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NcStar Tactical 30mm Scopes
This is the new flagship of the NcStar line of riflescopes. Designed as a mid sized tactical scope primarily for mounting on flat top AR type varmint rifles and other SPR/DMR type rifles, this scope packs a lot of versatile features for a reasonable price.
The 30mm tube means you end up with a thicker scope body which will look proportionate to what would normally look like an unusually large front lens. This configuration is fine when mounting the scope on a Weaver or Picatinny (AR flattop) type rail, but it can be problematic on open top bolt action rifles with particularly long actions. That is why this scope is particularly well suited for semi-auto rifles, but it can work well on lever actions, pump actions and single shot rifles. Recoil resistance is sufficient for most .308 rifles, but some particularly stiff recoiling rifles can bruise even the best scopes and the NcStar is no exception. It's tough, but not totally idiot proof like the POSP scopes made specifically for the old Soviet side rail mounting system. That said, these scope are fine for use on your average designated marksman's rifle, flattop AR, or any one of the many .223 utility rifles on the market. It is also at home on a short action bolt gun or single shot rifle. Nitrogen purging assures some level of fog and water resistance, although I would not care to go scuba diving with the rifle, I have had a few of them out in the rain with no ill effects.
With the eventual breakup of Tasco and the other big names in optics favoring market share in the hunting and sporting arms rather than military and paramilitary small arms, there was something of a vacuum open for another company to bring in both established and updated scopes made specifically for use on paramilitary rifles. Picking up both established designs previously marketed by Tasco and rejected by outfits like Bushnell, NcStar is a name establishing in a niche that survivalists should take notice of.
All NcStar products carry a lifetime warranty for repair or replacement of the product. The warranty is handled by the importer/corporate headquarters and they can be reached at 1 866-627-8278. There is usually a nominal service fee to cover the costs of shipping and handling on these warranties. For the most part, the product line is distributed through a network of dealers who buy in to the product line from the importer. Due to the nature of other items in their product line, it is unlikely that NcStar will be handled by large discounters like Walmart, however, the signature blue boxes with gold lettering are readily visible at most gun shows in the US and many small shops around the country.
The NcStar product line comes from New Century Science and technologies out of El Monte California. Actual production is in China at a plant currently making optics for several other companies including Walther and BSA. Production of these optics is closely monitored for quality control by the company owner, Carson Cheng, unlike some of the optics coming out of various Norinco and Polytech facilities operated by the Chinese military. A close examination of these optics reveals that not all Chinese made optics are created equal and the pride taken in the NcStar product line is obvious in its presentation. For many optics aficionados, that is usually not much to brag about, but we should note that many optics from even the most highly respected names in the business are now sourced from China and built on the same equipment. Mr. Cheng takes his company's place in the business seriously enough to become personally involved in most aspects of their business from product design to marketing and distribution.
This scope that I consider their flagship of the line is an impressive piece of hardware for the price. Like many of the various scopes in the NcStar product line, it packs features found in scopes costing hundreds more. Clear and bright coated optics, a one piece main tube, finger adjustable windage and elevation turrets, illuminated reticule (most models), and usually a free set of rings. Magnification is adjustable from 3 to 12 power. The rear lens usually comes set from the factory for 20/20 corrected vision with sufficient exit pupil clearance to accommodate nearly all sorts of glasses and tactical goggles, even a gas mask. The 50mm objective lens is large enough to gather a lot of light and give good crisp detail at most magnifications. The coated optics help to reduce internal glare and block out detail robbing UV light.
