If the number of variable scopes currently available on the market is any sort of indicator, this type of sight is obviously very popular with the hunting and shooting fraternity. Every maker in the market has variables listed with magnification brackets that begin as low as 1.5x and go as high as anyone is ever likely to want or need. It's a very competitive marketplace with prices to suit every budget.
A newcomer to the variable market is the P3-12x42D scope now on offer by Lynx. Part of the Professional series, the scope is relatively compact in size, with a length of just less than 31cm. Of monotube construction, the scope body is made from aircraft-grade aluminium with a matte black finish. It's water- and shockproof, with multi-coated optics to provide optimum light transmission. Tube diameter is a standard 25.4mm, with a 42mm objective that provides improved light transmission without the need for higher mounts on most firearms.
The review scope has standard turrets; the adjustments coin slotted with Winch click adjustments. A rotating plate on each turret allows zero settings to be easily established and regained should elevation or windage adjustments be required.
The sample scope has a standard sniper or duplex reticle. A NATO reticle with target knobs is also available.
The power change ring is grooved to provide a sure grip and is also fitted with a thumb block to ensure it can be easily shifted with minimum effort. Even so, the ring is quite firm to turn and it would be difficult to accidentally bump it off the set magnification.
Focusing for individual eyes is provided on the ocular bell by a conventional fine thread and locking ring arrangement.
I first saw this scope at a gun show in mid 2001 and there were a number of things about it that impressed me right from the start.
First of all, it looked shorter overall than other scopes in a similar power range. I also liked the fact that it didn't have an adjustable objective lens - a feature I'm not particularly fond of on hunting scopes.
The clarity of the lenses was also impressive. They gave a clear view into the darkest recesses of the gun show venue and also distant objects outside in the sun.
At the time I was looking for a new scope to put on a No 3 Ruger in .22 Hornet and Malcolm Gault promised to send me a P3-12x42 D as soon as stock arrived in Australia.
As it turned out, the scope never made it onto the Ruger Hornet. Its first place of work was on a Browning B-78 single shot in .243. From there it went onto a Brno Model 5 rimfire, then onto an old Sako .222 I bought for goat culling work. On all three rifles the scope was easy to set up and sight in, the reticle adjustments proving to be responsive, accurate and, most importantly, repeatable.
The majority of my work with the scope was done with the Sako - a rifle that shoots around minute of angle most of the time with handloads, despite its age and a well-worn barrel.
I've used the outfit to take goats at ranges from 30 to 150 metres - including a number of animals that were head shot around the 120-metre mark off a bush rest with the scope cranked up to 12x. Generally, however, I've used the scope on 6x.
Light transmission under all conditions is excellent, with the lower magnifications delivering the best exit pupils under the low light of dawn or dusk. Maximum exit pupil is 14mm on 3x, while the minimum is 3.5mm on 12x.
The scope was sighted in on 12x and experimentation has shown that it will focus back to about three metres on 3x and about 30 metres on 12x with the focus set up for my eye.
Variable scopes are a practical choice for hunting, offering a versatility of use that no fixed power scope can match. On lower settings they're practical for short-range shooting, while the higher magnifications extend the range at which accurate sniping shots can be taken.
The modern variable scope is a precise and reliable shooting aid and the Lynx P3-12x42 is no exception. The sample scope has proved its credentials on a variety of hunting rifles.
With the NATO and target turrets, it would be suitable for both range and field work - especially rimfire field rifle and perhaps silhouette. Overall, it offers excellent value for money.
The P3-12x42D has a recommended retail price of $480 with the duplex reticle, $535 with NATO reticle and target turrets.
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