Meopta's MeoStar R1 3x-12x RD night scope. Optics Review by David E. Petzal
I was very slow to pick up on the excellence of
Meopta scopes. This is because the name lacks resonance; its rather like the names that are hung on imported automobiles these days. The company is located in the Czech Republic, but being European is no excuse. Zeiss and Leica are the names of actual people, and ring with Teutonic authority. Swarovski is the name of an actual Austrian, but loses points because it's unpronounceable to most Americans. (If you'd like to amuse yourself sometime, go to a gun store in the South that carries the brand and listen to people try to say it. Be advised, however, that laughing at them may get you a nice punch in the face.) I think Meopta needs a good Anglo-Saxon name like Weaver or Redfield or Burris or Bushnell. Who cares if the company is Czech? It's all one world, ain't it?
But I digress. For the taping of this year's Gun Nuts, Meopta was kind enough to loan me two new scopes, a MeoStar R1 3X-12X RD and a MeoPro 3.5X-10X RD. The former is a night scope with a 30mm tube and a 56mm objective; the latter has a one-inch tube and a 44mm objective. Both scopes employ Meoptas new 4C reticle (pictured here), which is their improvement on the traditional European #4 reticle. Old #4 employs heavy stadia wires at 3, 6, and 9'clock that taper toward the center of the image, with a fine crosshair at 12. It's designed for shooting at relatively close range and in poor light, where it works fine.
However, I've always found it a pain in the ass because if you're shooting at longer ranges, it's pretty easy to lose those fine crosshairs against the background. Meopta has solved this problem by placing a dot at the center of the reticle. It has seven levels of illumination, and you can pick it up easily under any conditions. It works extremely well.
But what impressed me most about both scopes was, very simply, their extraordinary quality. The optics are terrific and the adjustments are among the most positive and accurate I've used in a long time. Rather than a slippery and un-graspable knob or dial, Meopta employs a three-pronged wheel that you can get hold of under any conditions, and the adjustments go clunk, clunk, clunk so you can feel and hear just what you're doing.
Meopta's MeoPro 3.5x-10x RD scope has a 1-inch tube and a 44mm objective.
The MeoStar, which is made and assembled in the Czech Republic, sells for a real-world price of $980. The MeoPro, which is made over there but assembled in the U.S., is $800 real world. Neither one is cheap, but the point I want to leave with you is that I don't see how you can get an appreciably better scope even if you spend a lot more money. Who cares if Meopta is not a euphonious appellation? Right now, to my rheumy eyes, they are making as good a scope as anyone anywhere, and for a lot less money.