Remaking the connection
PUBLISHED: 15:30 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:30 22 October 2013
MTC Connect SL available soon. In the November issue of Airgun World we reviewed the excellent new Connect SL scope. Understandably, demand is already high so please be patient. The company is expecting stocks to be delivered at the end of November/beginning of December and all orders will be processed immediately. To see what all the fuss is about - read on!
Manufacturer MTC Optics
Tel 01380 859572
Model Connect SL
MTC Connect SL available soon
In the November issue of Airgun World we reviewed the excellent new Connect SL scope. Understandably, demand is already high so please be patient. The company is expecting stocks to be delivered at the end of November/beginning of December and all orders will be processed immediately. To see what all the fuss is about - read on!
A few years ago, those clever chaps at MTC optics stunned the world with a radical and innovative scope design, the Connect, that challenged conventional thinking about the way scopes work. Cutting to the chase, it eliminated eye relief and you put your eye against the ocular bell, just like you would a pair of binoculars. Of course, it looked strange, but people who valued performance over convention ignored that. You see, having eye relief, the separation between your eye and the scope, is vital for the vast majority of rifles around the world because they recoil. Even modestly-powered, deer-stalking rifles exhibit recoil and as anybody who has made the mistake will tell you, being struck by a scope coming quickly towards your eyebrow is a very unpleasant experience.
However, with the huge acceptance of pre-charged pneumatic airguns which are effectively recoilless, there’s no need for us to compromise our optics the way the owners of recoiling guns do. Engineering a scope to offer three or four inches of eye relief forces the field of view to be narrowed, all other things being equal. Because the Connect has almost no eye relief, its field of view is huge, offering around double the width of many conventional scopes at the same magnification. If you’re wondering why this is such a big deal, you’ve clearly never used one.
As you bring the rifle to your shoulder, a huge area of the countryside appears immediately in front of you, allowing peripheral objects like trees and fence posts to fill your view. This immediately orientates you in the location and then your eye naturally, and with no effort, finds your quarry. Bringing the rifle to aim then becomes as natural as pointing your finger. Scopes with a narrow field of view only show you a small area, which sometimes makes getting onto your target slow and difficult. If you have a nervy rabbit, ready to run, do you want to target it quickly or slowly? Yes, me too.
The first Connect did have a drawback for some shooters which was, when it was set far enough back on the rails for the shooter to get the most comfortable head position, the flared objective bell would clash with the magazine of some popular rifles, such as Daystates. This could leave you needing to mount the Connect in a less than optimum position, which was a shame. Enough buyers contacted MTC for them to have a new look at the Connect to see if there was an answer.
This was how the Connect SL 3-12 X 24 came to be. Now, let’s be clear. It’s not a replacement; it’s a second version of the first that will be sold alongside. In most respects it’s the same, including the price and the way all the controls operate. What MTC has done is given you a choice. For the majority of people the SL version will do everything you want. However, if you specialise in shooting in the very worst light, the larger objective of the original model, with its 32mm lens will give the edge over the 24mm of the SL, but the difference is small. The high-quality lenses that MTC uses in all its scopes give good light transmission whatever the objective lens size.
MTC has put lots of effort into its reticle designs and the test Connect SL came with an SCB (small calibre ballistics 2) variant which has a huge variety of aim points alongside my kind of illumination. By this, I mean only a small section in the centre of the reticle lights up, and even that can be adjusted to a dim glow thereby not overpowering the eye. This is a clear example that these scopes are developed in the hunting field and not on a bench.
One area that the SL has an advantage over the earlier version is that it has an increased depth of field, something valued by both hunters and HFT competitors. One of the many laws of optical performance has blessed the smaller objective with this attribute which might well offset its slightly reduced, low light performance. Depth of field (DOF) is the area that’s in focus from any given parallax setting. In a perfect world we’d have a DOF that covers all our needs from 5 yards out to 50, but in the real world this doesn’t exist. However, the longer the DOF the better and the Connect series are king of the hill
It’s also interesting that the difference in weight between the two is so small as to be of no concern. Mounting of the Connect was originally done with a pair of Sportsmatch double-bolt mounts in front of the saddle, a system that has proven totally reliable, but to be honest, looked funny. The Connect mount designed by specialist consultant, Paul Caswell, looks more substantial and sits back further, looking to support the rear of the scope as well as the front. It’s also reasonably priced at £35 so won’t break the bank.
So the Connect isn’t as groundbreaking as its forbear but does open up the advantages to a wider audience. Sure, it looks funny, but don’t let that put you off enjoying the advantages that this unique design can offer. n