Like many hunters, shooters, and gunsmiths, I’ve been trusting Brownells for a whole lot of years. When I saw they had contracted with a Japanese company to make mid-priced precision rifle optics, I jumped at the chance to review one of the first scopes in their Match Precision Optic line. They did not disappoint.
Brownells clearly wanted to pack a lot of features into a mid-price precision optic. They succeeded.
The reticle is illuminated, powered by the common CR-2032 battery. I found the illumination fairly dim, and only visible against a black target on a bright day when on its highest setting. Just to be sure it wasn’t a battery issue, I replaced the included battery with a new one, but it did not fix the issue.
Of course, I do have to question if this is an issue at all. After all, if it’s visible against a black background on a bright day, well…that’s good enough. It only gets brighter the darker it is outside anyway.
There’s a Zero-Stop with half a mil of adjustment below the zero. Although this is helpful during some shots at some competitions, it’s particular helpful for those of us who may zero with one round for competitions, but then take a bullet with a little more drop for hunting.
The MPO also includes a glare shade extension and lens caps right out of the box. The included flip-up lens caps are particularly appreciated, as it saves not only expense but also yet another trip to the store or online to get them, and hope they fit right.
I was surprised to find a 34mm tube on the MPO. Most mid-priced scope tubes are not that large. I’m not an optical engineer, but most of us recognize that very high quality scopes often come with 34mm tubes. I guess a larger tube can be more durable than a smaller one, but there are obviously some other variables there.
One thing I do understand is that larger diameter glass does, in general, usually perform better than smaller diameter glass, when it comes to brightness and clarity.
That said, 34mm rings are harder to find and more expensive than 30mm, and you are likely to spend 15% of the cost of the scope on the rings. As always, buy the best quality rings you can possibly afford. I hand lap all my rings, and I have yet to find rings, at any price, that do not benefit from this practice.
At 37 oz and over 15″ long, this is one of the larger, more massive scopes in this price range. For those of you trying to stay within weight limits for specific competitions, this is a spec to watch out for.
At this time, the MPO only comes with a milliradian-based reticle and turrets. Both turrets are adjusted in the typical 1/10th mil increments.
The split-line “Non-Obscuring Milling Reticle” on the Match Precision Optic is an interesting one. First focal plane reticles generally have to be thicker so they can still be seen at the lower magnifications. The MPO is a first focal plane scope, and I wonder if they went with this kind of split-line reticle in order to deal with the thicker lines most first focal plane reticles employ.
At the lower magnifications, they appear as one solid line, but as you’ll see below, when you turn the magnification up a bit, you’ll see the primary vertical and horizontal lines are actually two tracks. I very much like this idea, as it not only allows you to see between the tracks, but allows even more points of reference to use to range your targets with.
The center of the reticle is not solid, but open with one single small point dot. Everything is a trade-off. At the higher magnifications, an open reticle with a single dot is ideal. At the lower magnifications, the dot disappears and I’m wanting a solid cross hair design.
You’ll also find a simple Christmas-Tree style hash system below the horizontal plane marking 10 mils of drop and 8 mils of windage. I’m still struggling to use these kinds of marks effectively, but they are very helpful when engaging multiple targets at different ranges quickly.
It’s great that we have so many different reticles to chose from. I still lean towards a simple traditional Army standard Mil-Dot, but that’s because it’s what learned on and I’m still very used to it.
It has its disadvantages, especially with some specific applications. But that’s the way of all reticles, some better than others, depending on what you want to do with them. The MPO tries to split the difference, being pretty good at a wide range of applications, and it does a pretty good job at that.
The windage and elevation turret adjustments are simple. You don’t have to pull up to unlock them or anything like that. Each turret is very large, with massive caps. I’d put those caps on to carry the gun, but the turrets themselves are stiff enough that it is unlikely you’ll inadvertently move them during shooting and handling while firing.
I found each click very sharp and obvious, with a definitive start and stop, which isn’t so common at this price range.
To test out the turrets, I performed a pretty simple test, in lieu of the longer and more standardized box test. Using a Vudoo Gun Works Sinister rifle in .22LR and zeroed at 100 yards, I simply shot a round and then turned the windage all the way right. Then all the way left. Then back to zero.
I did the same with the elevation. I took another shot. It landed just barely over half an inch off the first mark, which is right were this rifle and ammunition should be. I did this 9 more times, and sometimes turning knobs in different configurations. Each time I got the same result. I can’t actually remember shooting a mid-priced optic over the last 10 years that didn’t.
My only significant complaint with the scope is the difficulty turning the parallax knob. It’s not just a little tight, it’s extremely difficult to move. At least at first, I was unable to move the parallax adjustment without a moving off the gun and using my whole palm to grip the knob and turn it.
To fix this problem, I simply got to turning it a lot, back and forth, probably a couple hundred times over the course of one of Jocko Willink’s SOG-related podcasts. (A MUST LISTEN.) This dramatically improved the ease of use of the parallax turret, although it is still tight, and can’t be adjusted with just the thumb and forefinger of the non-shooting hand.
The MPO is feature packed, but features aren’t what matters most. The quality of the glass is. On a bright, clear day, you’ll see a bit of difference in good quality glass and great quality glass. On overcast or low light conditions, the differences start to become more apparent.
The Japanese-made glass on the MPO is excellent, especially at the sub $1000 price. I set up the MPO next to a Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 on a misty and overcast day. Here’s a look at a telephone pole 600 yards away on 10X with the MPO.
And here’s the same shot, maybe 30 seconds apart, with the Nightforce at the same magnification. (I chose 10X because this was the highest magnification I could get a good, bright and clear photo quickly with both scopes.)
There’s a difference, and that difference would be magnified at higher ranges, but you can see there’s not much of a difference. The stripped down and minimally featured Nightforce SHV scope is about $350-$400 more at retail than the MPO.
For the price, the Brownells Match Precision Optic 5-25x56mm delivers a very clear image, with no noticeable degradation at the higher magnification ranges either. There may be some blurring at the edges, but if there is, it’s no more than the Nightforce scope.
I image the same few Japanese manufacturers are making this glass for several different companies, and Brownells is getting the top end of the mid-market lenses.
My recoil sensitivity testing was not very exhaustive, but likely plenty. I mounted the scope in Vortex rings on top of my Underground Tactical .458 SOCOM 12.5″ SBR, and simply shot 39 450gr rounds from three magazines as fast as I could. I noticed no change in the point of aim or impact.
As far as weatherproofing, it rained on me and the scope during three of the four days I shot the optic for this review, with no ill effects.
Being a long-time Brownells customer, I was curious to see what kind of quality they would put out on a mid-priced precision optic. Unsurprisingly, they’ve made a very good general use precision optic at a very reasonable price.
For anyone looking to get into the PRS or Tactical Endurance Challenge type matches, this would be a good scope to start with. Beyond a full feature list, the image quality is outstanding for the price range.
Specifications: Brownells Match Precision Optic (5X25X56mm)
Click Value: 0.1 MRAD
Eye Relief: 3.70″
Focal Plane: First
Max Magnification: 25x
Min. Magnification: 5x
Objective Size: 56mm
Tube Size: 34mm
Weight: 37.0 oz
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
Half a star taken off for the difficult to move parallax knob, and another half off for only offering it in Mil and not also an MOA reticle. My long-time readers know that the more I like a product, the more nit-picky I tend to be. My admonishments on his one are pretty picky. This is a great scope at a great value. If I was looking for a general all-around precision optic on a sub $1,500 budget, the MPO would be my first choice. I am, and it is.