Here's a piece I wrote after trying a Viper Connect for a while. Some photos are here: <clickety> Edit: I forgot the through-scope images - these are now added.
Sammie and Gary Cooper of MTC Optics have developed their successful riflescope business based on the twin pillars of innovative products and outstanding customer service. The company recently introduced their Taipan scope, aggressively-priced with lots of extras, and they have now followed up with the Viper Connect hunting scope. Once again, innovation is the key word here. When Sammie needed some website photos taking, I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the prototypes, and this is what I discovered.
Take one look at the Viper Connect and you know this is no normal scope. Short and businesslike at 290mm (11.4Ē) long, its appearance is totally different to any other scope currently available. A closer inspection reveals a built-in objective lens cover, an eyepiece designed for close-up use and an overall design that implies a unique approach to mounting. Raising the scope to the eye, however, highlights the Viper Connectís real ace in the hole: an incredible field of view. But more of that later. The scope has the aforementioned built-in, spring loaded cover at the front, then space for some mounts, and then a double saddle. The forward saddle contains the chunky focusing knob plus the adjustment turrets concealed under substantial but low profile covers, a big bonus for hunters. The focus adjustment has just the right amount of resistance and can easily be adjusted wearing gloves. The rear turret has the IR on/off button to one side, and the 12-step IR intensity control and battery housing on top.
When MTC Optics set out to design a totally hunting-oriented scope, they knew they wanted a 3-12X zoom range, and they also specified a 32mm objective to allow the scope to lie as close to the barrel as possible whilst maximising depth of field. But their customers wanted a wider field of view than many scopes offered, and so with some clever engineering, the Viper Connect offers a massive field of view. It seemed amazing when I looked through it, but being the Doubting Thomas I am, I had to put it to the test. I designed a Heath Robinson test rig to hold scopes in a fixed position, lined up the Viper Connect on a target 28 yards away and set the zoom to 10X. (Incidentally, the zoom ring has a tiny detent as it passes through the 10X setting, letting the user know exactly when they arrive at this critical point. Neat.) I got out my camera gear, and after some experimentation took a picture of the image I saw.
I then repeated the experiment with a regular Viper 10x44. As can be seen from the photos, the image of the target is just the same size, but the field of view from the Viper Connect is much, much wider. In the field, this offers massive benefits in both selecting and acquiring targets, again pointing to the scopeís hunting-led design. The image is both bright and detailed, with excellent contrast. I really was delighted to see such a fine image from the Viper Connect, with excellent clarity in a variety of light conditions from bright sunlight to gloom. Oh, the joys of British weather.
Two other features also focus on hunting use. The Viper Connect uses MTC Opticsí Advanced Mil Dot (AMD) reticle, a detailed design with all the holdover and windage marks required, but fine enough to avoid obscuring a target. The Viper Connectís eyepiece is designed for the userís eye to be placed right up against the rubber, but also screws out for spectacle wearers to optimise their ideal focus point. This makes the scope fast to use whether you wear glasses or not, but it also means itís only usable with recoilless rifles Ė so forget putting this scope on a springer.
So thatís enough of the description, what is the Viper Connect like when mounted on a gun? Sammie had issued strict orders that I was not to mount the scope (as I was only supposed to be photographing it), but eventually temptation set in and I asked myself ďWhat would Jack Bauer do?Ē, the answer being he would mount the scope on a gun and deal with the consequences later. I had already removed the Viper 10x44 from my sonís Air Arms S200 to do the field of view comparison, so on went the Viper Connect instead.
Mounting the Viper Connect is always going to require some forward planning. The double saddle leaves no room for a mount either side, but there is plenty of space to put two mounts forward of the front saddle. I did this on the S200, and I also offered it up to an S400 where there was plenty of space rear of the pellet loading tray. Iím sure the scope can be made to fit any modern PCP with a little thought, and boy am I glad I tried. After just a few shots to zero the scope, I was ready to enjoy the wide field of view offered by the Viper Connect.
Being lucky enough to have a generous sized garden, I was able to gauge the performance of the scope at all ranges I would be happy to hunt at, and using a variety of different zoom settings. Having my eye right up to the scope soon felt completely natural, and as the light faded I was still able to define my HFT targets and kill zones. Having the scope mounted to the rear of the rifle gave the rig a very fast-handling and well-balanced feeling, especially as the Viper Connect weighs only 575g, and the weight distribution felt ideal.
Zooming right out to the 3X setting gave usable performance right up to the last light, and already I was dreaming of a rabbitting trip. Common sense prevailed, however, as I really did have to return the scope without scratching it. So, were there any niggles with the scope? For me, the flip-open lens cover was hinged on the wrong side; I would want to flip it away from my leading hand to open it. Some shooters might not like the mounts both being at the front of the scope, but thereís no reason to believe the scope is fragile in any way, and Iím sure the tube has strength to spare. An eyebell cup would help cut out stray light, and indeed MTC have that in hand.
