Up for review this month is the NC Star Mark III Tactical Scope. I got this from Midway with a coupon for about $115. I was kind of apprehensive about this purchase as I had read a couple of not so hot reviews and I am usually of the mind that you get what you pay for. Anyhow this is a 3 to 9 variable power scope with illuminated mildot reticules. It comes with an integrated quick release weaver style mount. My intention was to put this scope one of my flat top ARs.
The package from Midway was packaged adequately as usual and I pulled the scope box out to take a look. The box packaging looked decent and I did not see any damage to the box.
The end of the box shows the 3-9X with a 42mm objective. the actual model number is STM3942G.
I carefully removed the scope from the box and checked it out. One of the reasons that I picked this one is that it has the built in bullet drop compensator that is calibrated for 223. It is actually calibrated for a 55gr M193 round and I usually shoot 69 or 75 gr. Supposedly you sight it in for 100 yds and then you can adjust the compensator out to 500 yds. I never actually got that far with it.
Some of the negative reviews I read indicated that the mount did not hold onto the rail very well and would come loose. I followed the instructions and mounted mine, then put a drop of loctite on the locking screw. I do not forsee this thing coming loose and after 200 rds it has not budged at all. Here is a shot if it mounted on my AR.
Here is another shot zoomed out a little bit with the included dust covers on.
Now I have never had a scope with illuminated reticules before so I wanted to try this out. Supposedly the illumination will help in low light situations. However I found that even on the dimmest settings the illumination destroyed my night vision and I could barely see anything well enough to shoot it. Here is a shot from the aft end of the scope at night. It is a little out of focus but you can get the idea, it is very bright and that is lowest setting.
The view was only a little better with the green light. Again it is a little out of focus but you get the point I hope. Alright enough of the fancy stuff how well does it shoot? I was not expecting great clarity out of a scope this price but at 100yds and with the scope at maximum magnification 9x, I could make out most ( not all ) of the 22 cal holes. Not that bad I suppose. I went through 200rds of 55gr ball ammo that I got on sale back before the election of 08. Not the most accurate stuff in the world but it puts holes in the paper. As I was shooting something seemed strange and I was not sure what was going on. So I opened up the bipod and set up the bench to make myself nice and stable. I got the rifle sighted in so that I could put my shots into a group the size of a quarter at 100yds with the scope at 9x.
Then I loaded up the magazine hunkered down and put 6 shots into the center of the target. I then carefully moved the power from 9x to 8x and took 3 more shots. Then moved the power to 7x and took 3 more shots. I continued this at 6x, 5x, 4x, and finally 3x. You can see the results to the right. With each change in power the point of impact changed. After 5x I was no longer even on the paper. At this point I was kind of disgusted and it was starting to get late so I called it a day. I don't know about you but the point of impact should not be moving when I change the magnification level. I could accept a little bit of a change but to be off the paper is unacceptable. There is supposed to be a lifetime warranty from NCStar on these. At this point I am glad I bought this with my American Express as I can definitely get my money back. I am undecided if I should deal with trying to get warranty replacement or just return it. At this juncture in time I cannot recommend one of these scopes. Let me know what you think in the comments.