The scope I am reviewing is their latest offering. It s a 4-14x variable power tactical style scope with a Mil Dot reticle. This is nothing new or unique. What is unique is that this scope has the aiming reticle located in the First Focal Plane (hence the FFP in the title). You may be asking yourself "so why do I care?" What a FFP Reticle means to you is that unlike other variable Mil Dot scopes you do not need to worry about what power the scope is set at to accurately Mil a target. No matter what power you set the magnification at the reticle stays the same size in relation to the target. This is feature usually not found in optics in this price range.
- FFP Skeleton Mil Dot Reticle
- 30mm Main Tube
- 44mm Objective
- Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
- Side Focus Parallax adjustment
- 1/4 MOA Click Windage and Elevation
- 75 MOA total elevation
- 13.3" Long (338mm)
- Weight 26.4 oz (749g)
- MSRP £229.99 (US Street Price: $385.00)
It appears that locating these scopes in stock can sometimes be an issue. Some of the member on a web forum I frequent suggested I check with RW Snyder Gunsmithing. Luckily for me, I was able to snap one up before they again went out of stock. The transaction was fast although with a personal touch I am not used to. When ordering from RWS you place your order and enter your CC information just like any other online site. Then RWS checks to see that the item is in stock before sending you a confirmation that your order status has been updated to "Paid". If the item is not in stock, you will get an email that your order has been canceled. This took me aback the first time when I attempted to order the 4.5-18x Menace. A quick response to my inquiry cleared it up. My scope was shipped promptly and received in great condition. The Falcon box was packed inside a larger cardboard box and surrounded by cruched newspapaer. In my opinion this is a totally satisfactory way to keep packing costs down. Based on my first eperience with them, I will have no problem returning for my next Falcon Purchase.
When my Menace arrived it was packaged in a plain black cardboard box. Inside the box was the scope, flip up scope caps, sunshade, lens cloth, and allen wrench. No documentation or warranty cards were included. Luckily everything on this scope works like it appears it should. This is actually a plus in my book because it means the company is more interested in spending money on it's product than it's boxes. I could really care less about what the box looks like when it will get trashed or chucked in a closet for all times.
When I first picked it up out of the box I was surprised at the weight and feel. This thing is built like a tank. The adjustment knobs and power ring are large and deeply fluted. I had no problems adjusting them with gloves on. The anodizing is a deep matte black (not green like the picture). The markings are clear and precise. They appear to be engraved and filled with white paint. Everything is clearly marked. There are indicator arrows and legends to indicate which way you are moving the strike of the round. Windage, Elevation and Parallax adjustments can be clearly seen while in a firing position. The power ring markings cannot be seen, but since this is a FFP reticle, that is not an issue. Any milling will probably be done at full power for accuracy. The clicks on the knobs were tactile and audible with just a bit of backlash. The turrets have hash marks to allow you to keep track of your rotations. Our example actually had 81.5 MOA of total elevation.
Yea, but how does it look? It's not a Swarovski or Schmidt & Bender, but it's a whole lot better than anything else I have looked through in this price range. I have no problem seeing .308 shot holes at 100 yards, and the glass is more than clear enough for any daytime shooting that I do. Very few who purchase this scope will ever need to take a shot after nightfall, but since my intended purpose was for a Tactical Training Rifle, I wanted to see how well it did in the Dark. Here is where I found the only shortcoming so far. At night, at low magnification with a dark background the reticle disappears. At higher magnification you can just barely make it out, but of course your target becomes dimmer due to a smaller exit pupil. In most urban environments ambient light was enough for me to make out targets under 100 yards. I have no doubt that this would improve if I had the time to allow my eyes to fully adjust to the dark. I believe a lighted reticle would be an excellent improvement to this scope and about the only thing I can find wrong with the scope itself.
I mounted the 4-14x on my new Remington 700 SPS-V using a base and rings from Seekins Precision. Since the intent of this rifle is to engage targets from 100-1000 yards I choose a 20 MOA inclined base. Seekins Low 30mm rings mounted up perfectly and left me with 1/4" clearance between the end of the sunshade and the barrel. Do yourself a favor and check out my review of the Seekins hardware. It is truly top-notch. After making sure everything was level and properly torqued it was off to the range. The first shot was at 50 yards to get on paper. 8.5 MOA down and I was dead on. This was kind of curious since I installed a 20MOA base, I had expected I would need close to 20 minutes up to be zeroed. After everything was zeroed I ended up with 35 MOA of elevation left. This should be plenty to get me to 1000 with 155gr. Scenars in a 26" barrel. Everything worked as advertised and was straight forward. After getting my zero, it was a simple matter to remove the allen screw in the middle of the turret and pull straight up and off. Then align the "0" on the turret with the mark on the scope and push it back on. Screw the allen screw back in, and you are done. The side Parallax adjustment was smooth with enough resistance to not spin on it's own. The focus marks are from 10yards to Infinity. The range of adjustment is nice for a couple reasons. First, the 10 yard focus allows for me to setup an indoor dry-fire target (reduced size of course) and be able to actually see what I am "snapping in" on. Secondly, this makes this scope a viable option on a .22 training rifle with reduced targets.
The day I chose to zero the rifle was beautiful shooting weather. It wa 40* F, snowing with a full-value wind gusting from 15-20mph. This combined with the fact that I only brought 20 rounds of Federal Gold Metal Match meant that we would not be able to do any box drills or other tests of the scopes repeatability.
Now that I have some time behind this scope I am happy to report that it is an excellent value. I recently had the chance to take this rifle and scope to an NRA Precision Rifle Instructor School. This School lasts for five days and uses approximately 500 rounds. Courses of fire are conducted during daylight, low light and no light. The Menace performed well in all conditions. During the low/no light exercise I had the chance to look through another student's Leupold Mk4 4-14x. At 100 yards on targets lit only by moonlight I was not able to discern any difference in clarity between the Mk4 and the Menace. One problem that was noticed was the lack of an illuminated reticle. The FFP reticle has the side effect of becoming extremely fine when on low magnification. For 100 yard low-light I would prefer to keep my scope on 4x and utilize as much exit pupil as possible. This was not possible with the Menace because the reticle became so fine that it was lost on the background. I had to keep the magnification up to about 10x to retain the reticle. If Falcon provided an illuminated reticle this would be a non-issue. During the 50 yard flashlight illuminated portion of the exercise I was able to use the scope on it's lowest magnification.
During the school the rifle did take some hits. Once when the rifle was knocked off of the bipod and landed square on the parallax adjustment turret. Other than some scratches there was no effect on the scope. I have approximately 800 rounds through the rifle with this scope attached.
With 1700 rounds on the scope it was still performing well when I replaced it with a US Optics SN-3. Falcon has release replacement turrets for their original models. The new turrets allow you to more easily line up the hash marks after zeroing. I have a set on order and will report back when they arrive.
I have reformatted this review. The Falcon Menace is still going strong on our Precision AR10 Project. This has proven to be a very solid Optic. It's unfortunate that at this point supply seems to be sketchy and Falcon UK's website has been down for a LONG time. This generally does not bode well for a company's longevity.
Falcon Optics' website is now back up. They have several interesting offerings as well as a listing of US Retailers.
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