There has been a good amount of chatter on our FB group about what optics to run. One model keeps coming up again and again. It is the Cabela’s Covenant Tactical. For the money, it is a very feature-packed scope. We intend on putting it through its paces to see if fits the requirements for a solid Production Division build or a budget friendly Open Division build.
After scouring the internet trying to find reasonable articles or additional information on this scope and finding nothing, I decided to write my own review. I went out an bought mine on special for $279. If you’re patient, they come on sale like this a few times a year.
The Cabela’s Covenant has 4 variation currently available. it comes in either FFP (first focal plane) or SFP (second focal plane). It also comes in two magnifications 4-16x44mm and 6-24x50mm.
At the $399 MSRP price point it fits the production division limit of $500 MSRP maximum.
My Current Setup:
- Savage BTVSS
- EGW 20MOA Rail
- Eley Sport Ammo
- Vortex Rings
The Covenant offers many features that appeal to the PRS style shooter:
- Christmas Tree Reticle – Quick target acquisition using hold-overs
- Low Profile Tactical Turrets – 1/4 MOA exposed turrets allow for “in-stage” elevation/windage dialing.
- Side Parallax Adjustment – Easy to reach side location. Allow for fast focus to eliminate parallax issues
- First Focal Plane – Allows you to range your target distance at any magnification
- 30mm Tube – Machined aluminum tube helps withstand some abuse.
This scope uses a “Christmas tree” style reticle. Its great for those missed shots that you can see the splash. Usually the splash ends up somewhere in the tree and you can do a quick “hold-over” to compensate. It is very useful for fighting wind with that method.
On average we need about 55 MOA (201.65 inches of drop) of elevation to make these 40 grain projectiles reach out to 300m. The Covenant has about 60 MOA of elevation. This means you will need a canted rail. Just because a scope has a certain amount of adjustment, doesn’t mean that the point of impact with your rifle will be at the bottom of your elevation range. In many cases a canted rail can help lower the point of impact closer to the bottom of your elevation. My Covenant has about 75 MOA.
It’s not uncommon to have a slightly higher or lower amount of elevation V.S. the advertised amount. slight variations in manufacture or machining are usually the cause.
The glass on the Covenant is somewhat lacking. Obviously this is where some scope companies cheap out in order to keep cost down or to allocate to other features like FFP, parallax adjustment, etc. I will be honest, my other scope is a Vortex Diamondback Tactical 3-9×40. With both scopes at 9x zoom (in order to have a fair comparison) the vortex’s image is slightly crisper. The Covenant at full zoom of 16 has a ever so slight fogginess in lower light conditions. While not a deal breaker, I want you guys to be aware.
The turrets on the Covenant are well marked. Each Turret’s rotation is 15 MOA of travel for both elevation and windage. There is no zero-stop or anyway of noting how many revolutions you are from the bottom. The turrets are stiff and have a light tactile click for each adjustment. it may be easy to unknowingly “double-click” if you aren’t paying attention during your stage. These may get better with time as the mechanisms loosen up with wear.
The particular model I am testing is the FFP 4-16×44. For our particular application this is more than enough for CRPS events. I shot the event in Varcartier, Quebec using a borrowed Bushnell Tactical Elite 10x. This had just enough zoom to reach out to the distant target. With a 16x zoom it will allow for a “aim small, miss small” approach.
Overall Build Quality
This scope has a good weight to it and the finish of the scope is very good. The turrets are stiff but this may be because it is new. The parallax is stiff as well. The magnification ring is smooth and turns well. it does not feel tight, but does not feel sloppy. The fast focus eye relief is just the right amount of tension.
I must admit, zeroing this rifle at 100 yards was a breeze. The MOA turret/MOA reticle combination make for easy adjustments when zeroing in. If you have a large backdrop behind your target, and you can see where your initial shots landed, all you need to do is use the Christmas tree reticle to get your measurements, then simply dial it in on the turrets.
Can it perform?
The true test of any optic is accuracy. Accuracy in its adjustments and accuracy in its repeatability.
In the PRS game, both accuracy in the adjustments and repeatability are important. In PRS we do lots of turret dialing so the scope you select must have good repeatability, otherwise you will have issues with returning to the same zero after dialing.
In our super secret CRPS testing lab, we put the Covenant through its paces.
Tall Target Test
In order to test the accuracy of the elevation adjustments I performed a makeshift “Tall Target Test”. At an approximate distance of 66 yards I shot a group to get my zeroed baseline, then I increased my elevation in 3 MOA increments up to 12 MOA and then walked it back down. Now I will say that this was only shot off a bipod and was done somewhat hastily as our testing range was full of black flies and thirsty mosquitoes. But, the scope did return back to it’s initial zero. I would like to perhaps re-visit this test in the future under better conditions to get more accurate results. Perhaps using a laser range finder and a perfect 100 yard distance.
Consistent Zero At Various Magnification
Consistent Zero throughout the magnification range is important so I tested the zero of the scope at 4X, 7X, 10X and 16X. The zero was “spot-on” at each of the magnifications tested. I believe that the scope was performing better that I was able to shoot that day. The 30+ degree heat and bugs were beginning to degrade my performance.
Overall, the Covenant is a very well built scope that packs a great deal of value packed into it. It has a list of features normally seen on scopes 3-4 times the price. It is built for used on centerfire rifles, so it will have no issue handling the weak recoil of the .22LR cartridge. It is a serious contender in the Production Division and a budget conscious performer in the Open Division. The glass is not extremely crisp under lower light conditions and high magnification. But for what we do in the CRPS, it more than capable.
If you are considering a Covenant and are “on-the-fence” hopefully this article gave you enough info to make a well informed decision.