By Jon R. Sundra
To test the MultiZero system, the author used a very accurate Remington 40X-KS in .223 Rem. The more accurate the rifle, the more impressive the results.
When it comes to riflescopes, I’ve never been one for techno-gizzies. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned ... or just plain old, but I’ve always embraced the philosophy that what’s simplest is best. I guess that explains why I still have 6x fixed-power scopes on most of my general-purpose hunting rifles.
And no, I ain’t stupid. If I felt I there was any significant disadvantage to using such “antiquated” equipment, I wouldn’t. I can honestly say I’ve never had a fixed-power scope fog or fail in any way. Nor nor I lost a shot opportunity because my fixed scope didn’t have enough magnification.
Have there been times that I wished I had more scope? Sure, but they’ve been precious few. Weighed against the reliability factor and the potential distractions that variable power, adjustable objectives, rangefinding and/or trajectory-compensating reticles provide, I feel the trade-offs have been worth it. And that’s based on more than 40 years of hunting on six continents.
The scopes I have seen freeze up, fog or fail in one way or another have all been variables. And I’ve seen quite a few animals get away because the shooter paused to turn on an illuminated reticle; make a change in focus or magnification; adjust the parallax setting or fiddle with an elevation adjustment that was tied into a trajectory-compensating or range-finding reticle. Animals, particularly trophy-class game, don’t stand around for long. That’s how they grow to trophy proportions. Seconds are precious when game is in front of you. The hunter who can get an aimed shot off the quickest is always going to have the advantage.
When indexed to the arrow, the notches on the four gray-colored micro-disks represent the preselected downrange yardages. The discs shown here represent 150, 200, 250 and 300 yards.
Lest you think I’m a complete troglodyte, I can assure you that is not the case at all. I believe, for example, that the compact, affordable laser range-finder is the greatest advancement in long-range shooting since smokeless powder and spitzer bullets, and I will not go hunting without one. I was using wood-laminated stocks on my hunting rifles 20 years before the first laminates began appearing on production rifles in the late `80s, and the same goes for synthetics.
I had rifles chambered for Lazzeroni’s Short Action Magnums and was hunting with them three years before Winchester introduced the first of their WSM series. I like all-stainless rifles; I believe the current Model 70 Winchester is infinitely better than the pre-’64, and I think the Browning Cynergy is the coolest-looking over/under shotgun I’ve seen.
I’m not one who rejects progress out of hand. It only when dealing with riflescopes that I’m conservative. And that’s why I felt compelled to relate what I’ve just told you to editor Larry Teague when he asked if I’d like to review the new Kahles MultiZero System. I wanted him to know where I was coming from and why I don’t swoon over all the gizzies they’ve been incorporating into riflescopes of late.
“All the more reason that you’re the guy who should do it,” said Larry. So okay.
Left: The dual-purpose tool supplied with the scope adjusts both the top and main turrets. In a pinch, however, both adjustments can be made with the point of a knife. Right: The spanner is fully engaged to rotate a yardage disk to where it aligns with the index arrow.
For those of you who haven’t heard about MultiZero, it’s a system that’s incorporated into the elevation adjustment that allows the user to pre-set up to five different downrange zero settings. It’s achieved by means of four “micro discs” stacked around the elevation adjustment screw. The discs are individually adjustable to coincide with points of impact at four downrange distances, say, 250, 300, 350 and 400 yards, which along with the base setting, gives a total of five range settings.
At the moment, the MultiZero system is being offered in three models of Kahles’ CL line of 1-inch scopes: the 3-9x42, the 3-10x50 and the 4-12x52. The example sent us for T&E was the 3.5-10x50, which we mounted on a very accurate Remington 40X-KS in .223 using Howa’s Weaver-style bases and rings.
MultiZero is more complicated than other bullet-drop-compensating or trajectory tracking systems, and it’s not intuitive, so you can’t just go to the range and figure out through trial and error how it works. In other words, if you’re like me and read instructions only as an absolute last resort, you’re not going to figure it out. But going through the instruction in detail here isn’t really necessary either; only those of you who go out and buy a Kahles with MultiZero will have to do that. So, without going into too much detail, let’s see if I can explain how this thing works.
