New High End Tactical article

JB.IC

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Kahles is capable of making exceedingly nice stuff and have the name recognition. K525 makes no sense to me.

ILya
I remember when the k624i came out and everyone jumped on that bandwagon. I jumped on it too. And a week later I returned the scope. There were issues with the one I had but I was not impressed. After a bad taste was left, I watched the bandwagon fill the Hide px with their used scopes. There scopes just aren’t that great compared to the others.
 

koshkin

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I remember when the k624i came out and everyone jumped on that bandwagon. I jumped on it too. And a week later I returned the scope. There were issues with the one I had but I was not impressed. After a bad taste was left, I watched the bandwagon fill the Hide px with their used scopes. There scopes just aren’t that great compared to the others.
I have a lot of history with older Kahles scopes and there were several that I thought were absolutely superb. With tactical stuff, I though that the K312i was a very nice scope. K624i had issues that were partially rectified by the Gen3, but image quality was still lagging a little. I had great hopes for K318i and K525i, but they are doing something funky with FOV and DOF.

ILya
 

CBDR

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Well i'm too curious and want to have a definitive educated opinion on the K525i along with the rest so as i mentioned last time i'll send it your way. I have some backup rifles and the amg arriving soon so it's not like i'll be without if a match comes up.
I think your going to like the AMG.
 
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JB.IC

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I think your going to like the AMG.
The razor lineup is good for the money. I typically choose my Razors Gen2 over my S&B 3-27x h59. I’m a fan of the EBR-7c reticle.

Did DL ever make an opinion of the Gen2 razors and AMG line?
 

koshkin

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The razor lineup is good for the money. I typically choose my Razors Gen2 over my S&B 3-27x h59. I’m a fan of the EBR-7c reticle.

Did DL ever make an opinion of the Gen2 razors and AMG line?
I have the AMG. Easily one of my favorites other than the reticle which is also workable.

By the way, I just received the M7Xi from Steiner with Tremor 3 reticle.

ILya
 

JB.IC

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I have the AMG. Easily one of my favorites other than the reticle which is also workable.

By the way, I just received the M7Xi from Steiner with Tremor 3 reticle.

ILya
Oh nice. I was curious about the M7Xi. Mainly how it differed from the M5Xi. The price seems to be night and day.

Also, what were your findings with your AMGs tracking? I keep meaning to do a tracking test on my razors and I never get around to it.
 

wjm308

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I have a lot of history with older Kahles scopes and there were several that I thought were absolutely superb. With tactical stuff, I though that the K312i was a very nice scope. K624i had issues that were partially rectified by the Gen3, but image quality was still lagging a little. I had great hopes for K318i and K525i, but they are doing something funky with FOV and DOF.

ILya
I am not certain that Kahles ever actually modified the optical formula for the K624i series regardless of generation, I believe it was updates to the multi-coating as well as reticles. Gen III introduced the SKMR series reticles (that I believe Jeff Huber was responsible for helping out with), but the Gen III was supposed to be an improvement on CA and was one of the worst performers (with regard to CA) of any high end scope I've used. I overlooked the CA issues for everything else it offered until the AMG came out, bought that scope and thought it was a better scope in almost every respect and it came in lighter and with a 30mm tube, even though it was 50mm it seemed to hold its own quite well compared to the 56mm K624i in low light.

With that said, it sounds like an optical engineer really screwed up with the design of the K525i and I doubt any generation of this scope is going to fix FOV/DOF issues unless they rework the optical formula. I own the K318i and have been impressed with it optically but the FOV is a bit lacking, that being said turrets were much nicer (on the Kahles) than on the 18 mil DT S&B ultra short which is why I kept the Kahles. I'd love to get my hands on a ZCO 4-20 at some point, but probably not until next year sometime. I may try to sell or trade the K318i for another ZP5 5-25 as I don't "need" an Ultra Short scope right now and the ZC527 is too heavy for my tastes but phenomenal that it compares so closely with the TT but in a shorter build, obviously Jeff Huber made the right decision in leaving Kahles to form ZCO, certainly the right decision for the community, makes me wonder if the K525i was one of the reasons Jeff jumped ship, regardless, sounds like ZCO is the real deal and will hopefully be around for a very long time.

