I thought I would give a quick initial review of my first month with the March 8-80 FT Ret.
Having recently been promoted from C to A grade I put a lot of thought into what I need to do to make the next progression into AA which I’ve set as my goal for the end of the 2017 GP series.
I worked out that I fell easily into the old 80/20 rule that applies to most things in life. I felt that 80% of any improvement would have to come from ME by way of training and general improvement in technique with special attention to disciplines, fine I can live with that.
But what about the other 20% or in other words my kit? Well, the Air Arms FTP 900 that I use, which was sorted by my good friend and club mate Jon Harris, is in my opinion capable of matching any result from any other rifle in the right hands.
I’ve recently upgraded the butt hook and that has pretty much finished what I can do with the gun. Pellets were next to sort and I’ve now got a decent supply of JSB 4.53 that suit my set up.
I knew that the weak link for me was my scope and whilst the Leup Comp was excellent in so many ways I also knew that it was costing me a few of the much-required targets I needed in certain conditions. The negatives that I needed to correct were losing the fine / dot cross hair on dark targets and the need to mag down in certain situations as well as for disciplines.
I also knew that the trade-off would be an increase in weight. The options open to me after the Leup Com would be S&B, Kahles or March. I wanted to make just one change of scope and one change only, my psyche is is of the nature that I want to buy what is, in my opinion, the best available at any price and remove any doubts from my set up.
After speaking to many whose opinions I trust I quickly discounted the Khales simply because I don’t think they have been used or proven enough yet in Field Target at the level I want to achieve.
I’ve also looked through a Khales and for me the range finding was just too vague for my liking. The S&B was next and all the research I could find told of stories about zero shift due to temperature sensitivity and that concerned me a lot. I saw the S&B that I would choose being used and it was equipped with a pointer that had about five different ranges on it for different temperatures and that scared the life out of me because I am way to clumsy for that and why make things more difficult?
So I was left thinking the March was going to be the one for me. Straight away I spoke to a few current users whose opinion I respect massively and they were all extremely positive about their choice of scope and not one of them had anything negative to say.
Recovering after selling a Kidney and the family silver I contacted March who had what I was looking for in stock. The March 8-80 Tactical with Connors FT reticle in silver was mine. At the point of purchase, I also opted for the March (Tier-1) High mounts to bolt it all onto my AJP 29mm FTP rail with.
Anyway, I’ve waffled on long enough and I’m going to skip the Youtubeesque “unboxing” crap and telling you about how good the lens cloth is and cut to the real stuff. I spent a couple of hours fitting the mounts and scope deciding on the optimum position on the rail that gave me the best fit for the eye relief.
All I will say at this point about the mounts is that from a manufacturing quality and fit point of view they are faultless. I should also point out that on my setup I find the built in spirit level bubble just about useless as you can’t see it on aim.
Once I had achieved for me what I considered to be the optimum mounting set up off I departed for the Millride range on what turned out to be a rarer than hen’s teeth completely still day. I should say a big thank you at this point to Jon Harris for making me a beautiful side wheel in very short time having been let down by March who tried to palm me off with a standard March wheel, the less said about that the better.
Arriving at the range complete with sighting in boards, targets, tape measure and permanent markers. I dropped a target out at 30 yards which is my preferred zero range as it means I don’t have to make any “negative” clicks.
I was amazed when my very first shot landed just a few clicks high and a few clicks left. I knew that the scope was delivered optically centred but I certainly didn’t expect it to be this close to zero out of the box.
I made the required adjustments to put a nice PoP group in bang on the dot. Zeroing the turrets was a breeze compared to the Leup Comp and required no tools other than a 2p piece. I then discovered the zero stop facility which is a very nice ring that turns up and down the turret below the dial and once locked up with an Allen key it ensures that you couldn’t dial down below your zero setting, meaning you’ll never be a turn out.
Having spoken to other March users I had already decided that I would try both ranging and shooting on 40mag first, partly because this was the mag I was used to with the comp. I couldn’t wait to throw a couple of targets out at 50 and 55 yds and was quickly amazed at the level of detail I could see at 55 yards at 40mag compared to the Leup Comp, also the picture brightness was equally amazing.
What soon struck me most was after parallaxing on the 50yd knockdowns reset cord and being able to repeat it exactly time and again to the same mark on the wheel. When I then moved aim to the 55yd crow, which was so blurred you could hardly make it out. Again I marked the wheel and was pleased with the gap between 50yd and 55yd, which was at least comparable to the Comp.
It was the repeatability of the range finding that from the off was incredible and confidence inspiring. I moved easily through all of the other required ranges and found that only the 10yd distance meant that I had to dial a full revolution with all other ranges being within a single revolution of the turret.
I finished on the range feeling very pleased with my purchase and had a play with the scope at the other mag levels. I was really pleased to find that I could range at anything from 30mag to 60mag (I never tried above that) with the same consistency and was still falling on the same marks as the 40 mag set up.
Since set up I have used the scope for a couple of MFTA WL shoots as well as a couple of clubs shoots and can honestly say that to date I have not struggled with any aspect of the scope and genuinely believe that I have not missed a single target by mis-ranging to date. We all know that you have to learn a scope but I have to say that the initial getting used to period has been a joy and extremely confidence inspiring.
Finally, I must compliment Mr McFlyn the designer of the FT Ret fitted to this scope, I find the reticle to be uncluttered and a pleasure to use. I love the windage marks which I never had any of on the comp and they certainly give a good reference on a windy day. So that’s my initial findings, its early days but I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to life with the March. It goes without saying if anybody wants a squint through don’t hesitate to ask.