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Scope Review -- IOR Valdada 35mm

Owner's Report (by Rhino): IOR Valdada 6-24x50 (35mm Main-tube)

Street Price: $1099 with 35mm Rings and Sunshade from SWFA.

For those who are seriously looking into a high-end scope and have thought about the IOR 6-24x50 scope with 30mm tube, you may be interested in my review. I have its big brother, the 6-24x50 "Tactical" model with a 35mm main-tube, but I feel the two scopes are comparable. The two scopes share the same lenses and the external adjustments are essentially identical.

First of all I have heard the complaints about the older models having ½ Metric elevation and windage and soft mushy adjustments. The new line of IOR Valdada scopes doesn’t have these problems. Visually they are not as appealing as a Nightforce or a Schmidt & Bender. These scopes more resemble the USO line of scopes. Simple, rugged and not very complex would be adjectives that best describe the IOR tactical line of scopes.

One glance through the IOR, and you'll see the optical quality of these scopes is right up with Swarovski and Zeiss. I preface this by saying, while I do not own the latter two scopes, I have shooting buddies that do. During load development on a windy day my chronograph was blowing over and I had to switch to 6x power. A few times I forgot to switch back to 24x power and I was amazed how crisp a target looks at 200 yards with this scope even at low magnification. Good glass does make a huge difference.

The ¼ moa elevation and windage adjustments are positive, audible and 100% repeatable. Using a known-accuracy load, the big IOR passed my box tests with flying colors. Shoot, 8 clicks right, shoot, 8 clicks down, shoot, eight clicks left shoot, and finally 8 clicks up returned the scope to initial zero at 200 yards. The side-focus at 100, 200 and infinity is gauged correctly and had just the right amount of a positive and firm feel to it. I experienced no lash problems with the side focus control. This is the first side-focus model I have owned and I have to say I like it, though if you're shooting at known distances is not a necessity. The clarity is sharp and crisp at all power settings. Conversely, I have noticed on lower end scopes, the image gets distorted at higher settings. Not with this scope. The fine Schott Germany glass certainly lives up to its reputation for clarity, resolution and minimal distortion, edge to edge. The exit pupil is nice and big (2.1mm), even at full power.

The illuminated, engraved reticle is a nice low light-shooting feature. How many of us have been in the situation where you can see the target clearly, but lose sight of the crosshairs when positioning for a shot in low light? There are two reticle options. The 6-24 "hunting version" with 35mm main-tube has an illuminated fine cross-hair (FCH) reticle. This is very simple and effective and the crosshairs are not too thick for precision target shooting. The "tactical" 35mm-tubed IOR features an MP-8 reticle with a diamond aiming/focus point. This is quite different from a typical mil-dot scope reticle, and you need to get the manual out to really understand it, but I think it is a good system. However I am not an unknown distance shooter, so I can't speak on how it is ranging distance and hold-overs. [Editor's Note: We recently received this update from Torstein Bareksten: "For 2006, the MP8 reticle now has a floating dot design and it does actually work excellent when ranging targets (the design couldn`t be better) and the 35mm tactical series are given different lens coatings than the rest of the tactical line."]

The biggest problem I have with my IOR scope is the rear rubber cover on the zoom control (power ring). I am not going to yank and pull on it to see if it will come off, but IOR's engineers certainly could have devised a better way to secure this to the power ring. Note, the blue fitting shown in the photo has been replaced by a black metal ring. The weight of the scope, 28 ounces, is a noticeable 6 ounces heavier than the Leupold 8-25 LRT, but still much lighter than the big Nightforce NXS scopes. The MOA markings and number adjustments could be larger and more visible then they are currently. I like the Nightforce and Leupold turret markings a bit better. The scope's elevation and windage are unknown to me and I have heard that it packs nowhere near as much as Nikon or Leupold. [Editor's Note: IOR lists windage and elevation adjustments of 65 MOA, compared to 72 moa for the Leupold LRTs.]

While I would buy another IOR scope, the $1100 cost is something that is prohibitive. Yes, you get a nice piece of glass, but I don't think it separates itself from Burris and Leupold enough yet to say that it's a true bargain and a “must” buy. Its clarity is slightly better than Leupold and Burris, but it in my opinion doesn’t quite warrant spending the extra $300 yet. The best value in quality glass at the moment, in my opinion, is the new 30mm Burris Black Diamond. The Burris BD 8-32x features 1/8 MOA adjustments, however, and I prefer 1/4 moa for long range shooting. But if you like 1/8 moa adjustments, consider the Black Diamond if you are looking for a much-less-expensive alternative to the 8-32x Nightforce.

Technical Data

Magnification: 6-24x
Objective diameter: 50mm
Field of view at 100 yards: 33-9.9 feet
Exit pupil diameter: 8.2-2.1mm (very good)
Eye relief: 3.5 inches
Parallax adjustment: 30m to Infinity
Diopter adjustment: -4 to +4 DPT
Reticle adjustment range: 65 MOA
Click adjustment: 1/4 MOA
Tube diameter: 35mm
Length: 16 inches
Weight: 28 oz.

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