Of course, like many other people, I like nice things but I am not an “Optics Snob” and many of my reviews focus on finding value in the products I look at. This focus on value means that I’ve really favored scopes like the Bushnell Elite 10x and the Sightron Siii whereas (even though I own a couple) I am pretty neutral on the Leupold Mark 4 and as far as the very popular Vortex scopes go, my only real recommendation until very recently was their PST line (this has recently changed as I have now used the Vortex Razor HD Gen II).
This focus on value means I don’t automatically go “wow” when I pick up a high end piece of glass but I must confess that when Omer at Plain Sight Solutions handed me a Tangent Theta 5-25X56 for review I did have a small, sharp intake of breath and that “wow” sound was being formed before I got hold of myself.
Tangent Theta (“TT”) rifle telescopes are Canadian-built in Halifax, Nova Scotia and are distributed internationally by Armament Technology Incorporated and the scope loaned to me for this review is clearly a very nice piece of equipment and – at the price – it really ought to be as the Canadian retail for this scope is a whopping $5300 plus tax. Yes, you read that correctly $5300 – put into context, this scope is priced higher than some really first-class rifles like, for example, Sako TRG 22 or PGW Coyote. (Update: As of August 2016 the price is over $6,100 Canadian $ )
Of course the TT riflescope is not alone in having a high price tag, in fact the $5,300 retail actually puts the TT right in the middle of the pricing one would expect to encounter for the excellent PMii series of scopes manufactured by the world-famous German maker Schmidt and Bender and clearly it is in this market that the TT wishes to be competitive hoping to pick up sales amongst the professionals who may need a scope like this and the well-heeled amateur users who, while may not needing such equipment, are in a position to afford such a luxury item.
Almost every scope in this category is going to be impressive, well packaged and well coated with the nice even matte black finish we have come to expect from scope makers and in this regard the TT does not disappoint. Packaged up with a nice set of Tenebraex scope covers and an anti-reflection device the scope also comes with a very readable (i.e. written in a version of English native speakers can understand) set of instructions and a laminated card that detailed the reticule subtensions.
Initial handling revealed that of course this is a substantial scope – like my S+B it is a 34mm tube – with a 56mm objective lens housed in an objective bell that is 65mm. Overall length of the scope is 425mm and it is 103mm wide with a weight given to be 1150g. The early handling of the scope also really brought home how very smooth everything about the scope was and I was pleased that all controls moved really nicely with an excellent feel to them. In particular, the ‘clicks’ were very precise and nothing felt at all mushy.
It may not be a big deal but one thing I really liked was the design of the turrets – comparing them to the NF NXS and the S+B, they were smooth to the touch but they allowed for me to get a good grip and move easily. Put simply, they felt better.
Again comparing the scope to my S+B I was struck with how simple the TT was – every marking seemed intuitive and nothing seemed at all complicated. Now after using it for so long my S+B doesn’t feel complicated either but I remember when I first got it feeling that it was a bit confusing. It may be a small matter but I do like simple and I think that most end-users would agree that, under anything approximating stress, that ‘simple is best’.
When mounted on my test mule rifle – a full-custom Remington in an AICS 2.0 – it was easy to find the correct reticle focus for my eyes was easy and once the ocular was set it could be forgotten about.
Again, when behind the rifle all scope controls felt natural and easy without any of the guesswork “ was that 3 clicks or 4 “ that sometimes one has when clicks are too close together or the turrets feel mushy. The neat thing about the turrets was the fact that the zero-stop does not require the use of any tools. Trademarked as the Tool-less Re-Zero this is a really great idea and I suspect that in time will become an industry standard.
Regardless of how nice controls are and how a scope looks the one thing we all want to know is how is it to look through. What I did is I compared the scope to a few others I own that people might be also considering when looking to scope up one of their favorite tactical rifles. An obvious comparative scope had to be a S+B Pmii and added into the mix was a Nightforce NXS. I don’t have one of the new top-end Sightron scopes but I do have a nice Siii and so I though that I would bring that along as well.
Looking at objects, targets, leaves and twigs at a variety of distances it was obvious that the TT has simply awesome glass. The shooting portion of the test simply confirmed that there is no doubt that this is a very well made, quality item and it really did outclass both of the Siii and the NXS which is no small feat. Tracking and repeatability was perfect and at the end of the day I felt the glass to be on par with my S+B with a slight edge to the S+B at 25x possibly being due to the fact that 25x is the top end of the TT while the PMii is a 12-50.
Overall the TT is a dream scope but…. yes, there is always a but isn’t there… I wasn’t sure that I would buy one if I could afford to do so as for me I am not sure that 5-25 is the right range for me. For hunting applications I prefer a lighter scope in the 3-12 range and for target work I prefer 8-32 or better ( there is a reason I bought a 12-50 S+B rather than S+B’s excellent 5-25). Having said that, I am sure that there are shooters out there for whom a beefy 5-25 FFP scope is exactly what they want and for those folks I say, if you can afford it, TT has to be a contender.
Once again my thanks go out to PlainSight Solutions for the loan of this scope – as always it was a pleasure to deal with Omer whose enthusiasm for shooting is infectious and whose customer service is amongst the very best.