Scope test: Kahles K525i DLR Riflescope
- Credit: Chris Parkin
The latest DLR (deluxe long range) K525i riflescope from Kahles combines their superb optical reputation with the latest mechanical and ergonomic updates to help conform and appeal to PRS shooters hoping to compete in this fast-paced and increasingly popular discipline.
PRS is all about maintaining stable shooting positions in deliberately awkward scenarios at multiple ranges. This means optical clarity, mechanical reliability, and the opportunity to alter the scope’s controls with the least disturbance to the rifle.
Concentrating on what Kahles do that others do not, they offer a parallax dial wrapping the elevation turret and, in this case, three extended arms providing a truly ambidextrous layout. As well as changing range, your fingertips have little distance to cover to assure you of a parallax-free, clearly focused image.
Resolution is a premium commodity to observe bullet trace in flight and the splash when it 'arrives' on or near the target, and as a consequence make immediate corrections for follow-up shots if necessary. An extended throw lever is also positioned on the magnification collar to allow speedy mag changes between a broad field of view at 5x to locate your target, with minimal grip required to raise the mag for subsequent shots, in what is often a fast-paced course of fire. Both are removable with small grub screws hidden in the levers, thereby adapting the scope into a more compact unit for hunting, at a not ungainly 995gr.
Zeroing the rifle is straightforward, once you get used to the windage on the left side. Slacken the small grub screws in either turret and the dials spin silently (without clicks) to indicate/reset a baseline zero.
The zero stop offers just 2 clicks below baseline; you won’t get lost, but I’d prefer maybe a full mRad for those occasions when close range adjustments are required. On a 6.5 Creedmoor set-up with a 20 MOA rail, I was left with nearly 18 mRad of elevation to explore shots out to around 1,300 metres.
The other key element in the DLR scope is the SKMR4 reticle, designed by the owner of the PRS series in the USA, Shannon Kay. He is also one of the USA’s leading competitors and a training facility owner keen to bring European optical performance in line with the needs for shooters. The reticle is quite busy, with extreme detail in the mRad hash markings to precisely measure targets for rangefinding. I would suggest you explore the excellent online resources available from Kahles to see if the new ret will suit your shooting style.
Similar to its main competitors, the scope is built around a 34mm maintube with 56mm objective for exceptional light performance, plus a 95mm eye relief providing a forgiving eye box and milliradian adjustments with firm, visible and tactile clicks.
Markings are bolder than many and visible from a low angle and the parallax dial is more visible too. At extended ranges, there is a travel rotation indicator and the option for windage turret on the left or right side of the tube. A 'Twist Guard' is featured to minimise the likelihood of accidental alterations – it’s a free-spinning cap on the dial, I suspect aimed at fending off interaction, rather than any kind of lift-to-turn locking mechanism.
A wide field of view without tunnelling makes targets easy to locate at low mag, and remaining so at higher mag, with good perception of surroundings and conditions downrange. Everything on the outer arms of the reticle is illuminated and there is a timed auto off to save the CR2032 battery life but no positional cutout.
All optical companies have their glass coating secrets and this can lead to all sorts of slight colour preferences from users. I have always got on very well with the rich colouration of Kahles optics, especially the hunting scopes, which seem to work well with my eyes in poor light. Similarly here, the operation of the Kahles as light diminished is linear without specific drop-off points in image quality.
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You can use as much mag as you need to make the shot as the light recedes, and you’re not limited by a milky haze descending that wasn’t present in full daylight. A crisp reticle is assured with a +2/-3.5 dioptre on the fast focus rubber eyepiece which is crucial to appreciate the intricate detail available on the fairly complex reticle.
The 5-25x56 market is one of the few with competitors adhering to known requirements, seemingly based around early police and military contractual needs, but it’s certainly a versatile format and relatively easy to judge them against one another when you are comparing direct peers.
I have used pretty much all of the main contenders in this market and can see appreciable benefit from the easily used parallax arms allowing the lightest, most precise fingertip control without the need for excessive gripping force. Optical performance is definitely on a par with the rivals at this price point and in a competition environment, I can see a lot of comparisons going on between shooters keen to 'scope out' each other’s kit.
It’s the mechanics of the DLR that really sets it apart, saving perhaps critical seconds in competition. I was not troubled with rapid temperature changes, that regardless of gas filling can haunt some optics, specifically when they seem to have very heavy lens elements within them.
High-mag scopes will never be as bright in low-light hunting conditions, so I was keener to see how it coped with low sun, internal reflections and that all-important eyebox versatility through recoil, all of which were satisfactory. Similarly, the larger illuminated reticle shows no unwanted sparkle effects regardless of intensity; it has clearly been adapted for the weaker light situations than to dazzle impressible buyers in a bright show hall.
Although I prefer a slightly simpler reticle, this is an optic I was very comfortable using across several rifles and shooting pursuits – including evening varminting, where it proved superb at longer ranges.
Magnification: 5 - 25
Objective lens diameter: 56 mm
Exit pupil: 9,5 - 2,3 mm
Eye relief: 95 mm
Field of view: 7.7 - 1.6 m/100 m
Dioptre compensation: +2 / -3.5 dioptre
Twilight factor (DIN 58388): 16.7 - 37.4
Impact correction per click: 0,1 MRAD
Adjustment range (E/W): 2,9/1,3
Parallax adjustment: 20-∞
Tube diameter: 34 mm
Length: 377 mm
Weight: 995 g
Focal plane: 1st
Warranty: 10 years (2 years electronic)
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