Anyway, wanted to say thank you for taking care of my ZP5 and great to see it in the industries best review site (my plug for opticsthoughts and ILya, shameless... yes, but true). Also, one of the best features of your video review (
) is the t-shirt you are wearing, I told my son I need to get that for him and he laughed hard - he too has low tolerance for idiots :D.
 

5RWill

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The only real issue is going to be the resale of the k525i 😂 but i appreciate the review ILya. Funny how hindsight is 20/20. I went kahles to avoid growing pains with ZCO and got growing pains with Kahles...the irony lol.

Breaking Kahles fans hearts everywhere....
Yup though admittedly i've been defending the k525i to a degree (resolution wise to my eyes though haven't sat down with any other optic in it's price range side by side) i think it's been talked about to Ad nauseam about it's strange limitations. The DOF is incredibly shallow and as noted the FOV is small. Not sure what they were thinking, i'll probably try to flip it for a ZP5 at some point or ZCO if i can swing it. School really screws up a lot of scope buying intentions.
 
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wjm308

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The only real issue is going to be the resale of the k525i 😂 but i appreciate the review ILya. Funny how hindsight is 20/20. I went kahles to avoid growing pains with ZCO and got growing pains with Kahles...the irony lol.
Been there and done that Will. That being said, I still think there is a market for Kahles scopes, many people are fans of the brand and are willing to sacrifice a bit on performance. The SKMR series reticles are still some of the most popular and work, the turrets as ILya mentioned are really good, though he mentioned in the video the Kahles had some of the quietest turrets it sounded more like the Schmidt and Minox had "quieter" turrets than the Kahles and my K318i turrets are louder than my ZP5 turrets if I remember (I'll have to test once I get the ZP5 back).
 

wjm308

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ILya, I'll be curious what you think of the Leupold Mark 5 turrets after you've had more time with them. I really like the lock at 0 feature and feel it's more useful in certain situations than the lock anywhere style. The way I look at it is this, whether you're hunting or competing, you adjust your turret for each stage and when you finish you return your turret to 0 so you have a baseline for when you pick up again - with lock anywhere you could lock after sighting in and forget to return to zero but the next time you go out if you have a mil adjust you might just adjust from where you last locked, but with the Mk5 turret you always know if it's locked then you're at zero if it's not locked you're not at zero, I also really liked the audible clicks and spacing, I might have to give another Mk5 a chance down the road, but they really need to improve on their reticle offerings because they have nothing between the plain TMR and the busy Horus or CCH reticles. I'm also anxious to hear more of what you liked so much about the GR2ID reticle as that seems pretty busy as well... like you said, it's pretty amazing after all these years that the Schmidt 5-25 still holds its own with the best, but you did forget to mention one thing in the video and that is the fact that it tunnels heavily at low magnification, that is something the other scopes handle very well.
 

Franko

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After watching your review I can now hear a voice in the back of my head whispering "as an MOA guy the only logical choice is Tangent Theta...". I sincerely thank you for spending the time to help the rest of us get our money's worth when buying optics, even though you are putting my checking account balance in serious danger.
 

koshkin

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Been there and done that Will. That being said, I still think there is a market for Kahles scopes, many people are fans of the brand and are willing to sacrifice a bit on performance. The SKMR series reticles are still some of the most popular and work, the turrets as ILya mentioned are really good, though he mentioned in the video the Kahles had some of the quietest turrets it sounded more like the Schmidt and Minox had "quieter" turrets than the Kahles and my K318i turrets are louder than my ZP5 turrets if I remember (I'll have to test once I get the ZP5 back).
Gentlemen, as we all band together to bash Kahles, always keep in mind that the only reason K525 is not looking all that great is that we are comparing to some really impressive scopes and it really only gives ground to them in terms of image quality. Mechanically, it has excellent feel, all the controls are done well and center mounted parallax offers some unique advantages.