Removing the protective turret cap reveals a three-position dial marked “A,” “B” and “C” imbedded at the top of the elevation adjustment. This dial comes from the factory set at “A,” but if it’s not, it can be so set using the tool supplied with the scope. With the index arrow set at “A,” the sighting-in process is no different from that used for any conventional scope, i.e., you simply turn the windage and elevation knobs until your POI is where you want it. With 325 yards being the longest distance available to me at my shooting range, I opted to zero-in the .223 to print dead-on at 100 yards.
The top turret houses a micro-clutch that engages and disengages the actual elevation adjustment.
Having done that, the tool is used to dial the “B” setting at the top of the turret. In so doing a “micro clutch” disengages the center spindle from the internal erector system so the main turret dial can be turned without changing the 100-yard zero you’ve just established. With the top dial set at “B,” you turn the main turret counter-clockwise until it stops. This establishes your base setting (in this case, 100 yards) at the beginning of a full turret rotation, so that it can be redialed without having to look, i. e., tactilely.
The next step consists of dialing the “C” setting, which re-engages the turret with the central spindle. You now turn the main turret clockwise one full turn where it will reach the end of its adjustment in that direction. One full turn of the elevation knob is all the adjustment you have, but it’s enough to cover distances out to 500 yards and beyond with virtually any modern caliber and load.
With the top turret still in the “C” mode, all that remains to be done is to zero-in the rifle at those farther downrange distances - 150, 200, 250 and 300 yards, using the elevation turret in the normal manner. Once you’ve zeroed-in at 150 yards, you hold the main turret so it cannot turn, while with the spanner you rotate the lowest disk in the stack to where its index notch matches the witness notch. The same procedure is repeated with the second disk at the 200-yard mark, and so on to 300.
It’s not really as complicated as it sounds, and once you do it, you don’t have to repeat the process unless you change your load. After your initial sight-in, you can actually use a trajectory chart to establish coarse downrange settings, but there’s no substitute for actually shooting at the various distances to fine-tune them. I, of course, shot at the various ranges and can honestly say that MultiZero works. At no distance between 100 and 300 yards were my group centers off more than maybe an inch with a rifle that was shooting 1/2 MOA. On a typical hunting rifle, even a highly accurate one that shoots, say, an honest MOA, that would be off POI less than 2 inches in any direction at 300 yards.
As well as MultiZero works, I have to be honest. Over my lifetime, I’ve zeroed-in literally thousands of scopes, from cheapies to the most expensive, and based on that experience, the thought of being on a big game hunt in some remote wilderness and cranking the elevation knob on a finely tuned rifle is something I don’t think I can bring myself to do. I have come around, however, to where I believe the Kahles/Swarovski TDS reticle, and similar versions like Burris’ Ballistic Plex and Leupold’s Boone & Crockett, where fixed points on the lower vertical crosshair represent various downrange values, are viable systems. I like them because they don’t require any scope adjustments. But I have to confess that even when such scopes have been supplied on sponsored hunts, I’ve found myself using the primary reticle and old-fashioned hold-over rather than those hash marks. Maybe it’s a matter of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. In any event, most of you reading this are younger and more willing to trust in technology than those of my generation. Maybe that’s good, I don’t know.
Now, varmint hunting is something else again. I would not hesitate to use a MultiZero scope, or any other system that requires movement of the elevation setting, on hunts where civilization is nearby, and there’s nothing really at stake when you miss.
So how much does this technology cost? About $150 more than an identical Kahles scope without MultiZero. I say “about” because for some reason it’s not the same for all three scopes. The 3-9x42 carries an MSRP of $799 without MultiZero, and $969 with it, a difference of $170. The 3-10x50 is $868 and $999, respectively, reflecting a difference of $130, and the 4-12x52 is $899 and $1059, a difference of $160. Go figure.
You can find out more about these and other Kahles riflescopes by visiting the company’s interactive website at www.kahlesoptik.com.
This story was printed in the August 2005 issue of Buckmasters GunHunter Magazine. Subscribe today to have GunHunter delivered to your home.