So, my conclusions? A great sporting scope for the PCP user, with great optics, good weight distribution and a low mounting line. Loads of useful innovations and the quality we have all come expect of MTC Optics. I want one.
Last edited by peakecentral; 17-09-2010 at 08:24 PM.
Scout and Proud!
It was a great concept; russian body; prismatic/chinese optics, 40yds to 5yds without having to adjust parallax half laser, etched ret mildot Schmidt and Bender copy and wider field of view but the orig had a big let down mounting and a hate to say it that looks the same m8 way to far back
scotty connect tester/owner 0000
ps the thermal gear that vlad done 40mag was awsome.
Has the price been announced yet?
Any idea on which mounts, to get it as close as possible to the barrel on a Steyr?
I have been living with the larger of the prototypes for some months now and it is well and truly welded onto my BTAS100.
It threw one of the FT guys when I just nailed the target he was convinced I would not see with such a small scope...Lady luck eh?
The comment about winding it out to 3x in low light is interesting. The original was fixed 10x and still worked amazingly in low light, and this one is, in my opinion, better.
It worked very well at 10x, the moon was out and I was counting daisies at 40yds. try it. I reckon with a small LED torch this will be a hell of a lamping/ratting scope.
I agree with the comment about the cap, but for a different reason.
I found initially that I was reaching forward and trying to adjust parallax with the cap, or rattling it, but this is a minor item and oddly I have taken to reaching over with my right hand to adjust it now so it makes no difference.
I have a production unit on order, so I will be interested to see how it evolved.
Either way, get one, you will love it.
What the hell was that then????
Thanks for the comments, one and all.
I'd omitted the through-scope photos, which are now online. These are undoctored, and show the wide FOV on the Connect compared with the Viper 10x42 my son uses for HFT.
Scout and Proud!
FOV looks nice, great for finding targets
how is the DOV at 10x compared to a 10x Viper ?
Took the connect out this morning after not shooting anything for a week...oh the pain
Anyway, firstly I was still stunned and amazed when I picked it up and looked through at the target, they just do that to you
But, I could not get a decent group.
The rubber eye bellows were trying to beat my head into a position it seemed not to want to adopt, so I pulled it off and went to the plain eye piece.
Back to ragged hole at 25 and similar at 35...the bellows are sacked for the moment.
I reckon this scope may well cope with small ammounts of recoil and still function happily...with care
What the hell was that then????
I saw one of the original Russian Connects a while back, and was amazed by the wide FOV. The one thing that made me wonder was that close targets seemed further away.
The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.
i would agree with the comment targets seem further away,,this seems backed up with the through scope pics,,the target looks much smaller in comparison,,were both scopes really set at 10 mag as in the description?.
I had the old HTH unit and I really wish I had kept it, it was almost iconic and as I now have one of the Viper connect prototypes, and a prod version on order, it would have been nice to have the evolution on hand.
I dont think the two use the same technology though, I thought the 01 used a roof prism
The first wabbit I shot at with the 01 I missed as I assumed it was further away than I thought, so the "Deadly lead payload...snigger" went whistling over buggs's nut
Luckily bugs gave me time to reload and work out what the hell went wrong..heh heh
Whatever you thought about the 01 though, apart from the FOV, they are poles apart.
The Viper is all the good bits of the 01, and none of the bad. head position is more or less conventional, there is some eye relief to speak of, and it does not weigh 3 ton
The distance thing is even more marked with the fine AMD ret, but precise as hell, nice
The old one was a cracking tree rat scope, but due to the height above the bore it came a bit unstuck at close ranges (the holdover could be almost off the clock).
The Viper not only allows you to change the mag (the 01 was fixed x10) but also focuses down to less than 6 yds (I had focus left to play with on a 6 yard garage range)...cracking rat scope too I guess.
If you are happy with the minimal eye relief (and it is much more tolerant and conventional than the 01) it may well be the only scope you need buy...which is nice if the bring out a tailored NV add on
What the hell was that then????
is their a mount thats been released specifically for this scope yet or is everyone just using two singles up front?
BSA R10 J.B tuned .22
AirArms TX200 MK3 .177 - SOLD
It does seem to give more chance to fit a lamp though by the look of it on Phil Price's article.
The normal mounts together are as solid as hell TBH.
What the hell was that then????
I'm sure garry will answer this one!
I was expecting an email notification but didn't get one, does this mean I've missed out on this batch?
My nearest MTC dealer I would give up shooting rather than buy from them, the next nearest did kindly offer to get one in specificaly for me to look thou as he would otherwise not have stocked one, but I'll feel a bit of the fraud if I don't buy it esp. as I've never dealt with them before. I was considering a detour to wiltshire on the way to glastonbury carnival, but thats not happening now, so do any dealers have one in stock?