Shooting long range is becoming easier and easier. Off the shelf guns can get sub MOA precision and reach out to 1,000 yards with relative ease. One component that is crucial to achieving good results is the good glass. A good scope is almost more important than the rifle itself. I got an opportunity to review a U.S. Optics scope and I figured I would get one for long range so they sent me the FDN 25X.
FDN 25X For Long Range
My go-to long-range gun is my Ruger Precision in 6.5 Creedmoor. I have been able to hit 1,000 yards with not a lot of effort using off the shelf ammo, Hornady American Gunner, to be specific. I’ve used inexpensive budget scopes to achieve this and now I got a chance to try some premium glass. The U.S. Optics FDN 25X did not disappoint. I opted for the JVCR reticle. It is MILs and FFP. The reticle is of a simple Christmas tree style with lines for every even MIL.
There are a couple of characteristics about the FDN 25X that set it apart from other scopes. The first is the length. I am not sure why the FDN 25X is so long but as you can see below it is a lot longer than the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 below. The next characteristic is the elevation turret, it is huge. Typically a scope’s elevation turret, windage turret and parallax adjustment are all in the same plane with one another. That is not the case with the FDN 25X, the parallax/illumination knob is offset from the windage and elevation turrets.
Length: 17.93 in
Tube: 34 mm
Objective Lens Diameter: 52 mm
Ocular Lens Diameter: 37 mm
Recommended Butler Creek Flip-up Covers (NOT INCLUDED)
FDN 25X OBJECTIVE:
MULTIFLEX 46 & 47 OBJ #34647
MULTIFLEX 13 & 14 EYE #21314 FITS JUST OVER THE DIOPTER
MULTIFLEX 16, 17 & 18 EYE #21618 FITS PAST THE DIOPTER ONTO EYEPIECE HOUSING
The parallax knob has a button to turn the illuminated reticle on. The entire reticle glows red.
The FDN 25X has a zero stop. Once you have zeroed the scope to your rifle you simply remove the two hex screws at the top and pull the turret cap off. Align the 0 with the center line and push the cap back down and reinstall the top cap with the two screws.
Through The Looking Glass
Some of my lower end budget scopes did not perform well at full magnification. Both my Vortex Diamondback Tactical and Viper PST were terrible at full magnification. 24x would be blurry no matter what I tried. This is not the case with U.S. Optics’ FDN 25X. Below is a photo taken through the scope looking at a target 1,000 yards away.
I like the JVCR reticle since the crosshairs are open. Look at the center and 2 MILs, the intersection of the reticle lines is hollow with a small dot. Obviously, this is not the case with odd-numbered MILs but it is nice to not be so cluttered for some of the reticle.
I do have one critique, the eye relief changes when you go to full magnification. Take a look at the images below. The building is 500 yards away.
Now compare those pictures with the ones below at 25X magnification. My Nexus Outdoors camera adapter is in the same position as the previous two pictures shot. Notice the considerable amount of scope shadow?
In order to see the entire sight picture, I had to move my iPhone closer to the eyepiece.
Here is the same sight picture shot and zoomed in with the digital zoom of my iPhone.
Here is a bird about 400+ yards away.
While it is beyond the capabilities of my Ruger Precision 6.5 Creedmoor, I checked how the FDN 25X could see at ELR distances. Here is a tree that I ranged out at 2,000 yards.
Is It Too Long?
As you saw earlier, the FDN 25X is longer than a Vortex 5-25×56. The scope is longer than my Pork Sword barreled action. It is almost longer than the gun itself. The length becomes an issue when you want to mount accessories in front of the scope. Luckily the Ruger Precision has a long enough handguard that I can still mount my PVS-27 to it.
In order to take the pictures through the scope, I used this old SCAR17S receiver as a base. The scope is as long as the receiver. It is shifted forward so I could mount my phone mount and photograph the sight picture.
Final Thoughts On The FDN 25X
The U.S. Optics FDN 25X has somewhat redeemed the U.S. Optics name. I have not tracked U.S. Optics for a while and thought their name reflected quality scopes. According to some of my long-range friends that is not the case. They have seen U.S. Optics scopes that were not as good as had been believed. I showed them the FDN 25X and the scope is better than what they have seen in the past. The clarity at full magnification and little distortion is representative of the price. The FDN 25X is rather expensive at $3,500 MSRP. Depending on the reticle you may have to add a couple hundred dollars to that. The JVCR reticle is an additional $200 while a Tremor 3 reticle will tack on another $300 to the cost of the FDN 25X.
The scope is excessively long and I have not seen or heard of a reason as to why it needs to be so long. It does not seem to be a benefit. The shifting eye relief between low and high magnification is a little bit annoying but I can live with it. I would prefer a more generous eye box at full magnification as well. If you want more information check out their website.
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