Gear & Optics| Optics
Over the past couple of months I have spent extensive amount of time with Blackhound’s 4-14×44 riflescope. During that time I had a chance to really flesh out and see what this optic is capable of and what value it can provide to a shooter. Getting into the precision shooting game can be an daunting affair. When you are dealing with finding a optic, spotting scope, range finder, and good D.O.P.E. book to catalog your progress. One of the important endeavors is finding good glass to start that journey. Let’s see if Blackhound’s 4-14×44 is the right scope to start that endeavor and if it’s a good choice for the experience shooter.
In this review I will discuss build quality, optical clarity and reticle, range experience, strength and weakness of the optic, and give my final assessment.
Blackhound’s 4-14×44 riflescope is a well built optic. The optic is constructed from a uniform piece of aluminum into a 30mm body with 44mm objective lenses. This first focal plane optic by Blackhound features: Blackhound’s Alpha Reticle, six brightness settings, adjustable parallax from 10 yards to infinity, and weighs in at a modest 1.6 lbs.
The Alpha reticle within the optic allows for windage and elevation adjustment up to 20 MIL with an an Click value of 1/10 MIL. Which allows for 5 MIL adjustment per rotation of your turrets. The turrets have a wonderful tactile feel when making adjustments and a good audible click when rotating. The adjustable parallax allows for a clear and concise reticle at any range. While the six brightness settings illuminates that reticle in any lighting condition.
Next, we are discuss optical clarity and the Alpha reticle in detail.
Optical Clarity and Reticle
When discussing optical clarity it is very subjective process as I have mentioned before in previous articles. There is just no baseline or chart we can refer to that says this is good glass or this is bad glass. With that being the case I look for three important factors when assessing glass. First, I’m looking for image clarity. How clear and sharp does my target look when peering through my glass. Two, a clean and intuitive reticle. Third, good eye relief and field of view through your optic.
Let’s start off with image clarity. When, I’m discussing image clarity I am mainly talking about visual fidelity. How does my target look when peering through that glass. When looking through the glass of Blackhound’s 4-14×44 the visual fidelity is solid. Colors look natural and vibrant. The limited green of the foliage here where I live was deep and vibrant. The red upon the target popped and was deep and rich. Colors didn’t look muted or as if the lost a touch of vibrancy as you looked through the optic. It was easy to see and find my target. The overall image of my target was clean and crisp which I enjoyed.
The next natural evolution from discussing visual fidelity is Blackhound’s Alpha reticle that sits within. The one thing I am a fan of is simplicity of reticle design. You don’t need to have your optic busy with a ton of information. I just want a clear and concise reticle that will allow me to range and make Kentucky windage adjustments on the fly. Which means easy to understand ranging hashmarks and subtensions within the reticle. The Alpha reticle allows for this. There where multiple occasions where I was at the range and had to deal with heavy winds. Being able to make on the fly adjustments at greater distances and not touch my turrets was awesome. Just the ability to do that with the Alpha reticle out to 1,000 yds is a testament to that simplicity I spoke of earlier.
Finally, I’ll touch upon eye relief and field of view. I will admit I had some challenges finding good eye relief initially with this optic. I just know sometimes I would get on it and I could obtain eye relief easily and sometimes I could not. I know some of that has to do with me and not placing my cheek deep enough for proper cheek weld. Also, I had to spend a little time fine tuning my Luth-AR buttstock to remedy that. Once, that was accomplished sighting in was easy and eye relief consistent. Blackhound’s 4-14×44 has good relief window at 3.14”-3.22”. The field of view when looking through is solid. When looking through a scope for a long period of time you can get sucked into tunnel vision. Your field of view is generous enough within the scope that it slows that process down.
The Alpha Reticle within the optic is easy and intuitive to use and put rounds on target quickly and efficiently. The reticle allows for easy range estimation to your target. The reticle visually pops when put on your target. That was when the reticle was either illuminated and non-illuminated. That simplicity of the reticle also assisted me when I was dealing with adverse wind conditions. Having the ability to make those adjustments with the wind hallowing on the fly without adjusting turrets was awesome.
The Alpha reticle is an highly intuitive and allows you to put rounds on target quickly. The only down side of this reticle in my opinion is that the hashmarks are slightly too thick, for my tastes. I mean just barely too. At, 800 yards and further I felt like the reticle covered too much of the target’s real estate. Making adjustments harder to do. Overtime this became a non-factor and less noticeable to me once I made the visual adjustment.
