German Precision Optics (or GPO as they are usually known) seemed to rise like a phoenix from the flames of the European optical industry. I often joke that it seems a little bit like musical chairs when you see staff moving from one brand to the other with great frequency ‘before the music stops’!
GPO, it would seem, sought to end that patterm with a group of ‘names’ gathering together like a ‘who’s who’ from my past network of business contacts, and they soon got a scope into my hands for a review – well timed and specified, in fact, for the wild boar season ahead.
This premium, top-of-the-line Evolve 1-8×24 shows an 8x erector tube within a compact single piece chassis to suit fast-moving game, yet retains the ability for longer shots with great accuracy. A 24mm objective lens will never be a specific low-light optic, but GPO promise a 90 per cent overall light transmission through the full tube of HD glassware, featuring all the latest lens ‘GPO bright’ coating technology.
Less light reflection and wastage are the name of the game, and there is certainly no unwanted haze or colour aberration drifting through this optic to distract you from the central core image quality. Chemical lamination of ground lens structures minimises visual disturbances with what they call a ‘Double HD’ format. The Evolve enjoys flat edge-to-edge clarity, sharp focus (100 metre parallax free) and far less of the somewhat fish eye spherical look that can start to appear on 1x magnification scopes. All for 590 grams!
With a delightfully simple German no.4 reticle, showing slender beams drawing your gaze in towards a centre floating ‘iControl’ illuminated red dot, there is nothing to distract from the field of view, and a fast focus eyepiece gives eyestrain free sharp edges to those slim arms.
The black dot is nicely weighted for daytime visibility, and a precise aim-point on boar and deer-sized game for supported shots out to 200 metres with 8x magnification and being stable in size due to the second focal plane mounting position, retains this intuitive visibility down between 1-2x. This is where I prefer to keep scope’s magnification set for fast reaction shots with a similar viewpoint and magnification with both eyes open.
The left side illumination dial shows no blazing red dispersion of light inside the tube, even in low light or when using maximum intensity. It also offers automated shutdown after three hours of inactivity. The fibre optic technology within alerts users when the battery descends below 15 per cent remaining charge, and a CR2032 cell is usually part of most shooters’ spares package these days.
All GPO Evolve products come with a lifetime warranty, and as well as first-rate glass and their ‘PASSIONtrac’ mechanics are where reassurance is most desirable. It is a unique operating system with internal aluminium and brass gearing systems, ensuring reliable and consistent adjustments, as well as a simple lift to turn turret disengagement feature.
It’s simple to reset the turret so the zero-mark can align with the indicator mark on the scope tube body after zeroing with simple European 1cm at 100 metre clicks, which also correspond exactly with the Milliradian system for those more ballistically inclined. You can have M.O.A. (approximately imperial 1″ at 100 yards markings), but all etching is clearly marked with direction finders on both windage and elevation dials.
Everything is finger operable with tactile clicks, wearing gloves, underneath smoothly machined threaded caps which are very unlikely to get crossed. Externally, the spaced knurling shows a distinct GPO styling cue and remains unobtrusive, smoothly anodised and easy to grip on to without leaving copious amounts scrappy- looking ‘skin dust’ behind from an abrasive external coating.
An 8x zoom in a 30mm tube with compact build, but not overly short, makes scope mounting on more awkward rifles problem free, with little difficulty finding mounts to keep the optical sightline low to the bore, but not so low that the face needs compressing into a stock.
The ocular body offers 90mm eye relief from its 46mm, rubber lipped outer diameter, which is perfect for standing shots from a rifle with intermediate recoil, and little of the tunnel effect that can be felt when your eye is simply too far back from the rifle. The exit pupil is spacious and easily accessed, with no problems keeping the low magnification scope’s image fully circular through recoil and tracking the target. Likewise, it’s fast to mount the gun and scope, yet decent gun fit always helps as well.
8x was ideal for rifle setup and zeroing, with no zero shift through magnification changes, which regardless of price should be an immediate fail these days for any optic with a decent warranty like the GPO’s lifetime assurances. I liked the scope in use, found the image colouration to be quite neutral (which is hardly a surprise in the drab autumn/winter woodland), but good contrast was noticeable into deeper greens and cover and, most importantly, I found little work for my eye to do to make shots happen seamlessly.
A visually relaxed environment is the most anyone can hope for during a long day hunting in low light and cold temperatures. The price point is competitive, and individual eyes will always have their own objective and subjective preferences, but the GPO was a pleasure for me to use, and gave full confidence in its abilities to match all advertising and marketing promises.