If I told you that you could have the benefits of a 4-20 and a 5-25 scope all in one scope would you be interested? Of course, companies like Hensoldt, Schmidt and March have been trying to solve this issue with various designs, but all seem to have had their shortcomings. The Hensoldt 3.5-26x56 is a beast at almost 3lbs and its reticle offerings are lacking compared to the competition. The Schmidt 3-27x56 also has some heft at 40 ounces and is fairly long at 15.5”. Both these scopes represent the upper echelon of Alpha class optics with regard to price as they are some of the most expensive scopes on the market today. Years ago, March used their popularity with F-Class and 10x erector designs to inspire a new offering for FFP shooters creating the FFP 3-24x42 which ultimately expanded into the 3-24x52 design. Unlike the Schmidt and Hensoldt the March came in at just under 25 ounces and just over 13 inches, it was both shorter and lighter than the competition, in fact, it is shorter and lighter than almost any FFP optic on the market while offering a class leading 8x erector for scopes of this size. But one of the drawbacks of a short body design with such a high erector is that eyebox and DOF tend to become less forgiving (vs. longer body designs) and the parallax control requires more fine tuning to get focus/parallax just right.
With the rapid rise of PRS and NRL style sports in the USA, many scope manufacturers have been looking for the magic recipe that will gain acceptance of their newly released model within the marketplace. You have the typical manufacturers whose offerings usually turn to gold regardless of how good (or bad) their model might be; you have the upper echelon manufacturers within the “alpha class” and then you have some of the up-and-coming manufacturers who are trying to gain entry into this class, many who OEM out to LOW with very similar designs to other brands. March is arguably the best Japanese riflescope manufacturer today with glass that gives the European alpha class market a run for their money, but with their desire to always push the limits of optical design and limited promotional opportunities in the USA, they have made some headway into the market but not quite the impact that others have. As previously mentioned, March has made quite a bit of headway in the British, Australian and F-Class market here in the US, but the requirements for F-Class and benchrest type sports do not often translate to ideal designs for dynamic sports like PRS and NRL competitions. For one, trying to find a SFP scope in any of the PRS/NRL championship matches is akin to finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack”, you just can’t find them as most of the serious shooters quickly realize the benefits of utilizing the magnification range, dialing down when mirage gets nasty but still having a reticle that works just as well throughout the magnification range and having a reticle that allows you to hold wind and in some circumstances hold elevation but also have turrets that are distinct and accurate enough to spin your solution quickly. One of the most popular scopes since the inception of dynamic shooting sports has been the 5-25x56 design introduced by Schmidt & Bender, which many have copied but few have equaled and far fewer surpassed. One of the reasons for the popularity outside of the alpha class glass with extraordinary resolution and edge to edge clarity is the Depth Of Field (DOF) and forgiving parallax and eyebox. The scope is what I call a “traditional” design which means it has a very long tube and this design lends to forgiving DOF and parallax. Having forgiving eyebox also lends to be able to take shots when you’re not able to get your eye in perfect alignment behind the scope which is something PRS course designers tend to prefer by making rifle/scope position awkward during certain stages.
Frank Galli of Snipers Hide put together a favorable video review ( of the 3-24x52 soon after it first came to market when Kelbly’s was the only distributor in the US. Distributorship soon went to bullets.com but Shiraz (a renowned F-Class competitor) decided to get out of the shooting sports supply business back in 2019 and March had some decisions to make with what to do with the US market. They had just announced a new scope design in the 5-42x56 High Master at SHOT Show 2019, but the announcement came with a lot of scrutiny towards the reticle design that still did not seem to quite make the mark with the FFP crowd. March has always opted for short designs with their FFP scopes but short designs have their challenges to overcome, especially when using high magnification erectors that seem to affect eyebox, DOF and parallax and for this reason (IMO) March has struggled to gain much recognition within PRS/NRL style competitions. Not willing to allow the competition to get the upper hand, March decided to create a brand new scope in the 4.5-28x52 High Master and while it is still an ultra short design, they have opted for a 6.2x erector to help tame the aforementioned challenges inherent to these design parameters. For reticles, March is using the very competent design from Snipers Hide’s own Ilya Koshkin who was responsible for the FML-TR1 reticle first introduced in the 5-42x56 HM, and certain F-class and PRS shooters provided the feedback necessary for the FML-PDK reticle. The illuminated TR1 design is, IMO, one of the best crossover style reticles for long range and hunting while the non-illuminated PDK offers a very thin (non-illuminated) competition oriented reticle. Put together, all these features help make the 4.5-28x52 HM a very compelling scope that should pique the interest of numerous PRS/NRL shooters as well as hunters and long range enthusiasts interested in alpha class optics.
