“Tract Optics?” you may ask. Tract is one of the new crop of optics companies that has popped up on the market in recent years, and so we were a little reluctant. But as we started to look deeper into the history of the company and at the founders we started to pay a little more attention. Tract does not look like the other fly by night scope companies that just import different variations of the same Chinese built scopes. Rather it appears that Tract has spent time developing their products around what their experience has shown them the market may want. Their scopes originate from some of the better scope builders in Japan and the Philippines, and better yet, they do not try to hide the manufacturing origins. In fact, they have it listed boldly under the specs of each of the different lines of scopes on their web page. After our research into the company, as well as several requests from readers, we thought it was time to bring in a scope or two for a full evaluation to see how they stacked up. We especially like the prospects of their 30mm TORIC line of scopes, but there was a bit of a wait before we could get one of those for review so for this first review we went with their lower cost Response 4-16x42mm scope, with plans to review the TORIC next, as soon as we can get one here.
We have mentioned it before, and we’ll mention it again. We actually prefer scopes that come in a simple and cheap box as it seems that the quality of the scope is inversely proportional to the cost and complexity of the box it arrives in! Of course this is not always true, but it seems that when a company makes their boxes extremely fancy, they are trying to hide the flaws in the scope. (Don’t believe us? Just look at a Schmidt & Bender box versus a BSA). So, it was a very informal good sign that the Response showed up in a very basic and plain box with the company logo on top and a slogan on the side. Though we probably would have preferred some sort of instruction manual of any sort, which there is not one. Pulling the scope out of the box the initial impressions are of a good quality scope that is nicely sized though with a large eyepiece. Like usual, we immediately flip the scope over and read the country of origin, which is the Phillipines in this case, just as they indicate on their web page.
As was mentioned, the eyepiece appears quite large, though a part of that appearance is the fact that the scope has a 1″ tube, which makes the diameter of the eyepiece housing seem large relative to the tube. The fast focus eyepiece has a larger rubber ring on it to help protect your eye in the event of the feared scope kiss. There is no markings on the adjustable part of the eyepiece to indicate a center setting, and it covers the full dioptre range spectrum in about 1.4 turns. It is smooth and when it is extended all the way out there is just a tiny bit of movement if you press on it from side to side.
At the front of the eyepiece housing is the zoom power selector ring which also has a serrated rubber ring fixed on top of the power ring. There is a larger protrusion on that rubber ring as well which is used in the same way that a throw lever is. The combination of rubber, serrations and protrusion make a power ring that is easy to grasp and adjust. The adjustment is not too stiff and is smooth through the entire range. The markings are marked in a tannish colored text and are not canted back toward the operator, so they would need to raise their head and eye to check what power setting the scope is on.
In front of the power select ring, that large eyepiece tapers quickly down to the one inch tube where there is 2.13″ of tube length to mount the rear scope ring. The shoulder area where the large external style adjustments are located is rounded and not very large, which keeps the scope dimensions fairly compact.
On top of the shoulder is the elevation knob, which is a larger style knob with larger subdued white markings that are easy to read. The knob has some aggressive knurling on top that provides an excellent gripping surface in all conditions. If you notice on the top of the knob it indicates that 1 click = .25″ at 100 yards, which raises a concern for us as almost every scope on the market today is based in MOA and not Inch Per Hundred Yards (IPHY). The difference is small, but can be significant at long distances when you are dialing in a lot of adjustments into a scope. For instance, if you are engaging a target at 1000 yards and dial in 40 MOA, or inches, of up elevation, the difference between the two units is over 18″ at 1000 yards. So it does matter what unit it is in when determining how much elevation to dial in. Beyond the markings on the scope dial there is no indications that comes with the scope that say what it actually is. To further muddy the waters, we went to their web page for this specific scope, and it says in one area that the knobs are .25″ at 100 yards for each click, yet if you go to the specs area on the same page it says that the click value is .25 MOA. We figured we would find out for sure when we did our shooting tests, though we suspect it is actually MOA and the designers were a little careless on something that is important for long range shooters and snipers.
