As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Meopta riflescopes — the guys who make the Zeiss Conquest line — but I recently had a little cognitive dissonance when looking at options.
Typically, I’m looking for long-range “Boomershoot” target scopes, with fairly high magnification (~18x – 25x). This time, a Reader asked me to look at a different use for him — shorter-range hunting, if you will, where the magnification needs to be more modest (~10x – 15x), with the only specs being variable focus, an illuminated reticle and a 30mm tube. Small fields, deep woods, you get the idea.
So I got to this model, and it ticked all the boxes:
Meopta Optika6 2.5-15×44 Illuminated SFP 4C – $650
Follow the link if you want the detailed specs.
I was just about to save the page for future reference, when I saw this option:
Meopta MeoSport R 3-15x50mm Illuminated SFP 4C – $450
Once again, the details are at the link.
All of which makes me wonder. Meopta bills its Meosport line as “entry-level”, and the model above compares very well indeed to its more expensive cousin at the top. In fact, the Sport looks a little better than the Optika: a 50mm bell vs. 44mm, and so on.
All of which makes me suspicious. A fifty-dollar difference in price would be one thing, but a $200 spread? Long experience in marketing and manufacturing taught me that every price reduction for two identical items comes at the cost of quality, in some way, shape or form. (The Iron Triangle is: materials / features + quality + price = an equilibrium constant. Reduce price, and you have to reduce one or both of the other two.) But as far as I can tell, the features are more or less identical, and Meopta’s quality has been superb.
For the life of me, however, I can’t fathom the difference between the two scopes. My penny-pinching nature says “Take the MeoSport”, but experience says, “Buy once, cry once”.
Can anyone shed any light on this issue?
Update: From Reader Will B comes an email:
The price delta is in the glass coatings. The more expensive scope has more/better coatings.
I also noticed you mentioned a 30mm tube. You probably think this lets in more light, that is incorrect.
These scopes are made to the European style where they can hunt at night. Hence the larger objective. I have not looked through one of these but I would bet that Meopta is using lens coatings that allow the blue light to remain; this is because in Europe they can hunt at night. All Austrian/European scopes emphasize blue light waves. US scopes use yellow light (think Leupold) as it is pretty good at twilight or dusk.
The reason for a 30mm tube is because Europeans do not generally have the kind of flat shooting rifles we generally use in the US. The European rounds have a greater arc to them. So the 30 mm tube allows for more mechanical up and down in the elevation adjustment. That is the sole purpose of a 30mm tube.
You will not likely need that arc accommodation in a shot under 200 yards unless of course you have a slow shooting round, so usually in the US there is no need for a 30mm tube.
I bought a Conquest years ago. The mechanicals were excellent, the glass was a single coated lens and it sucked. I gave it away.
I have a Swarovski and a Schmidt & Bender and a few high-end Leupolds. You can get great glass for under a thousand dollars. I am not rich, just patient and have saved to get what I use. Once you use a truly good scope you are ruined forever.
I will say this: once you have used a scope that preserves blue light you will never want to use anything else. They are very bright in daylight and are excellent at lower light levels.
I never knew the light-spectrum differences between Euro scopes and Murkin ones, and this is probably why I tend to prefer the Euro glass. Thankee for the info.