Review: MTC Optics Mamba Lite
- Credit: Archant
Phill Price finds the hunter’s scope from the MTC range
MTC has been one of the favourite brands in airgun circles for a long time, and their range has recently been refreshed. As before, many models have a competition bias, but I’m not a competition shooter so my eye was drawn to the Mamba Lite. As the name suggests, this is a lightweight model that sits well on sporting rifles like the Daystate Huntsman, BSA Scorpion or Air Arms S410. It has everything a hunter needs and none of the things he doesn’t. It’s built on a one-inch body tube which saves weight and also makes it sit slightly lower to the action. The weight is just over 500 grammes so it doesn’t overwhelm sporting rifles and spoil their fine handling in the way that unnecessarily heavy scopes can.
By using a 42mm objective (front) lens, lots of weight is saved compared to 50 or 56mm objectives, and when the quality of the lenses and their coatings is good, you can get a really bright sight picture. Perhaps at the very last minutes of the day the bigger lenses might show their worth, but for 95% of the day 42mm is plenty for my needs. I value quality over quantity anytime when it comes to image.
One compromise MTC chose was to use side focus, which it seems is what most people want these days. An objective-mounted parallax adjuster is far simpler and uses fewer lenses, saving weight, but to be blunt, it’s just not cool any more. The left side of the central saddle houses the parallax adjuster and also the control for the illuminated reticle. This is clever in that the rubberised push button is multifunctional; press and hold and the illumination comes on; click again, and the reticle gets brighter. Keep clicking and it gets brighter and brighter until it resets to the dimmest setting again. Press and hold to turn off.
The reticle is MTC’s own SCB-2 which is a multi-aim-point job with markings for hold over and windage, including a ‘Christmas tree style’ section that helps you to add windage corrections as you increase hold over for distance. At the middle, there’s a box that brackets the centre of the cross hair and it’s only those parts that illuminate. This is a good thing because if the whole reticle is illuminated it can often dazzle your eye and obscure your target.
The elements of the reticle are very fine in the way that many target scopes are. This can aid ultra-precise shooting, but can make the reticle a little tricky to see in complicated backgrounds or in poor light. Making use of the illumination in those conditions becomes very important.
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I was pleased to see finger-friendly windage and elevation adjusters covered with screw-on metal caps that do two jobs. Firstly, they shield the adjuster mechanisms from the weather, and secondly, they ensure that the drums cannot be turned accidentally, destroying your zero. Target shooters might need exposed adjusters, but hunters need the security of a guaranteed zero at the moment that a shot at our quarry presents itself.
The magnification range is 3 to 12x, which for me covers every possible hunting situation and then some. At the bottom end you get a wide field of view and a bright image, ideal for pursuing rats or feral pigeons in dark farm buildings. At the top end, 12x is easily enough for sniping even the longest range rabbits on open fields. As for me, I shoot almost everything off 7x, so I’m happily covered as well.
The dioptre adjuster at the rear has a large ridged ring to ensure that you get maximum grip when focusing the reticle to your eye. It looks a little flared beside the other neat lines, but is very practical.
I mounted my test scope onto a Daystate Huntsman Regal, where it looked just right. The lightweight build felt well balanced on this model of rifle and I was happy to see that the flat-bottomed saddle gave plenty of clearance above the magazine. This allowed fitting and removal of the mag’ without a struggle, something that you understand the importance of when you need a quick reload in the hunting field.
I found the image quality good and bright in weak winter light as I pursued grey squirrels in bare woods. I like to get out for three or four hours at a time when I’m able, so the light weight was much appreciated as I ghosted around the farm on maximum alert for sign of greys. Having hunted with it on multiple occasions, I can say that this is my kind of scope and it shows its worth in the real world, rather than in the artificial environment of competition. MTC has plenty of competition scopes if that’s your bag, but only one true hunter’s model, and that’s the Mamba Lite.
Manufacturer: MTC Optics
Tel: 08448 009 929
Model: Mamba Lite
Spec: 3-12 x 42
Parallax adjuster: Side wheel
Length: 12” (305mm)
Weight: 1.2lbs (505g)
Reticle: SCB-2 illuminated
Accessories included: Flip-up lens covers