The other marking on top of the knob is the .308/7.62 which is an indicator of what reticle is installed in the scope. We’ll get to that in a bit. The knob has 12 MOA/IPHY of adjustment per revolution and the factory indicates 44 MOA (not IPHY) of total adjustment. Our test scope here has 55 MOA/IPHY of total adjustment which is 25% more than advertised on the specs. If the scope only had 44 MOA then it would be low for a long range tactical scope and may pose problems with a 20 MOA canted rail if trying to achieve a 100 yard zero. The clicks themselves are a bit stiff with just a tad bit of slop between clicks. The audible sound is a somewhat muted, but the stiff clicks create a louder click than most. The knobs also have the spring loaded feature that allows for slipping the rings to zero without any tools. Simply lift up against the spring, rotate the knob and then sit it back down to reset the knob to zero. There are horizontal hash marks beneath the knob itself to help track how man rotations the knob has been turned, which will be important as there is no zero stop on this scope.
The windage knob is the same size and shape as the elevation knob and has the same clear and large markings on it. The directional arrows are on top of the knob and cannot be seen from behind the scope, which is the same for the elevation knob. Though it does count up in only one direction, right, and the elevation knob counts up, and these are indicators as to which direction to turn the knob. We do prefer the windage to count up in both directions for easier math, but this setup has worked for ages and is quickly adjusted to with use. The windage knob has the same tooless zero reset and the same stiff clicks that provide a very positive indicator that a click has been dialed in.
On the opposite side of the scope from the windage knob is the adjustable objective knob, or side focus as it is commonly referred to as. There are yardage markers on the knob that cover from 50 yards up to 1000 yards and then a final mark for infinity. The dial adjusts past both the low end and high end marks by about .25″ and the entire rotation is about 270 degrees. The knob rotates very smooth and works well. The physical knob is shorter than the windage knob but has the same knurling up top.
Since there is no illuminated reticle there are no additional controls on the scope. In front of the shoulder the tube extends another 2.20″ where the front scope mounting ring can be mounted. From there the one piece aluminum tube tapers gradually up to house the 42mm objective lens. The anodizing on the scope is a very nice matte black and all of the markings are subdued in one way or another, contributing nicely to the tactical appearance of the scope. The scope is not large, though is not a compact scope either. It is 13.1″ long and weighs 19.6 ounces with an eye relief of 3.5″, which is fine for moderate cartridges, but might be a little tight for big boomers.
The reticle on the scope is a BDC reticle specifically setup for the standard 168gr .308 Match ammo that is on the market. Unfortunately, there is no range finding capability with the reticle which is one of our biggest gripes for nearly all BDC reticles on the market. Why not at least have some MIL or MOA hash lines above the top stadia? Then it at least would have some range finding capability. Tract’s approach to the BDC reticle, which is mounted on the second focal plane, is interesting. If you head to their web page you will see where they have an area for “Impact Ballistics“. When you go to that page, a diagram of the reticle is displayed. You select which scope model you have, what ammo you are shooting, and what conditions you will be shooting in and then they will compute at what range each of the hold over marks will be accurate at. You can then change the magnification and see the corresponding changes. Remember, this is a 2nd focal plane reticle, so changing the magnification changes how much space the marks will cover. Its an interesting approach, though we were a little surprised that we could not find an exact match for the .308 Match ammo the reticle is supposedly calibrate to, no matter what conditions we used. Though some were reasonably close.
The reticle also has marks on the left and right of each elevation hash which correspond to a 10 MPH wind holdoff for the same .308 match ammo. The optics on the scope are fully coated and on par with other scopes in this lower/mid price range and the side focus was able to produce a sharp image in all the conditions we tested the scope in. The scopes are also argon purged and fully fog and shock proof. Seeing the reticle and looking at the scope as a whole, it seems to match up better as an optic more suited to the DMR role than the sniper role. Rapid engagements should be a strong suite for this scope and Tract actually mentions the scope would be a good fit for a AR10 style MSR rifle.
For our shooting tests we did not use an AR10, but instead mounted the scope on our Remington 700P test rifle using the already mounted 20 MOA canted Warne base and a set of steel TPS 1″ low tactical rings. Everything mounted up very quickly without any issues. As is our norm for scope tests, we used Federal Gold Medal Match ammo since it shoots about .5 MOA out of this rifle. If you have not read our description of how we test scopes, I would encourage you to do so now. The weather for our initial tests was 29 degrees with a very calm 0-2mph wind.
