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Dave Barham reviews the PAO 3-9 x 42 SSS IR scope; a tough, compact scope that is an absolute steal at less than £95 from The Shooting Party.
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This Professional Airgun Optics (PAO) scope is an absolute belter. Costing just £94.99, you get whole lot of scope for your money, without scrimping on quality.
The rheostat dial, conveniently positioned on top of the ocular bell, provides two different colours of illumination - red and green. What’s more, each colour has five different brightness intensity settings, all changed with a simple turn of the knob. You simply insert the battery provided and off you go.
There are also two ‘off’ positions on the rheostat, in between each of the colour choices.
This scope has a mil-dot reticle with four dots on the hairs, in a standard ¼-inch MOA configuration. The lenses are excellent quality and are multi-coated, giving great clarity even in low light conditions.
During testing on the rather excellent JTS Airacuda Max rifle, I found that there was no lens flare during the winter sunshine, and the fast-focus eyepiece dialled out more than enough for my dodgy eyes to get a pin-sharp focus.
This scope is tough and it’s rated for all firearms including air rifles, rimfire and centrefire rifles. Constructed in 25.4mm tube from high-quality, aircraft-grade aluminium with a hard anodised finish, it will make a perfect hunting scope for proper working rifles, taking in its stride all the knocks, bumps and scrapes associated with regular hunting.
The SSS in the name stands for Smart Spherical Structure, which is an all-metal turret/erector tube interface mechanism, allowing for far more precise windage/elevation adjustments than the metal-rubber interface found in most scopes.
It also features ‘TSS’ (Thin Scope Shell) technology, which improves the field of view by reducing the perceived thickness of the scope shell around the lens.
I do like how the objective bell of the scope tapers backwards – it’s longer on top than it is underneath, and this provides an element of built-in sunshade.
The ’Easy Throw’ magnification ring is by far one of the slickest I have used on a brand new scope out of the box – no molegrips required to get this baby moving, it’s super smooth and requires very little effort to turn. There’s a large, pronounced knob on the ring situated at 6x to make finding it in the dark or with your rifle mounted a doddle.
It’s a really nice touch to have the scope already levelled for you, with the high mounts included and attached at the factory, leaving you simply to screw the base of the 9/11mm dovetail mounts to your rifle.
PAO have utilised lockable elevation and windage turrets on this scope, to prevent them from moving. There’s a knurled locking ring at the base of each turret, which you unwind to loosen the main turret so it can be adjusted. Once you’ve found zero, simply tighten the locking rings back up and everything stays put – I love this set-up, its so easy to use, and in a hunting scenario where re-checking your zero after a knock is essential, this turret system makes it all very easy.
As you would expect, this scope is shockproof, waterproof, dust and fogproof, as well as being nitrogen purged. What a great little scope this is! It’s packed full of features and is extremely good value for money. Plus, the guys at TSP provide a ‘Replace Not Repair’ lifetime warranty for it, too – what’s not to like?
Model: PAO SSS IR
Optical System: 3-9×
Reticle: Mil dot
Illumination: Red and green
Parallax: Error-free at 35yds
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