A few months ago, it was brought to our attention here at Sniper Central that there was a new make of riflescope out there that had been raising some eyebrows with their prices and with reports of some good optics. This company was Mueller Optics. Then, to top it off, it was announced that Mueller would be producing a tactical scope with an illuminated mil-dot reticle. We contacted Mueller to confirm the information and also to get a scope to review. Rich at Mueller optics was a great help and was eager to talk about their scopes and to get them in front of people. We had to wait until after the Holiday rush, but then received a new Mueller Tactical 4-16x50mm scope for evaluation.
The Mueller Tactical arrived in a typical scope box and comes with some basic see through lens covers with the elastic cords between the front and back to hold the covers on. These are good for storage, though a good set of Butler Creek flip ups will make a nice addition. The front bell is threaded for a sunshade, which are available from Mueller for $17 USD (3″ stackable). The finish on the scope is matte black and is good quality. The adjustments are target turret style with 1/8″ MOA clicks. The 1/8 adjustments are good for benchrest precision shooting, but can be a bit of a pain when doing long range shooting because it ends up being a LOT of clicks. Each click is both tactile and audible providing excellent indication when counting clicks. There are three setscrews on the turrets so you can loosen and then slip them when you establish zero. The one interesting thing about the turrets is the odd spacing between the “7” and the “0” when you pass all the way around. There are only 4 clicks from 7 to 0 (that is only .5 MOA) where as there are 8 clicks (1 MOA) between all the other numbers. You can see what I am talking about in the picture of the turrets above. This is a problem for long range shooting. Once you pass through the first revolution, all your markings will be off by .5 MOA until you rotate all the way through again. Rich explained that these four extra clicks is a result of making the click adjustments 1/8 instead of 1/4. The knobs are setup for 60 clicks per revolution, which four divides into evenly, and then going to eight, which does not divide into 60 evenly (4 left over). This will be a bit cumbersome, but is livable, you just will have to count or remember where you are starting from on the dial. Personally, I would prefer that the adjustments be left at 1/4. There is 60 MOA total adjustments, which is good for a 1″ tube and is right at about the minimum if you are planning to shoot .308 at 1000 meters. (Would require a 15 or 20 MOA rail).
We mounted the scope on a SC1A2 in .308 using a set of Millet weaver style rings that were “High”, this gave us about 1mm of clearance off the barrel. For the range evaluation we brought along a Holland Tactical, Leupold Mk4, and Swift 6-18x40mm for optical comparisons. This provided a range of quality in which to compare.
For the shooting, the scope performed well. The scope held zero well (which we expected with just a .308) and the adjustments were accurate. We quickly established a zero and it was right on the rest of the shooting sessions. We ran the scope through the box, starting 6″ up and 6″ left and then working around the box. Besides being off by .5 MOA on the dials when we rotated through a whole rotation on the knobs, the adjustments were very accurate and shot the box well, and returned to zero with no problems. The scope & rifle combo shot well, shooting several .3 MOA groups, and one sub .25, telling me the scope was a good solid platform.
When comparing the optical clarity and light transmission with the other scopes, it did okay. The Leupold was clearly better, which it should be, it costs five times as much. The Holland was also noticeably brighter, well, it should be too, it costs four times as much. The Swift was a good comparison as it was in the same price range as the Mueller. The optics were very similar with good clarity and light gathering ability. If I had to choose one, the Swift offered just slightly better clarity. The adjustable objective on the Mueller is mounted on the bell and worked well at all the ranges we shot at. It does adjust down below 15 yards for those that might be mounting this scope on an air rifle.
The reticle on the Mueller is a nice addition, especially for the price. There are 11 brightness levels on the illuminated mil-dot. Only the inner mil-dot portion of the reticle lights up (red in this case). If you are looking at a bright target you will not even see the illuminated red even at its highest setting, it only shows up while looking at dark targets. On the reticle itself, there is a small space between the ending of the large stadia and the start of the small stadia (that has the dots on it). This is different than most mil-dot reticles, and I think I like it, especially if I can get the exact size of that space in order to use it for precise measurements on small or far away targets. There is no marking on the scope to indicate at what power the mil-dots are correct, but that is fairly easy to remember.
In conclusion, this scope appears to be a good value for the money especially with the nice illuminated reticle, though a few of the “little” things are a bit odd and could stand to be changed and in doing so would really make this a very nice scope. The illuminated reticle may be the “bright spot” of this scope, it works well and is nice when at dusk/dark. We did not test battery life, but the nice thing about illuminated reticles is that the reticle still works even if the illuminated part does not. We will have this scope for a long time to come and will be updating this page periodically to provide long-term durability evaluation. The Mueller Tactical does offer a new set of options over other scopes for the price point, and because of this it is certainly worth considering.