Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Horus Vision Talon Scope Review

Horus Review, Horus Vision Review, Horus Scope Review, Model 1000 Review, Talon Review
Recently I borrowed a LWRC M6A2 rifle from a friend for a review.  You can see the rifle review by going to my LWRC M6A2 Review Summary Page.  The rifle had a Horus Vision Talon Scope installed and this review covers this scope.  Since I wanted to minimize the disassembly of my friends components, I elected to keep the Buris PEPR mount installed on the Horus Vision Talon scope.  This way, when I'm through with my review, I can drop the scope and mount back on the upper rail, torque the rail nuts, and it should be close to his original zero.  Also I have already completed a review on the Burris PEPR mount and you can see that at my Burris PEPR Mount Review page.

I'm not sure what my friend paid for his scope, but you can find one at Horus Vision Website for $650 plus S&H.  When you purchase the scope, it comes in a very plain box.  It amazes me that the more you pay for a scope, the less bling you get out of the packaging.  This was the same way on a Zeiss Conquest scope I purchased earlier in the year.  In contrast, I have been known to purchase some cheap scopes and the packaging on those scopes is extravagant.  In the end, a scope should never go back in a package and it is best to put the money where it counts.  Since I borrowed the scope for this review, I'm not completely sure if this was all the items in the box.  Enclosed were the scope (mount not included), caps, battery, cover and screw driver.  I'm not sure about the Owner's Manual, but I feel sure there was one in the box. The online manual shows the H-48 reticle instead of the H-50 reticle.  The H-48 reticle is very similar and I think you will understand everything in the manual as it relates to the H-50.

In the review, I have included specifications from the Horus website shown in italics and then followed up with my own comments and photos.  The photo below shows the scope with the Burris PEPR mount still attached.

Length: 9.75" (24.8 cm)
Weight: 18.3 oz (518 g)
Tube Diameter: 30 mm
Wall Thickness: 1.5mm
Tube: 1 piece
Color: black

The length checked out to be 9.75" when you screw in the focus ring all the way.  With the focus ring set for my eyesight, the length was 9.88".  The scope and mount weighed in at 27.05 ounces.  Since I have reviewed this mount in the past, I know the mount weighs 8.48 ounces.  That gives a weight of the scope of 18.6 ounces, which is 0.3 ounces heavier than advertised.  I don't consider this difference to be significant.  They did a nice job with the one piece tube in the way that it swells up for the turrets.

Material: aluminum 6061-T, 340 HV Hardness
Exterior Finish: matte anodized

Horus states the material as aluminum 6061-T.  It appears they have dropped off the correct temper call out such as -T6 which is common for many scopes.  You can see the data sheet from Alcoa here for this aluminum alloy.  It also appears that they are referring to the hardness on the wrong line and they dropped off some of the data on the hardness test.  The hardness indicated is for the aluminum surface after anodizing and is referring to the surface hardness of the part.  In my opinion, all they need to do is add the 6 to make it -T6 and drop the hardness call out.

Power: 1-4 x 24
Power Selector Style: tactile power indicator
Diopter Adjustment: more than (-2,+1)
Ocular Type: rapid European focus

The scope has a 1 to 4 power magnification.  This is the first scope I have examined that had a 1 power setting and I was impressed with how quickly you can get on target at close range.  The power ring has marks at 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4, with a raised index at the 2.5 power setting.  The power ring is very firm to adjust.  The diopter adjustment ring is also very firm to adjust.  My speculation is that there are o-rings inside to allow for the 3 meter water resistance capability.

Elevation Increment: 1 click = .10 mil radian
Elevation Adj. Range: more than 34.9 MILS (120 MOA)
Windage Increments: 1 click = .10 mil radian
Windage Adj. Range: more than 34.9 MILS (120 MOA)
Turret Caps: yes
Turret Type: low
Water-resistant: yes (3 meters)
Dustproof: yes
Fogproof: yes

Until now, I have only dealt with scopes that were marked in terms of MOA adjustments, such as 1/4" at 100 yards per click.  When I unscrewed the caps and found the "1 CLICK 1/10 MIL", it took me by surprise.  I guess that shows I have only purchased sporting scopes in the past.  Just so we are all on the same page, 1 MOA is 1 minute of arc (or angle), which is actually 1.047" at 100 yards.  Most people round to 1" at 100 yards when talking about MOA.  MIL actually came from the military and stands for mil-radian.  This is just another unit of angular measurement just like MOA, but it is broken down into radians instead of degrees.  1 MOA is 1/21600th of a circle and 1 MIL is 1/6283th of a circle.  So basically, one MIL is 3.44 MOA.  The reason for the MIL unit is that this allows for a range finding technique which allows the MIL increments to be used for estimating the range.  There will be more on this when I discuss the reticle features further below.

You can see a rubber ring at the base of the turret which the turret cap presses against to make a waterproof seal on each turret.

Reticle: H-50
Reticles: 1st Focal Plane
Reticle Illumination: yes
Central Targeting Grid calibrated in USMC Mils (6283 mils/circle) (1 mil = 3.60 inches at 100 yards)

To show the reticle, I choose to take the photos against a tan indoor wall.  Since the reticle is in the first focal plane, the pattern gets larger as you increase the power.  With the reticle being in the first focal plane, the bullet drop compensation features will work for all power settings.  The key to success with this type of reticle is to fully understanding the all aspects.  Horus has a couple of things to assist with gaining this knowledge.  The first is their Owner's Manual and the second is their Tactical Manual.  They also have a Demo Shooting Game to help you understand their system.  With the scope set at 1 power, the bullet drop compensation features are of little value because you cannot see them.  When you crank it up to 4 power, these features do seem usable when viewed against a solid wall.  I was very impressed with the illumination of the reticles shown further below.

