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DBS "Elite" 3-9x40 AO IR MD Scope Review

DBS "Elite" 3-9x40 AO IR MD Scope Review

I recently bought a Leapers clone badged by DB Schietsport, the Dutch airgunning shop where I bought my HW85. It's called the DBS Elite 3-9X40, has an AO ring on the objective lens, and an illuminated reticle (red or green, five brightness settings for each) with a mildot centre to it. It uses a one-inch tube, and costs 79.95 Euros (55.90 sterling, US$85) plus 20 Euros shipping, for a total of 99.95 Euros, 69.90 sterling/US$106.

So why did I buy it? Well, I wanted a sturdy scope that would put up with the kick of the 16 fpe HW85 without falling to pieces, but which has a finer reticle than the Hawke Sport HD that I've used on the rifle to date. The Sport is a solid scope, and has retained its zero, but the blobby mildot markings are a little too large to shoot small targets with precision at or beyond 33 yards.

So, what do you get from a retailer-branded budget scope like this?

Well, the box looked cheap and cheerful, but I was pleasantly surprised by the contents. The scope feels solid and is well finished, and although the AO ring and eyepiece focus ring were stiff at first, they have already started to loosen up after a few turns. The scope comes with a 3" sunshade, which was wrapped separately in thin foam, the scope was wrapped in bubble-wrap and thin foam, and there was a spare battery for the IR in the box, as well as a battery already installed in the scope.




The turrets are clearly marked, and click very positively around. At the base of each turret is a locking nut, which can be tightened to prevent the turrets being accidentally moved. The top of the turrets is deeply knurled, making for a very good grip even with gloves on.



The reticle is finer than the one in the Hawke Sport HD 3-9X40 which the Elite has replaced on the HW85. In comparison, the mildots on the Hawke are big blobs, which can obscure a small bullseye at range. The Elite's reticle is closer in fineness to a Nikko Stirling AirKing mildot or Hawke AirMax MAP-6 reticle. The IR works well in both low and extremely low light. The sight picture, even at lousy light levels, is clear and bright, with no visible distortion.



So, despite gusting wind and showers, I dragged the rifle out to zero it, having fitted the new scope. I started out with 25.38-grain JSB Jumbo Monsters, which have shown reasonable accuracy through the 85, if not maximum precision. They yielded 14-15mm groups at 25 yards, with the occasional annoying flyer caused by loose-fitting pellets. I did manage a three-shot, one-hole group though (right-hand target, left circle), which brought a smile to my face.



So, I switched to 21-grain Bisley Magnums, which had also shown promise in the rifle. These turned out to deliver better groups today -- 9-10mm at 25 yards, also with a few flyers from loose-fitting pellets, but generally demonstrating greater precision.


Overall impressions after 500 or so pellets? The DBS Elite feels like a solid scope. The turrets are positive, and adjusting windage doesn't seem to affect the elevation or vice-versa -- a problem I've had with some cheaper scopes. It holds zero. The AO ring is still a little stiff, but at least it doesn't wander.

The IR works well at dusk and in almost full dark. The reticle is fine enough for me to focus on the centre of the black bullseye of these standard 4" cardboard targets at 45 yards. For a budget scope, it does everything I want it to do, and comes with a lot of features that belie its price.

It even comes with a sunshade, which is something that bugs me about Hawke and Nikko Stirling scopes -- especially since it's near-impossible to find sunshades available for sale separately after you've bought one of their scopes, even on their own websites. Fitting the sunshade means that you have to pull off the flip-up end cap and unscrew a thin ring at the end of the objective lens, but if you're settling in for a plinking or hunting session in bright sun, then it's worth taking a minute to do it.



In summary then, and subject to further evaluation: if you're looking for a robust scope with clear, bright optics that can withstand the recoil of a magnum springer (or just general abuse in the field), has AO and IR, and is supplied with accessories that allow you to shoot it under widely varying conditions, then the DBS Elite is certainly worth a try. It has a finer reticle than the robust Hawke Sport HD, and won't fall apart under recoil like a Nikko Stirling AirKing or a Hawke AirMax. Try one. You might just be surprised that value for money still exists as a concept.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to DB Schietsport except as a retail customer. Their prices for Weihrauch rifles are very reasonable, even when shipping is taken into account, and they will ship to your door anywhere in Europe within a week at the outside. The weakness of the Euro at time of writing makes their prices even more attractive, and I normally receive orders in three days. If you order a rifle from them however, just be sure to check that it's legal for your country -- their standard stock is continental, i.e. 21 joules/15 fpe. They speak English, and answer emails promptly, so ordering is a breeze. Here's the link for the scope.

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