Shepherd Scopes is a small American optic company that’s known for their unique Dual Reticle System. Now part of the Salvo Technology based in Florida, Shepherd Scopes also makes more conventional rifle optics such as the new Phantom 1-6×24 that they introduced at SHOT Show earlier this year. This made-in-Japan scope impressed me in its first focal plane design, with good optical clarity, small size & weight, and its sub $1000 price tag.
The Phantom 1-6×24 T2 sample that I received is from Shepherd Scopes’ tactical line. Its T2 reticle is calibrated for the popular combat cartridges such as the .223 Rem in both the 55 gr and the 62 gr 5.56x45mm NATO, the .308 Win/7.62x51mm NATO, and the AK47’s 7.62x39mm. As for the 5.45mm round, it’s close enough in ballistic to the .223 Rem 55 gr that it could use that holdover for it up to 400 yards.
Shepherd Scopes also offers the Phantom 1-6x24mm in the T1 reticle which is calibrated for the hotter magnum cartridges such as the 7mm, 300 WinMag, 270 Win, etc. So, if you have a hunting rifle, get the T1 version. If you have a Black Rifle, get the T2 version.
The lenses in the Phantom 1-6×24 are made from Japanese optical glass. Shepherd Scopes told me that they are actually manufacturing some of the lenses used in the Phantom series themselves here in the USA. Shepherd Scopes’ parent company, Salvo Technologies is a producer of optics and optronic components for the defense and aerospace industry. It’s one of the few US optic companies that’s capable of grinding and coating their own lenses. The majority of the US optic makers don’t make their own lenses and are relying on European (German and Czech mostly), Japanese, or Chinese lens suppliers.
I used the Wilson Combat Accu-Rizer 30mm scope mount with the Shepherd Scopes Phantom 1-6×24 T2 for my test. The Wilson mount is made for AR15/AR10 flat-top sight height and it features repeatable-zero QD triangle screw mount.
The Shepherd Phantom 1-6×24 T2 at 1x magnification. The large circle in its FFP reticle makes it very fast in close range. Just put the circle on your target and press the trigger. Being a FFP design, the reticle’s holdover function will work in any magnification.
At the middle 3x magnification the holdover marks in its reticle become visible. Please note that the color fringing shown in the image is probably introduced from using my Pentax 40mm pancake camera lens behind the optic. I didn’t see any chromatic aberration with my Mark 1 eyeball.
At the max 6x magnification. The outer circle has disappeared (zoom out) and only the center part of the reticle remains. The small overlapping circles in it vertical stadia line is carryover feature from Shepherd Scopes’ Dual Reticle System, and somewhat reminded me that of the reticle in the ELCAN Specter DR 1x/4x. The design is usable but a bit too busy for the type of shooting that I do. Each of those small circle covers 18-inch, which is the typical shoulder width of a human target or the chest of a deer. That’s the built-in range finder feature and together with its FFP optical design, it’s usable throughout magnification range.
The reticle is illuminated and it’s powered by a single CR2032 lithium coin size battery. The illumination is daylight visible! Although it washed out a bit when use under a bright summer day with a desert background during it my test.
Under its relatively small turret caps, the Phantom 1-6×24’s windage and elevation turrets have 1/2 MOA adjustment per click. Each turret has a pull-up quick zero set feature. The illumination turret on the left houses the CR2032 battery and it has 11 levels with the off-position between each.
The ocular piece is in a relatively small 32mm lens size. I guess I am used to the 36mm+ ocular size of the optics that I have reviewed recently, although 32mm is still a whole lot bigger than the 28mm eyepiece found on some of the ACOG models. The Phantom 1-6×24 feature an Euro style quick focus eye piece and once I get it focused to my eye sight, the reticle remain in focus from 1x to 6x.
Another noticeable feature that I like is that the Phantom 1-6×24’s zoom ring is light and smooth to turn and it has 1.5x magnification mark on it. The 1.5x is great for those of use with corrective vision. The eye-relief is 3.6″-3.8″, which about typical for a 1-6x tactical scope.
Shooting the Shepherd Phantom 1-6×24 T2 with my WPA T91 upper. We shot it up to 400 yards with various 55 gr loads. Getting hits on the torso size target was very easy. The T2 reticle’s range finding feature works too, although, once passed 600 yards the torso size steel targets became too small that the reticle line could easily cover it up even at 6x. Optically, I could see human size target with the Shepherd Phantom 1-6×24 T2 pass 800 yards in ideal light condition. However, its field of view is a bit tighter that other 1-6x on the market.
The Shepherd Phantom 1-6×24 T2 and Wilson Combat optic mount combo feels lighter than it looks. At about 10-inch long the optic is short for a 1-6x. There’s half-inch of sunshade in front of its objective, and I found that it does a sufficient job of blocking out sun glare on a bright day.
Shepherd Scopes Phantom 1-6x Specification:
|FOV @ 100 yds:||90 ft @1x / 15.7 ft @6x|
|Turret Adjustment:||1/2 MOA per click|
|Adjustment range:||120 MOA|
|Reticle:||First Focal Plane|
|Finish:||Matte Black Type III|
|Water Resistant:||10 ft depth|