MTC Mamba Lite 4-16x42 scope - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Mark Camoccio reviews the rather splendid MTC Mamba Lite 4-16x42 scope from MTC Optics, which turns out to be the ideal hunting scope
Undoubtedly, high-profile marketing always helps, but any fair assessment of the MTC optics brand has to conclude that their products are invariably thoroughly researched, and slickly presented. I tested one of their Mamba models way back in 2007, and whilst I remember the glass being of particular note, the overall profile was rather basic. A few revamps and make-overs later, and today’s comparable model is a different animal, so to speak.
On test here is the MTC Mamba Lite 4-16x42, and this versatile spec’ comes supplied with special flip-up lens caps (more of which in a moment), multi-coated lenses, rear fast-focus, parallax correction, the SCB2 reticle with central illumination, and low-profile turrets.
LIKE FOR LIKE
I couldn’t resist checking some figures with this scope, and it’s a point worth making that this later model actually weighs the same as that original standard Mamba from MTC – surprising given the ‘Lite’ label. Admittedly, it’s a slicker offering altogether, and now sports a one-inch body tube, compared to the original’s 30mm tube, but various features have now added weight along the way. .
The highly practical matte-black finish certainly looks the part, whilst the flip-up lens caps are of the screw-on variety. I can’t help holding a preference for quality push-fit caps, since in my experience, they are less prone to occasionally becoming loose. However, the caps fitted here to the Mamba do have several aces to play. Firstly, they have four spring-loaded positions and can be left pointing up, forward, pointing back, or closed. I say ‘spring-loaded’, but it’s actually done using magnets. Secondly, they have a patented x2 magnifier built into the rear cap, so with the cap in the elevated position, the turret markings can be far more easily read by shooters with naturally deteriorating eyesight. Clever stuff, and an indication of the level of detail that MTC go to with their products.
Time to play. The low-profile turrets have quarter-inch click values, and a satisfyingly positive movement. Clear markings from 1 round to 11, coupled with the finger-friendly design means zeroing is about as straightforward as it gets. Screw the caps back in place, and it’s job done. Dialling up the magnification is a smooth affair, and for peace of mind, the collar is even screw-lockable.
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The large turret on the left has the parallax adjuster dial and rheostat for reticle illumination, including the battery chamber. The turret is marked up with a minimum 10 yards, (which came in spot-on on test, incidentally) then 25 yards, 30, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300, 500, 1000 and then infinity. Obviously, theses scopes are aimed at shooting disciplines across the board, but for airgun use, set the dial to around 25 yards, and you have a perfect starting point for either HFT or hunting.
SCB2- SUITS YOU SIR!
I tend to shoot on between 8x and 10x mag’, being programmed for HFT, and here, clarity is impressive through our usual target distances. When MTC released these models, much fuss was made of the new multi-coated lenses used, and there’s no doubting the image quality of my test model – crisp, bright, edge-to-edge sharpness, with no apparent distortions even on the maximum 16x magnification.
MTC’s SCB2 (Small Calibre Ballistic) reticle, was well received from the start, and its inclusion here is a big plus point, offering as it does, mil and half mil reference points and a detailed, yet uncluttered display. I really like the reticle overall, but my common whinge has to be aired – namely that the ultra-fine stadia pattern does run the risk of being momentarily lost when aiming up into dark tree foliage for example. Thick outer posts to guide the eye when necessary, would to me, be of major benefit, but an element of personal preference might creep in here. The floating reticle design overall, continues to find favour. Indeed, walk up any hunter field target firing line, and you’ll soon find plenty of devotees of MTC’ s system.
Fancy some illumination, and this Mamba won’t disappoint on that score either, and it’s unusually subtle too, with just the central cross lighting up in red. Power is derived from one CR2032 disc-style battery, loaded into the tip of the left turret. A long press in the centre of the button (middle of left turret) turns it on, with subsequent presses increasing brightness in six stages.
Overall then, this Mamba Lite is a well appointed tool, built to do the job, and some pleasing performance awaits.
It’s fair to say that MTC have manoeuvred themselves into an enviable position within the airgun optics market, and this latest Mamba Lite – admittedly marketed to a multitude of shooting disciplines – is testament to what the brand is all about, namely, offering the enthusiast a host of usable features and better than average build quality, all at a price that’s right. This 4-16x42 model would be ideal for hunting trips, and even some HFT duties, given the versatile magnification and highly usable reticle.
Make/Model: MTC Optics Mamba Lite 4-16x42
Country of Origin: China
Magnification: 4x-16x variable
Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
Linear Field of View: 8.2m-2.3m @100m
Eye Relief: 3.9 inches
Click Values: ¼ inch at 100yds
Body Tube: 1 inch
Minimum Focus: 10yds
Length: 14 inches with caps in place
Turret Type: Low-profile, screw-cap
Clicks Per Rotation: 50 on both turrets
Number of turret revolut: 3.75 elevation/3.9 windage
Price: £259 including flip-up lens caps with rear magnifier
Contact: MTC Optics