April 17, 2020
By David M. Fortier
While I have been aware of Shepherd Scopes for perhaps 20+ years, my first experience with one was when I settled in behind the 1-6x24mm seen here. I suppose many long time readers, while familiar with the old Shepherd Scope ads that graced our pages for decades, have never actually handled one of their scopes either. It’s a brand which, for whatever reason never really took the world by storm. I’m sure diehard readers recognize the name, but I bet many younger readers have never heard of them, or their proprietary dual reticle system for which they are best known.
The Shepherd 1-6x24mm rifle scope seen here is from their Phantom line. A conventional design, this model does not feature Shepherd’s dual reticle system. By offering a traditional design it shows the new owners are expanding the company’s offerings in new directions. What the 1-6x24mm does offer is very good performance combined with Shepherd’s T-1 BDC reticle all stuffed into a small package. Overall length is just 10.2 inches but it’s a bit heavy at 18 ounces. Built on a 30mm tube it features a thick outer circle with an inner BDC reticle located in the front focal plane. The daylight bright illuminated reticle features holdover and ranging marks out to 1,000 yards. Intensity is controlled by a rheostat located on the left side of the mechanism block which features 11 powered settings. Power is provided by a common CR2032 battery.
Adjustments are made via capped finger adjustable turrets. These feature .5 MOA clicks with 120 MOA of total adjustment available. The turrets feature nice audible and tactile adjustments, but once zeroed you shouldn’t have to touch them. This model is designed to be very fast when used on 1x while allowing a rifleman to engage distant targets at 6x. As such it would make a good general purpose scope on a Modern Sporting Rifle. Reticle intensity is bright enough to see in bright sunlight which aids speed. I initially mounted it onto a CZ 550 FS in 9.3x62mm and, when testing was complete on that, I moved it to a LWRCI IC-DI in 5.56x45mm.
I began testing with the 1-6x24mm Phantom using a variety of 9.3x62mm loads ranging in weight from 250 to 286 grains. Eye relief on this model runs from 3.6 to 3.8 inches but, despite the fairly heavy recoil off the bench, it did not prove troublesome. The Phantom zeroed easily at 100 yards and I found the adjustments to be accurate and repeatable. If you dialed in five inches, the point of impact moved five inches. With the scope dialed down to 1x you have a large bold aiming circle with one vertical and two horizontal stadia and the BDC reticle shrinks almost out of view. The circle provides speed at close range and on moving targets. Increase the magnification to 6x and the bold circle disappears entirely outside the field of view leaving the heavy stadia and BDC reticle.
Shooting groups off the bench demonstrated the Shepherd reticle could provide precision as well as speed. I was a bit surprised to see the Mannlicher-stocked CZ dropping 286-grain slugs on top of each other. This combination posted sub-MOA groups with a variety of loads. Testing was conducted in bright light, at dusk and after the sun went down until I could no longer discern the target. Lowlight performance proved to be quite acceptable.
My only complaint is the reticle is a bit cluttered when trying to shoot tight groups at 100 yards. This portion of the reticle just seems to have a lot going on. Personally, I don’t see the need for a 200 yard hold-over mark, and would be happy if it was a bit less busy. I shot the 9.3mm on steel both offhand and sitting at 100, 200 and 300 yards and had no difficulty connecting using the Shepherd reticle system. Dialing down the magnification to 1x allowed the optic to be used with both eyes open, similar to a reflex sight. It appears to be a true 1x and optical performance is quite acceptable at both 1x and 6x. Color rendition appears to be ever so slightly warm and resolution is good out to the edges.
Mounting the 1-6x24mm Phantom onto a LWRCI IC-DI allowed me to put it through its paces on a lightweight AR. This LWRCI rifle is very light, feels great in the hands, fast to the shoulder and quite accurate. I mounted the 1-6x24mm using Shepherd’s one-piece tactical mount. This is fairly beefy and it worked well with no issues. The Shepherd scope complemented the LWRCI nicely and worked very well in this application. My thoughts? I like the 1-6x24mm Phantom, its compact, has good optical properties, daylight illuminated reticle and a useful BDC reticle. MSRP of this model is $899.00. Shepherd Scopes’ has greatly expanded their line and now offer a wide variety of models to choose from.
Specifications 1-6x24mm Phantom
- Magnification: 1x to 6x
- Tube diameter: 30mm
- Objective lens diameter: 24mm
- Length: 10.2 inches
- Weight: 18 ounces
- Field of View, 100 yards: 90’ @ 1x/15.7’ @ 6x
- Eye Relief: 3.6 to 3.8 inches
- Adjustments: .5 MOA per click with 120 MOA total
- Power Source: CR2032 battery
- Finish: Matte black