These are all really nice scope and each has its own set of compromises.

ILya
 

koshkin

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After watching your review I can now hear a voice in the back of my head whispering "as an MOA guy the only logical choice is Tangent Theta...". I sincerely thank you for spending the time to help the rest of us get our money's worth when buying optics, even though you are putting my checking account balance in serious danger.
MOA guy? If you are still using MOA, do you deserve a Tangent Theta? :devilish:

ILya
 

koshkin

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ILya, I'll be curious what you think of the Leupold Mark 5 turrets after you've had more time with them. I really like the lock at 0 feature and feel it's more useful in certain situations than the lock anywhere style. The way I look at it is this, whether you're hunting or competing, you adjust your turret for each stage and when you finish you return your turret to 0 so you have a baseline for when you pick up again - with lock anywhere you could lock after sighting in and forget to return to zero but the next time you go out if you have a mil adjust you might just adjust from where you last locked, but with the Mk5 turret you always know if it's locked then you're at zero if it's not locked you're not at zero, I also really liked the audible clicks and spacing, I might have to give another Mk5 a chance down the road, but they really need to improve on their reticle offerings because they have nothing between the plain TMR and the busy Horus or CCH reticles. I'm also anxious to hear more of what you liked so much about the GR2ID reticle as that seems pretty busy as well... like you said, it's pretty amazing after all these years that the Schmidt 5-25 still holds its own with the best, but you did forget to mention one thing in the video and that is the fact that it tunnels heavily at low magnification, that is something the other scopes handle very well.
I like the Mark 5HD turret a fair bit. It looks to be the same turret as I had in the 3.6-18x44 and I liked it there too. Zerolock is something I happened to really like, although it is less important for me than the ZeroStop. When I set-up to shoot I reflexively check the elevation turret to make sure it is stopped at the zero setting. I do like to have either locking or covered windage turret and Leupold's covered turret is a very fullproof solution.

Leupold does need better reticles. CCH is a step in the right direction, but it is still kinda "Horus-lite". Technically, they have a very decent MOA reticle in Impact-29, but they refuse to use it in FFP scopes for some reason. If they could simply make a mrad version of that and put into the Mark 5, I think they would do really well.

ILya
 

5RWill

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Been there and done that Will. That being said, I still think there is a market for Kahles scopes, many people are fans of the brand and are willing to sacrifice a bit on performance. The SKMR series reticles are still some of the most popular and work, the turrets as ILya mentioned are really good, though he mentioned in the video the Kahles had some of the quietest turrets it sounded more like the Schmidt and Minox had "quieter" turrets than the Kahles and my K318i turrets are louder than my ZP5 turrets if I remember (I'll have to test once I get the ZP5 back).

You're right i just thought it would be closer than it was. What brief time i've had with the K525i with two competitors of that selection (ZP5, PMII) i didn't notice much difference at intermittent magnification, but the comparison was extremely brief. At max it's very noticeable. Just kind of sucks and it's not to say that Kahles is a bad optic they've got every other feature i'd want in an optic. I adore the turrets, the parallax is ambidextrous, the reticle is great, and you can have the windage on either side. Seeing as they are charging premium with a new design that while fixes one short coming of the k624i (CA) but introduces many more compromises is just frustrating. Especially knowing their parent company (Swaro) produces some of the finest glass money can buy.

The used market is shot for them too, for those of us that paid retail or near it recouping 80% will be about tops it seems. It happens it's the nature of the game in advancing anything this day in age. I run the same risk with every GPU i buy this day in age just based on driver development. Bought Kepler six years ago and it's longevity has been absolute crap, meanwhile it's competitor Hawaii saw a 30% increase over that time in performance. We just all thought they would field something more comparable to TT. The K318i i still love but it's an ultra short so there are expected short comings. I understand the k525i is short for it's mag range but i'm perplexed as to why all those compromises were made. Pretty much as ILya noted in the video.