March 4.5-28x52 High Master (HM) and Tangent Theta 5-25x56
If March represents innovation, then Tangent Theta (TT) represents the best you can get in optical/mechanical performance today, true – scopes like the Minox ZP5 and ZCO may come close in optical quality, but there is really no argument to be made with regard to turrets – Tangent is the best (though I would say that the March 5-42 locking turrets and the Schmidt DT II+ come close in quality and feel). After running with my ZCO 4-20x50 for about a year I decided to try out the Tangent Theta, even though I already had a stellar copy of the ZP5, which I could not find any difference optically when compared side by side with the TT. Because I have an AI the toolless zero was a handy feature when I switch barrels, but I am only running two calibers right now and they both zero with less than .5 mrad difference. While I perform these reviews for the benefit of the community, I do have another motive and that is - to benefit me. Yes, it is selfish but let us be honest, I spend my own money on these scopes and can’t be buying a bunch of scopes I don’t plan on using. So, the question is, can the March dethrone the Tangent and earn it’s position on my AI? I should also clarify, I do not expect the March to “outperform” the Tangent Theta; however, I do expect it to perform at a level that where it should fall short will not cause too much angst – meaning it better be pretty darn good.
In the images above you can quickly see that the Tangent Theta dwarfs the March 4.5-28 by a considerable margin, this is where that Japanese innovation comes into play, in fact, the March is .2 inches shorter than the ZCO 4-20 which is the champion from the ultra short battle I did back in 2019 –
Keep in mind this evaluation is based on my own personal observations based on what my eyes “see” when looking through the scope. I pay meticulous attention when setting up my diopters for each scope making sure to fine tune them to my eye. My eyes are very sensitive to CA while some people cannot or have difficulty seeing CA when looking through the same scope. Everyone’s eyes are different, and my observations will undoubtedly be different from others. That being said, I try to be as objective as possible but, like all of us, do have my bias’ though I try my best to keep my reviews as unbiased as I can. It should also be noted that I am not paid by anyone to do these reviews, this started years ago on Snipers Hide when I was trying to choose a light weight tactical scope that performed well in low light situations, recommendations covered high and low and ultimately I decided the only way to know for sure was to get all the scopes that fell within my criteria and see for myself (personal observation), sure I lost some money in it, but had decided that was worth the cost vs. getting a scope that ultimately would not satisfy my requirements.
The below specs are provided by the manufacturers which provides a good baseline for what these scopes offer. March is highlighted in yellow as it is new for 2021. Highlighted in red is a potential drawback and in green is a potential benefit.
As mentioned previously, one of the most notable differences comes in size, the Tangent represents the traditional “long” scope design while the March represents the newer trend of “short” scope designs and is over 4 inches shorter than the Tangent. But other areas of note are:
• Weight: The Tangent is over 10oz heavier
• Field of view (FOV): March uses a 25° wide angle eyepiece offering greater FOV throughout the magnification range
• Close focus distance: Tangent has a typical 50m while March offers down to 10 yards
A kick-off for the SHOT Show week.
Here are some early impression of this new precision scope from Vortex.
Now that I had a full night of sleep, I have some thoughts on what I did right and what I did wrong.
These are links for the freezing temp test from Garand thumb and KalashnikovGroup I mentioned in the stream the second video u have to click the post to see it.
I know the S&B Polar T96 isn’t a tactical scope but have you reviewed or looked at the 3-12 or 4-16 in the past for a review already?
Do you have any thoughts on the Delta Javelin 4-30?
After watching your review of the Delta LRF bingos, I picked them up and enjoy the glass. That has me wonder about the javelin.
The rifle would be a 6.5 grendel, which has a Forge 3-18 SFP currently. I shoot groups steel out to 500 primarily off a bench.
The Toric 4-20 is still riding nicely on my Bergara 6.5 creed. Thanks for that recommendation.