Element Optics Nexus 5-20 x 50 FFP - test & review

Serious glass from Element – the Nexus 5-20 x 50 FFP

Serious glass from Element – the Nexus 5-20 x 50 FFP - Credit: Archant

Mark Camoccio tests the Element Optics Nexus 5-20 x 50 FFP scope in this detailed review

Clearly marked turrets always help

Clearly marked turrets always help - Credit: Archant

So, who’s heard of Element Optics? I have to admit I hadn’t before signing up for this review, but since they only formed last year, maybe I can be forgiven. UK distributors, the Sportsman Gun Centre, seemed fairly excited about the product range, and when they confirmed that one of their flagship models - the Element Nexus 5-20x50 FFP - was on its way, I was intrigued to see just what the fuss was about.

There's a power throw lever for those who want it

There's a power throw lever for those who want it - Credit: Archant

HQ USA BUT …

Element Optics are headquartered in North Carolina in the USA, and some of the names behind the company are illuminating. Matt Dubber, of Air Arms, ‘Hunting South Africa’ fame, has been instrumental, along with Ted Bier, a top competitor in Extreme Benchrest Airgun, and another name, Johan Axelsson has been involved – and if he sounds familiar, it’s his dad, Fredrik, who runs FX Airguns in Sweden! Plenty of input then, from experienced enthusiasts. Add in an understanding of the value of CNC production and the need for precision components, and it’s a fair assessment to say the brand is up and flying.

Usual fast-focus sits at the rear

Usual fast-focus sits at the rear - Credit: Archant

CONTENTS

These scopes come supplied with; a screw-on, four-inch sunshade, lens cloth, battery for the reticle illumination, power/mag; throw lever, Allen keys, and a well-written instruction booklet. There’s also an elasticated protective neoprene sleeve. Tactical turrets are all part of the equation, with the elevation turret incorporating a zero-stop feature. Side parallax adjustment and reticle illumination are all controlled via the left turret, with variable magnification and the usual fast focus all off the rear bell. My model on test was also first focal plane.

Parallax focus and the rheostat work from the left turret

Parallax focus and the rheostat work from the left turret - Credit: Archant

SET-UP

OK, let’s get a petty negative out of the way now; the elasticated sleeve is an irritatingly tight fit, and can’t be fitted at all with the sunshade in place. If I chose to use the shade, I wouldn’t want to keep taking it off. So I reckon stick to soft plastic or rubber transferable lens caps, but there we are – breathe ... and relax.

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Element farm out production, as do many companies these days, and some of their lower spec’ models are made in China. Just as effectively, the new flagship, this Nexus 5-20x50 FFP, is actually manufactured in Japan, and if that makes you sit up and take notice, then I can confirm that the glass quality is impressive. My test model came with 1/4MOA turret click values, and the EHR-1C (5-20FFP) reticle, although this model can be specified with 1/10mrad turret click values, and a corresponding mrad reticle design if required. As with other optics manufacturers, Element are appealing to shooters’ personal preferences, which is as it should be.

The tactical turret markings are superbly crisp and clear, with the windage even marked out in R or L, right or left, for those easily confused. Look to the left side turret, and the inner dial shows distance marked out where parallax can be corrected, and focus set. Movement is smooth, and minimum focus distance is 10 yards, then markings are 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 200, 500, 1000, and infinity.

Zeroing revealed precise, audible and repeatable clicks, round my test grid, which confirmed the integrity of the system. At this point, it’s worth considering the zero-stop feature. Element take their cue from the likes of rivals Nightforce here, and they build in a zero-stop within the elevation turret. Basically, adjust and set the zero. Zero-stop is a system that prevents the user going round a rotation accidentally because the turret can be set to stop at the point of zero. If this is required, then zero the turret in the normal way, then the elevation turret cap can be gently unscrewed, and with the use of the small Allen key provided, the zero-stop dial within can be slackened and turned until the pin sits snug with the turret’s internal pin, alongside point zero. Thereafter, the turret rotation will be blocked when zero is arrived at, preventing any basic mistakes.

The sunshade is screwfit

The sunshade is screwfit - Credit: Archant

FOCAL PLANE

The EHR-1C (5-20 FFP) reticle is a precise design (Ted Bier’s handiwork), with equidistant top and sides, and an extended lower stadia. ‘C’ denotes ‘clean’, with no windage dots, but the ‘D’ ‘dirty’ version can be requested. At 20x mag’, the side lines appear floating. Small hash lines are 1MOA, and the large hash lines are 2MOA. I particularly like the fine central floating cross, and it’s this alone that illuminates, in 10 stages of red, and alternate off points, via the rheostat.

FFP in the model name denotes First Focal Plane as previously mentioned, so that means that as the magnification is dialled through, from 5x up to 20x , the reticle sector values all stay in proportion. If your aim point at a particular distance is one large hash down the vertical for example, then this will remain the same, irrespective of mag’ selected. FFP in use means that with magnification dialled up to 20x, not much more than the point of the bottom thick post remains in view as the aim points expand, and the side points become floating. Image quality is very impressive, though, with edge-to-edge clarity and no fringing detected. Head position is fairly critical in order to obtain a full sight picture, but this has to be a good thing because it promotes a consistent approach, and if the reticle becomes too fine, remember that illumination is to hand!

20x magnification comes at a twist of the dial

20x magnification comes at a twist of the dial - Credit: Archant

VERDICT

I think it’s fair to say that Element mean business, and this scope feels high end. At a current list price of £1324, this Nexus model is in company with the likes of premium brands such as Nightforce, and whether the outlay is justified, is partly down to individual budget. As a premium hunting tool, it’s unlikely to disappoint, and there is the small matter of the Platinum Lifetime Warranty for peace of mind, should anything go awry, but the key question remains – does it feel like it’s worth the money? Well, the short answer is yes, although obviously part of the cost is wrapped up in features such as the zero-stop turret system and reticle illumination, both of which are dispensable for many. That said, attention to detail, and build quality really is hard to fault.

Note the turret rotation indicator

Note the turret rotation indicator - Credit: Archant

Technical Specification:

Model: Element Nexus 5-20x50 FFP

Manufacturer: Element Optics,

Objective Lens Diameter: 50mm

Reticle: EHR-1C (5-20 FFP) – others available

Reticle illumination: Red illumination in 10 stages of brightness

A slimline battery for the illumination, is housed inside the left turret

A slimline battery for the illumination, is housed inside the left turret - Credit: Archant

Focal Plane; First

Weight: 2lbs

Length: inches (measurement required)

Click Adjustment: ¼ MOA @100yds

Field of View: 23.3-5.8ft@100yds

Eye Relief: 77-93mm

Clicks are 1/4MOA value

Clicks are 1/4MOA value - Credit: Archant

Body Tube: 30mm

Min Focus: 10yds parallax

Turrets: Tactical, finger adjustable

Clicks per rotation: 80 clicks on both windage and elevation

Number of Full Rotations: 3.4 windage/4.75 elevation

Price: £1324 inc lens cover, power throw lever and sunshade

The EHR-1C (5-20 FFP) reticle offers a multitude of options

The EHR-1C (5-20 FFP) reticle offers a multitude of options - Credit: Archant

Contact: Sportsman Gun Centre Tel. 01392 354854

www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk