Scope review: Optisan EVX 10x44i
- Credit: Archant
Gary Chillingworth is wowed by this innovative glass, and can’t recommend it strongly enough
Optisan might not be a well-known name to shooters in the UK, but throughout the world it has a reputation for high-quality scopes at affordable prices.
The brand is better known in the UK as MTC Optics, the major importer of Optisan products. Scopes like the Viper, Mamba, Connect and Taipan have seen huge success in the world of target shooting, as well as being a favourite for hunters, centrefire shooters, bench rest and the back garden plinker.
One of the most popular scopes to come from Optisan and MTC was the 10x44 Viper, which has quickly become a firm favourite. Richard Woods used a Viper to win multiple titles, including Nationals, Southern Hunters and the HFT European in Poland.
Now the MTC brand is under the wing of the mighty Diana group – owners of Daystate and Brocock – it is time to update this classic scope.
The Optisan EVX 10x44i, essentially an MTC Viper +, is almost the perfect scope for HFT and hunting. Optisan has listened to feedback and has brought this scope to the market with a new reticle, improved tactical turrets, stunning light-gathering capability and wonderful clarity, all for a bargain price.
As you pull it from the box, it already feels like a high-quality product. It comes with everything you would expect, such as a sunshade extension tube, flip-up covers (front and back), a 3” sidewheel and a CR2032 battery for the illuminated reticle. All you need are some high-quality 30mm mounts – I recommend BKL or SportsMatch – and off you go.
As you raise the scope to your eye, you notice it has a wonderful depth of field. There is a clear image from 14 to 48 yards, and even with a small amount of blur from 10-13 and 8-10 yards (for my eyes), it’s still clear enough to make out a 20mm kill zone.
This depth of field is important in a competition scope. The blur is adjustable with the parallax-adjusting sidewheel, which allows you to alter the scope’s depth of field from 10 yards to infinity. For the competition shooter, this is a real boon because you can set the scope to be blurry at short or long ranges so you can identify short or long targets. These are the ones that are hard to rangefind.
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The EVX comes in many different flavours, from the 10x44i (‘i’ stands for ‘illuminated reticle’) to the very popular 3-12x44 and all the way to the 6-24x56. I’m going to stick with the 10x44. or the ‘fixed 10’ as it is commonly known.
It is a step up from the old Viper. When you look through the scope you can see the quality of the glass has been massively improved – I have been told the glass used is three grades higher than the old scope.
The sight picture is crisp and bright, and not just in the centre. The quality goes all the way from the centre to the edge of the image, a real advantage to a hunter.
The other thing the EVX does is to drag light into the scope and give a clear sight picture in low light. I took the scope into my garden at night, set up a white target with a black kill zone, and waited as the sun dropped below the horizon. With the scope’s illuminated reticle set to ‘3’, I was still able to make out the kill-zone 15 minutes after sunset. I could hardly make out the target with my eyes.
More impressively, the EVX was slightly better than my Leupold competition scope for giving a great picture in low light, no doubt due to the high-quality glass, 30mm tube and multi-coated lenses.
I wanted to test the scope with a gun that was more than just a dead-to-shoot PCP, so I strapped it to the top of my Air Arms TX200. The EVX is rated to work on centre- and rimfire rifles, but in reality, with 10x magnification on offer, it will probably live on airguns, 22LR and possibly 17HMR rifles. A high-quality springer has similar, if not more, recoil then a 22LR or 17HMR and this test will make sure the scope can hold zero when being thrown about by the recoil of a rifle.
Setting up a scope on a spring gun is harder than on a PCP – the ability to watch a pellet in flight is hard enough, but when the gun is moving, it’s even harder. Setting up the EVX was a breeze, though. The eye relief is what we have come to expect from a high-quality scope and is between 3 and 3 1/2” from the ocular lens.
I placed a target at 40 yards and fired. I could see the pellet strike low and right, and the image was so clear and bright that I could make out the sharp edges of where the pellet punched through the card.
I then used the tactical-style turrets to dial in the scope and noted that these are another big improvement. Like the old Viper, you pull them up and then click them around, with each click moving the scope 0.1 of a milliradian and you get a positive click each time. When you have dialled the scope in, just push the turret down and it locks into place.
The next thing you notice is the brand new reticle. The MH10 is the love child of the old SCB2 and AMB rets’, and gives a plethora of aim points that enable you to measure kill zones with ease and accuracy. The new windage marks – floating dots – help even the novice shooters to master the elements.
I can go on about scopes all day, and give you dry statistics, but what we all want to know is, how does it perform in the field? I’m not a hunter, but I love to shoot targets and with the Air Arms RSN10 shoot around the corner at the time of the test, I decided to try this scope out in the crucible of HFT. I put the scope on the gun the Wednesday before the comp, and spent a few hours learning the aim points. I didn’t want to over-learn the scope, because I wanted it to be a good test of how easy it was to live with for new shooters.
The RSN10 was a perfect test for the EVX. We had targets in dark woodland, across water and an open field bathed in bright sunlight. I had deliberately left off the sunshade that comes with the scope and even when shooting in the open field section and the sun shining directly at me, I didn’t suffer any bleaching or white-out. There was no issue with glare across the water, and in the woods, I could see every target clearly. This was especially impressive as some of my colleague struggled to make out targets with scopes that were four times the price.
One of the things I like about the EVX is, unlike some scopes, it is not that critical about head position. If you don’t have your head perfectly central on some scopes, you can miss a target by inches – this is called ‘parallax error’ – but the EVX is not super-head-position critical.
With my MK4 Leupold, if my eye position is to the left of the centre of the scope by about 1cm, I will miss a 40-yard target by 2”. With the EVX, if I am the same 1cm off-centre, I only miss by an inch. More targets are missed due to head position than almost any other reason in target shooting, so having a scope that helps can be very important.
I have no doubt the EVX helped me to get my second place in the Recoiling class. After putting nearly 1,000 shots through my springer with the EVX on top, it did not shift zero even by a click.
If you’re looking for a scope – if you are either entering the world of shooting or are a seasoned competitor looking for a new bit of glass – the EVX 10x44i is certainly worth consideration. I found it easy to use and it could, if I spend more time with it, improve my shooting. It is well made, optically superior, has a great reticle and it all comes from a company with a reputation for good customer service.
The EVX 10x44 – I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
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