Value On Track

Tract Toric 3-15×42 Impact BDC
Delivers Sophisticated Performance
At A Budget-Friendly Price

By John Barsness

Tract Optics was formed by a couple of former Nikon employees who decided to market Japanese-made riflescopes and binoculars directly through the Internet. This eliminates the middle-marketers of conventional retailing and supposedly allows customers to buy higher quality at a lower price.

For testing they sent their top-of-the-line Toric 3-15×42 scope with Impact BDC reticle, designed specifically for hunting. The Impact BDC is a “Christmas tree” type reticle, with several increasingly longer horizontal lines below the central aiming point, designed for holding off in wind at longer range. In the Impact BDC the lines are intermittent, providing a more precise hold without totally blocking the view of the target. My one small criticism is there aren’t enough hashmarks on either side of the center crosshairs for wind-holds when dialing-up for longer ranges.

Accurate elevation dialing requires consistent and rugged click adjustments and while the Toric 3-15X weighs 22.3 ounces (indicating its insides are beefed up for repeated use), not all scopes with field-adjustable turrets work consistently—especially when subjected to considerable recoil. Over the decades I’ve found .300 magnum recoil is the basic dividing-line: From .300 on up the rate of a “internal injuries” increases enormously, so the Toric mounted on one of my primary scope-test vehicles, was a very accurate Heym SR-21 .300 Win Mag.

This rifle normally has an old 6×42 Leupold mounted in Talley detachable steel rings, attached to steel Talley bases epoxied to the action with Brownells Acra-Glas Gel. The Leupold has never shifted point-of-impact since it was first sighted-in several years ago, making it easy to mount a test-scope. After the rifle is placed in a padded vise, a collimator is attached to the muzzle, and a note made of the position of the crosshairs on the collimator grid. Then the 6X is detached, the test scope mounted in another pair of Talley steel rings, and its crosshairs adjusted to the same place on the grid.

The test load used the 210-grain Berger VLD with a maximum charge of Hodgdon Retumbo for a muzzle velocity just under 3,000 fps. With the 6X Leupold, 3-shot groups average a little under half an inch, so any little scope-quirk will definitely show up on a target. According to Sierra’s computer program, recoil with the Toric mounted is 35 foot-pounds, just about exactly twice as much as an 8-pound .308 Winchester with 150-grain factory loads.

The first 100-yard group measured 0.54 inch and I then turned the elevation dial up 48 clicks and shot another round. This landed right where it was supposed to, so I ran the turret back down 48 clicks and shot again, the bullet landing right in the middle of the initial group. Clicking the scope up again resulted in a second bullet hole cutting the first one. This was repeated, resulting in a bottom 5-shot group measuring 0.72 inch and a top 3-shot group of 0.44 inch.

I then repeated this basic test twice on other aiming points, but clicked the scope between every shot until two 3-shot groups formed. With the exception of one group, where the “nut behind the bolt” caused a flier by turning the turret 50 clicks instead of 48, the resulting 3-shot groups averaged 0.45 inch. The distances between the groups indicated the clicks measured the advertised 1/4 MOA.

Finally, I sighted the rifle in right where the crosshairs intersected at 100 yards and waited for a decent day to go to the 1,000-yard range of the Broadwater Rod and Gun Club 5 miles from our house, where my wife and I are life members.

The range contains a bunch of steel gongs ranging from hanging 6-inchers to much larger stationary squares. I used the BC numbers from Bryan Litz’s book Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets and Berger’s ballistic program to calculate the number of clicks needed to shoot out to 1,000 yards at 4,000 feet above sea level at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, about average for mornings in March.

The Toric 3-15X functioned perfectly during the firing of several
dozen rounds of 210-grain .300 Winchester Magnum ammunition.

After all the longer-range testing, the Toric 3-15X was returned
to the zero-stop setting, shooting this 3-round group right where
it was sighted-in at 100 yards to start the test.

Wind Read

However, March isn’t exactly calm in Montana, and it took a week for a decent test-morning to arrive. At the beginning of the session my Minox Windwatch indicated a right-hand breeze of no more than 2 mph, so it didn’t take long to work out to the small gong at 600 yards, hitting it repeatedly with exactly the number of predicted clicks.

In fact, I probably had too much fun shooting the 600-yard gong, because by that time the “wind” had picked up slightly and more ammo than anticipated was used to work out to 1,000 yards. By then the Minox showed up to 5 mph. This may not seem like much, but the Berger program indicated at 1,000 yards, the 210-grain VLD’s drift would be right around 10 inches at 2 mph and 25 inches at 5 mph.

After the initial 100-yard sight-in, I’d installed the factory-included zero-stop kit on the Toric’s turret and, like some others, it only allows one turn of the elevation dial. The Berger program indicated the scope would run out of adjustment at around 900 yards, and that’s exactly what happened. The program also indicated the 3rd hash-line would be just about right. So I shot at the center of the big stationary gong and, because the 210 took almost two seconds to get there, could see dirt on the berm below the gong splash almost exactly at the 3rd line. By then three rounds were left in the ammo box and were used clanking the gong.

After all that I went home and loaded some more ammo, the next morning returning to the 100-yard range. After resetting the turret to the zero-stop’s 100-yard setting, three shots went into 0.44 inch right where the crosshairs intersected.

Tract says the Toric’s optical system uses “SCHOTT HT (high transmission) glass, ED (extra low dispersion) lens and a fully multicoated lens system that provides incredibly sharp, bright images.” To test scope optics I use a chart of my own design, featuring 10 alternating black and white lines starting an inch wide at the top of the chart, shrinking in width to 1/16th inch at the bottom. Tests are made at night at 25 yards, with all scopes set on 6X to level the playing field, and the chart illuminated by a 100-watt lightbulb, also 25 yards away.

Scopes are rated by the smallest line visible, and so far every scope has tested between 5 (the 3/8th inch line) and 8 (1/8th inch), with the 5’s all old scopes with uncoated lenses. Coated-lens scopes average around 6, with 7 definitely above average and the 8’s have all been fully multi-coated scopes retailing for over $1,000.

Or at least they were until the Toric came along. It rated a definite 8,and on Tract’s website the price is listed at $694, another strong indication their claim of consumer-direct sales provide higher quality for a lower price isn’t just marketing. Any hunting scope selling for well under $1,000 with both really good optics and accurate, rugged adjustments is a real deal.
Half of John Barsness’s dozen books are on firearms and shooting. Modern Hunting Optics was published by Deep Creek Press in 2014, and is available through
www.riflesandrecipes.com
P.O. Box 579, Townsend
MT 59644-0579
(406) 521-0273

Toric 3-15×42 Impact BDC
Maker: Tract Optics
119 N. Duke St.
Hummelstown, PA 17036
(844) 747-4928,
www.tractoptics.com

Magnification: 3X-15X
Eye Relief: 3.9 inches (3X), 3.8 inches (15X)
Objective diameter: 42mm
Tube diameter: 1 inch, 1-piece tube, argon gas filled, water, shock and fog proof
Weight: 20.1 ounces
Overall length: 13.84 inches
Field of view: 34 feet (3X), 6.9 feet (15X)
Click value: 1/4 MOA
Internal adjustment: 50 MOA, elevation & windage
Reticle: Impact BDC
Price: $694

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