The Vector Optics Marksman 4.5-18x50 SFP Rifle Scope

I. Out of the Box

(a) The Contents

This scope came with a series of accessories, as described in Vector Optics Europe / Germany's product overview on their web site: For specs see the same site.
My experience with the German sales operation very positive and questions were replied promptly.
How nice, finally, here is a Second Focal Plane scope of quite affordable, “non-sniper quality” that combines MIL reticle markings with MIL turret clicks !

(b) Appearance

It is nicely finished with good looking, deeply anodized matte black surfaces. Some small casting irregularities were found at the edges of the knurled turret knobs.
This scope is of slender and compact build with low profile adjustment knobs and also easier to mount on break-barrel air rifles, without blocking the cocking stroke.
The markings at the controls such as the turrets, focus knob and power ring are OK but a bit small and not very clear.
The marking dots at the zoom ring and next to the turrets are too small and not easily visible from behind the scope.

This power ring is sufficiently grippy as it is and the added “Throw lever” is quite unnecessary. The ring runs smoothlybeing unlikely to move inadvertantly.
But a grip “ridge” would be nice to add to suit gloved hands and cold weather use.
The dot on the tube indicating zoom power setting is very small.
The rear eye focus ring runs smoothly; turning the side focus knob is downwards for longer distances and up for shorter ranges.

(c) Accessories and Operation.

To start with a negative, fitting the anti-flash objective “whaffle screen” is a real pain between the heels.
The threading is so fine that starting the screw-on into the objective bell is met by resistance that makes one very concerned about cross-threading. The force needed to fit the flash kill screen is uneven and at places very stiff, and definitely very annoying.
In stead, the scope should have a sun shade !

The scope comes with a “bikini” of very soft rubber covers raising uncertainty about its longevity.
Function of all adjustment collars is rather even and regular and the turrets carry knurled top edges for good finger grip facilitating shooters wearing gloves.
Turning is rather smooth and turret knobs are removable with a center top screw.
Turrets have small 1/10th MIL mark sub-divisions and clearly marked, longer full MIL positions.
Elevation clicks are clearly tactile and audible, without feeling mushy.
Windage has less crisp clicks, less audible and less tactile and a bit “mushy”. Windage has less clear “snap” in the lock / unlock.

(d) Turret markings

There are 2 additional Elevation turret knobs, one marked “1CLICK=1/10MIL”, one reading “1CLICK=1CM” and the third knob reads: 1CLICK=0.1MRAD. They are unnecessary.

(e) Turret operation

The turrets are push-pull lockable. Pull-up to unlock has a very short travel, leaving doubt about the right functioning.
Pushing down Windage to lock feels not very positive; there is no clear “click” sound or tactile “signal”. At least for now, the system seems to function.
One drawback of this feature is that turret revolutions cannot be tracked since the knob stays on the same plane.

(f) Variable Power and focussing

The zoom power ring runs almost too smoothly to my liking and does not need the “throw lever” included.
The side focus knob runs even and smooth but that the side focus allows reliable ranging.
At this moment readings are clearly “off” to my eyes.
The eye-piece focus ring fails to bring the reticle sharply into focus.

(g) The MPN-1 half mil reticle explained

This reticle is not in the first focal plane and stays the same size independent of magnification. It carries spacing values that are only “true” at a certain power setting.
It rather suits target work, but at lower power settings it may well be used for hunting also, thanks to those fatter bars at the 4 corners.
The floating center dot should be larger. Unfortunately, the reticle is not explained in the manual, but pictures with spacing data can be found at Vector Optic's web site.

(h) The Manual

Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired and shows hasty and sloppy work.
The turret lock/unlock function is not mentioned, nor is the reticle or its relationship with the turret system explained. It fails to mention the magnification at which mil markings are true mil !

(i) The lenses and image quality.

The glass seems to be better than most in this range, even comparing scopes of higher pricing point.
Off the rifle, it seemed very promising.

I did compare the scope with three other low light conditions and the Marksman did a fine job with sharp focus; it has about the same image quality glass as its € 300 to 350 - plus priced competitors.

II. Mounted on the rifle

(a) The mounting rings.

The 50 mm objective does only fit Weihrauch and Air Arms spring piston rifles when using High VO rings which seemed well aligned showing no binding and worked just fine.

(b) Eye Relief / eye box

Eye relief on this scope seems rather long and unforgiving.
Aiming with both eyes open, there is too much lateral / peripheral image in the other eye for easy concentration on the shot.
This eye box will require some getting used to.

(c) Zeroing the scope

Zeroing the scope was a 10 minute and 6 shot job with the paper target at 12 or 13 meters, and the turrets set as out of the box. The tiny center dot is difficult to make out. Pellet impact was about 4 cm low and 3 cm to the right. Converting to 100 meters, this was estimated at 4 respectively 3 full mils on the turrets. Spot on, a very nice system, this MIL-MIL scope !

