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Is this the ideal stalking scope? Chris Parkin dissects the merits of moderate magnification with the Schmidt & Bender 8x56 Klassik riflescope.
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The brightest optics are those with both the best glass and the fewest layers of glass for light to pass through before reaching your eye. A non-zoom scope shows that capability, and the 8x56 specification has always been seen as the purest way to combine moderate magnification (for longer hunting shots on the hill) with a maximised 7mm exit pupil within one hunting scope.
Schmidt & Bender don’t quote a transmission factor for their 8x56 Klassik, which I suspect is to avoid discouraging buyers from its own market-leading premium zoom scopes above 90-95% transmission. Yet, to my eyes, there is nothing brighter on the market at 8x magnification.
One forgotten factor from the days of fixed zoom is the scope’s natural ability to immediately gauge the distance from the relative size of game that appeared in an image never changing in magnification, relative reticle size or subtension. Perhaps fixed zoom wouldn’t be your first choice for long-range game, but for woodland stalking, as it leads your eye into the distance, it’s always a helpful stress-free assistant for judging distance.
And this is combined with premium optical clarity, as well as the Schmidt & Bender Klassik L3 reticle’s centre-illuminated dot, which will still sit on target for zeroing at 100m without obscuring a 50mm red spot. The scope is a fixed parallax at that range. However, with modest magnification, the image viewed will remain in good focus at shorter ranges for close woodland stalking; yet on the hill or foxing in poor light, that precision allows for clinically decisive shot placement when choosing aimpoint on game. The capped turrets conceal tactile zeroing dials with position indicators, offering 1cm at 100m clicks to zero the rifle.
Even though I live in a world of high-end, high-magnification scopes, I rarely ever zoom for hunting, other than 6x or 8x during the stalk, when I’m ready for a shot with a broad field of view – unless I’m shooting driven game, for which I use a totally different optic anyway.
For a lightweight stalking rifle, I cannot think of a better optic for experiencing visual delight at dusk or dawn. Should you need it, the illuminated centre dot is easily engaged on the left side dial, although the broader arms of the outer reticle subconsciously lead your gaze to centre. The 30mm one-piece aluminium main tube is burnished to a smooth finish with deep black anodising, punctuated only by a minimal central saddle for the dials and the fast focus collar on the ocular lens. The 80mm of eye relief allows it to fit onto shorter-actioned sporting rifles with 127.5mm of total available tube space for your tube rings. Magnum eye relief might sound good, but it’s not always a benefit. On intermediate .223 to .30-06 rifles, this modest spec scope is a forgotten gem not to be ignored.
Awesome low light capability; Reticle choices; Optical excellence
Quality costs — and it is a tough market
The purity and simplicity of this scope do not detract from the optical delight demonstrated here
Exit pupil mm: 7
Twilight factor: 21.1
Field of view m/100 m: 5.0
Eye relief mm: 80
Tube diameter mm: 30
Objective lens diameter mm: 56
Length mm: 385
Click Value cm/100 m: 1
Weight in g: 605
Illuminated Reticle: L3
Contact: Schmidt & Bender (UK) Ltd www.schmidt-bender.com / 07719 567916
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