Maven’s B.2 Binoculars impressed me. They’d be a solid pick for any hunter or birder. So unsurprisingly, when I set to reviewing their Maven RS.3 5-30X50 FFP rifle scope, my initial impression was pretty much the same. The RS.3 is great glass with a modest price point, and if there was a particular selling point, it was that these scopes were focused on the hunter rather than the competitive shooter’s needs.
But I missed something.
For another project, I wanted to see what my Winchester Model 70, chambered in .30-06 Springfield and made in 1947 could really accomplish with some higher magnification glass on it, instead of just going with the irons.
None of my scopes with more than 10X magnification would fit. They were all too long, or too big, or otherwise just wouldn’t fit on the rifle. Most wouldn’t clear the rear sight, or the barrel itself. Using a set of very high 30mm rings would do it, but then my cheek wasn’t firmly resting on the stock.
Taking another look at the Maven riflescope sitting on the shelf, I gave it a try. Mounted on Talley bases and medium 30mm quick detach rings, the Maven RS.3 fit perfectly. I had a 30X scope with a 50mm objective that fit the rifle and was still low enough for a solid cheek-stock-weld. Eureka!
With a 30X image magnification, the RS.3 is still only about 13″ long. There’s nothing on the market, at least nothing I can find anywhere near the quality at this price point, that has that kind of magnification at that compact a size. That’s especially the case if you consider the 50mm objective.
The Nightforce SHV 5-20×56 is 15″, the Vortex Razor HD 5-20×50 is 15.8″, and the Leupold VX3HD 6.5-20×50 HD is 14.3″. It’s also lighter than the Nightforce or Vortex. The Maven is 6oz heavier than the lightweight Leupold, but this Maven includes a 30X zoom, compared to the Leupold’s 20X.
This is what sets the Maven RS.3 apart from many other scopes, beyond just the price. Yes, you could certainly mount the RS.3 on an AR platform rifle or a chassis gun. But the compact nature of the RS.3 means it’s possible to mount it on traditional hunting rifles while still getting that big magnification, and without requiring high mounts or rings that would result in a poor cheek-stock weld. That puts the Maven RS.3 in a class all by itself, or at least one with very few competitors.
The secondary benefit of the RS.3 is that the relatively lightweight (for the magnification range) optic means that the weight of the rifle is still centered at the receiver. This keeps the gun comfortable in-hand for carry, as well as balanced for off-hand shooting.
The dimensions are handy, and may be required for big glass on a traditional rifle, but what’s most important on any riflescope is the quality of glass itself. The Maven is made in Japan, and is on par with the better glass we see coming out of the Land of the Rising Sun. I was just as impressed with the glass on this scope as I was the binoculars. Images are sharp, crisp, and in true-color.
I wish I knew what coatings were on the RS.3, but they aren’t listed. The specs list a Twilight Factor of roughly 15-39, but that’s not really much of an indication of how well the optic transfers light to your eye that you can see. Coatings are.
Coatings are expensive to apply, but they really make the difference in drawing in all the visible energy that the human eye can see. I couldn’t get my phone to pick up good photographs in low light, but out to 500 yards, I could definitely make out the differences in individual deer all the way up to the last amount of legal hunting light. In full daylight, it’s gorgeous.
The 30mm tube, as well as the rest of the scope, is well made and solid. I didn’t beat on the thing with a sledge hammer, but I didn’t baby it either.
Maven says the scope is waterproof to three meters, but I just dunked this one in the sink for a while. No ill effects were discovered, other than it took me a bit to clean off the lenses.
All of the controls are great. Well-textured and knurled contact points on the turrets as well as the magnification dial mean easy, smooth movement with or without gloves. The magnification and parallax knobs both move easily enough so that you don’t have to take your eye out of the scope, but they stay right where you put them.
The turrets move like they should. There’s a solid feel, and an audible click. If you were counting clicks for elevation and windage — and you never should — you could do it with your eyes closed. But since you already have your eyes open to see the target, go ahead and look up at the well-marked turrets and use those markings to turn to instead.
Elevation zero-stop is accomplished by a fairly simple means, a ring with a locking nut that’s tightened down with a teeny tiny (supplied) screwdriver. I didn’t actually tighten the ring for any of my shooting, and it never moved unless I wanted it to.
The locking ring isn’t a particularly elegant solution, but it works well. No such feature is included on the windage knob, however, and there’s also no cap. You’ll need to make sure you re-set the zero on the windage, and pay attention to it to make sure it hasn’t moved during handling.
Re-setting the turrets to zero is accomplished in such a simple and effective way I’m now a little annoyed everyone else doesn’t do it this way. It requires no tools at all. Well-hidden at the top of the windage and elevation turrets are separate rings. Turn that smaller ring counter clockwise until it comes all the way off. Then simply lift the turret and reset it to zero.
That’s a great feature, and particularly nice for the hunter. If I zero for a white tail deer hunt in South Texas, then fly up to Wyoming for pronghorn or to the mountains in Idaho for mule deer and bear, my zero will change. With the RS.3, I don’t have to make sure I have a teeny tiny wrench with me to pull my turrets off and reset my zero. It’s also super valuable for those of us who shoot several different rounds through one gun.
