As so many new optics companies flood the market with rifle scopes, it’s a great time for shooting nerds like me to get their hands full of options.
One of the more recent companies to arrive on the scene is Maven Optics, and today I will be inspecting one of their long-range riflescopes, the Maven RS.3 is a 5-30X50mm rifle scope. It promises to deliver high-quality images combined with the ballistic tools needed to give hunters and shooters an elite performance at any range.
I’ve been like a tick on the ass of the precision rifle community for a couple of decades now, and it has been incredible to see the changes achieved in this space. I remember when I first got into precision rifle shooting, and the options were very limited.
It was a different landscape than what we have today, where there are incredibly high-functioning options that are surprisingly inexpensive. This is no doubt attributable to imported products from all over, but mainly Asia.
The Maven RS.3 is made from Japanese components, which in my experience, has proven to be both affordable and optically sound. I’ve been able to use and test a great many of the options on the market today, so I look forward to sharing what I’ve found with today’s subject.
After a concise introduction to the scope, I already have a pretty good feeling about it.
MAVEN BUILT RS.3 5-30X50 RIFLE SCOPE REVIEW
The RS.3 is Maven’s premium option, and it comes full of features that shooters once dreamed about. It’s quality optics and desirable features come at a price that would surprise some of the other old-timers like myself.
The sport of precision rifle shooting has grown exponentially over the last twenty years, and growing right alongside it has been long-range hunting.
Both practices rely heavily on the ability to hit an often small target at ranges that, until recently, were quite inconceivable. After a short overindulgence in Maven’s marketing material, I get the feeling that they wish to supply both of these types of shooters.
Not that your traditional hunter/shooter wouldn’t benefit from such a rifle scope, but it may be more money than you need to spend if you are the type of shooter who rarely reaches beyond conventional distances.
Long-range rifle scopes like the RS.3 are optimized for tactical-style shooting and long-range hunting. These activities require correction for varying ballistic performances of the cartridges they are mated to.
So with that in mind, it’s important to consider the rifle and cartridge and the intended purpose to ensure you get the best tool for the job.
|Magnification||5x to 30x|
|Turret Values||1/10 MRAD|
PROS & CONS
- High quality optical performance
- Front focal plane
- Compact size
- Milling reticle
- Smooth controls
- Six MRAD turrets
- Loses brightness at 30x
TESTING IN THE FIELD
As I lifted the Maven from its curious egg-carton-like box my curiosity had peaked. I had seen Maven scopes for years, on other’s rifles and in countless pictures.
I hadn’t really formed an opinion yet, but based on what I had vaguely seen and heard, people were happy with them. I inspected the RS.3, and gave the controls a cursory twist to see that everything had arrived intact.
From there, I went outside to have a look at the world around me, as presented by Maven. The image I saw was actually better than I might have expected. Very little aberration around the edges and a pleasantly bright picture that felt great to my eyes. I played with the focus a bit to see how clear I could get the picture at these neighborhood ranges.
Like a true reticle geek, I was immediately enticed by the many subtensions that adorned the posts. There were half MIL and whole MIL marks, out to five, where it turned to more course measurements. The open center housed a tiny dot that, even at 30X, seemed quite fine, and would work great for very precise shot placement.
But it was time to get this little scope ringed up and on a rifle. I mounted it in a 20 MOA canted AADland Engineering cantilever mount, with the plan to mount the scope to one of my favorite rifles, a Tikka T3 chambered in 25 Creedmoor.
I was a bit worried about how it would all line up, but as it turns out, everything was a pretty close fit.
As I set the rifle up to boresight the combination, I noticed a condition that would perhaps aid in shooting with the scope further than anticipated. I’d forgotten that the Tikka already had a 20MOA scope base installed, so the total cant on the scope was 40MOA.
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to zero it at my desired range, but as it happens, it worked out perfectly zeroed near the bottom of the scopes erector travel. This would allow me to use the full elevation capabilities of the RS.3. So, with plans to get way out there, I headed up into the Rocky Mountains to test this scope in the very country it was designed for.
It only took a few shots to get into a groove with the Maven. I really liked the bright image in the morning sun.
Using the tiny point at the center of the crosshair, I was able to adjust my zero till it was as good as it was going to get. The various holdover and windage points would come in very handy for holding wind and measuring corrections.
Many folks use the reticle sub tensions for various purposes, but for me, the main purpose is measuring where I hit compared to where I aimed. This allows for rapid corrections, which are very necessary in the field, particularly when hunting.
With the sun shining, I shot several targets across a great spectrum of distances from one-hundred-fifty yards all the way out to one-thousand yards.
This is where I confirmed one of my suspicions that I’ve seen plenty of times before. Every scope I have ever used has a reduced image quality at maximum power. The disparity is often more obvious with optics that are lower priced. This is why you get what you pay for is even more true with glass.
I’ve found that at the highest 5-10% of magnification, most scopes become dark, and details become less obvious. The Maven was certainly not immune to this phenomenon; I found that at its highest ranges of power, it was darker and harder to make out the finer details.
But as I mentioned, I have seen this with nearly every scope out there, and the Maven was no worse than most scopes I’ve used before. In fact, being a 5-30 magnification scope means that at 25x it looks outstanding, whereas comparable 5-25 scopes will likely not look as good when viewed at 25x.
