The optic itself is built on a robust 34mm tube and fitted with a 56mm objective lens. The fat tube gives it a nicely balanced look despite the large objective. More importantly, its large diameter also provides a wider range of movement for the erector system. This in turn leads to a much wider adjustment range.
This is a logo that has until now only been seen on old surplus scopes. The Hensoldt line is produced by Carl Zeiss Optronics in Hensoldtís old factory in Wetzlar.
Although 40-42mm objectives are considered the standard in U.S. Army circles, bigger is often better. A larger objective lens theoretically provides not only increased light transmission and a larger exit pupil, but also greater resolution. Hensoldt has obviously designed this optic with low light in mind.
While objective lenses this large are not as popular in the United States as smaller diameters, they do offer very real advantages when shooting in low light. To better illustrate this, the 4-16x56mm Hensoldt generates a 14mm exit pupil at 4X, 6.2mm at 9X, 5.6mm at 10X and a still respectable 3.5mm when cranked all the up to 16X.
The ideal exit pupil size for low light use is approximately 6mm. The trade-off to the large diameter objective is, of course, a higher center-line and more glass to reflect light and disclose the sniperís position.
Magnification runs from a low of 4X up to a high of 16X. This fourfold increase is spread out to provide a very usable range. At the low end, 4X provides a wide field of view for engaging moving or suddenly appearing targets at close range. On the flip side, 16X provides more than enough magnification to identify and engage targets past 1000 yards without mirage severely degrading image quality. Field of view runs from 285 (4X) to 82 feet (16X) at 1,000 meters. Fitted to the ocular is a fast focus eye piece. Overall length is a relatively short 13.1 inches long. Weight is a fairly hefty 31.7 ounces.
Fitted to the center of the scopeís tube is a spherical mechanism block. Mounted to this are very functional control turrets. Elevation and windage adjustments are made using large, well-marked target turrets. These feature precise tactile and audible clicks in .1 Mil (1cm) increments.
The elevation and windage turrets are well designed and sport very precise audible and tactile adjustments. The parallax knob is adjustable from 50m to infinity.
Total adjustment available is 22.4 Mils (224cm or 88.1 inches) for elevation and 10 Mils (100cm or 39.3 inches) for windage. Large enough to get the job done without being stupid, the turrets are very well designed. They contoured to provide a sure grip, even with wet, muddy or sweat covered fingers.
Markings are simple and easy to read with two rows of numerals. The bottom row is in white while the top row is in yellow. One full turret rotation provides 12 Mils (120cm or 47.2 inches) of adjustment. Halfway through the rotation a yellow line below the knob comes into view. After a rifleman has made one full rotation he switches and uses the top row of numbers if additional elevation is required.
The elevation turret provides approximately 1.5 rotations of usable elevation (approximately 70 inches). This is substantially more elevation than is required to take a .308 Win. chambered rifle from 100 to 1000 yards. The well thoughtout design means there is no chance of a rifleman losing track of turret rotations.
While some may initially be put off by the turret graduations being in .1 Mil/1cm increments, they do offer an advantage. Since the reticle is delineated in mils, it makes sense to graduate the adjustments in the same manner. This allows a rifleman to quickly use his come-up data on either the turret or on the reticle.
In addition, if he fires a shot and misses, but sees the impact, he can quickly use his reticle to measure his correction and apply it directly to his turrets.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion itís best to have mil adjustments with a mil-based reticle and moa adjustments with an moa-based reticle.
Mounted to the left side of the mechanism block is a large smooth adjusting parallax knob. Parallax can be adjusted from 50m to infinity. Mounted to the parallax knob is a smaller rheostat which controls the intensity of the reticle when illuminated. The rheostat, as it was designed for military use, is a bit different than most currently out there.
The unit itself is powered by a common CR2032 3-volt battery and controlled by a microprocessor. Carl Zeiss introduced their first production rifle scopes, the Zieldovier 1+4X20 and Zieldosechs 1+6x31, featuring an illuminated reticle way back in 1921. So they have a bit of expertise in this area.
A conventional push/pull illumination system (such as utilized on Carl Zeiss sporting scopes) is not utilized. Why? It was found that at high altitude (such as if a sniper team being inserted by helicopter) the combination of high altitude and nitrogen pressurization would cause the knob to pop out and activate the illumination. Instead this Hensoldt is fitted with a system where you rotate the rheostat to turn the illumination and to adjust its intensity. To turn it off you push in on the knob. When you turn it again, it returns to its last intensity setting. Incorporated in the design is a three hour auto shut-off to prevent it from being accidentally left on and draining the battery.
The scopeís illuminated reticle is powered by a common CR2032 battery and is controlled by a microprocessor. Itís simple to use and is also night vision compatible.
A conventional Mil-Dot reticle is mounted in the front focal plane. By placing the reticle in the front, rather than rear, focal plane targets may be milíd at any magnification setting. So, unlike the majority of tactical scopes currently available, the reticle is usable across the entire magnification range.
You are not forced to set it at 10X or 12X if you want to Mil a target or if you want to use the reticle for elevation/windage corrections. This is a very desirable feature American marksmen have only begun to embrace over the last few years.
In addition a choke rangefinder is included that allows ranging a one-meter tall target from 200-1000 meters. Located below the mil reticle, this system is fast and simple to use. You simply place the targetís belt line on the bottom horizontal line and the line the head touches is the range.