Kahles K624i scope review
I have been lucky enough to have a scope on loan from Kahles over a couple of months. It is the first Kahles optic I have ever used, normally I run with Nightforce, S&B or Vortex. Several shooters that I respect suggested Kahles were worth a look so I thought a review of one of their latest models would be a good idea. I work as a Ballistician and Pro shooter which gives me ample opportunity to really put optics through some rigorous testing. I have been working on .338LM developments recently. The 338LM has a pretty sharp recoil impulse which I figure would quickly expose any flaws in scope function.
The model I received was the K624i left handed with MOAK reticle. I use MOA predominantly for work which was my reason for selecting the reticle in question. They have a variety of other options for those who prefer Mils. The shooting I do tends to be proofing for accuracy at range. I have no need for rapid engagements at varied distance but again Kahles do have reticle options to suit if that is what you require. Most sport/hobby shooters will be looking to hit targetry at fixed distance so the non cluttered MOAK reticle would likely represent a popular choice.
The scope has a 34mm tube which is rapidly becoming the industry standard for long range optics. Larger main tubes allow for more elevation adjustment which becomes a critical factor when shooting at extended long range. The K624i has 26mil or 90moa of elevation adjustment. 90moa is enough to hit targets at 1800m with our 338LM. However you must consider that mounting the scope on a flat rail will eat up some of your elevation. We used a 30moa rail which proved ideal and gave us almost all of the 90moa.
The elevation knob is clearly marked and has some nice features. It takes two revolutions to dial the full 90moa. Kahles have cleverly included a small pop up indicator on top of the knob which shows if you are on the first or second revolution. This feature is fantastic for someone like me (memory like a sieve) as I can grab the rifle from the armoury and tell immediately what distance it is dialled in for. You also have a hard zero stop which allows you to set you preferred zero (my preference is 100m). Once your zero stop is set you simply dial the elevation down until it hits the stop and your back at your chosen zero. These features are indispensable for a working rifle like ours which comes in and out of the armoury several times a week. The Nightforce NXS scopes we use do not have these features and I have had to re-zero at range before as I just didn’t know what distance was dialled in by the previous user.
The K624i is a little different because it has a parallax adjustment beneath the elevation ring. Parallax adjustment would normally be found on the left side of most optics so it took a bit of getting used to. Once I got to grips with the position it was fine and I had no problem adjusting parallax to accomodate mixed distance shooting. On many scopes the Parallax adjustment is very stiff and can become impossible to move in the prone position during sub zero conditions. I am guessing the lubricant in the thread becomes stiffer. I took the K64i out during December in England and had no issues at all. The adjustment was smooth yet retained enough stiffness that it wouldn’t get nudged out of place accidentally.
The K624i is available in a left or right sided windage adjustment. This is very unusual as all the scopes I have previously used have the windage adjustment on the right hand side. I actually like it as when shooting off a bipod I can keep my trigger hand at the ready while my supporting hand operates elevation, windage and bolt. However if I were shooting unsupported then it would be impossible to maintain a firing position and operate the right sided windage or bolt. You really need to consider how you shoot. Supported shooters (most of us most of the time) will have a different requirement to someone shooting service rifle type serials. Kahles supplied the left sided version which was interesting to see but did not suit my shooting type (off a bipod from the left shoulder). I soon got used to it but I would select the right side version for long term use. The clicks on both the windage and elevation are superb. They give good feel and you can make adjustments without looking and be confident the clicks were correct. When turrets feel mushy it gets tempting to eyeball your adjustments to double check them. Not helpful if you need to keep eyes on and make rapid follow up shots.
On the opposite side to the windage knob you will find the illuminated reticle adjustment. Most illuminated reticles have 10 brightness settings, Kahless have gone one better as you can smoothly wind brightness up and down. The illuminated reticle was actually superb and I found myself using it during some late evening shooting. As light fades it can be easy to lose the black reticle lines to the background. I find a gentle red glow really useful in those situations. The adjuster does click on and off which gives you piece of mind that your not just burning up battery.
At the rear Kahles have provided a rubber covering which stops any scope kisses being to serious. I have luckily never been wacked in the eye by a recoiling scope but a few friends have. Anything which reduces the chance of a cut to the eye area gets my vote! The rubber also provides a nice grip when you want to make adjustments to rear focus.
The zoom adjustment on scopes is often criticized for being ridiculously stiff. Although firm the K624i zoom adjusted smoothly. The reticle increases in size as you zoom in as this is an FFP (first focal plane) scope. I really like FFP as the reticle markings are always correct whatever magnification your at. Second focal plane scopes need to be at one specific magnification for their reticle markings to be correct.
I ladder tested the K624i at 75m to begin. This was simply a case of shooting 3 shot groups at a target while ensuring the rifle is not canted. After each group I dialled in 2moa and then measured the target to see if the spread between the groups was 2moa. The tracking was as good as I have seen. The error margin was so small it would be impossible to rule out my own slight errors in range and test setup. Basically I couldn’t fault it..
I went on to shoot some groups at 75m just to get a feel for the scope. It is immediately apparent that the glass is fantastic. Loads of light transmission and a pin sharp image. I don’t have the greatest eyesight in the world and I find on some optics I lose focus of the reticle. No such problem with the Kahles. Once main focus and parralax were correctly adjusted the reticle stayed clear and visible throughout my shooting.
The real test would be in Wales during a cold and wet December. I had some accuracy proofing to undertake at 500m and 900m. I also had to test function of some ammunition where I could select my own distances. I had the Kahles mounted on the excellent Barrett Mrad in 338LM. The Mrad is a sub MOA rifle any day of the week and has always performed well for me in wet conditions. It seems to shrug off moisture which is likely due to the tough coatings that Barrett have applied.
The shooting session went very well. The scope was as clear as the misty welsh conditions would allow. The quality glass allowed me to see the targets in the mist where many scopes would have struggled at certain points. It took me a little while to get used to parallax position which is to be expected. Once I began to adjust to the new position I found it a lot easier (and smoother) than some I have used previously.
The weather as usual in the Welsh valleys was pretty rough. Freezing cold and a mixture of rain, hail, sleet and mist along with gusting winds. This made an ideal testing ground as I have seen a few high end scopes just roll over and die in such conditions. The Kahles remained clear and adjustments were crisp and accurate. I was able to keep banging steel until last light with no worries.
None of Kahles’ scopes are budget priced. With optics you get what you pay for. If you want a scope that will work in rough weather, remain precise and give excellent optical clarity then be prepared to hide the credit card bill from your partner. The Kahles comes in at around £2150 which I think is reasonable when compared to its direct competitiors (some of which are £3000+).
I will likely be sourcing myself one of these in the near future. I will be looking for the right hand side windage model though as I just cannot get used to left sided wind adjustments..