Saturday, July 07, 2007

IOR Valdada 3x25mm CQB Scope Review

I formerly had a Hakko 4x21 scope mounted on my Colt AR-15A3 Tactical Carbine. I was considering replacing it with a Trijicon ACOG, in order to get a truly SHTF-worthy piece of glass. After doing a lot of online research and some comparison shopping, I got an IOR Valdada 3x25MM CQB scope instead.

I chose the IOR scope over the ACOG for two primary reasons: (1) cost and (2) the IOR's longer eye relief, which makes eye position much less critical.

IOR Valdada is a Romanian company which has been making scopes and binoculars since the 1930s. They use German-made Schott glass. The lenses are multi-coated to reduce glare, and the scope itself is sealed and filled with nitrogen. This should prevent any interior fogging. The optics are very clear with good resolution.

The IOR scope is compact but weighs in at one pound. It feels very solid. The adjustment clicks for windage and elevation are well-defined. The glass is very clear, definitely better than the Hakko's. The IOR CQB reticle is interesting and incorporates ranging features. The center dot subtends 2 minutes of angle (MOA, or about 2" at 100 yards), so it'll be more precise than the ~4 MOA dot in the Hakko.

The scope's reticle is etched on glass and can be illuminated using a battery powered built-in light, which uses CR2032 lithium coin cells. Without illum, the reticle is black. When illuminated, it's red, except for the horseshoe-shaped thingy in the reticle, which remains black. The illumination is not bright enough to be useful in full daylight. Even at its highest setting, the reticle just barely turns red. The illum works well at dusk and after, however.

The scope has a removable Picatinny rail sleeve around the objective lens side, intended for mounting tacticool stuff like a red dot sight, laser, or light. I have no plans to use the rails, but intend to leave the sleeve on as protection for the main body of the scope. The scope itself mounts to a Picatinny rail using a built-in mount secured by two captive nuts. This is not a quick-release design. The scope feels very rugged, but in the hopefully unlikely event that it goes TU, I'll need pliers or a wrench to remove it so I can use a back up iron sight (which I need to acquire).

After receiving the IOR scope, I bore sighted it at about 25 - 30 yards using a laser boresighter. (A toy house in my backyard stood in for a target.) Yesterday I got it out to the range and zeroed it on an SR-1 target at 100 yards. The laser bore sight got me on the paper but about 6" high and 6" left. It was short work to get POA to equal POI.

Adjustment of the scope is a bit different than most American hunting scopes. The windage and elevation knobs have hand adjustable turrets. Elevation goes from "0" up, while windage has a "0" with adjustments in both direction. If you reach the limits of adjustment, you loosen two Allen screws on the turret knobs and turn the turret independently of the outer ring that has the markings on it. Once you're zeroed, place the outer rings at the zero position and then retighten the Allen screws. An Allen key is provided with the scope for this purpose. The elevation wheel on my Hakko worked similarly.

IMO, the following areas could be improved:

1. Make the illumination brighter so it's useful in daylight.
2. Illuminate the horsesho part of the reticle, so that it can be used as a quick, coarse aiming point at "oh dammit" distances.
3. Replace the mounting nuts with thumb nuts similar to those seen on removable AR-15 carry handles. Or make a quick-release mount.
4. Improve the operator's manual. It's a couple of sheets that look like they came out of in inkjet printer. A better explanation of the scope's range finding reticle would be helpful.

Overall, I am pleased with my choice. The IOR Valdada 3x35mm CQB scope is rugged, has clear optics, a good reticle, and its compact size matches my carbine well.

Technical specs for the IOR Valdada 3x25mm CQB Scope:

Magnification 3x
Objective diameter 25mm
Field of view at 100 yards 31 feet
Exit pupil diameter 8.25mm
Eye relief 3.50 inches
Diopter adjustment -4 to +4 dpt.
Click adjustment 1/4 min.
Tube diameter 30mm
Length 5.65 inches
Weight 16 oz


Mark said...

Dave... what happened to the Hakko? I recall reading a few months back. I see now your optic is the IOR... the Hakko fail to adjust properly? Inquiring minds want to know. Ok, I'd like to know. :) Thanks! Mark in PA

Dave Markowitz said...


The Hakko is a good scope but I moved to the IOR for a couple reasons:

1. Much more rugged construction.
2. The slightly lower power (3x vs. 4x) is better for my needs.

Mark said...

Thank you for the response Dave! The 3x does lend itself to faster target acquisition, but the prices scare me a bit. Clarify, the price would cause my wife to scare me a bit. I was originally attracted to the Hakko for its handle mount design, in that from photos, (I've not held one), it appears to allow for co-witnessing the irons. Is that true? Your opinion on the little Hakkos optic clarity would be appreciated as well. Our local dealer does not carry them, which makes purchasing one an educated guess. Hey, what did you do with yours? :) Thanks again Dave and best regards,