Anyone wants to trade for a ZP5 holler at me 😂
 
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wjm308

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I like the Mark 5HD turret a fair bit. It looks to be the same turret as I had in the 3.6-18x44 and I liked it there too. Zerolock is something I happened to really like, although it is less important for me than the ZeroStop. When I set-up to shoot I reflexively check the elevation turret to make sure it is stopped at the zero setting. I do like to have either locking or covered windage turret and Leupold's covered turret is a very fullproof solution.

Leupold does need better reticles. CCH is a step in the right direction, but it is still kinda "Horus-lite". Technically, they have a very decent MOA reticle in Impact-29, but they refuse to use it in FFP scopes for some reason. If they could simply make a mrad version of that and put into the Mark 5, I think they would do really well.

ILya
Another factor with many zero stop systems is they don't all stop at "zero" as their name implies, many stop somewhere beyond zero usually in the -.5 mil range, but not always, some can be .4 others .6 and so forth, yes, I understand why - if you need to shoot at something closer than your zero you can adjust, but unless I'm zeroing for ELR at 500y or beyond then I'm not sure there's a huge benefit because most of us zero at 100y and anything inside of 100y, unless it is tiny, is going to be hit without adjustment (ex: at 50y .5 mils is only .9 inches, I'd be curious how many are actually dialing under zero?). What I like about the Leupold is that it stops at zero and locks, but you can depress the lock and go under zero about .5 mil if you need to, but the lock will always pop at zero, again, just a beneficial feature IMO. Once they come out with a better mil reticle I will give them serious consideration again. But this is a topic to beat on for another day.

Back to reticles, how did you like the bigger dot on the Gen 3XR reticle? I would think I'd like that as I find the dot on the SKMR a bit small, MR4 is better but still pretty small, but I think the Gen 3XR dot is about twice the size as the SKMR dot if I remember correctly.
 

koshkin

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Oh nice. I was curious about the M7Xi. Mainly how it differed from the M5Xi. The price seems to be night and day.

Also, what were your findings with your AMGs tracking? I keep meaning to do a tracking test on my razors and I never get around to it.

M7Xi just got here and just got it onto the tripod. Offhand, looks like an improvement over the M5Xi and the turrets look feel pretty good.

I'll do a through the scope video of the reticle shortly. As I look at it a realize that Tremor 3 is perhaps one of the best examples of efficient space utilization. Whoever designed this thing must have tackled the very important question: "how do I fill available space in the image with peculiarly arranged dots and hashmarks while still leaving just enough of it open to goad the shooter into thinking he can see something"

I exaggerate of course, but man is this thing busy. I think if they removed all the crap below the 12 mrad line, threw out the lead scale, the wind dots, and the weird vertical hashmarks on the ouside of the numbers in the tree portion it would be a very nice reticle.

ILya
 
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Burdy

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Kahles is capable of making exceedingly nice stuff and have the name recognition. K525 makes no sense to me.

ILya
I own one, the K16i and its outstanding. Different category of optic for sure, but a winner nonetheless.
 

Burdy

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Another factor with many zero stop systems is they don't all stop at "zero" as their name implies, many stop somewhere beyond zero usually in the -.5 mil range, but not always, some can be .4 others .6 and so forth, yes, I understand why - if you need to shoot at something closer than your zero you can adjust, but unless I'm zeroing for ELR at 500y or beyond then I'm not sure there's a huge benefit because most of us zero at 100y and anything inside of 100y, unless it is tiny, is going to be hit without adjustment (ex: at 50y .5 mils is only .9 inches, I'd be curious how many are actually dialing under zero?).
Not sure I follow. I just set my zero stops at minus .5 mils anyways. I think I would much rather set it where I wanted than to set it at zero and have it actually be back .4 or .5 mils.
 

M289

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@koshkin Where does the Schmidt & Bender 3-27x56 PM II High Power stand in all this?