1 Power, No Illumination

1 Power, Illumination at Maximum (11 setting)

4 Power, No Illumination

4 Power, Illumination at Maximum (11 setting)

Blowup of H-50 Reticle, No Illumination

Blowup of H-50 Reticle, Illumination at Maximum (11 setting)

Battery Size: CR2032
Battery Life: 20+ hours
Rheostat: yes

Notice that there is an o-ring at the base of the battery cap to create a waterproof seal.  As I adjusted the illumination power, it was not possible for me to see the reticle on the 1 setting in a dark room, and nearly impossible to see the reticle at the 2 setting. The first significant indications with the eye started at the 3 setting.  All of the photos above were taken with the illumination at the maximum which is a 11 setting. I would imagine the 1 and 2 setting would be used with some type of night vision system.

Lens Coating: multi-coated
Objective Lens: 24mm
Exit Pupil: 24.0 - 6.0 mm
Twilight Factor: 4.9 @ 1x - 9.8 @ 4x

I was surprised with the brightness of this scope with only a 24mm objective lens.  The exit pupil is basically the objective lens diameter divided by the power which is just 24/1 and 24/4 or 24mm and 6mm.  Note that a narrow pupil (in bright light) is between 3 to 4 mm and a wide pupil (in dim light) is between 5 to 9 mm (Wikipedia).  At 1 power and in low light, your eye will get the maximum amount of light possible.  The twilight factor is just a calculation which is the square root of the objective diameter time the power.  If you do the math, you come up with the same values as Horus.  The real twilight performance for modern scopes come more from the optical coatings.

Eye Relief: 5.5" - 3.3" (140-85mm)
Field of View: 21.0 - 9.0 m (at 100m)
Shockproof: 1200 g
Parallax: fixed at 100 m
Warranty: 1 year limited

I found the eye relief to be good, but with it being variable in such a wide range, it takes a moment to get the feel.  I felt the field of view is adequate for this type of scope.  Shockproof to 1200 g should be able to cover any gun that you may want to match up with this scope.  Parallax fixed at 100 meters is very standard.  It is hard for me to believe that there in only a 1 year limited warranty on this scope.  The price and quality of this scope seem to be on par with some other manufacturers who have full lifetime guarantees.

The mailbox below was 65 yards away during these photos.  I included some of the area outside the scope to give you an idea of the difference in brightness between looking through the scope and the surrounding area.  I found this scope to be relatively bright at about 30 minutes before dark when compared to my Zeiss Conquest at a similar power. 

1 Power

4 Power

The single thing I struggle with on this scope is how effective the bullet drop compensation features will be in real situations. Even at 4 power, the photo above shows how hard it is to see the reticle grid pattern when you have a variable contrast background due to grud size. I think you have to keep in mind what Horus intended with this scope. You can get a feel for their intent when you look at the Talon Brochure.  Horus says this below in their brochure and I believe it.

TALON™ 1-4x24 Dangerous Game Optic
This scope and reticle are designed for hunting in conditions of contrasting light in brush, wooded areas, grass or steep terrain. Imagine your Talon™ set at 1x. You are prepared for a close encounter of a dangerous kind with a bear.

Bottom Line:
I would consider this an excellent close quarters scope and the aiming circle does a great job of getting you on target fast. I also consider the grid pattern as a bonus and it may be useful one day, but that is probably not the reason for selecting this scope.  I liked the brightness and clarity and the overall quality of the product.  One last thing I liked was that at any power, the aiming ring is always visible (no battery needed).  When you compare the price of this scope against some of the other 1x optics and then start adding magnifiers, this may actually be the better deal.


  1. so what's the twist with that all new horus vision how does that differ from other scopes made prior to it?

  2. The two key things are that it is a first focal plan reticle, with means that the bullet drop feature works reguardless of the zoom power of the scope. Second is the reticle grid which can be used to adjust for elevation and windage.

  3. Coming to the party late....... My son has a Horus 3-12 on his M1A, and it with midrange magnification like that, you can actually see and effectively use the Horus reticle for ranging and zeroing. Zeroing any scope where the adjusters match the reticle is requires nothing more than 2 shots and no math in your head, whether MOA adjusters with MOA reticle subtensions, or MIL adjusters with a MIL reticle. Most of the better manufacturers now offer scope models with adjusters matched to reticle. My son's Horus works this way. On my old M1A, I had a 10X42HD fixed power MIL/MIL/MIL scope from SWFA that made both ranging and zeroing a breeze. I currently own a SASS configured AR10 with a 5-20x50 illuminated milling reticle scope with matched adjusters, also made by SWFA. If you haven't ever looked at these scopes, they are well worth looking at. When I bought my 5-20, I had a chance to compare it side by side with a Leupold 8-24x50 E/RT with M5 adjusters, and an IOR Valdata 6-25x50 with an illuminated milling reticle. The Leupold was $2,375, and the IOR Valdata was $1,800, while the SWFA was $1,500. The HD glass on the SWFA was brighter than the Leupold, which was in turn brighter than the the IOR, despite the IOR's 35mm tube diameter. Always buy HD glass if you can find it. Others offer it besides SWFA, but not at prices that are competitive.

    The point of all this is that SWFA also makes a HD glass 1-4x24 combat optic with an illuminated milling reticle for $800, and they have a new 1-6x24 HD glass version of this scope coming soon for $1,000. I am in no way affiliated with SWFA. I am just a very satisfied customer who thinks that their optics are the best kept secret going, even better than Horus.