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Gary Chillingworth explains why the MTC Connect SL 3-12 x 24 scope is the perfect tool for shooting HFT competitions in this test and review.
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A few days ago, I received an email from a reader about his need for a new scope. He told me that he had purchased an Air Arms MPR and was looking for a scope that he could use for hunting, and also for plinking and Hunter Field Target (HFT). He wanted a scope that had a wide field of view and was also easy to use and set up, and one that had very little parallax error – all this for a budget of £250. There was only one choice – the MTC Connect.
Many years ago, I had a Connect – in fact, I’ve owned a few. I’ve had both styles, the 36mm and the 24mm, and I have to admit that I found the 24mm amazing. I have always regretted getting rid of it. So, this email gave me the chance to fall in love with the Connect for a second time, and luckily, Optics Warehouse had them on sale for just under £200.
The Connect SL is what is known as a short eye-relief scope. Most rifle scopes have an eye relief of
about 3½” – eye relief is the distance that you place your eye from the ocular lens of the scope – but the Connect SL, has an eye relief of just under 1”, so only use it with rifles with limited recoil. This short relief can have a massive but positive effect on parallax error, and PX error is the bane of most shooters’ lives.
This short eye relief also enables the scope to give a large field of view; in fact, on 10x magnification, the FOV is nearly double that of a normal scope. This wide FOV can help tournament shooters to watch the area around a target, and this helps to gauge wind direction. For hunters, you can use the scope to help spot your quarry, and this negates the need to use binoculars and then have to transition between your bino’s and your rifle.
As you draw the scope to your eye, you are so close to the lens that it is almost impossible to move your head left or right, or up and down, so that the crosshairs will move. If you attach the supplied eye cup, not only does this cut out any bright light, but it also helps to fix your head in the same position every time, and if your gun has an adjustable cheek piece, then you can almost eliminate error.
The Connect SL that I have, has the fantastic SCB2 reticle, which is one of the best designed reticles on the market today and for HFT and general hunting, it’s perfect. It has multiple aim points at varying mil-dot distances, and with practice, you can use the reticle to measure targets and work out how far away they are.
The central crosshair has 12 levels of illumination, and this is a real help because you can find the perfect level for the type of shooting that you want to do. It also helps you to find the crosshairs on dark targets, like rats and rabbits, and for HFT, it can help when you are shooting in darkened woods, or when the sun is directly in front
I must admit, I did originally have a concern about the size of the SL’s 24mm objective lens. I know that a small objective is stunning for creating that superior depth of field, but this can have a downside; if a scope has a small lens, then it will not suck in as much light. I have tested the SL with my light meter against my EVX and Hawke, and also the larger Connect, and there is very little difference in light gathering, so it’s worth the pay off. I have used the SL in competition, and so far, I have been able to see all targets in all light conditions and that is good enough for me. The Connect SL has a 30mm tube and high quality, multi-coated lenses, so the sight picture is still very good, even in low light.
If you think about it, the SL is similar in price to scopes with lenses twice the size, and as a smaller lens is cheaper to produce, so MTC can provide a higher quality lens for the same money as a bigger scope.
The 24mm Connect and its bigger brother, the 36mm, have been around for many years now, and many top shooters have used them. People like England team shooter, Dave Ramshead, used one for many years and they are the toast of the hunting world because they are rugged, easy to use and reliable. It is fair to say that I have rekindled my love for the Connect, and I am considering using it for the Worlds this year, especially as the course will be very parallax unfriendly, and the Connect could give me the advantage that I need.
Eye relief: 30mm
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