LIGHTSTREAM 4.5 x 14 x 44 Worth £400 notes?
OK, I have just read the excellent review on the Lightstream scope by TargetZero http://www.airgunbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=145963 and thought that I should add my own.
The Lightstream was purchased due to being a Milldot reticule and replaced a Nikon Monarch (Which I loved apart from the Reticule!) so, with a fairly good comparison to go on here is what I thought…
The Box, packaging and Instrucitons…..
Ok, a cardboard box does nothing for the scope, and this certainly does nothing for the scope. It is a plain (literally, plain, white cardboard) box and the labels are like the Avery address labels with either laser or inkjet print. Similarly, the instructions look as though they have been printed on a laser printer and not commercially printed. Ok, so this looks a bit cheap buy hey! This could mean a sensible manufacturer is at last putting effort into reducing needless costs and producing better optics….isn’t he?
The first impression is that this is not particularly good quality. Sorry, but for a few beers short of £400 I want a bit more “Class” feel and looks. I want the gold filled etching to be properly filled, not with black gaps in the lettering. I want spotless anodizing…I want £400’s worth and this does not, for me include elasticized lens caps that don’t even fit. The OS Diameter of the objective lens is 5.15 (not precise, just the best steel ruler I have) and the inside of the lens covers? 5.9 leaving a half-centimeter gap all around the scopes lens. Fluke? No, same with the ocular lens as well (lens = 3.8 Covers = 4.2) No real hardship, just bloody sloppy for a £400 scope.
The Locking Ring (“Sure Lock” ring) is much the same as any other and the instructions seem to suggest that this is a bit special, how escapes me.
The “Variable Power” (magnification ring to you and me) is disappointing, on scopes costing lots less (Simmons) you find a block to aid turning. Not on the LS. The resistance of the mag ring is good, smooth and does the job.
Objective Lens Adjustment (Rangefinding)
The calibration on the ring is from 15 yards to 300 and then infinity. However, turn the ring down to 15 yards and there is still about another 1/3 turn left before it reaches the end of travel. Not a problem, just surprises me of the amount. What I do like (at last you say, he actually likes something) is the resistance of the ring is less than other scopes. Personally, I find trying to adjust the ring to get a range is difficult enough, especially when you don’t have side focus, but this at least makes the task easier.
These are OK in my book, well, about the same as my Whitetail Expedition (well, actually, almost identical) There is a positive “Click” for each 1/8 MOA and the ability to reset to “0” with a small hex key (hex keys, how much are they? Wouldn’t it have been nice to see one included in the box?)
These are pretty good. They beat anything that Simmons can throw at them for clarity and let in loads of Light for a 44 Objective. However, (yep, sorry, lots of negatives….) I did find that the first evening I was out with the scope I had a problem. Basically, it was a bright sunny evening and the sun was just starting to drop below the Downs with no direct glare or really bright light. Certainly plenty to see with and while viewing in any direction apart from in the brightest direction the sight picture was excellent. However, pick a target towards the sun (I mean in the same direction, I hope you knew that!!!) and the picture literally “Clouded” as though I was looking into fog. Move away, and it was fine. Now, I have not got the lens shade but I do not for one moment think that would have made any difference. It is just that I have never experienced this before and certainly not with the Nikon or my many Simmons. It may just be glare, but hey, is that £400 I have just paid for this?
The magnification drops down to 4.5 and in my book when you drop the mag the field of view increases. Well it does with the lightstream, but with a strange “Tunnelling” as well. What I mean is that at 6x mag the sight picture fills the entire ocular lens. From 6x down you start to get a wide black margin eventually looking something like about 1cm all round. No, the “real” field of view stays as it should, but this is disconcerting.
How well do you know your 27.78 times table? That is what the Milldot calculations require you to know. The range finding example with the mildot method that is given is as follows –
Target Size 12”, visually fits between 2 mil spaces – 12(inches) x 27.78 = 333.36. Divide this by the two mil spaces = 168.68 yards (er….was this the scope “Specifically designed for Air Rifle hunting”?) it goes on to say that at 100 yards the mil dot space will equal 3.6” and then gives various examples for 200, 100, 50, 40 and 33 yards being 0.5, 1, 2, 2.5 and 3 mil spaces respectively. Now, at the real risk of showing my ignorance, this is the first time I have tried to use the mil dot range finding method. Given these instructions I am still very lost, especially as I cannot get from my mind why we are talking of ranges up to 200 yards for an air rifle?
The actual reticule is also problematic, for me at least. Yes it is on the first focal plane and is supposed to be of great benefit by offering a “Unique” true strike system whereby if you need 1 dot holdover at 50m at 14 x mag, you will also need 1 dot holdover at 50m on 7 x mag. Now, call me sceptical (or a lawyer), but to me the words “Unique” have a certain meaning; that there is no comparison and no other scope manufactured offers this same ability. Really? Can someone please pass me my litigation manual……..? In my (perhaps as far as riflescopes) limited experience I have had other scopes where the magnification did not alter the required holdover. Especially not at air rifle (even FAC) ranges. I happily stand to be corrected if necessary.
The other problem is the actual size of the reticule. Because this is on the first focal plane the size of the reticule changes with the magnification (Ok, well at least the holdover supposedly stays the same, is this the trade off?) By this I mean at 6x mag and above you have a decent size reticule, but drop the magnification and this gets smaller and smaller and smaller until it is very hard to try and distinguish the mildots.
I have not tried it yet, but for me this is looking like a huge problem waiting for dusk/night shooting, even with a lamp as you will be hard pressed to see the reticule at anything less that about 8x mag. Have a wood or hedgerow for a backdrop and you will barely (to my mind, and I don’t wear glasses) have a bloody hard job of finding the reticule at all. To be absolutely fair, this is assumption but I will try it and let you know.
Zeroing was great. Done in about 10 shots out of the box and there is even a trajectory planner for you to get to know your aim points and allowance for wind etc.
Not good. I doubt very much if I would have another and if someone offers me decent money for this I will be ordering a Nikon immediately (or the Elite 4200 or the………
With £400 I will be out to find a manufacturer that can afford to supply decent packaging, lens caps, allen keys and even a cleaning cloth as well as a optically brilliant scope.
No, not that impressed at all. It may be that this scope has been designed by a hunter with specific purposes in mind. He may have designed exactly the scope he likes and for him, and perhaps many others it is excellent, but for me I have found little that leaves a real impression apart from one of cost cutting that is not reflected in the scopes quality, finish or abilities.
Last edited by BlackDuck; 13-10-2006 at 08:49 PM.