Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm RD SFP Riflescope

Pursuing predators is not average-sportsmen casual. It’s hunting past dark, celebrating poor weather with Super Bowl-win enthusiasm and abusing gear in military fashion — and it requires tough optics.

Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm RD SFP Riflescope

Inferior optics fuel a thriving headache medicine industry. That might be an exaggeration, but anyone who’s spent time behind inferior glass knows the pain. Buying quality is key, but the physics-defying, space-age technology squeezed into those tubes riding atop our rifles doesn’t come cheap. Smart enthusiasts eye their riflescopes as long-term investments that provide benefits throughout their lifetime, often beyond. But the price tag can feel stratospheric.  

There are a few bargains to be found that don’t surrender performance. They’re a rare breed, although the Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm proved it’s a member of that exclusive fraternity in testing. 

When it comes to riflescopes, toughness starts with the main tube. Meopta scope bodies are one-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum. This model’s tube has a 30mm diameter and it is waterproof, fogproof and shock resistant — the latter three being a common trait throughout the company line. The first two claims were confirmed as we put the optic through the paces, although we avoided a 100-foot drop test. Companies seem to balk at broken glass.


Into the Ice

The Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm went into a freezer for 24 hours. It iced up when pulled out into a temperature of 67 degrees with 64 percent humidity, as they all do. There’s no avoiding the fact that sub-freezing metal collects moisture from warm air like a magnet draws iron filings from sand. Frost covered the metal for five minutes, although aggressive knob texturing kept them workable throughout the thaw. Their generous size ensures they will remain workable with gloves on in the worst of conditions, with or without ice. 

Both exterior lenses cleared completely in 10 minutes, which is a little lethargic when compared to the performance of some riflescopes. The optic is nitrogen purged, though, which indicates the unit’s weight slowed the process. At 30 ounces it’s slightly weightier than some others that have taken up temporary residence with my freezer-burned okra. Bear in mind, too, this procedure emulates an extreme condition. Regardless, the scope returned to full clarity quickly. The exterior lenses feature the company’s MeoDrop coating, which sheds water, grease and other contaminants. It works, because once the ice turned to water it dripped off the glass.   

There is a rarely mentioned advantage to watertight status worth noting in any optic. Risk of interior fungus is reduced. It’s not the toenail kind, although it’s every bit as ugly. It takes years to grow, usually, but once it starts creeping across the glass contrast is compromised, the view gets foggy and it’s time for service or the trash. You hear about it most often in camera lenses that are not airtight, but it’s worth considering if your hunts are in humid conditions or rainy weather. It can, on occasion, affect watertight optics as well.

 

Under Recoil

Drop tests were not conducted, although there was no shift in point-of-aim/point-of-impact after a lengthy range session. Admittedly the 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered rifle doesn’t pack a huge amount of recoil, but it’s a suitable candidate for an 18X scope. 

The fact that the scope feels solid endorses its rugged build, too. You can find other optics out there with identical magnifications that weigh slightly less, but there are advantages in choosing something built to take the bumps and bruises dished out on a predator hunt.

 

True Rendition Across the Board

The secret sauce Meopta puts into its MeoBright coatings on the Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm is interesting. There is absolutely no hint of a tint or color on the objective lens or eyepiece. A lot of medium-priced scope coatings lean to a cooler blue tone or warm glow designed to enhance certain light conditions. That opens up the potential to compromise performance at other times, but Meopta’s mix provides accurate color rendition across the board. Whether in bright sunlight or the dark corners of a distant woods, it remains true, regardless of magnification setting.

That said, the contrast does not appear to be artificially enhanced. It’s a true look, but worth noting if you’re accustomed to experiencing some sort of “enhanced” image. At 18X there is some chromatic aberration, but at a level visible in most higher-priced optics. Odds are very good the average hunter will never notice it at all. The slight discoloration in this case appears as a small and translucent purplish line adjacent to and most visible on bright vertical objects. It’s hardly noticeable at the highest power, but once identified can still be found with close inspection at 3X. The phenomenon exists in even the priciest camera lenses and is usually unavoidable, regardless. 

The entire field of view is crystal clear, side to side and top to bottom. Meopta’s been making precision optics and scientific instruments in what is now the Czech Republic since 1933 — mostly in the shadow of its better-known European neighbors. It knows how to make them right, has produced military optics for years in Europe and that wealth of knowledge is now also hard at work in the company’s stateside plant, which is in Trinity, Florida.

Both the elevation and windage adjustment dials are protected by caps.
Both the elevation and windage adjustment dials are protected by caps.

Adjustment

Caps protect the windage and elevation knobs, which are on top and on the right side of the body, respectively. Adjustment is in ¼-MOA clicks, which are audible and palpable. In testing at 100 yards, each adjustment proved true downrange and the scope came back to zero with no fuss. 

Parallax is adjustable from 10 yards to infinity. The dial is on the left side of the scope, where you also activate the lighted reticle and alter brightness. A single CR 2032 battery provides power, and one is included in the box. If there’s one complaint to be made about the scope, it’s the brightness of the crosshair’s lighted red dot. Even at the brightest of the six settings the dot disappears on subjects in bright sunlight. In dark forests and before dawn or after dusk it comes into its own, but dialed down to one it’s minuscule. 

The 223 RD reticle takes up that slack — on the second focal plane — even on those dark backgrounds. The bullet drop compensating version is tailored for .223 Rem. rifles, but the company offers a variety of other models — both for different chambering holdovers and even configurations designed for precision work.

A fully adjustable diopter ensures glass-wearing shooters can also reap the full benefits of the scope’s performance. Unlike some competitors’ models, this one is tight enough not to unexpectedly shift position in the field.

A speed bump on the magnification dial means a sure grip in bad conditions. The scope also ships with a throw lever if owners prefer that style of setup.
A speed bump on the magnification dial means a sure grip in bad conditions. The scope also ships with a throw lever if owners prefer that style of setup.

Throw Down Lever

Throw levers are a popular option on today’s riflescopes, and Meopta includes a removable one with the scope. In fast-shooting situations it’s a decided advantage and even if you’re working from a blind it’s nice to maintain a solid cheek weld while changing magnification. 

The company added something different, though. The magnification ring has four different slots tapped into it for mounting the lever. That’s a nice touch that allows users to secure it at or near their preferred setting, keep it away from controls or fine tune the configuration to their preference. To keep those extra holes clean when not in use, four small screws are included. They rest flush when mounted. If you don’t like a lever, a generous speed bump on the magnification dial ensures it can be turned when Mother Nature gets challenging. It’s tall enough for a positive purchase even with gloves. 

How well a company stands behind its products says a lot more than tests on only one of the thousands to come out of the factory. The scope is backed by the firm’s “North American Lifetime Transferable Warranty.” Obviously, it doesn’t cover deliberate abuse, wounds inflicted by amateur modification and other disastrous decisions, but it does state that Meopta stands by the product for its lifetime, not 36 months or shorter. Register your scope within 30 days of your purchase, though. If you do need service, the company will either fix or replace the optic within 90 days.

The Meopta Optika6 3-18x50mm RD SFP is a solid choice for predator hunters looking for a riflescope that performs without sticker shock. It’s built military tough, something the company understands well, yet includes thoroughly modern touches. No, the company doesn’t get the same amount of press as most of its counterparts. If this riflescope is any indication, though, that’s likely to change soon.

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