I recently purchased a Nikon M223 1-4x20 Scope for my Ruger Mini 14. The brass was ejecting and hitting the windage turret hard enough that it broke the turret. It's on its way back to Nikon for repair and will probably be used on an AR that I'm currently building.
Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but thought I'd share it so you'd know where I'm coming from with optics. I was originally looking for a direct replacement for the Nikon, but being able to reach out a little farther with the Redfield was a pretty big factor. That and the fact that the included $30 rebate brought the price down to just over $100 with shipping ($109 to be exact).
This will sort of be a running review as I have yet to mount it, but wanted to start off with some initial thoughts and once I get it mounted I will follow up with a full review and then some more thoughts a little later in the game.
So here are my initial thoughts on the optic. Upon unboxing it, I was immediately pleased at the build quality. It has a nice, smooth matte finish. The eyepiece has a nice adjustment ring for focusing. The zoom ring is also fluid, smooth and tight. Mounted to the rifle, it should turn easily and give no trouble getting on target easily. The knurling on the optic is well-placed, cleanly machined and comfortable. The turrets have nice caps on them, which will hopefully protect them from any flying brass or mishaps. The turrets themselves have really nice clicks and are finger-adjustable. No coins or screwdrivers to mess with, which is a bonus. An even bigger bonus is that they are able to be reset. Turn them to wherever you need them and then pull them out and reset them back to zero. This is good for making on-the-fly adjustments for long-range shooting or whatever. Also, if they get bumped or turned by mistake, you can get them right back where they're supposed to be without having to sight in the scope all over again. It came with the bikini style caps that are so popular with other scopes. Looking through the scope at my office, the reticle is sharp and the glass seems clear and bright. I'll put it on the rifle and get it on a rest to really take a good look through it, but so far, I'm impressed.
One thing I really like about the optic (that others may find trivial) is the branding on it. It's subtle and not flashy at all. No chrome or gold or anything weird. There is one logo on the left side of the tube (opposite the windage turret). It's recessed slightly and very small. It's red with black lettering. And there is a red "R" on the front bell. Subtle, clean, unobtrusive. I'm not against branding on my firearms, but I try not to be flashy with it.
I'll update this in a few days when I've had a chance to sight it in and get some rounds through the gun with the optic mounted.
========================= UPDATE: 11/15/12 =========================
I got the scope mounted to the gun. It's sitting comfortably in a set of Warne QD Rings, which I love. They're a little finicky to get installed, but once they're on the gun and cinched down where they're supposed to be, they work excellently. So far, I'm really pleased with this scope. The only thing that I'm not sure of is the eye relief. There's plenty of it, but the window is narrow. Subtle movement, especially at the 5-7x range gives vignetting rather easily. I'm not too concerned about it at this point because I haven't had a chance to get it out at the range and in decent light, but I will report fully on it as soon as I have a chance to get behind it at the range. Looking through the optic inside the house, it seems clear, bright and sharp. Mounted in the medium height rings, the scope clears the rear sight of the Mini easily and the bell of the front objective clears the plastic guard on top of the barrel with just a little room to spare. In my opinion, it looks nice on the rifle and fits it well in both size and finish.
I'll get back on this after I have a chance to get it out at the range. I had a little trouble with the 1-4x Nikon at 100 yards. In fact, I kept it to 50 yards which is the longest range I usually shoot. But with the 7x scope, I think I'll take it out to 100 yards and see what I can do with it. Still, 50 yard plinking will be my typical use out at the family farm so most of my thoughts will be at those ranges.
========================= UPDATE: 11/15/12 =========================
I had a chance to get the Mini out to the family farm and get the optic sighted in. I was only out to about 50 yards or so, but it was enough for me to get a good idea on the scope and how it would perform. In a couple of days I'll get it out to the range and take her out to 100 yards, although I'm not planning on shooting at that distance very often.
First, a good look at the rifle with the scope mounted:
I think the scope looks good and, perhaps more importantly, feels
good on the gun. It balances nicely and is not overly large or top-heavy. I know a lot of times, top-heaviness can be a concern for shooters. This isn't an issue with the Redfield/Mini 14 combo. Also, the turrets are much smaller than the ones on the Nikon that I had mounted so they don't get hit by the ejecting brass. I did notice a small nick (presumably from ejecting brass), but the caps protected the turrets and kept them safe.
The scope itself mounted securely and the windage and elevation turrets had nice, firm clicks. Once I got it sighted in to my liking, I was able to reset them to 0, which is nice. My plan is to sight it in at 100 yards in a few days. However, I do most of my shooting within 50 yards. The resettable turrets are good for this because I can sight it in at 100 yards, shoot and then when I want to go back to my normal 50-yard shooting at the farm, I can just return it to 0 because I know that's where it needs to be for accurate 50-yard shooting. A big bonus for this scope for having that feature.
Zooming the scope was quick and easy. The ring has a VERY smooth feel with a nice amount of resistance. This scope carries the build quality of a scope far more expensive. One of my only quibbles is the placement of the zoom ring. It's forward of the rear bell and is in a bit of a weird spot because of the knurling on the rear bell. I don't know why there is knurling there (you can see it in the photo) because it serves no purpose. I would have preferred not to have that there because it serves no function and adjusting by feel took a little getting used to. The zoom ring is sized well and has knurling of its own that is pretty aggressive. Despite the small learning curve, I'm pretty thrilled with the ergonomics of the optic.
The reticle is clean, clear and precise. It's perfect for plinking and target shooting as well as fast target acquisition. The thick reticle jumps down to a thin crosshair in the center, drawing your eye to the center point of the optic and leaving your target unobstructed by a gaudy reticle system. I'm not concerned about ballistically matching my scope and having 200, 400 and 600-yard dots in my view. This gun's purpose, for me, is a 50-yard range plinker. The 2-7 range is perfect for that and so is the Mini. Combined, they'll ensure that there isn't a coke can within 10 miles that will be safe from me.
The uncluttered view is a big selling point for me and something I'm glad to have.
All that's good, yes? Now for some bad. The eye relief and forgiveness of the eye relief. There's a good amount of eye relief on this scope. Good enough that I could shoot with sunglasses or protective glasses and not have them anywhere near the rear of the optic. However, the scope is not very forgiving in the vignetting department. What I think are subtle movements cause it to vignette, more so at the longer end (5-7x). Is this a deal breaker? Not on a scope that I've got $100 in. Does it make me want something else? Not really. I like this scope so much for so many other reasons that I find this one small quibble forgivable and I hesitated to even mention it, but felt I should for full disclosure.
However, if I were using this gun for rapid fire or fast target acquisition (competition, etc.), I'd want something with more forgiveness in this area. But, as I said before, this gun is a plinker and not a serious competition rifle, or even a game, rifle so I can let it slide.
Right out of the gate, the scope was shooting about 18" low and 2" left. Several rotations of the elevation turret and a handful of clicks on the windage and she was dancing closely around the bullseye.
Here is part of a 20-shot group that was part of the "Sighting-In" process (the other 5 shots were well below). The first ring is 2", I think.
This was at 50 yards, on an MTM Predator Rest set up on a folding table using PMC Bronze 55 gr. boat tails.
After shooting the paper (which isn't as much fun as other things), I let loose on some self-healing targets, water bottles, milk jugs, etc. It held up well, never lost zero in 100 rounds or so and stayed on target.
All-in-all, I think it's an EXCELLENT scope for the money. I'd have been happy even at the original $139 before the mail-in rebate. I can recommend it whole-heartedly and happily rate it a solid 8/10.
Please don't hesitate to message me with thoughts, questions or concerns.
All the best,