Field test: Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i, the all-round riflescope for driven hunting and stalking

Riflescopes that are to be used for both driven hunting, stalking and only occasionally for raised hide hunting must meet a wide range of criteria. In addition to a low weight and compact dimensions, these include a large field of view with the smallest possible magnification for driven hunting, but also a sufficiently high maximum magnification in order to be able to hunt game properly at longer distances during stalking and raised hide hunting. In addition, the lens should be large enough to capture enough light so that you can still make out a clear target, at least when twilight sets in. With a length of 323 millimeters and a weight of 538 g, the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i now joins the ranks of these so-called all-round riflescopes. 

The turret caps of the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i have a good grip surface.

The optic has a nitrogen-filled aluminum housing with a 30-millimeter main tube. Focusing is done via the diopter ­compensation ring on the eyepiece, which ranges from -3.5 to +2 diopters at 1.6x magnification. The new Helia scope offers a field of view of a good 25 meters and at 8x still just over 5 meters, in each case at a distance of 100 meters. The optic features a classic 4-position reticle in the 2nd image plane. In the center of the delicate reticle, an illuminated dot can be dimmed if required. The reticle is called "4-dot" by the manufacturer. This dot can be infinitely dimmed and thus adapted to all expected hunting light conditions – from weak light to bright sunlight. At 100 meters the coverage of the fine red dot is 9.0 cm at the lowest magnification and 1.8 cm at the highest. Disguised as a "turret" on the left side of the center tube is the corresponding brightness control. 

Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i: all adjustment elements have clearly visible zero marks. Operation is simple and intuitive. A good all-rounder for stalking and more. 

The battery compartment is hidden under a screw cap. This can be unscrewed with a flat coin thanks to a wide slot. Around two hours before the CR2032 battery gives up, the light spot starts to blink intermittently. Don't worry: the designers have taken precautions and stowed a spare battery in the cap of the side adjustment tower. In addition, a function called "Automaticlight" ensures that the battery lasts as long as possible. This is controlled via a tilt/motion sensor that ensures smart stand-by and switch-off management. A brief word about operation: both the windage and elevation adjustment turrets have a clearly noticeable and crisp click adjustment. Each click moves the reticle one centimeter at a distance of 100 meters. The turrets can be zeroed if necessary. The only tool needed for this is a coin or something similar.

Practical check with test conclusion on the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i

Thanks to the unscrewed caps of the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i, here you can see the easily readable scale for click adjustment, which corrects the reticle by 1 cm per click at 100 m.

For this part, the Helia scope was coupled to an ERATAC Ultralight block mount – unlike the photos here. To "dry check” the repeatability of click adjustment, the test scope found itself clamped to the mount with a massive beam construction and the reticle aligned to a control point located at a distance of 100 meters. After turning the obligatory square with 20 clicks in each direction, the crosshair was back exactly at the starting point. With the scope parked overnight in the freezer at -20 °C, all adjustment turrets and setting rings could be moved with the same resistance as before when shooting in at the summer-warm 26 °C shooting range. Thanks to eightfold magnification and the already praised click adjustment, it only took three shots, with the third already serving as a check shot. 

The fine reticle, especially in conjunction with the continuously adjustable illuminated dot, allows very precise aiming, even at longer ranges. The Kahles test scope delivers a high-contrast, extremely true-color, very sharp image right into the peripheral area. Only objects with extreme light-dark transitions in bright sunlight showed barely perceptible color fringes that tapered slightly into violet. However, this does not detract from the brilliant impression that the new Kahles Helia 1.6-8 x42i left in the test. During twilight, the 42-mm lens naturally reaches its limits. If you want to use it on the hunting grounds at night, you will not be able to avoid mounting an additional night aiming aid, but then you will be well equipped with the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i, which is offered at a fair price of 1,750 euros.

You can find out more about the test optics on the Kahles Helia 1.6-8x42i product page on the Internet. 

For more information about the manufacturer please visit the Kahles website.

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