Say I want to take that same Winchester Model 70 out to West Texas, and pop varmints. A 125gr bullet will do the trick. The next day, I load a 180gr soft point for Aoudad, move my turrets to the new setting I figured out before the trip, and then used the RS.3’s turret re-zero system to easily rest my zero for those long range shots. No tools required.
The RS.3 includes a neoprene scope cover. I would much rather have lens caps, which are becoming pretty standard on scopes of any value.
On this model there is no illuminated reticle. Most of the time I don’t care, but every once in a while I’m shooting in shadow at a dark target, and with a center-dot reticle (like this one) that illumination is pretty valuable.
This particular model includes three different reticles, all of which are solid choices for the hunter. Now that I’ve put the time to it, I very much like the “Christmas tree” style reticles. These are simpler than that, but still provide plenty of hold overs for hunting and long range shooting. I used the SHR-MIL reticle for this review.
The RS.3 is a first focal plane riflescope. The upside there is that ranging can be done at any magnification range. The downside, at least for the reticle that I was using, is that the reticle can be sometimes very small at lower magnifications, and the necessary subtentions can be outside the field of view at higher magnifications.
You’ll need to back off the magnification if you want to just use the holds, especially if you are using slower rounds with lower ballistic coefficients.
I already knew the turrets tracked right, as I spent an afternoon using them to shoot from 100 to 800 yards with my Model 70. The scope was giving me a great view and very predictable hits. 6.3 mils of adjustment is a bit of adjustment for a hunting rifle, and if it’s on track with that many clicks, it’s on. But that gun prints about 1.2-1.5 MOA groups, depending on what commercial ammunition is used, so I needed a more accurate firearm. It was also a pretty windy day when I shot the Winchester/Maven combo, so I needed a calmer day to get good data.
On a still morning, I pulled the RS.3 from the Winchester and moved it on top of what has been my favorite gun to shoot for the last year or so, a suppressed Vudoo Gun Works Sinister in .22LR. With the small supply of Lapua ammunition I have, I sighted in the rifle at 50 yards. That means at 100 yards, I should see 8.3″ of drop. That’s what I got.
I then fiddled with the turrets. I brought them every direction to their limit, a few times, and shot again. Same point of impact. I moved the turrets 14.3 mils over, aimed at a dot on the left edge of a silhouette, and hit a dot on the right edge of the 19″ target. Right on track.
Like the binoculars I previously reviewed, the Maven riflescopes are also customizable. You can choose a variety of colors for each section of the scope as well as have it engraved.
We are much more familiar seeing this high a magnification — with a large objective and this quality of glass — on competition shooting rings. But there are plenty of places where this kind of extreme variance in magnification range makes sense.
With 30X of magnification, it’s plenty to go on a competition rig, but also great for looking at all the details necessary to decide if that’s the west Texas muley you’ve been watching for the last three seasons, and if it’s finally his time. Then again, maybe it’s his younger brother, and maybe little bro needs another a couple years to grow. 30X will help you know the difference.
If you’re up in the aspens, keep it on 5X and you’ll still have enough field of view to get a shot while making sure none of the other elk walked right behind the one you were aiming at. The same goes for the white tail in the piney woods. And you’ve got everything in between covered too.
Maven’s done a great job with this scope. I’m impressed by the brand. The most important thing is that clear, bright glass and the low price point you get for it. The compact, relatively lightweight form factor is a huge bonus, especially for those of us who need modern glass on less than modern guns.
Specifications: Maven RS.3 5-30×56 FFP Riflescope
Click Value: 0.25 MOA or 0.1 MRAD
Reticle Options: MOA-2, SHR-W, and SHR-MIL
Focal plane: First
Magnification range: 5x – 30x
Obj. lens diameter: 50mm
Tube diameter: 30mm / 1.8in
Objective outer diameter: 59mm
Eyepiece outer diameter: 43.6mm
Overall length 331mm / 13.03in
Weight (without battery): 26.9oz / 764g
Internal adjustment range: (MOA/MIL)
Travel Elevation: 80 MOA 23 MIL Travel Windage: 50 MOA 14.8 MIL
Click value 0.250 MOA 0.1 MIL
Adjustment per turret revolution: 15 MOA 6 MIL
Parallax adjustment: 20y – Infinity
Exit pupil diameter: @5x: 8.9mm @30x: 1.7mm
Eye relief @5x: 76-96mm @30x: 86-96mm
Field of view @ 100y: @5x: 22.2ft @30x: 3.7ft
Front/Rear mounting length: F: 45mm R: 62.6mm
Effective objective lens diameter: @5x: 44.5mm @30x: 50mm
Field of view: @5x: 4.24° @30x: 0.71°
Field of view, apparent @5x: 21° @30x: 21° Diopter correction (dpt): +/-3
Light transmission: 90.00% Twilight factor: @5x: 14.9 @30x: 38.7
Functional temperature: -4°~158°F
Submersion tightness / waterproof rating: 3m depth
Gas purged: Nitrogen
Reticle construction: Etched Glass Reticle options: MOA-2 / SHR-W SHR-MIL
Illuminated reticle: No
Origin: Made in Japan
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * * 1/2
No illumination, no lens caps, no windage zero stop or turret cap, and I have no idea what the coatings are, knock just a bit off from an otherwise excellent piece of equipment. Solid construction, gorgeous glass, and the compact size put the Maven RS.3 5-30x50mm FFP right up there with some of the best scopes on the rifle at any price point.