The Shooting Party is a company that’s made its name on supplying what you might call value-for-money products. Even now, it surprises me that some of their kit can be made and shipped around theworld for the prices they sell at, and of course, everybody loves a bargain.
However, we all understand that the cheapest products cant offer the performance of more expensive ones.but not everybody has deep pockets.While I was at the British ShootingShow in February, I dropped in to see Mike from The Shooting Party to see what was new. He handed me the scope you see on test and asked what I thought. To be honest, I was amazedbecause it was a big step up in build quality and performance compared to anything I’d seen from them before,and had it been at the kind of pricewe associate with them it would havebeen the bargain of the centaury.The reality was that they’d made adecision to start supplying higher spec’
Models to compete with the big boys in the game, such as Hawke and NikkoStirling. This was a brave move because they were entering the toughest partof the market where performance is asimportant as price and there’s plentyof strong competition.
In keeping with their usual plan, you get every possible accessory that the scope might need in the box. Insideyou’ll find flip-up lens covers, mounts,a 100mm side wheel and a 100mmscrew-in sunshade. All the freebeesgive the Topaz some bonus points in the ‘value for money’ competition. Next, we come to the specificationand again, the company wanted toensure that the buyer got every boxon his wish tist ticked. It has a 30mm aviation-grade aluminum body, fast-focus adjuster, exposed windageand elevation adjusters that have a lock, a mil-dot reticle that illuminates red and green, side wheel parallax adjustment and a huge 56mm objective lens. Phewl these earn more point’sstill for being right up to date with thespecs’. However, none of these things would matter if the optical performance was poor, so I ran through a number ofstandard tests I have that are designedto expose faults in the image qualityand I was happily impressed again. Ifelt that they were on to somethingwith this Topaz range.
0nce I received my test sample. I put it on to an FX Royale that the editorwas going to be testing and took it to the range. A quick twist of thefast-focus adjuster on the ocular bellhad the reticle bold and sharp in myvision. It’s somewhat thicker thansome of its competitors, but because I’m a hunter, not a target shooter. I like it. In poor tight a thin reticle can get lost against a confusing backgroundsuch as bare winter branches and vitalseconds can be lost as you try to targeta squirrel or a pigeon. You have theoption of illuminating it, which I tike, but the Topaz lights a large area ofthe mil-dots and I found that I neededonly the minimum setting for lampingand ratting. Any higher settingdazzled my eye. Reducing its tow lightperformance. You also have the choiceof red or green light so that you canuse the one that suits your own visionbest.
The parallax adjuster is mounted on the left side of the central saddle,ready to receive the over-size sidewheel for those shooters who want to use the scope for rangefinding.
For this job you need to add tape to the circumference of the wheel so that you can find each important distance and draw on your own marks. Everybody’s eyes are different. so take the time to set it for yourself and yourranging will be more precise. Being able to adjust parallax is important to all airgunners, and even more so for those using large, and extra-large objective Ienses, whichsuffer the greatest parallax error. These mega lenses are designed to maximise low tight performance but have their drawbacks too, one of which is weight. This scope weighs nearly akilo and sits high above the action.Which is the price you pay for thatmuch glass.
Despite all the features, the Topaz is surprisingly compact and doesn’tvisually overwhelm sporting rifles inthe way some huge scopes do. It satcomfortably on the Royal. Whose highcheekpiece worked well with the highmounts included with the scope? At mypreferred 8x power hunting setting, Ifound the image clear. bright and freefrom distortion, although it did softenvery slightly if the power was raised. So there we have it. The ShootingParty has taken on the big boys andonly time will tell how they will fare. It’s a strong first effort and I can see manypeople appreciating the high spec’ andmany accessories that are included inthe price. Let battle commence!