Konus Optics is an Italian based company that has been around for over 30 years and produces a decent number of optical based products including, rifle scopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes and many other items. The M30 line of tactical rifle scopes, obviously, is what we are interested in the most. The M30 came on the market a few years ago and has generated some interest from the budget minded shooter that is looking for the good tactical features on a scope at a reasonable price. We have seen many other scopes that are aimed at this same market space and we received a good number of requests to review one of the M30 scopes to see how it compared. Konus USA was able to provide us with one of the 4.5-16x40mm versions of the M30 for review.
There are three different versions of the M30 scope; the 4.5-16x40mm, 6.5-25x44mm, and 8.5-32x52mm. We elected to review the 4.5-16x40mm as it provides a good all around fit for tactical use with a good mid range magnification and good field of view. The claimed 80+ MOA of vertical adjustment is also better suited to long range shooting than the other higher magnification versions of the M30 that have less adjustment range. When the M30 arrived it came packaged in a nice box that included the scope itself, a 4″ sunshade, instruction manual, warranty information, flip-up scope caps and a battery for the illuminated reticle.
The scope has a one piece 30mm diameter tube made of aluminum and is rated as shockproof, waterproof and fogproof. The exterior of the scope is finished in a matte black anodizing that is uniform in appearance, though we did noticed the finish on the sun shade does not exactly match the finish on the scope body itself. Because of the larger size of the focus knob on the left side of the scope, the shoulder area is larger than average, but is nothing to be concerned about as there is still a generous amount of mounting area on the tube for the rings. The design of the tube is fairly normal to what you see on most scopes and the appearance is nice. The one big thing that stuck out to us when examining the exterior of the tube was the PRC logo on the bottom indicating the scope is made in China. Theses days most of the lower priced scopes are manufactured in China and honestly, we have not had good luck with Chinese made scopes in terms of long term durability and initial quality. We were hoping that these low-to-mid priced M30 scopes were made elsewhere, such as Japan. We were still determined to approach this review with an open mind to see how the scope compared to others based on its own merits.
The weight of the scope is fairly high for its size, over 1.5 lbs, and this is partially due to the large eye piece with zoom and illumination controls. The scope has a fast focus eye piece that rotates just a bit under 1.5 full rotations from extreme to extreme. This is not quite as fast as say a Zeiss, with uses just about 1 full rotation, but it works well and allows you to focus the reticle as needed. The eye piece does have a lock ring which is something most fast focus style eye pieces do not have and is a nice feature. The movement of the eye piece through the adjustment range is smooth and uniform.
Just ahead of the adjustable eye piece is the illumination controls for the illuminated reticle. The control knob is canted at 45 degrees to reduce obstructing the view of both the elevation knob and the side focus on the left of the scope. The knob has a removable cap on top that houses the battery for the illuminated reticle. This is a pretty standard setup, but there is one interesting thing of note on this scope. There is both a blue and red illumination. There are five brightness levels for each color with an off position between each color on both sides of the spectrum. Each illumination level has a firm click so you know exactly when you have reached the next brightness level. The knurling at the top of the knob is not that aggressive and with the firm clicks you need to insure you have a tight grasp on the knob to insure you get it to move. I’m not exactly sure why there is a necessity for blue illumination or for having the option for two different colors. Red light is preferred for its stark contrast in all conditions and backgrounds and even more importantly for a tactical purpose, of all the base colors, red negatively affects your night vision least of all. The blue is interesting, but I’m not sure it was necessary.
In front of the illumination control is the power selector ring marked in a high contrast, or “bright”, numbers that are a fairly large type font. The numbers themselves are easy to read, though the ring is flat and you cannot see the numbers from behind the scope without lifting your head to look “down”. There is a smallish dot that is your indicator dot to show what power the scope is set to. The M30 is a 2nd focal plane scope so the mildots are only accurate at one particular power, 12x in this case, and the 12 is a gold color to make it stand out indicate that it is the proper setting for milling your target. The power selector ring also does not have very aggressive knurling to allow a solid grip, but it is not necessary in this case because the force required to move the power selector ring is minimal. It is smooth through the entire range and there is enough resistance to keep it set where you left it, so there are no real concerns there.
The windage and elevation knobs are the same size and shape and are a tall, exposed knob similar in size and shape to the Leupold M1 knobs. The elevation knob has a tall shoulder “shield” or shroud that it sits down in which is marked clearly with direction indicators for up, marked with a ‘U’, and down, marked with a ‘D’. It also reminds you that each click is 1/8 (.125) MOA, which while precise, is also a lot of clicks to get from range to range. For long range shooting 1/8 clicks can sometimes become burdensome, but if you are not changing ranges frequently, then the extra precision can be nice. There are 6 MOA of adjustments per revolution and on the 0 mark there are little hashes to help track where you are at in the adjustment range. Though, with only 6 MOA per revolution and 80+ MOA available, that makes for a lot of little hashes and is probably impractical to try and track your position with those hashes. The scope is advertised as having 85″ of adjustment at 100 yards, which equates to a true MOA value of 81.184 MOA. This particular scope had 99 MOA of vertical adjustments which if you do the math comes to 16.5 revolutions of elevation.