When it’s all said and done the performance of this optic is solid. Having the capability to shine in medium and long range engagements. This is due to great glass and intuitive reticle design by Blackhound Optics.
When, it’s all said and done Blackhound’s 4-14×44 riflescope performs excellently. The visual fidelity is solid. When peering through your glass the image is crisp and clear, colors pop and are not muted, the reticle is concise and easy to understand, and the field of view is great. When it comes down to it Blackhound’s 4-14×44 is an overachiever, especially at its price point in the market.
Now, let’s transition to my experience with the optic on the range.
I spent a lot of time behind this optic and running it through the gauntlet. Before, I get into my range time let’s discuss some numbers. Below will be the stats, time on the scope, and rounds down range.
Rifle: DMR chambered in .224 Valkyrie
Ammunition: Federal Sierra Matchking & Ventura Munitions Sierra Matchking
Bullet Weight: 90
Muzzle Velocity: 2700 FPS
Ballistic Coefficient: .563
Zeroed: @100 yards
Distances shot: 400, 600, 800, 1000 yds
Targets: AR 500 Steel
Size of Target: 66% size of an IPSC Target
Rounds Down Range: 500-600
Hours Spent at the Range: 40+
Now, since we have the stats out of the way let’s discuss my range time with Blackhound’s 4-14×44. The overall experience with this optic was great. While on the range shooting at various distances it was easy to put rounds on target effectively. Even when pushing out to 1,000 yards I will still able to put rounds on target. Yes, at that distance the difficulty curve was greater but, still possible. I have never shot out 1,000 yards before and I was able to put rounds on target with this optic.
When looking through this optic the image clarity and fidelity are on point, as I mentioned earlier in this review. The colors are vibrant. Shadows are dark and rich. When, looking through the optic nothing is washed out on a bright day. The image through the glass looks natural, bright, and sharp. The overall the visual fidelity of this optic is great.
Strength And Weakness
The strengths of this rifle are numerous and greatly outweigh the weaknesses. First, the optic has amazing build quality. Blackhound’s 4-14×44 is lightweight and rugged. All moving components are tight and smooth. The windage and elevation turrets provide excellent tactile feedback with a satisfying audible click. The magnification dial rotates smooth as well.
Second, the glass is great on this optic. The glass is easily the star of the show. This optic has great visual fidelity due to this glass. Colors are vibrant. Blacks such as shadows are deep and rich. Visual clarity and fidelity are great. For an optic that only cost $299, this is some of the best glass you can find. I honestly believe the glass is on the level of glass on an $500-800 optic in the same category. You are getting that level of quality of glass at $200-$500 less. That’s amazing in book.
Lastly, the reticle on this optic is simple and intuitive to use. All the information the reticle provides to the user is clean and concise. Which allows for you to easily estimate your target distance and put rounds effectively on target. The reticle also allows you to easily make windage adjustments without adjusting your turrets at every new yard line. Which I had to do often when testing this optic because of wind.
The only two real weakness of this optic are the thickness of the hashmarks and eye relief. I just think the hashmarks are slightly took thick. It only really becomes a factor to me at 800 yards and beyond. The reticle is taking up too much of the targets real estate. In turn making it a little harder to make adjustments for your next shot. I also struggled in the beginning with finding constant good eye relief. Blackhound’s optic has a good eye relief box for the shooter. So, it struck me as odd when I had problems with it early.
Final Thoughts and Score
I enjoyed my time with Blackhound Optics 4-14×44 FFP MIL riflescope. This optic features great build quality, quality glass, and a intuitive reticle system. This combination of build quality, glass, and reticle creates a premium performing optic without the price tag. Which is pretty awesome. This optic is a workhorse at medium to long range engagements giving you the ability and confidence to hit those targets. This optic does so much right and very little wrong. Blackhound’s 4-14×44 is a great choice for new shooters getting into precision shooting but, don’t want to break the budget on a mid to long range scope. Also, for an experienced shooter looking for a workhorse of an optic. At, the end of the day this optic fits a lot of different shooting needs and skill sets.
• Solid build construction
• Great glass
• Easy and intuitive to use Alpha Reticle
• Price Point
• Reticle hashmarks slightly too thick
• Difficultly finding good eye relief from time to time.
Score: B (85%)
Thanks For Reading
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