TEST­ING ... TEST­ING

The editor re­cruits a su­per-se­ri­ous FT com­peti­tor to test the very lat­est scope

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The editor passes the test­ing buck to an FT ex­pert - a new scope from Kahles

Field Tar­get com­pe­ti­tion is, in my opin­ion, the pin­na­cle of air­gun shoot­ing be­cause it com­bines the most dif­fi­cult shots with the cut­ting- edge of tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions. It’s the For­mula One of our sport and, be­cause of this, some of the most pres­ti­gious scope man­u­fac­tur­ers have de­signed and pro­duced mod­els not only to com­pete, but also to win the ul­ti­mate prize - The World FT Cham­pi­onships.

For sev­eral years, Aus­trian op­ti­cal gi­ants, Kahles, have been show­ing us pro­to­types of their en­try, but we’ve been made to wait un­til now to get our hands on a fin­ished pro­duc­tion item. It’s clear from the start that they’ve ticked all the boxes with a 10-50 x 56 spec­i­fi­ca­tion. This al­lows the shooter to rangefind with the par­al­lax ad­juster, as with all its com­peti­tors. How­ever, this ad­juster is placed on the el­e­va­tion tur­ret, rather than on the left side of the sad­dle. I asked why and was told, “Try it for your­self,” which is what I al­most did – al­most. Well, I have to con­fess that com­pe­ti­tion isn’t my cup of tea, so I called one of my clos­est friends, who has shot FT at a very high level, and asked him to take a look.

First impressions

Like all ‘good gear’ freaks, he fell on it like a hawk and within min­utes had it mounted on his ex­tremely cus­tomised Walther Dom­i­na­tor com­pe­ti­tion ri­fle. He knows the ri­fle in­ti­mately, so the test would only be about the scope. He usu­ally uses a Sch­midt & Bender - Kahles’ most ob­vi­ous com­peti­tor - so I thought it was per­fect. First impressions for us both were good. The build- qual­ity was first- class, but on a scope cost­ing around £ 2500, I felt that was a given.

“He usu­ally uses a Sch­midt & Bender, Kahles’ most ob­vi­ous com­peti­tor, which I thought was per­fect”

Next, the weight and feel of all the ad­justers was con­sid­ered. They have just the right de­gree of drag with­out any no­tice­able loose or tight spots, but again, just what we have a right to ex­pect at this level.

Any scope want­ing to com­pete at the top must of­fer the bright­est and clear­est im­age, and I knew be­fore I opened the box that Kahles would be right up there with the best. Much of their busi­ness is in pro­duc­ing world- class, hunt­ing scopes for peo­ple who travel to the most chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ments to seek their quarry. Their rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing ex­cel­lent op­tics that can take the pun­ish­ment in the field, in the very worst con­di­tions, is the envy of any scope maker

FT scopes need very fine yet clearly de­fined ret­i­cles, and this one was spot- on. It has a fine cen­tre dot, and mil- dot-style hash marks along the sta­dia wires on all four axes. In re­al­ity, it’s only the hor­i­zon­tal ones that will be used, to judge the amount of hold off that the shooter chooses to com­pen­sate for the wind ef­fect on the pel­let’s flight. All ver­ti­cal cor­rec­tion is ‘di­alled’ with the el­e­va­tion ad­juster.

Like all scopes of this kind, the K 1050i FT uses a 30mm body tube, and this was eas­ily car­ried by some strong and re­li­able Sports­match mounts to sit on Nige’s Walther. It took only min­utes to get the com­bi­na­tion ze­roed, from where some se­ri­ous shoot­ing and test­ing could be done. What would usu­ally be the side wheel is in this case a top wheel, or ‘space ship’, as Nige called it. It does look very Star Trek. I was keen to see how this would af­fect the er­gonomics of rangefind­ing, so I said noth­ing, and watched.

To­tal re­li­a­bil­ity

I’ve seen FT com­peti­tors ro­tate the side wheel with ex­tended fin­gers, to rangefind from the stand­ing or kneel­ing po­si­tions, but I couldn’t see how this could be done with the ‘side wheel’ be­ing on top. My con­cerns were cor­rect, but as it turned out, unim­por­tant, be­cause it seems that the tech­nique for rang­ing works like this; as your two min­utes start, you sit, rangefind both tar­gets, and then stand or kneel as re­quired, so no rang­ing is done from awk­ward po­si­tions any­way. That took care of that worry.

Nige, like me, has eyes that are feel­ing the ef­fects of age, so I as­sumed that he’d need to tape the side/top wheel and mark it for each dis­tance, but sur­pris­ingly, he found the fac­tory mark­ings to be dead- on! I’ve never seen that be­fore and it will be in­ter­est­ing to know if other com­peti­tors find the same thing, or if it was just chance that Nige’s eyes matched the fac­tory set­tings.

The ad­justers re­turned to zero with to­tal re­li­a­bil­ity, and Nige had com­plete con­fi­dence that he could com­pete with the Kahles, which speaks vol­umes. Th­ese com­pet­i­tive types are nor­mally highly re­luc­tant to change any­thing, but he said he’d en­ter the very next com­pe­ti­tion with it on, with­out con­cern.

The one weak­ness from which FT scopes suf­fer is a change in rangefind­ing as the tem­per­a­ture varies, but dur­ing the time we had the scope it var­ied no more than 10 de­grees. Be­cause of this, we’re un­able to know if it holds any ad­van­tage over its com­peti­tors in this vi­tal area.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this new scope is right up there with the very best, and only time will tell if it has ad­van­tages, but for now I’m sure that the new kid on the block is ready to take the fight to the oth­ers, so they’d bet­ter watch out.

“Nige had com­plete con­fi­dence that he could com­pete with the Kahles, which speaks vol­umes”

Main: The 50mm ob­jec­tive lens and top qual­ity lenses made for an ul­tra- bright im­age Right: The spec cho­sen is per­fect for the se­ri­ous FT com­peti­tor Left: Rang­ing from sit­ting was no dif­fer­ent from a side wheel scope

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