Airgun Hunter Pete Wadeson chooses two models of scope from the Walther range to illustrate their infield usage and practicality…
Walther branded optics have been around for quite some time and are often included in popular German manufactured air rifle combos offered by John Rothery Wholesale. When bundled in this way I’ve found them to be of a surprisingly decent quality. There’s now a varied selection of Walther scopes available to purchase separately. These range from fixed magnification models to higher spec fully-featured sniper-style scopes.
Two that are particularly suited to airgun use are the ZF3 – 9 x 40 and ZF4 – 12 x 50 models. Both have illuminated reticles and adjustable objective lenses range marked to focus down to 15m, but this isn’t a problem as I’ll explain later.
Other commonalities of build are they have fast focus oculars, eyebell mounted rheostat controls powered by 3V lithium CR 2032 batteries (supplied), smooth operating ridged zoom/magnification and Adjustable Objective (AO) rings and come supplied with decent quality two-piece mounts and lens covers.
That’s where similarities end so let’s break those features down to detail their use.
Keep It Sharp
The ocular adjuster on any optic lets the shooter attain a very sharp and precise reticle image within the sight picture. This is a crucial part of the inner working of any scope and are a vital aid to accuracy. The ‘fast focus’ denotation relates to the ocular ring (positioned at the very rear of the scope) being of a non-locking design meaning you can adjust it quickly to suit your particular eyesight. And once adjusted by the ridged edge outer ring – job done.
The Adjustable Objective ring allows the shooter to bring the target into focus and so give you the best sight picture of your quarry while taking a shot. The objective ring is marked for ranges and the Walther optics are no exception except both models have different ranges marked on them. However, both are marked at a minimum of 15m. And while this equates to 16 ½” in imperial measurement, both models actually adjust/focus much lower than this to approximately10yds.
As it’s FT shooters who use the parallax (and usually a side-mounted adjuster with wheel) to assess range, most hunters will only take the marking shown as a reference. What is of more importance here is that the AOs operate smoothly and precisely to give a clear well-focused image in the sight picture upon which to place the scopes aim point – that of course being the reticle.
The reticle on the 3 – 9 x 40 model fully illuminates and is of a Duplex design numerically termed by Walther simply as ‘8’ but is a design airgun hunters have used for years and are very familiar with.
Alternatively, the reticle on the 4 – 12 x 50 model is termed centre illuminating and is of a more standard mil-dot design positioned within solid upper, lower, and side stadia. This gives you a variety of aim points if you use them for holdover, hold under or aiming off to the left or right to accommodate for any breeze.
General Purpose or Higher Spec’
The magnification range and objective lens size make the 3 – 9 x 40 what is often termed as a general-purpose optic and its 1” body tube allows it to be mounted quite low on the rifle.
The cover capped coin adjust turrets have plenty of adjustment and click around very positively to each station.
Alternatively, the 4 – 12 x 50 is more in line with the specification of optic many seasoned airgun hunters are now gravitating towards and the larger front lens of course being more suitable for shooting in low light conditions.
The 30mm body tube is also more common to this specification and gives you a slight edge for more light to pass to the eyepiece.
This has cover capped finger adjust turret adjusters but although of a different design than its lower magnification and spec’ sibling it too shows plenty of adjustment and positive operation.
Illuminated reticle scopes have become very commonplace especially in the airgun scene and for good reason. In low light, a ‘lit’ reticle helps you place the scope aim point more precisely on the target. Also, if lamping, a bright lit reticle aids in cutting through the beam shone at the targeted quarry.
The scopes use the ‘old school’ but time-tested format of having the rheostat mounted on top of the eyebell. The reticle brightness can be finely adjusted via the very user-friendly 7 step/position rheostat.
A feature both scopes have is ASR (Anti Shock Reinforcement) so are ideal for use on recoiling airguns equally as they are on non-recoiling rifles. They’re nitrogen purged, fog proof, show a high quality of manufacture plus the sight picture remains crisp and clear to the very edges of the coated lenses.