The six-MIL turrets are certainly serviceable, though I am a bigger fan of ten or higher MIL per revolution of the turret. This becomes more of an issue the further you shoot; if the distance you are shooting requires multiple revolutions of the turret to get the corrective elevation, the likelihood of losing track of which turn you are on increases.
It is for this purpose that some use indicators to show which revolution you are on, or another alternative is a zero-stop.
The folks at Maven chose to go the zero-stop route, which is not a bad idea as it is probably the simpler and more affordable way to go. The zero-stop allows you to set a hard zero for your elevation turret. This is very handy as you don’t even have to look while you turn the elevation turret down until it stops. And once there, you know the scope is back at its zero range setting.
There are many different ways to put a zero-stop on an elevation turret, and the design Maven uses isn’t a bad option. It allowed me to have a hard zero that is easily changed using only a small screwdriver tool included with the scope.
The parallax/side focus of the RS.3 was very functional, and I was surprised at how close it would function. What I mean by that is most precision rifle scopes tend to keep their range in the fifty-yard range out to infinity.
The Maven RS.3 can be focused as near as twenty yards, and removing parallax on targets that close would make it a good choice for those fancy new air rifles.
During the course of testing out the Maven RS.3, I experienced no issues with its functions. All the controls are easy to operate and with just the right amount of resistance. While I suppose I could have given it a beating with a larger caliber rifle, I have no reason to expect it would have any problems doing so.
As we have become accustomed to the modern optics market, Maven offers a lifetime warranty. So it is good to know that should you experience an issue, they promise to stand behind it.
I was quite happy with the performance of the RS.3 as far as precision is concerned. The measurements input on the turrets were accurate and commensurate to the values in the reticle.
Being a 6X zoom, I was a little worried that the reticle would become too thick at maximum power, but it was still fine enough for accurate use.
The Maven felt great in both my hands and on my rifle. Comparably priced scopes and including the RS.3 can often have a cheap feel, by which I mean you feel like it could be broken by using too much force on the controls and such.
I certainly don’t recommend abusing your rifle scope in such a way, but I do have and have had scopes that I never felt like I could damage by forcing the controls. And even dropping a fifteen-pound rifle on concrete didn’t ruin the turrets.
That said, I do not expect the Maven or comparably priced scope to endure such torture. Such a performance is more appropriate for scopes costing two and three times what the RS.3 costs.
For the asking price of the RS.3, I think the scope feels great. There are few things more that I could ask of it without adding significantly to its market cost.
The SHR-MIL front focal plane reticle was a good combination of adequate subtentions without getting too busy.
I like that they numbered many of the reticle points, as it can often get confusing when you are shooting quickly. I suppose there are some folks in the PRS community that may find the reticle a little simplistic for their purpose, which is certainly subjective.
For me, it was fine, and for my favorite activity which is hunting I find it to be ideal.
This is the first scope of its kind that I have reviewed that didn’t feature an illuminated reticle. Some may find this to be a downside. In my opinion, it’s not a big deal. I can count on my hand the times I needed an illuminated reticle over the last twenty years.
The zero-stop, as I mentioned above, is a very handy feature to ensure you know when your scope is set at its original zero POI. The zero-stop functions by having a lockable ring threaded below the turret.
Once the rifle is zeroed, you turn the ring up to the bottom of the turret as a hard stop. The ring can be secured using a screw to tighten it down to prevent movement.
The typical set screws that secure the turret to the erector screw underneath have been cunningly replaced by using a toolless cap on the turrets. You can’t even see it, but the top of each turret’s textured grip area is the caps that can be removed by gripping the turret and loosening the top of it (lefty loosey), once removed you can lift the turret off and set it where you want it before resecuring it with the thumb-screw at the top of the turret.
The 30mm tube has become pretty standard among long-range scopes and is quickly being replaced by the 34mm tube.
The 30mm tube used in the Maven RS.3 allows for greater internal travel than the traditional one-inch tubes your Dad used. This gives the Maven RS.3 a 23MRAD total travel, which is pretty good.
I had no problems with the Maven RS.3 while shooting with it. All the controls worked great. The only thing I would have preferred would have been 10MIL turrets and perhaps a tiny bit more resistance on the turrets. During a hike, the rifle slung over my pack caused my windage to move a couple of clicks.
Ergos were great with this scope, easily gripped surfaces, and intuitive operation was great.
Maven does offer custom options for the scope, which is pretty cool. You can add custom colors to various controls as well as custom engraving.
It is a great-looking little scope! The finish and quality are great for the price.
The RS.3 offers just about everything an aspiring long-range shooter needs. And with an MSRP of $1200, it is hard to beat. I remember twenty years ago. I would save up that much money to buy a scope with lesser features.
The steady flooding of the optics market has raised many brands to notoriety. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised that the Maven RS.3 fit right into my collection.
I have seen and heard about them for years. The shooting public has been spoiled with so many good options. This scope is a great buy, and its features are ideal for someone looking to get in on long-range hunting or shooting on a tight budget. Sure, there are higher-quality scopes out there, and if you have the money to get one, I would suggest spending what you can afford.
But if you are looking at scopes in this price range, I think you would do fine using the Maven RS.3. I won’t be selling off any of my high-end scopes to buy more of these, but I certainly don’t feel inadequately outfitted with the Maven on my rifle.