Optics: Through the mil’

It's military styling is clear to see.

It's military styling is clear to see. - Credit: Archant

Phill Price looks at an innovative scope that changes the rules

This drum on the top holds the battery for the reticle illumination.

This drum on the top holds the battery for the reticle illumination. - Credit: Archant

The modern air rifle is, for me at least, always associated with a scope and I thought that over my 30-plus years in the sport, I’d seen them all, but from judging what arrived in this package it seems that I’m wrong, because Milbro Sports have added a new twist to a well-loved system in the form of the C3-9 x 40EG. They call it a ‘military-style’ scope, but to me it looks like a conventional rifle scope with some extras added on.

At its heart, this scope is the classic 3-9 x 40 specification that’s been the number one hunting scope all over the world for 35 years. This spec’ offers a useful and versatile range of magnification useful for close-up rats, to long-range rabbits, all in a compact and lightweight package. The 40mm objective (front) lens offers a similarly useful specification in that it’s big enough to gather all the available light to create a clear sight picture, but is not so big as to become unwieldy. The 50 and 56mm objective lenses might appear impressive, but they’re not without their downsides. The extra height and weight can really tell in the hunting fields.

Useful spec’

In addition to the useful specification, this scope has some clever features as well. The reticle is like nothing I’ve ever seen before; at its centre it looks like a mil-dot layout, but below that there’s a tapering grid system which can be used for calculating long-range shots over any distance. The whole reticle can be illuminated either red or green and to an intense level of brightness that I’ve never seen before. I found only the lowest setting suited my eyes. The battery to power this sits inside the adjuster drum on top of the ocular bell, which I was glad to see is the very common CR2032 battery available everywhere today. To ensure that the reticle is perfectly sharp, Milbro designed in a fast-focus adjuster in the ocular (rear) housing which allows you to set the focus for your eye in seconds.

I imagine that in adding the Picatinny rail sections to the body tube, Milbro saw the opportunity to integrate the mounts. This system delivers a 70mm solid rail pair to attach to the 17 to 25mm scope rails. The side plates are floating, so the scope is naturally centred on your rifle’s rail, which is always a good thing.

With the covers removed the adjuster drums stand proud.

With the covers removed the adjuster drums stand proud. - Credit: Archant

Above this you’ll find Picatinny rail sections on the 12, 3 and 9 o’clock positions of the body tube. These allow you to fit accessory red-dot sights, flashlights and lasers to your heart’s content, knowing that they’ll be mechanically locked to the scope. This should have huge appeal to the ever-growing ‘tactical’ market where shooters truly embrace everything military in its appearance.

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Modest weight

Despite all the extra features, the weight is surprisingly modest at 600 grammes, and remember that you don’t need to add the weight of a set of mounts to that. Also, because the mount is integral, you have no worries about getting the reticle perfectly vertical, making set-up that much quicker.

Unusually for this style of scope, the windage (horizontal) and elevation (vertical) adjusters have screw-on, aluminium covers. Beneath these are relatively tall adjuster drums large enough to be dialled easily, even with a gloved hand. The ¼” (at 100 yards) clicks are loud enough to be heard and firm enough to be felt, making precise adjustments a doddle.

The reticle is like nothing I've seen before.

The reticle is like nothing I've seen before. - Credit: Archant

Tough build

The packaging tells me that Milbro have ensured that this scope is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof as befits an optic designed to be used in tactical applications. It also features coated, scratch-resistant lenses to help light resolution, shown in the nice, bright sight picture which is a bonus for a scope at this price point. To keep the lenses in top condition there are flip-up covers included with the scope at no charge. These are left on permanently not only to keep the lenses clean, but also to keep rain or drizzle off on wet days.

This isn’t going to be a scope for everybody because the very military looks will put some people off, but for those who like their militaria, I think this is a winner. You get a lot of features in a tough build that will look just right on an assault rifle replica, or on one of the many tactical-style airguns on sale today. On top of this, it’s very good value for money which is something we’ve come to expect from SMK. Although the reticle is very complex it can be used just as a simple aim point if you don’t need all the clever features. The three extra rails along the body will allow you to accessorise your rig with everything you want to make your dream rifle come true.

Tech spec

Importer: Sportsmarketing Ltd

Web: www.sportsmk.co.uk

Tel: 01206 795333

Model: C3-9 x 40EG

Length: 13” (330mm)

Weight: 1.3lbs (600 grammes)

Recticle: Mil-dot/rangefinder

Illumination: Red/Green

RRP: £49.99