I fully understand the 5-25 PM II is the old design, but I'm very much interested in your opinion on the 3-27x56 PM II HP.
Especially since it offers a lot of elevation adjustment, like the ZC527 (35MIL) and Hensoldt 3.5-26x56 FF (36MIL).
 

Bertoli888

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5-25 PM II is the old design of a least a decade old. Very surprising that it's still competes well with the top guns. Are we reaching the ends of optics physical limitations? Look at your phone 10 years ago versus today (same with anything electronics). Moore's law doesn't work in optics?
 

Blackmax12

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Before this review came out I had already decided the K525 needed to come of my long range rifle (this review reinforced my thinking). I love the looks and feel of the scope but, as stated, it certainly has drawbacks. I have been debating between the ZCO 5-27 and ATACR 7-35. I was bummed to see Nightforce didn't come through with a demo. Do you have an opinion on which way to go? Thanks for putting these reviews together.
 

Kickin45

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Awesome video and info Koshkin.
Amazing how well the S&B was originally designed that it still keeps up with the latest and greatest.
 

koshkin

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@koshkin Where does the Schmidt & Bender 3-27x56 PM II High Power stand in all this?

I fully understand the 5-25 PM II is the old design, but I'm very much interested in your opinion on the 3-27x56 PM II HP.
Especially since it offers a lot of elevation adjustment, like the ZC527 (35MIL) and Hensoldt 3.5-26x56 FF (36MIL).
I have played with the 3-27x56 a bit, but I have not done a full review. It is a good scope, but at higher mags I somewhat prefer the image of the 5-25x. 3-27x definitely has the edg eon lower powers with its broader mag range and lack of tunneling.

In this particular case, I really wanted to see the GR2ID reticle, which is why I ended up with the 5-25x56.

For my personal use, I am fairly particular about reticles, so I have been largely ignoring Schmidt for a little while due to the reticle selection. GR2ID rekindled my interest in S&B, hence that is the scope I am looking at.

As far as adjustment range goes, honestly, I have never needed to dial that much. Vast majority of the shooting I do is within 12 mrad.

ILya
 

koshkin

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Before this review came out I had already decided the K525 needed to come of my long range rifle (this review reinforced my thinking). I love the looks and feel of the scope but, as stated, it certainly has drawbacks. I have been debating between the ZCO 5-27 and ATACR 7-35. I was bummed to see Nightforce didn't come through with a demo. Do you have an opinion on which way to go? Thanks for putting these reviews together.

Both are good scopes. Since I do not have the ATACR here I can not comment too much on how it stacks up. ZCO is a very impressive design.

ILya
 

wjm308

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Not sure I follow. I just set my zero stops at minus .5 mils anyways. I think I would much rather set it where I wanted than to set it at zero and have it actually be back .4 or .5 mils.
Like I said, probably a topic for another thread, but real quick. My question is "why", why have a "zero stop" that doesn't actually "stop" at zero? Yes, I get that with different conditions your zero can change and many manufacture's put the extra in for "wiggle room" lets call it but instead of doing that, why not make a better zero stop design which can easily be adjusted, but maybe this is where the Tangent Theta's unique tool-less reset really comes into play, my March scopes also had a very easy zero stop feature that I really liked as well. Some scopes allow you to adjust exactly where you want the zero stop to stop, but others force this upon you and most zero stop configurations are a pain to deal with on the fly. Maybe it's more of a mental thing and I just need to wrap my mind around it better - if my Schmidt stops at .6 mil under, my ZP5 stops at .5 mil under and my Kahles stops at .4 mil under that's a jumbled mess in my brain, I don't want to have to remember if I'm shooting one rifle or the other, I want to know that when I dial down and the turret stops, that it stopped at zero and not have to think, "now that it stopped, how much do I have to dial back up to actually get to zero". Most of the time that I shoot I am not under stress and am able to confirm zero by simply looking at the turret, but I would prefer the zero stop to be easily set and easily changed, but to always stop on zero. Again, it could just be the way my brain works and I just need to get over it.
 

