new model Helix now appearing with a first focal plane lens arrangement. Considering how much Dave liked his second focal plane Helix, I wasn’t surprised to be told that he has since purchased the new model, although I have yet to see it myself.
Considering how good the new Element Helix was for the money, I decided to look at the pricier option in the company’s range. Slotting in at just over £700 is the mid-priced Titan. Like the Helix, this scope is manufactured in China, with the top of the range Japanese-manufactured Nexus costing £1,300 for ultimate quality. It would be great if we could all afford to buy Japanese or German-made optics, but, particularly if you happen to be a serial gun buyer as I am, they are expensive.
Anyway, I soon had an example of the Element Titan 5-25×56 FFP model sitting on board my own new FX Impact. Talking of which, the scope’s body diameter of 34mm meant adding to my growing collection of scope mounts.
I decided to purchase the mega-adjustable Eagle Vision INS Infinity 34mm mounts which will allow me to further improve my stupidly long-range sub-12 foot pound shooting fun once we are allowed our personal freedoms once again. The mounts themselves, as somebody who has used mostly Sportsmatch quality mounts for decades will be aware, look a bit strange as the clamp itself is angled, although this will not have any impact on how well the scope is held in position of course.
Like the superb Eagle Vision FX Impact pellet magazine I had bought earlier, the mounts when they arrived in their quality case proved to be superbly made here in the UK and even came with a spirit level, a set of spare screws and some Allen keys. They are certainly solid when fitted to the gun, although they do sit slightly higher than I would prefer.
So, back to the scope itself. The first thing that you notice when lifting the Titan from its box is the heft. This is no lightweight! Element have clearly decided to make sure that the specifications they gave to the manufacturer means that the scope is extremely rugged and unlikely to bat an eyelid even if a direct hit from a tank shell occurs.
Alternatively, you could use it as a serious club and still put it onto your rifle with no loss of zero due to the high-quality stainless steel internals. This toughness means that it is on the heavy side, but is highly unlikely to fail when in service.
The actual image is extremely bright and most definitely towards the upper end on the clarity scale, certainly for a Chinese-manufactured scope. It is clear that the Chinese are now more than able to produce both lenses and interior scope componentry that are approaching that of the Japanese.
A lot of the expense in optics comes from the fact that individual technicians are putting the scopes together by hand, with the costs of ongoing research into updating specifications also being considered when a scope model is priced. As I have said, the image is certainly impressive, and for those shooters who have yet to peek through a mid-priced optic like this, they will be extremely impressed.
I also really like the reticle I chose. Mine is the 2APR-1D MRAD which basically is a tiny dot surrounded by various dash and hash marks allowing for aiming off for wind or elevation, although since I have been benchrest target shooting, I have now adopted the dialling in option via the nice and solid turret clicks.
If the range loses the ambient light, I can also turn on the illumination which actually does help to place the crosshairs precisely where you want in lower light levels. Even the parallax adjustment comes down to lower airgun ranges, with the design team clearly considering the needs of serious airgunners as a priority.
Personally, I consider the expense of such a scope as well worthwhile. It is not cheap, but is certainly more affordable than many other brands offering similar, if not inferior performance. If you take a look through one yourself, I would be surprised if you were not impressed as well. An excellent all-round optic, particularly if used for benchrest-type shooting when weight is not an issue!
More from Andy McLachlan
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- Benchrest shooting at long range w/ Andy McLachlan