MTC Cobra F1 4-16x50 riflescope - test & review

It's a serious hunter

It's a serious hunter - Credit: Archant

Dave Barham puts the MTC Cobra F1 4-16x50 scope to the test in this detailed review - it’s a classic hunting scope, but would be equally at home as an HFT scope!

The reticle is perfect for hunters

The reticle is perfect for hunters - Credit: Archant

Named the ‘F1’ in reference to the optical configuration of its lenses, the MTC Cobra is a classy first focal plane affair. For those who don’t know what an FFP scope does, it basically keeps the relationship between your target and crosshair size constant throughout the scope’s entire magnification range. As you zoom the magnification up or down, the crosshair zooms with it. This is particularly useful when allowing hold-over and hold-under on targets.

Designed primarily as a hunting scope, the MTC Cobra F1 is equally at home on the HFT circuit. As you’ll read here, for me, it makes a great addition to any modern hunting rifle set-up.

The oversized turrets are quick and easy to adjust

The oversized turrets are quick and easy to adjust - Credit: Archant

Locking Turrets

One of the great features on this scope is the locking turrets. The Cobra F1’s first focal plane crosshair has mil click-stop adjustments (1 click = 1cm @100m), and these are adjusted by pulling the top part of the turret up to release the locking mechanism, dailling the turret to the desired adjustment, then pushing the top of the turret back down again to lock everything in place. It’s a really neat system and a foolproof one at that. The concept does away with screw on/off dust caps, and makes adjusting windage and elevation much quicker in the field.

The battery is supplied

The battery is supplied - Credit: Archant

MTC SCB2 Reticle

MTC’s Small Calibre Ballistic (SCB) reticle offers an incredible number of aim points with a floating cross for clear and accurate target acquisition.

As a hunter, primarily, I love how clear and easy to use this reticle is. It’s ideal for use on small targets, and the 1 mil dot square around the cross gives a rapid acquisition for small fast-moving targets such as rats and squirrels,

There are multiple aim points, too, which are essential out in the field, especially when windage and holdover/under are wreaking havoc!

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What’s more, the SCB2 reticle is illuminated, not all of it, just the cross in the middle, and with six different levels of intensity to choose from, you’ll soon work out which works best for the given light conditions.

These front and rear flip-up protectors are robust

These front and rear flip-up protectors are robust - Credit: Archant

Quality Glass

To maximise light transmission the specially-coated lenses of the 50mm diameter objective have been matched with the large, 30mm tube to give a crystal clear image.

The Cobra F1 also comes supplied with a set of rather solid magnetic, flip-up lens covers with an inbuilt magnifying pane to assist with turret scale reading. Simply flip up the rear cover and you have a built-in magnifying glass that points directly at the elevation turret. Spin in 90 degrees clockwise and there’s your windage turret, magnified in all its glory!

Chack out the oblong magnifier!

Chack out the oblong magnifier! - Credit: Archant

Parallax Adjustment

The new F1 also boasts sidewheel parallax adjustment to eliminate aiming errors and assist in range estimation from 15 yards to infinity. The adjustment for this is housed on the left-hand-side turret where the illuminated reticle adjustment is also sited.

You basically have a separate turning ring nearer the scope body for the parallax and then the multi-stage clicker ring for the illumination outside of that. It’s smooth to operate, and stiff enough to give minute adjustment capability. There is a large adjustment sidewheel available as an optional extra for those who like them (I do), and you can also purchase a sunshade too if you want one.

The ocular focus ring is quick and smooth

The ocular focus ring is quick and smooth - Credit: Archant

Blueprint Mounts

I thought I’d also mention the mounts that accompany this scope – the new MTC Blueprint Mounts, made exclusively for MTC by Sportsmatch in the UK – pedigree if ever it were required. These 2-piece mounts are available in low, medium and high for 9.5-11.5mm dovetails in both 25mm and 30mm tube diameters. There are four variations of Picatinny mounts available in the range as well. They cost between £25 and £79 per set, with the ones I’m using here, the 30mm medium costing £37.

I really like this turret set up

I really like this turret set up - Credit: Archant

Cobra F1 Features

First Focal Plane reticle: aim-points do not change with magnification adjustment

Glass-etched crosshair: design exclusive to MTC Optics

Edge-to-edge multi-coated lenses: bright, clear picture quality

Side parallax adjustment: eliminates parallax error and assists in range-finding

The new Blueprint Mounts are quality!

The new Blueprint Mounts are quality! - Credit: Archant

15-yard minimum focus: suitable for airgun use and ultra-close-range shooting

Reticle illumination: assists with tricky background and lighting scenarios

Magnetic, rotating flip-up lens cover: fast and practical protection for lenses when in the field

30mm body tube: more substantial build quality and light transmission

Fully water, fog and shock proof: increases longevity of the scope

Nitrogen purged: internal regulation of scope’s high-end performance

Optional extras: objective sunshade and large parallax sidewheel also available


Model: Cobra F1

Manufacturer: MTC Optics

Tube Size: 30mm

Optical System: 4-16x

Objective: 50mm

Reticle: SCB2

Illumination: 6-stage red

Focus/Parallax: 15 yards to infinity

Field of View: 82-22m @ 1000m

Eye relief: 115-105mm

Length: 344mm

Weight: 834g

Battery: CR2032 (included)

RRP: £351