There are four reticules available for these scopes. The most popular by far is the mil-dot reticule. It has the traditional thin crosshair punctuated by a series of dots which are used in calculating range and holdover while using a series of charts and tables usually developed by the shooter. Others include a "funnel" type rangefinder, and reticules with a small cross at the middle and one with simply a small dot in the middle. These are best for precision shooting at known distances. All of the scopes feature adjustable red illumination that uses the same basic internal LED found on most red-dot scopes, but in this case, it reflects on the recticule. Interestingly, on the small cross and small dot reticules, only the element on the center will illuminated. At first, I thought it was some sort of mistake in the design, but upon testing, I found that these scopes with only the center lighting up lend themselves to more efficient and faster target acquisition in low light. Sighting in is a fairly simple process. The windage and elevation knobs are finger adjustable with no need for a tool or screwdriver. That said, you can get a shift in impact depending on the magnification you use for zeroing. This can be very subtle, but it happens even with fairly expensive scopes. If you know that you will absolutely need the best possible precision out of any adjustable scope, you should set the windage and elevation at the magnification you intend to use and then leave it there, or a the very least, revert to that magnification when you need to take your most high precision shots. I zero these scopes at around 8 power, while saving the 12 power feature mainly for target spotting and the 3 power setting for close range action type shooting. In fact, even at CQB distances, the tunnel vision effect of the scope on 3 power is not bad at all, and with little practice it is possible to move and aim with both eyes open. Not something you can readily do with "sniper" scopes of any type.
Low light performance of the scopes is pretty good, as we should expect for any decent scope with a large front lens to gather light and a large tube to send it down to the eye. This goes a long way toward compensating for the midgrade quality glass used in the lenses. In comparison to scopes with similar specifications in the Leupold and Nikon product line, it becomes evident that the Leupold and Nikon have better glass that gets the job done in a smaller package, but then you have to spend at least twice the money to get that better clarity in a smaller package. Compared to similar priced models in the Redfield, Tasco and Bushnell product line, it becomes evident that the NcStar is giving more features for the money. Then in comparison to other newer Chinese brands like Leapers and BSA, I have found that the NcStar is usually better, with features not even available on a BSA or Leapers. Furthermore, my personal bad experience with BSA warranty support has left me unwilling to put them on my shopping lists.
In mounting these 30mm tube scopes, scope position and eye relief become critical. Fortunately, it is usually possible to use the included rings to put the scope in position on a flattop AR where the natural point of reference is exactly the same as it would be using standard iron sights. The only peeve is that I prefer a more forward mounting that necessitates the use of an extension rail either attached to the flattop, or the use of a rail handguard. Either way can work. Extension rails from GG&G, and ARMS (their SWAN Sleeve is excellent) will work fine for rail extensions, while just about any rail interface handguard will also serve the same basic purpose. On the application you see above, I went with a Knight's free float RIS clone. I also found that whenever I can, it is better to go with as many scope rings as will fit. Cheaper scope rings made from aluminum can fail, usually from screws stripping out in them, so more of them guarantees against the mounting going to crap if something gets kinky on the rings. Steel scope rings rarely fail, but they are heavy, can rust, and if installed wrong, can actually damage the scope. That is why I generally avoid using steel rings.
The NcStar 30mm scopes are real winners for the survivor or professional operator looking for a decent multipurpose scope for an affordable price. They are not intended to be the best of the best, but for a good quality deployable piece of equipment, you could spend twice the money and not be as well off.
These scopes are available regularly here at savvysurvivor at $100 each and are usually in stock for fast shipment. I also run occasional sales and can work discounts on multiple unit orders (three or more). For more information or to order, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Other items in the NcStar product line can be found on these pages:
NIGHT VISION, LASERS AND BINOCULARS
SCOPES, SIGHTS, AND WEAPON LIGHTS
3-12 X 50mm Mil-dot scope with 30mm Tube
This is the shorter, heavier and more durable brother to the 6-24 scope listed above. Skips some bells and whistles in return for stronger construction, more compact length, wider field of view and brighter 30mm tube. This scope uses a one piece main tube design that one should expect in a premium grade tactical scope. Built tough for a field environment and suitable for semi-auto rifles. A good solid scope for a Designated Marksman's Rifle or survivor's utility rifle. Also available with illuminated small cross reticule and small dot reticule.
Please note that while this scope is a full size scope, there is not a whole lot of space available between ring mounting points. The best and most secure mounting for this scope is to use three or more rings, and that means the scope should be mounted on a flat rail mount. It will usually not work on two piece mounts found on most bolt action rifles.
Includes 30mm rings, soft case, lens covers and spare battery for the illuminator.
Has amber green lens coat and finger adjustable windage and elevation under conventional metal caps. Lifetime warranty
Tall rings $10 extra