Gear Review: Lucid L7 riflescope
Wyoming-based Lucid Optics company specializes in making optics with dependable adjustment capabilities at a reasonable price.
Anyone who’s shopped for a dependable optic, one that stays true at zero after a couple hard days afield, knows there are too many scopes that are affordable but don’t live up to promises.
And then there are scopes that cost twice what your gun did, and for the most part, perform well.
We had the chance to test the L7, their mid- to long-range model, on Battle Rifle Company’s Cutlass AR-15, a guaranteed 1-minute angle (MOA) shooter.
The scope was mounted using two Weaver brand medium rings, which have three screws per ring and integral bases that secure to the AR’s Picatinny rail.
The three-screw setup is great for stability and peace of mind as there are just too many attachment points to risk a loose, or heaven forbid, fallen scope.
Screws and rings were attached to factory inch-pound recommendations with a torque wrench. The shooting was done from a supported bench position.
Testing conditions weren’t ideal. Gusts of wind occasionally moved the target.
The so-called box drill is an ideal test of a scope’s dependability, as it tests not only the accuracy of windage (side to side) and elevation (up/down) adjustments, but also the scope’s capability to return from adjusted positions to its previously set zero.
Though my normal zero is at 100 yards, since the scope’s maximum magnification is 6x, fine for torso-size targets but not necessarily sniper-like precision at 100 yards, 50 was chosen to keep the margin of error to a fair standard during the accuracy test.
Even before mounting the scope, I liked it for its clean, simple reticle. Detailed reticles and my eyes have an inherently disagreeable relationship, so it was a real joy to look through the tube and see a very thin bullseye circle with a tiny dot at the center, flanked to the east, west, and south by simply marked axial lines.
The reticle is on the second focal plane, meaning it remains a constant size as magnification changes.
Though “blocking out” can be a problem with some second focal plane reticles, this one is so clear and well-designed, that even the smallest focal point can be maintained.
With 6x magnification, I was able to focus on a 16-ounce bottle at 175 yards.
The somewhat oversized turrets are easy to operate. Markings are clear. Adjustment is done by lifting up, turning, and then pressing the knob down to “lock” it in place.
It’s a good system that strikes a balance between ease of use and field readiness.
Lucid L7 turrets are scaled for ½ minute of angle MOA per click. Thankfully, though probably to the chagrin of my military friends, the reticle hash marks are scaled for MOA as well, minimizing the need to think in two mathematical systems. Oh happy day.
Speaking to the upscale flavor of the L7 is the zeroing system, a trait of more expensive scopes. Using a provided wrench, zero on both turrets actually indicates zero as chosen by the operator.
Of course, regular confirmation of this is necessary for dependable performance in any scope, but it sure saves mental energy once set, allowing the shooter to focus on the job at hand.
Opposite the windage turret is a smaller one that controls reticle illumination. A CR 2032 watch battery is not included, but needed to turn on the reticle.
The reticle glows blue in color, and brightness is adjustable on a ten-point scale. If a corner had to be cut somewhere, this is one place. There is no automatic shutoff that I can see.
Make the easy mistake of forgetting to turn off the illumination, and the battery will drain. This would be especially easy during daylight use, as the illumination isn’t visible in bright daylight.
It does work well to highlight, but not overpower, targets in dim light or cloudy conditions.
Lucid provides a handle, about the size of a one-inch length of a pencil, which screws into the magnification ring for leverage and quick adjustments. I opted not to install it, as I think it could catch on other gear.
To this user, the scope makes it easy to acquire and focus on targets without distraction. The 34mm ocular lens is inviting; the 3.75 to 4.0 inches of eye relief is comfortable—though I do find an ambi charging handle makes managing the bolt easier, as there’s not a lot of wiggle room with 10.75 inches of scope atop the rail.
I suppose my only complaint about the user interface is the weight. All those features make a relatively heavy, 20.4-ounce scope. Other users might even prefer the solid feel it lends to the center of the gun.
Using Prvi Partizan 69 grain HP match ammo, we conducted the so-called box drill at 50 yards. The drill was done on a 8.5×11-inch target made for scope testing.
It’s divided into 1-MOA squares with five numbered points, with the start and finish marked “S.” To minimize human error, I recruited an associate who’s a police sniper to conduct the test.
The scope was zeroed at 50 yards. The test was conducted at that distance using 6x magnification. Though 100 yards may be a more standard zero, the ¾-inch tall digits aren’t clearly visible at 100 yards.
Digits 1-4 are placed at various points around the target. Moving from one to the next in numerical order, the shooter adjusts the MOA accordingly, continuing to aim at the S for each shot.
A scope that’s tracking accurately will guide each shot through the digit associated with the MOA adjustment.
The L7 really shone on this five-shot exercise.
Shots landed within each box as they should, including the final one that returned the scope back to zero. That’s especially impressive considering an imperfect platform and weather factors.
There’s an app for that
Lucid recommends the Strelok (pronounced STRAY-lock, meaning “shooter” in Russian) app as a cheat sheet of sorts for figuring hold-overs. For $3.99, the app provides a graphic as well as a chart showing holdovers for various distances.
Those resources are specific to your choice of reticle. There’s a long list of reticles to choose from, representing most major brands and models.
The user will need to enter ammunition, slope, wind speed and direction, muzzle velocity, focal plane, magnification, and initial distance for the app to deliver information.
An upgraded version adds environmental factors like humidity and elevation to the equation.
Strelok allows the user to name and save various rifle/ammo combinations. The app is a fascinating tool. Despite my best intentions, I found myself going back to “walking rounds in” based on simple observation of the range.
Price and value
The L7 can be a great choice for the shooter working in environments that can vary from close to mid-range. At zero magnification, it gives an expansive 56 feet of viewing area at 100 yards.
At 6x, there are 20 feet of visible real estate. It’s not suitable to take, say, the precision hostage shot at 75 or 100 yards, but that’s also not the job of the carbine on which it’s likely to be mounted.
MSRP is $449, but it sells for $365.63 on Amazon. Assuming the performance the scope showed in this test is something that will endure over time, the Lucid L7 represents an excellent investment for the shooter working in environments that can vary from close to mid-range. At this price, it’s enthusiastically recommended.
Lucid makes a number of other scope and optic types for other applications, which they promise is designed with dependability standards consistent with that shown by the L7.
If you're a dedicated shooter and want to enhance your vision and aim, we can confidently recommend the Lucid L7 Riflescope.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 20, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.