The clicks themselves are positive with just about the right amount of force required to move the knob a click, though they are a bit notchy and have a tingy audible click. The top of the knobs have knurling and in this case it offers a good grip with and without gloves. The elevation and windage knobs both have a lock feature which I have tested on other scopes and am not a real fan of. In this case there is a “block” on top of the knob that rotates 90 degrees, clockwise to lock the knob, counter-clockwise to unlock it. This is one of the better implementations of the locking feature and while I still prefer not to have them, at least this one is quick and easy to lock and unlock. The rotating block itself is a bit bulky sitting on top of the knob, but it did allow for easy manipulation. The knobs are slipped to zero by loosening three set screws around the parameter of the knurled area of the knob and then slipping the knob and retightening the set screws.
The windage knob is the same size and shape as the elevation knob and has all the same traits and features. The knob counts up in only one direction, and there is also 6 MOA of adjustment per revolution.
The focus knob on the left of the scope is a large diameter and not as tall as the elevation and windage knobs. The focus knob is marked for ranges going from 10 – 500 and then to infinity yards. The larger diameter allows for a mechanical advantage to apply more force, and it is a good thing as the focus knob is unusually stiff, especially if the scope has set for a period of time. Again, the knurling on this knob is not very effective given the high force required to adjust the knob. The focus knob and functionally does work as it should and we were able to get a good sharp focus on the target at all the ranges we used the scope at.
The lenses are multi-coated to maximize light transmission and picture quality while looking through the scope and the glass is fairly good, it compared very well with other scopes in its class with a nice bright picture from edge to edge. The scope also has an integrated bubble level that appears in the bottom of the sight picture. We were unable to get a good picture of it for the review but you will notice in the picture taken through the scope that the bottom of the scope’s field of view is flattened-out; this is where the bubble level is. It works well and provided the scope is square with the rifle it does make a handy location to have it.
For the shooting tests we mounted the scope on our Remington 700P test mule rifle which is chambered in 308 Win. We used a set of Leupold Mk4 rings mounted on a 20 MOA tapered steel rail. With everything mounted up we headed to the range on a snowy day and yes, you will notice that there are snow flakes in the image of the reticle found above.
We shot the scope through a small box, a group at each corner separated by 6″ and the tracking wasn’t perfect with the 5th group being slightly off from the first, though it was fairly close. We also fired one group and then adjusted the scope 10 MOA to the left and fired another group to measure how accurate the clicks were on the scope. We started performing this test after a report that several higher quality scopes were significantly off. In a perfect world the groups will measure 10.47″ (10 true MOA) apart. The groups with the M30 were 10.1″ which puts it close and I would say is probably within the margin of error from the group sizes. As a final shooting test I fired a 100 yard group then adjusted the scope and shot a group at 400 yards and then adjusted the scope again back down to 100 yards. Again the groups were slightly off raising a concern about repeatability of adjustments. It was fairly close again, but still far enough off for us to take notice.
The reticle itself is mostly a traditional mildot reticle, which is always simple and clean, but with the internal part illuminated. The reticle is etched on the glass for durabilty. We did noticed one little thing that was something that could use a tweak, and that is that there is a small gap between the ending of the thin stadia line and the starting of the thicker stadia. What was confusing at first was which one should be used to start your mil measuring from? I initially was using it like most traditional mildot reticles and measuring from the thick stadia, but this is incorrect. The start of the measuring should happen at the ending of the thin stadia before the gap between it and the thicker stadia line. This is not intuitive and for some would require some conscious effort to correctly use it. Beyond that, the reticle worked as it should and did everything we needed. The illumination works well and there was no notice of light escaping into the main tube as has been noticed on other lower quality scopes.
To conclude, I will note that this is one of the better Chinese built scopes we have reviewed and used here at Sniper Central and appears to be of at least decent quality with good glass. But there are still some short comings and quality issues that keep me from giving it a full thumbs up, such as the errant repeatability of the adjustments and stiff focus knob. The rest of the gigs are design related such as the 1/8 MOA clicks, large lock/unlock blocks, blue illumination, and others, that could be corrected with design changes. For the price point there are other scopes of better quality out there but have less features, but if you are on a limited budget and need the features, then the K30 may fit the bill.
Sniper Central – 2011