(d) Focus and Range finding

I took the opportunity to compare the Marksman with two other scopes of my collection.
The Vector gave a reading of about 70 yards vs almost 100 yards with the other two scopes. Interestingly, the readings of shorter ranges on the Vector scope seemed to be the more realistic to me. Depth view of dark spots in the tree bark was just a bit less clear than on the € 300 and € 350- plus scope. Detail images of the brick walls of buildings were very good.
Below 100 yards this scope seems to range rather accurately ! Beyond, ranging becomes very difficult, not to say iffy.
None of the scopes compared gave identical readings.
The focus ring turns very smoothly and seems markedly better than on the other scopes.
On the indoor range, in- and out of focus images jumped abruptly, making fine tuning difficult.

(e) Image quality


Tested indoors at the maximum 18 x power, on white target paper put at 25 meters, the image sharpness on a target grid of 1 x 1 centimeter squares was not great. At 50 meters, sharpness was weak to insufficient, but some of this could be due to the local indoor range lighting.
As to the sharpness of the reticle, because of its small size, even at a range of 10 meters the center dot was very small. At 25 meters the dot was hardly visible and very difficult to detect.
The center crosshair with the mil and half mil markings is very thin / fine and at 25 meters is hard to see against the lines of the target. At 50 meters the center dot is practically invisible against the white paper target.


In normal daylight and dusk, this scope pleasantly surprises with good brightness, providing a very good image repeatedly.

Edge distorsion

With the limitations imposed by the Winter Season, the testing that I was able to carry out did not reveal any substantial edge to edge distorsions.

Chromatic abberration

With leaves and other foliage largely absent, all colour alterations that I could detect were around the tree branches under certain (back) light conditions. These were in light green, showing a sort of moderate sheen.

Tracking and the box test

Magnification change and reticle shift: with the rifle sitting in shooting bags, no disturbing shift could be seen. This test should be repeated with the scope clamped in a vise, however.....

Turret adjustment and reticle shift: The box test done with actual shots taken did not show any disturbing tracking faults with 2 respectively 4 mils of adjustments in all four directions.
This test should ideally be repeated with the scope clamped in a vise, however.

(f) My main intended use: for air rifles

This risks problems resulting from use on the more powerful types of recoiling air rifles and possible guarantee problems. Time will tell.
The 5 year product warranty conditions are not clear as to coverage of any damage resulting from spring-piston airgun use, so time will tell. In this regard, any claims about its resistance to certain calibers of fire arms is completely useless, because nothing compares to the violent knocks in both directions (foreward and to the rear) generated by spring-piston and gas ram airguns. Meanwhile, we express our trust in this promising brand.

Bench Rest use

A separate session of Bench Rest shooting will follow to test the image and reticle on 25 Meter indoor shooting.

Hunter Field Target use

Being a Summer HFT shooter, this will be tested later in the season, but a few preliminary observations can be made here.
For use in (air rifle) HFT, the reticle center seems too fine and it also lacks windage compensation markings.

III. Points for improvement

Not considering the extra cost and a higher price point possibly resulting therefrom, I would like to see the following items changed / improved:

The MPN-1 reticle seems to be designed with Bench Rest use in mind. This shows by the very thin lines of the inner cross and the extremely fine dot.
However, the 18 x power is too low for BR use and for more general use, the floating center dot on the reticle could be at least about twice or even four times the size for better aiming in non – BR or general use.

Alternatively, an uninterrupted cross or a small center cross instead of the dot would help.

– The dot markings on the main tube for zoom power indication, turret readings and range reading at the focus sidewheel should be bigger and more clearly visible.

– For airgun use, a few ranging numberings on the focus ring need to be added, at around the 35 yard mark. (In practice and in many competitions the ranges around the 30, 35, 40 and 45 yard / meter mark are often used.)

– The zoom ring needs a clear marking of the true mil value magnification. In this case the number 10 should be painted in red or have a clear triangular shaped indicator.

– I would like to see a screw thread protection / stop ring for the objective included.

– Threading on the Flash Kill screen should be improved, or rather, a real 3 of 4 inch sun shade should be provided in its place .

– Also, adding flip-up lens protection caps should replace the dodgy bikini item.

– The zoom ring “throw lever” pin and the additional turret knobs could instead be deleted.

– The manual should be corrected and improved.

– NB: The GUARANTEE should expressly mention that the scope withstands the double recoil of spring-piston and gas ram air rifles, up to a certain energy level to be specified by the manufacturer.


Overall, this scope surprised me by being better than expected.
I would recommend it to both the experienced and the new shooter, for a varied but carefully considered range of shooting situations ! This includes the use on air rifle, rimfire as well as centerfire rifle. But keep in mind that thin lined inner reticle.

Hendrickotto FEBRUARY 2023