October 5th, 2022
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Review of March-X 10-60x56mm High Master Riflescope
Review of March-X 10-60x56mm High Master Riflescope
By James Mock
This review is about the impressive new March-X 10-60x56mm High Master scope with Super ED lenses. We’ll start with some background. About 15 years ago, I saw Turk Takano at the Super Shoot and he seemed excited about a new rifle scope that he had on his benchrest rifle. It was a March 40x fixed power model that was a prototype. This was the first March to reach the USA. He told me that it was hand assembled in Japan by top optical engineers. When asked if I would like to look through it, I jumped at the opportunity. This scope was breath-taking in its clarity, brightness and quality of image. This scope soon was selling very well in a tough market. Some who made this possible were Turk Takano, the Kelbly family and Lou Murdica. All of these invested time and money into seeing that this new scope was available to American shooters.
I have had the pleasure of testing many high-magnification rifle scopes. Most have been exceptionally well suited to the task for which they were designed. Presently, I shoot 300- and 600-yard competition and the scopes that I favor are second focal plane (SFP) high-powered variables with an MOA-type reticle. Many in the optics industry have been very generous to enable me to test their scopes. Among those who have helped me over the years is Lou Murdica. When March first came to the USA, Lou loaned me his 40X fixed power scope, an exceptional scope for 100/200 yard BR shooting.
March-X 10-60x56mm High Master Scope — Impressive New Optic
I quit shooting short-range benchrest in 2013, but have been shooting 300- and 600-yard benchrest matches since then. It was quite a change for me to shoot a target to which I could not see my bullet holes. With my 78-year-old eyes and the Louisiana atmosphere, I have only been able to see 6mm bullet holes (in good conditions) at 600 yards with two scopes. They were the 15-55x52mm Nightforce Competition and the 12-52x56mm Valdada Terminator. Although I have not had the conditions with which to see small bullet holes at 600, Lou states that he can with this scope on days without mirage.
March introduced the world to ED lenses in rifle scopes and all of their scopes with lenses larger than 24mm have these superb lenses. Most of today’s premium scopes feature ED glass. However, March has now upped the ante and has a “Super ED” lens in certain tier 1 “High Master” scopes. According to March, these scopes produce images approaching the quality of the images produced by PURE fluorite lens.*
After reading some glowing reports about March’s High Master scopes, I contacted Lou Murdica and asked if he had a 10-60x56mm High Master he could loan me for an evaluation. The High Master Lens System has two Super ED lens elements within its lens system. By using Super ED lens elements, March was able to suppress chromatic aberration even more than with ED lenses and thus produce a sharper image with greater contrast, while still having a strong scope. March found a better way with this new objective lens system. High Master scopes also have addressed the problem of focus change with temperature variations.
Lou sent me a 10-60x56mm High Master for evaluation. I received the scope in July, when Louisiana’s weather is VERY hot. Although I tested with considerable mirage, this gives me a chance to test in less than ideal conditions. The scope that I received had a duplex reticle similar to the duplex made famous by Leupold. The section between the heavy lines subtends 3 inches at 25X, or 1.5 inches from the crosshair in the center to the heavy line. The technical data for this scope reveals why it carries a high price tag. Many believe that it is the Super ED lens that causes the high price, but that is only partially the reason. March designed a 56mm objective lens with THREE large segments (two of which are 50mm). These 50mm segments replace some of the 20mm lens others use in the tube body. The lenses used by March have high fluorite content and produce superb images. The lenses are fully multi-coated with the finest coatings for maximum light transmission. Chose either standard or illuminated reticle.
March-X 10-56x56mm High Master Scope Specifications:
34mm main tube, scope body machined from aluminum ingot
56mm front objective
Elevation adjustment range 60 MOA
Windage adjustment range 40 MOA
Length 16.2 inches
Weight 33.1 ounces
Eye Relief 3.98 inches at 10x and slightly less at 60x
Side Focus Parallax range 10 yards to infinity
High Master lens system (Super ED lenses)
Temperature Anti-Drift Lens System
All Japanese metal parts with no plastic part except for minimum essentials such as an insulator.
