Optics review: Aztec Emerald scope 5.5-25 x 50
PUBLISHED: 16:35 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 02 January 2018
Phill Price looks through something new in the scope world
Modern airgun scopes are wonders of engineering, being strong and reliable even in the worst weather. Take the Aztec Emerald on test. It’s machined from high-quality aluminium alloy and after assembly is filled with nitrogen to purge any damp air from the internal space. After this, it has a lifetime warranty, guaranteeing that it’s waterproof, shockproof and fogproof; today, we all take this robustness for granted, when not that long ago, scope failures were an everyday occurrence.
On top of solid reliability, modern scopes have gradually become cleverer, adding one feature after another to help us to maximise our accuracy potential. High-quality lenses, multi-coated to improve light transmission and eliminate reflections, deliver bright clear images that we could have only dreamed of 20 years ago. There’s also the trend toward bigger objective lenses, in a drive to gather every bit of available light to be funnelled to our waiting eye. The 50mm one of the Aztec is evidence of this. There’s also the trend toward 30mm body tubes, which is not just an airgun phenomenon, but one seen in fullbore rifles as well. Whether or not they increase light transmission is still an ongoing debate, but they do allow for a greater range of vertical and horizontal adjustment.
Another feature that’s changed beyond recognition is the windage and elevation adjusters. They used to hide under screw-on caps, but now they’re exposed, making adjustments as quick as you like. I used to worry that they could be accidentally moved, such as when the rifle is put into or taken out of its case, but the ones on the Emerald lock down solidly once you have your zero perfected. These are of a very large diameter, allowing changes to be made even with a gloved hand. They also give the scope a very cool, modern appeal. To their left on the central saddle we find the parallax adjuster. A good test to check of if you’re holding a proper airgun scope is to note how close the parallax adjuster dials down to, and the Emerald comes down to 10 yards, so gets full marks from me. That being said, I don’t see many people putting it on a cheap springer to be used for ratting around farm sheds, but it proves that the airgun crowd was considered when the scope was designed.
This scope is shown to be truly up to date with its huge range of magnification. You can select all the way from 5.5 to 25x, which is an incredible spread. The upper end takes this into the fringe of field target competition optics. At 25x the image snaps in and out of focus in quite a sharply defined way, allowing you to tell just how far away it is. Dedicated field target scopes use even higher magnification to make this method even more accurate, but the least expensive scope like that costs more than twice as much, so if you’re considering dipping your toe into FT, this might be your way into the sport.
A bigger wheel
To enhance the rangefinding ability of any side-wheel scope, you fit an oversize side wheel. The additional radius exaggerates the movement and allows a sharper definition of the distance being viewed. Aztec includes a 100mm wheel in the box, adding to the scope’s talents. Wisely, they chose not to add any markings, encouraging us to add our own distances onto the wheel’s perimeter. Subtle differences from your eyes to mine and the next man, mean that it’s much better to mark the correct distances for our own eyes, rather than relying on some arbitrary increment.
The icing on the ‘tech toys’ list is the incredible DYND reticle. It takes the military-standard mil-dot reticle and replaces the dots with hash marks. It’s very slender and fine, clearly designed for the most delicate and precise aiming duties. A hunting reticle this is not! Alongside the conventional cross hair is a Christmas tree array of dots that offer precise aim points to combine windage and elevation hold solutions. There cannot be any hold that this reticle cannot cover, so long-range target shooters should be delighted with its sophistication.
At £399 this scope sits at the upper and of the airgun scope market and has a list of features to justify the price. As a new product on to the market, only time will tell how it’s received by the airgun community and how it stands up to field use out in the harsh British weather. As their first effort, I have to applaud Aztec for their bravery. The specification is unusual, to say the least, and who their customer is remains to be seen. It’s a highly specified model with the full tick-list of modern features. If long-range target work is your bag then this interesting and comprehensively spec’d model is well worth a look.
Manufacturer: Aztec Emerald
Model: 5.5-25 x 50
Length: 14 1/2” (362mm)
Weight: 1.6lbs (730g)
Body tube: 30mm
Reticle: DYND (M0A)
Parallax: Side wheel
Accessories included: Oversize side wheel, sunshade extension
Tel: 01953 860323
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