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Didn't read your entire thread but didn't see March. With the recent loss of a US distributor, owners will have to deal directly to the manufacturer in Japan. Failures will happen and business will dictate other changes, but I am afraid to go with a newer manufacturer when the product is approaching or exceeding 3K. I would also request in your testing that you do 100 or so quick full range clicks before and after a successful tall target.
 

koshkin

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Didn't read your entire thread but didn't see March. With the recent loss of a US distributor, owners will have to deal directly to the manufacturer in Japan. Failures will happen and business will dictate other changes, but I am afraid to go with a newer manufacturer when the product is approaching or exceeding 3K. I would also request in your testing that you do 100 or so quick full range clicks before and after a successful tall target.
March's new PRS scope was not ready and the distributor is changing so I ended not adding any of their products to the list.

ILya
 

wjm308

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ILya, when are you getting the new XTR III scopes from Burris? Also, will you be creating a new thread for the 50mm scope review or will that be posted here?
 

koshkin

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Didn't read your entire thread but didn't see March. With the recent loss of a US distributor, owners will have to deal directly to the manufacturer in Japan. Failures will happen and business will dictate other changes, but I am afraid to go with a newer manufacturer when the product is approaching or exceeding 3K. I would also request in your testing that you do 100 or so quick full range clicks before and after a successful tall target.
I do not do tall target tests too much. I have a different way of checking click accuracy. I do a limited live fire adjustment check which is kinda like a tall target test, except I have a lot of flexibility in choosing the distance. The most important thing there is to make sure that the reticle matches the turrets.

I am not sure what you mean by 100 full range clicks.

ILya
 

KAR135

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If you need a M7xi I have one with the MSR2 reticle. I'd like to see your thoughts on that scope, though after hearing the Kahles review, I'm slightly afraid of what you'll say about the M7xi. I have only had it a couple weeks and don't have it mounted on anything yet.

To me, it is the most amazing thing ever, due to the fact I've never had ED glass before. I probably would have a hard time telling the difference between any of the scopes you've already compared and have only ever looked through the ATACR 5-25 and Kahles5-25 and without having them next to each other it is hard to say any of them were any better, at least with my eyes and limited experience with high end optics.
 

koshkin

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If you need a M7xi I have one with the MSR2 reticle. I'd like to see your thoughts on that scope, though after hearing the Kahles review, I'm slightly afraid of what you'll say about the M7xi. I have only had it a couple weeks and don't have it mounted on anything yet.

To me, it is the most amazing thing ever, due to the fact I've never had ED glass before. I probably would have a hard time telling the difference between any of the scopes you've already compared and have only ever looked through the ATACR 5-25 and Kahles5-25 and without having them next to each other it is hard to say any of them were any better, at least with my eyes and limited experience with high end optics.
I have M7Xi with Tremor3 here. So far I like it more than the K525i if that is your concern. How it stacks up to the rest of them remains to be seen. I'll be doing some tests today and tomorrow.

ILya
 

carbonbased

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Take that back.

Unless there is some sort of a joke in there that I do not understand.

ILya
I am guessing the fellow either:
a) actually thought you were from Jersey for reasons I don’t know. Or…

b) is joking because you remind him of someone from Jersey (physique, accent (!?), the statement on your shirt, “telling it like it is”, etc).

Personally, I’m not really getting vibes from either a or b. But what do I know, I’m a simple midwesterner. I’d let it roll off your back like water off a duck.

Unless your reply to him is so dry that I didn’t catch the sarcasm.
 

wjm308

Send it!
Belligerents
Nov 30, 2012
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Black Forest, CO
I have M7Xi with Tremor3 here. So far I like it more than the K525i if that is your concern. How it stacks up to the rest of them remains to be seen. I'll be doing some tests today and tomorrow.

ILya
I know you've sent the ZP5 back, but curious your thoughts on the M7Xi and ZP5 especially with regard to low light performance, color, contrast and depth.
 
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