Testing the Scope with Box and Tall Targets
After mounting the scope in some 34mm Warne rings, I shot four rounds to get the scope zeroed. After this, I loaded nine rounds with three different bullets. The first was with 29.3 grains of of N133 and Bishop 65gr FB bullets seated to just touch the lands. The second group was loaded with ome older Bart’s 65gr Boat-tail bullets with 29.3 grains N133. The third had Bart’s new 68gr BT Avenger bullets with 29.5 grains of N133 with the bullet seated about .004 into the lands.
Great Accuracy with All Loads
Since these were not proven loads, I was pleasantly surprised when the Bishops turned in a 0.166? 3-shot group, while the Bart’s Boat-tails delivered a .174? group. Bart’s new 68gr Avenger delivered a tiny .047? 3-shot group.
All of these were 3-shot groups and they were shot at 60X with the High Master. The image at the 100 yard distance was crystal clear and I found the eye box very comfortable for me. My second session was to check scope adjustments by shooting a box test. This involves running windage and elevation adjustments in sequence to create a square. Ideally the last shot will land in the same location as the first shot. That it did! Box Test shot #5 basically landed in the same hole as shot #1. See the photo of “box” test:
For my next test, I shot a modified “tall” target to test the click values of the scope. I shot at 100 yards and started with two “fouling” shots. The zero was okay so I dialed 4 MOA up and fired again. I followed this with 4 more MOA up and a shot, then 4 more and a third shot. After this, I dialed the scope down the 12 MOA and shot at a new POA. When comparing this shot to the original “fouling” shot showed that this scope is SPOT ON as far as adjustments are concerned. My next test involves using the High Master in a 300-yard match. This gives me a chance to evaluate the resolving power of the “SUPER ED” lens.
Using the March-X 10-60x56mm High Master in a Match
The match was today (8/6/22) and the conditions were typical for Louisiana in August. The wind was a switching tail wind with velocities from 8 to 10 mph. The real menace was the MIRAGE. Before the match was over many shooters were complaining about not being able to see their bullet holes at the 300 yard distance. I shot the High Master at 60 power until the last target and used 40x for it. This scope handled the mirage exceptionally well in my opinion. I could see the bullet holes throughout the match — even at 40X. The March 10-60X scope performed flawlessly.
Was there anything that I did not like about the High Master? One minor thing that I did not like was the line that is used to show the alignment with the ventricle turret. The base line is located below the zero stop ring and is therefore much below the turret mark and is hard to align with the upper mark. This is a very minor problem and I solved it by placing a small piece of white tape directly below the turret and made a line with pen. Also, I would prefer more elevation adjustment (60 MOA) in a scope designed for long range shooting. Of course this can be remedied with angles bases or special rings.
Overall Conclusions — Superb Image, Rock Solid
This is a delightful scope for today’s shooters with its superb image and rock solid adjustments. The High Master series comes in several variants. One can get a first focal plane or a second focal plane. They come with a variety of reticle choices and are offered with or without lighted reticles. The one that I tested was a second focal plane and without the illuminated reticle. The suggested retail price of the model that I tested is $3040. If this seems too expensive, one should consider the adage “Buy the best and cry once”. Due to bad weather, I did not shoot the August 600-yard match. I did zero the scope for the match and it performed flawlessly.
I also got an opinion from my shooting partner, Kent Bennett, while we were shooting the 600-yard distance. He fired a 1.5 inch group at 600 yards on his first try with the High Master, and told me that if I lost the match, it was my fault and not the rifle or the scope. He was favorably impressed with the scope’s image at that range. I can recommend this scope without reservation.
— Good shooting, James Mock
* There are some difficulties using pure fluorite lenses in rifle scopes. Some of these are that natural fluorite crystals are not normally large enough for the large lenses used in modern scopes. Also, they are difficult to grind into lenses, therefore VERY expensive. Pure flourite lenses tend to be more fragile than conventional lenses because pure flourite is more brittle.
Tags: 10-60x56mm March, March High Master, March Scope, Super ED Lens