Late in 2016, I came across an interesting rifle scope from Primary Arms. It was the 4 – 14 x 44 First Focal Plane scope with Orion reticle for rifles chambered in .308, .223, or 30-06 Springfield cartridges.
What caught my eye was the combination of first focal plan, bullet drop reticle, a target measuring system, and a very reasonable price.
At first I was skeptical about the combination of features compared to its relatively low price. Usually rifle scopes like this have significant quality issues.
Curiosity overcame me and I took the plunge anyway. The product took little time to arrive at my door from Primary Arms in the United States.
After mounting the scope to one of my hunting rifles, I took it to the range and put it through its paces. Despite my initial concerns, I was impressed.
The rifle scope has a magnification from 4-14 power, which gives it versatile visibility from bush to prairie hunting. The glass is clear enough to make out the locations of .30 caliber bullet holes in targets up to 200 yards.
The reticle is set on the first focal plane, which means that its ballistic measurements are reliable regardless what magnification it is set to. Most entry and intermediate hunting rifles with ballistic measurement reticles are second focal plane, which means their measurements are only usable at maximum magnification.
Once I followed the directions on how to dial in the Orion reticle for my bullet caliber, my shooting groups became consistent up to 300 yards. I have yet to go beyond that distance, but would be confident on appropriately sized targets up to 600 yards with this scope, given the limitations of its current rifle and its shooter.
Unlike other ballistic reticles that show you where to aim at certain distances, the Orion reticle also has an integral target measuring system. You can use the reticle to measure the size of game like a coyote or deer and almost instantly gauge the distance to your target. This setup allows a hunter to make immediate adjustments without taking his or her eye off the reticle and the target and minimizes guesswork.
Primary Arms put a lot of work into the construction quality of its product. The rifle scope has been reliable after several trips to the range in various weather conditions. The turret clicks are a little soft but once the reticle is zeroed they should rarely need adjusting if at all.
A parallax adjustment on the left side of the scope aids in eliminating reticle distortion at any shooting distance.
Primary Arms has a winner with the combination of cost, features, and quality of this rifle scope.
It was available for US$260 from the company’s website at www.primaryarms.com.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker.