Scope review: PAO Emerald 10 x 56 IR

PUBLISHED: 11:57 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 04 January 2018

Note the huge objective lens and lack of parallax adjustment. This is a truly unique optic

Note the huge objective lens and lack of parallax adjustment. This is a truly unique optic


Happy to see commitment from a manufacturer, the editor looks at competition model from PAO

I’m always impressed when a company sticks its neck out and tries to offer something different to all their competitors, and it seems that Professional Airgun Optics (PAO) has done just that with this highly unusual scope. After many discussions with competition shooters about what the perfect hunter field target (HFT) scope would look like, PAO have made a big commitment and released the Emerald 10 x 56 IR GBTR scope that you see here on test.

In the sport of HFT, you must decide on your magnification and parallax settings as you begin the competition, and you may not change them for the duration of the comp’. Most competitors chose between 8 and 10x magnification, and between 23 and 28 yards for their parallax setting. PAO has taken the worry out of making those decisions by fixing this scope’s mag’ at 10x and setting the parallax adjustment at 25 yards. What’s much more controversial is the selection of the huge 56mm objective lens. As with many things in life, a big objective has good and bad sides to it, and to be blunt, it’s not the typical size that most HFT competitors choose. On the plus side, a big objective can gather more light than smaller ones, which helps to make a bright sight picture. On the downside, it allows greater parallax error and delivers a shallower depth of field. The big lens is also heavier and needs to be fixed in higher mounts than a smaller diameter option.

Skill and tech

Rangerfinders are not allowed in HFT competitions, so there’s a real skill in using your reticle to do that job. PAO has taken this idea further with the inclusion of their GBTR, (Graduated Bracketed Target Reticle) designed to measure targets of a known height so that you can tell just how far away they are. Beside the mil-dot reticle is a separate vertical element designed purely for measuring and it’s numbered to help you. Making the reticle even cleverer is the fact that the centre cross can be illuminated in five levels of brightness in either red or blue. Blue is often touted as the ideal daytime illumination colour – and HFT is shot during the day.

As with many PAO scopes, the mounts, sunshade extension and flip-up covers are included, adding to its value-for-money credentials. It will be interesting to see how this unusual scope is accepted by the HFT competition crowd. It appears to offer good value for money despite being a little more expensive than their usual offerings, but then it is something special. Good on them, I say, for sticking their necks out to give airgun shooters something really new to try and who knows, perhaps they’ll be the ones to start the trend.


Manufacturer: Professional Airgun Optics

Model: Emerald 10 x 56 IR

Reticle: GBTR

Body: 30mm

Parallax: Fixed at 25 yards

Length: 13 ¾” (350mm)

Weight: 1.45lbs (610 grammes)

Included: Mounts, lens covers, sunshade


RRP: £149.99

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