After our initial zero we set the dials quickly to zero and then fired a 5 MOA box to check the tracking and repeatability of the clicks. Everything checked out fine with the fifth and final group back on top of the first. We did notice that the reticle is pretty thick which made for more difficult 100 yard precision shooting as the reticle obscured the smaller aiming points on the target. The thicker reticle is nice for a DMR scope as it helps it stand out when engaging in a complex environment in a rapid manner. It seems to suit the purpose of this scope well enough. The next test was to test the size of the clicks, which we were a bit anxious to do in order to confirm our suspicion that the adjustments were in MOA and not IPHY as indicated on the dials. We fired the first group, which measured just a tad over .5 MOA and then dialed in 20 MOA of left and fired our second group, it too being right about .5 MOA. Then we dialed 20 MOA of right back into the scope and fired a confirming round, which impacted slightly higher than the original group. The distance between the groups was 22.15″, or 21.15 MOA. 20 MOA at 100 yards equates to 20.94″, which means our error was 5.8 %. For this test we allow 5% of error since group sizes and rifle accuracy come into play. It is right at that threshold. This test did confirm that the adjustments are MOA and not IPHY, as the error would have been 10.8% if it were, way out of bounds.
Because this scope seems more suited to the DMR role with its tuned BDC reticle, we decided to try out the reticle up to 600 yards just to see how accurate it was and if it could be relied on to engage targets to that range by just using the reticle. Using the Tract web page to determine what magnification the scope should be set at for our conditions, we determined that leaving it on 16x would give us the closest results, though it suggested that our rounds would be hitting a bit high at 600 yards. Our target was a 24″ circular hanging metal plate at 600 yards on another very calm early spring morning. Using the 6th hold off hash as our aiming guide, we fired our first round, which sailed just under the target. While the web page calculation suggested we would hit high, we were actually hitting low. A slightly higher aiming point resulted in solid hits from there on out. Of course, no BDC knob or reticle is going to be exactly on due to environmental conditions and we would actually consider the reticle was more accurate than the calculator indicated as we would expect the rounds to hit lower on our cool 35 degree day. So yeah, its probably good enough for semi-accurate DMR engagements out to at least 600 yards. The reticle has marks all the way to 800 yards, but we did not go beyond 600 yards for this test.
Our final set of tests include using our bore-sighting equipment to check for reticle drift during zoom changes and focus changes. The first up was testing for reticle movement as we cycled through the entire zoom range, from 4x to 16x. We were very pleased to see that there was no perceptible movement at all through the entire zoom range, indicating precision in the manufacturing and assembly of the internal mechanisms. Next up was to do the same test with the adjustable objective to see if it too was solid. This is actually a very difficult test for a scope due to all the moving lenses and pieces inside of the scope. This is especially difficult for lower quality scopes, and we do have to report that the Response did have a small amount of reticle shift through the entire range. Some scopes will only show reticle shift on the very low end of the focus adjustment, but this had it through the entire focus range. It was not a huge amount, but it was certainly noticeable. For this particular scope it had a drift toward the twelve O’clock position that totaled about 1 MOA from the close focus to the farthest focus. It certainly is not nearly as bad as cheap scopes, but is worth noting.
While we were at it, we did a quick check of the tracking using the borescope grid and we did not see any up down movement while tracking left and right, nor any left right while tracking up and down.
Overall this scope is not bad for a sub $400 USD (2018) scope. It performs well enough, though we did see some issues with click sizes and some reticle drift on the focus. But those faults were nothing out of the ordinary for this class of scope. We would like to see some sort of reticle range estimation capability in case your LRF fails or you do not want to use a LRF where it might be detectable, so we do not recommend the scope for sniper use, but for a DMR it could work fine. What this does give us is some excitement to check out the Tract TORIC scope to see how it does since it is more of a pure tactical scope. It seems to have all the right features, lets just hope they clearly mark it with MOA…
Sniper Central 2018