We have had the Falcon T50B FT scope in our hands for just over a week now.
I decided to do a 2 part review on my findings, the first of which is below. My second review will be over a longer period of time, so we can get to know the scope on a more "personal" basis.
Please note that these are my findings and results may vary from one individual to another, depending on their personal preferences or to which scope they are measuring the T50 against.
Moderator transcription of the review:
Falcon T50B FT Scope Review
This review is purely from a user’s perspective and not from someone who has in-depth technical knowledge of scopes, and must be treated as such.
The scope arrived well packaged from our local agent, “Shooting Warehouse”. Inside the box the scope was wrapped in a velvety bag. Accessories that came with included a lens cloth and 2 hex keys in a small bag, 50mm Sun shade, 90mm side wheel, yardage stickers and 1 set of flip up lens covers. Also included was a well drafted manual with all the relevant information one would require contained therein.
For those wishing to use a large turret, there is an optional turret set available for purchase, which will allow you to easily fit a large turret. The manufacturer has also indicated that in future the T50B FT will be supplied with two 50mm Sun shades for the SA market. To summarise, it’s a very thoughtfully put together package that gives the impression that the manufacturer cares about his product.
We will be comparing the Falcon T50B FT to an unusually excellent example of a Mk3 Nikko Diamond Sportsman 10-50x60 and a run of the mill example of the Mk1 Nikko.
Before putting the T50 through its paces, we focused the eyepiece and checked the scopes optical centre versus mechanical centre. It is always better to use an optically centred scope as this is where you get the optimal use of the glass.
The turrets are factory preset to mechanical zero and the manual states a total adjustment range of 30MOA. I however, found 33MOA of windage and 35MOA of elevation adjustment before the turrets came to a nice positive stop. The turrets were reset to mechanical centre, 16.4MOA for windage and 17.4 for elevation.
I then proceeded to set the optical centre with the use of 2 V blocks. The optical centre was found to be 13.4MOA from the left, 19.4MOA from the right, 19MOA from the top and 16MOA from the bottom of the turrets adjustment range.
The scope was fitted with a 5 ¼ inch Jon Harris side-wheel and we got down to some ranging.
The side-wheel feels very smooth with the same amount of tension throughout its rotation. Everyone has his/her own personal preference as to how a scope must snap in and out of focus, and my son who has the benefit of brilliant vision, likes his focus to snap like a light switch. The example we received does not snap like our Mk3 Nikko, rather, it comes into focus gently and stays crisp for about 1-2 mm of movement on the side-wheel before going out of focus again.
I must add that the Nikko Mk3 we are comparing the T50 to has had the parallax reset from a minimum of 10m at 50x, down to 8m at 15x zoom. This had the effect of improving the way the scope snaps in and out of focus.
Minimum parallax on the T50 was found to be 9m at 50x and 8.7m at 10x zoom. Ranges are repeatable once you spend a little bit of time with the scope and get used to the way it comes into focus.
The gaps in range markings on the 5¼ inch side-wheel were as follows:
Comparing the ranging
Please note that although specified as 50x, the Mk3 Nikko only comes in at about 46x as tested by Jon Harris. The T50 comes in at around 52x. For this test we skipped the Mk1 Nikko comparison as the example of the Mk1 Nikko we have is simply not in the same class as the other 2 scopes.
At 40m we had a tiny bit of heat haze on the T50, possibly due to the 6x higher magnification and consequently turned it down to 45x zoom. The test could not be done at 50m as there was too much heat haze (mirage).
We placed targets at various ranges and individually ranged them with each scope until they were clearly in focus. I then, without changing the focus, moved the target forward and backwards in increments of 5-10cm until my son noticed that it was going out of focus. We added the increments and divided by 2 for the average. This test for me confirms the focus snap and the margin of error one can expect if all things are perfect.
Results of this test: Falcon T50B FT Nikko mk3
10m ± 10cm ± 5cm
25m ± 20cm ± 10cm
30m ± 30cm ± 15cm
40m ± 40cm (45x) ± 20cm
50m not done due to heat haze
I will be revisiting this test at a later date when there is no heat haze to effect the test results. I will report back with my findings in part 2 of my review.
Clarity of the Glass
For this test we placed a “near vision test card” at 40m and checked which line could still be clearly read at full magnification. Test card Downloadable at this link. (page. 5)http://www.i-see.org/block_letter_eye_chart.pdf
Nikko Mk1 managed only to read down to line 2 (80 in.).
Falcon T50B FT managed to read down to line 4 and struggled slightly on line 5.
Nikko Mk3 managed to read down to line 5 and struggled slightly on line 6.
If one views the eye test chart, you will realise that the difference between the Falcon T50B FT and the Mk3 Nikko in this test was so small, that it is really insignificant.
The elevation turret cap is low on its mounting and the micrometre markings on the scope are not easily visible. This makes it difficult to see the zero mark (vertical line) unless you are at least ½ a turn above optical centre. This however can easily be worked around with the use of a silver marker or by mounting a pointer.
The clicks sounded positive but there was a spongy feel to them with about ½ a click of play or backlash. At the suggestion of the manufacturer I removed the O-ring under the turret cap. This alleviated the sponginess and resulted in a much more positive feel to the turret.
I would have liked to have been able to reset the parallax to 8m to see if this improves the focus snap, this is not possible as the lens is cemented in place. I queried this with the local agent who replied that this was done to prevent possible warranty issues due to nitrogen loss from end user tinkering; a position which I am fully sympathetic to.
If you are in the market for a FT scope, you could do far, far worse than purchasing a Falcon T50B FT. It is much superior to my Mk1 Nikko and although not as quite as good as the Mk3 Nikko I presently own, it is a close run race.
If you take into consideration the big difference in current retail pricing between the two and the potluck element required to get an excellent working example of an Mk3 Nikko, you are left with few other viable choices. Factor in a manufacturer and an agent who are willing to back their product to the hilt, the Falcon T50B FT quickly appears as the way forward for budget conscious FT shooters who do not want to sacrifice quality.
I must add that throughout this test all my queries/concerns were replied to by the agent and manufacturer without delay. As an end user this is very reassuring, try sending an email to some of their competitors and see if you get a response.
Part 2 of my review will be over a longer period of time. I will redo some of the tests above with a run of the mill Mk3 Nikko, as well as look at the effect of varying light and temperature conditions on the Falcon T50B FT scope.