Chris Parkin is impressed by a tactically styled scope from new arrival DD Optics
DD Optics have jumped into the UK optics market thanks to importer RUAG making a shrewd move to distribute and promote the German brand before anyone had even heard of it.
As well as a varied mixture of hunting glassware, they showcased the DDMP Tactical optic in prime position at the British Shooting Show, hoping to capitalise on the accelerating enthusiasm for Precision Rifle Shooting (PRS), which is moving to the ‘PRL’ league format in the UK.
RUAG’s own association with rifle maker Bergara is helpful here – Bergara’s HMR and BMP rifles (already tallied with Tier One accessories for scope mounting and bipods) combine with the optics for a one-stop shop to feed your appetite.
This reasonably compact scope with 368mm overall length shows a smoothly anodised 34mm tube, encapsulating glassware that seems to carry Japanese characteristics but is unmarked on the optic or box.
Its 56mm objective lens is recessed 21mm within the overall 65mm objective bell that flows into the one-piece maintube, with 50mm to the front and 73mm to the rear of the spherical saddle, giving plentiful space for mounting on a rail with conventional one or two-piece rings.
The parallel ocular body is 44mm diameter, with a 36mm inner lens shrouded with a fast-focus eyepiece offering +/-25 dioptre adjustment.
Three major turrets surround the saddle, with elevation and windage both offering 30 mRad (300 10mm@100m clicks) of travel, 100 clicks logically presented per rotation. The elevation dial shows engraved markings in two rows of 1-10 in white and 11-20 in yellow – likely to allow for the initial third rotation to have been used up somewhat when zeroing.
Windage is thankfully marked left and right of centre, with both turrets showing beefy knurling for grip on their 42mm diameter and 29mm height. These are operable in gloves, with decent tactile clicks and a solid return to zero. The underside column is marked with vernier-type graduations to display which of the three revolutions you are within.
A zero stop is fundamentally important to a scope for this marketplace, and the DDMP offers a simple but effective solution. Triangularly opposed grub screws surround the outer marked dial, so after zeroing your rifle, a hex key will slacken these, allowing the outer marker dial to lift off.
Rubber o-rings underneath keep everything waterproof, and the black anodised aluminium collar that locks on the centre brass elevation mechanism has the more similar screws that can be slackened, allowing this to turn against its mechanical ‘stop’ at zero, before replacing the outer turret cap, being careful not to damage the o-rings and align the visual indicator at zero.
It takes longer to type than perform. No tools are supplied, and the instruction manual is pretty much non-existent, but it’s not rocket science, just a little patience and a 1.5mm hex key. When slackened off, everything spins without worrying clicking noises, so intuitively feels correct.
Parallax is adjusted with a similar 34mm knurled dial to the left of the saddle and marked from 25m to infinity. It was pretty tight on the unit I had; though ultra-smooth, I would hope for it to gently wear in a little. It only really allows finger and thumb application to adjust it, so requires a firm approach.
This is exacerbated because the outermost section of the left turret is illumination control. It’s tricky to twist the parallax without tweaking the light intensity on the reticle, which flows from off to 11 in a light, smooth, linear rotation with no detents or intermediate off positions.
Tube Diameter: 34mm
Objective lens diameter: 56 mm
Eye relief: 85-97mm
Exit pupil diameter: 8.8-1.9 mm
Field of view: 7.14-1.05m/100m
Click Value: 1cm @ 100 metres/0.01 mRad
Maximum Elevation: 30 mRad
Illuminated reticle: Yes
Finish: Matte anodised
Parallax: 25m – infinity
Contact: RUAG 01579 362319 ruag.co.uk
There is an auto-off, so it won’t eat your entire CR2032 battery in a night. This smoothly controlled illumination rheostat could have been made smaller within the larger diameter parallax drum without the control surfaces having been so closely aligned, but I’m picking on ultimate design evolution rather than ingrained faults.
A first focal plane reticle to match the turrets is also mandatory for this optic, and DD don’t disappoint with their well weighted and simple offering. The outer arms at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock are heavily skeletonised to improve visibility at low magnification without sacrificing precision or pointability yet with the magnification would up to 30x.
Only the centre 5mRad of markings are exposed on each arch, surrounding a nice floating centre dot for precision aiming on smaller targets. The centre dot glows brighter than the arms when illuminated, which draws your brain to the centre without conscious effort.
I have to say, this is one of the best specified reticles for design and weighting I have used. In honesty, many eyes struggle on the ultra-fine designs modern etching can offer, and straining to see a reticle is wasted time and effort.
Given that the likely competition targets are going to offer a decent aiming zone or overall silhouette shape, I would definitely prefer DD’s design of reticle. Ultra-fine is great for tiny targets and cloverleaf groups, but when you have to blaze the illumination on full just to gauge centre, you are immediately draining low-light capability from your eyes. Reticle choice, regardless of glass capability, is personal, so think ahead.
For a scope of this image quality and mechanical capability, I thought the DDMP was a serious contender with creditable performance all round. I think it highlights the ability to easily spend 50 per cent more on a similarly specified optic that, though it carries more kudos, perhaps pushes the human eye too hard if the wrong reticle is chosen.
As light descended, this lack of eye strain on the DD was made more apparent – although the image brightness was a little lower, the attainability of that relative target and crosshair image at comparative magnification was superior.
The eye relief is specified to vary slightly as magnification alters, but never became apparent in use, with a spacious eye box (given the 6x magnification range) so pushing different shooting positions didn’t lead to any strain on the neck attempting to attain eye relief.
I’d certainly recommend taking a look at the DD Optics scope if you are in the market for this sort of product. It represents good value for money with no great downsides, with defined parallax control to give sharp target focus.
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