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Optisan Mamba 3-12x56SF Illum. REVIEW

Optisan Mamba 3-12x56SF Illum. REVIEW

Hunting in low light conditions is something nearly all Australian shooters have done at some point. The simple facts are that most game and vermin are most active at dawn or just as the sun is fading, if not completely at night. These conditions require quality optics that are capable of maximizing what little available light there is or what is supplied by a spotlight. A call to Franc at Hermanns sporting guns to see what was available for my newly purchased .223 had him advising me to try the Optisan mamba 3-12 x 56 with RAQ (rapid acquisition reticle). After looking at the specifications, I agreed it was exactly what I needed for my fox rifle.

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The scope arrived a few days later and my initial impressions were excellent. Nicely finished in matt black with a large objective bell, 30mm main body, fine dot style reticle (which can be illuminated at 7 different levels), flip open metal scope caps with O-ring sealing, and low profile re-settable turrets, it seemed all my criteria were more than met. The mild recoil of the 223 would be no problem as the scope was rated up to and including 50 cal BMG. Illumination is controlled by a small module mounted on the rear of the scope via 2 push buttons. The button style battery (supplied) is also neatly contained in the same module and features a "no tool required" cap in case the battery goes flat in the field with a spare battery being contained inside the windage turret, a nice touch!

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First step was mounting this new scope, Franc had recommended some Vipertek steel mounts in medium height which proved to be a very good fit on top of the picatinny rail on my rifle. So with scope mounted and bore sighted, it was off to fine tune the mamba. My bore sighting proved to be fairly close, only about 80mm off at 50 meters so it only took 10 shots or so to have my sighting in done at 100 meters. Quick sighting in was made easier by a characteristic I have found on my other Optisan scopes, when making adjustments on other brands I have usually found that they need 1 or 2 shots to "settle" to their point of impact, this is not the case with the mamba. Tracking was instant and precise, the dials have a friction dampened feeling with light clicks per graduation meaning they won’t move under heavy recoil. Parallax adjustment on the left hand side of the main body means no awkward turning of the front objective bell to get focus, mostly for hunting I would leave it set at 100 meters but it is nice to have if needed.

With my sighting in session finishing up too late to successfully hunt for a fox, I wrapped it up for the day and hoped for no rain the following weekend. The next Saturday found me sitting on a fence line before dawn on a cold Victorian winter’s day. My hunting mate David had placed his remote control fox caller while it was still dark about 100 meters from our concealed position. Just as it was getting light, I gave David the nod that I could see well enough in the dim conditions to shoot accurately and so the squealing sound of a rabbit in distress began from the caller. The shrill sound had only been on for about 5 minutes when David spotted movement at about 300 meters. A quick look through the mamba confirmed it was indeed a fox running in fast for what he thought was an easy meal. I had turned on the illumination and straight away I was impressed by how quickly I could put the aim point on the dimly lit fox, whom was easily seen through the scope. With the fox coming in so quickly, I kept the scope on him the whole time, waiting for him to stop so I could get an accurate shot. Such was his hunger and confidence he kept running until he was about 20 meters from the caller when suddenly he spotted it in the ditch where David had placed it. That moment of hesitation was all I needed at 120 meters to put an accurately placed 55 grain soft point into his chest which raked him from end to end, finishing him off instantly.

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The mamba had worked text book perfectly in the challenging light conditions, the fox, while only being just visible to the naked eye, was easily identified and dispatched when viewed on 12 power. Feeling extremely happy with the choice of scope for my intended purpose I am keen to try it out spotlighting where I’m confident it will excel once again.

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