Meopta factory visit
Some of you most likely noticed that Matthew’s Hunting Experience and Maria – European Huntress were lucky enough to get into Meopta factory. Many of you will be surprised that we have been those who asked for this opportunity. For me it was like one of those small dreams which you have and there is very simple reason behind that. Meopta rifle scopes have been my choice for some time already and I really wanted to know what makes them “tick” and what makes me confident in their performance.
It is always very important how you feel about the communication of company with its customer. And Meopta is one of those companies which surprised me a lot. Especially here, in Eastern part of Central Europe, customer friendly communication is not as usual as one might expect. Nevertheless, after sending email to the Meopta official contact email, it took them less than 48 hours to get in touch with me. We were offered meeting with marketing department and tour around the factory.
Greetings and meetings (with Meopta marketing team)
Me & Maria decided to travel there one day ahead. Just to get some idea about the city of Přerov, Czech republic, home of Meopta factory. After waking up and packing up our stuff, we headed to meet with Mr. Filip, who is responsible for online media communication. We had to register ourselves at the reception and then went to talk for a short time. We introduced ourselves to Meopta marketing team and they explained us their current vision. Oddly enough, we soon found out that the visions which we have are somehow 100% compatible.
Lunch and other impressions
I know that it is very strange to write about lunch in the factory, but it was part of the impression which I had. For me, it was important for me as well. When we entered big lunch hall, there were Meopta products all around us. Scopes, industrial optics, binos, monoculars and so on… Despite being in factory people were not looking like exhausted zombies and their conversations were to be lively. And that is very good indicator of healthy organizational structure. I know, this is not blog about Human Resources, but it is good to know that company, you are buying products from, is treating its employees right.
Stage 1: Optical components
Factory tour started in building which is home to employees and the machinery which turns raw technical glass into individual components. They are making different types of lenses there. Starting from very small 2 mm components for miniature applications to huge components of e.g. military vehicles which are mounted in periscopes. These allow vehicle crew to see out there without being exposed to external threats. The machinery is so precise that even ESA – European Space Agency had chosen it to make some components for its satellites.
It was very interesting to see multitude of products and steps which you need to take before you turn “brick” of glass into lens that goes into your riflescope. After the glass gets through these steps – from cutting, grinding, honing and polishing, while being continually checked for any deviations, it is transferred into the most important part of the manufacturing process – coating. Based on application, there are multitude of coatings ranging from one layer to hundred of layers, each just few atoms thick. They might be separating different wavelengths of light or preventing reflection and increasing light transfer capabilities.
Stage 2: Mechanical components
We already know that Meopta makes optical components from scratch. What was huge surprise to me, they do the same with tubes and other mechanical components. Pretty much everything, whether it is body of the scope (tube) or internal parts from various metals which hold optical assemblies true, is made from solid pieces of material in another building of the factory. This allows Meopta to control quality of everything that may influence end user experience.
State of the art CNC machines are able to turn piece of aluminum into almost ready to go part in matter of minutes and with amazing precision. It is very beneficial when it comes to creating very complex shapes – as outer cases for Meopta Meosight Red Dot.
Nevertheless, if we talk about minutes, it still takes about 50 minutes of continual CNC work to turn roughly shaped billet of aluminum into something that can be called almost ready part. This explains why it is not the cheapest product out there.
When the part gets its final shape and is checked for dimensions, final steps are taken – treatment of the choice is applied. Meopta is sandblasting all of its products before anodization, this makes the surface very smooth and matte to prevent any unwanted reflections. After this, parts are sent over to the third building where they meet with optical components and there we go with them.
Stage 3: Assembly
Whether it is binoculars, monoculars or rifle scope, everything in Meopta is Assembled by hand!! Devoted teams which are specializing on certain product lines are masters of their craft. It takes 3,5-5 hours of man-hours to complete the scope from components which were made in different part of the factory earlier. However there are delays due to necessary pauses during which adhesives treat to required specifications. Due to this, it takes about 14 days for the scope to be completed. During each step of assembly, great care is taken to avoid any contamination by dust in order to provide top of the line optics clarity. After completion, products are tested. One of the interesting steps is pressurization of the scope’s body in order to make sure it is airtight. This is important for the next step – Nitrogen filling. This makes your optics resistant to fogging in fluctuating temperature.
Stage 4: Environmental testing
After seeing the birth of the scope, we moved to the last part of our visit. In underground of one of the buildings, sits the department which is rigorously testing product quality. People there make sure that their products are up to the task. They are tested in fluctuating temperatures or various humidity. Different machines put the rigidity of construction through difficult tests as well. Machines creating high and low frequency vibrations are testing the scopes. This determines if it will keep zero while being transported in car’s trunk over heavy terrain. Others which simulate 500 G-Force recoil are testing if the scope can bear being fired on the rifles chambered in heavy magnums. And on every step of the way, functionality must be perfect. Adjustment of the magnification must be smooth and precise. The same applies for rectification turrets and parallax correction. Electronics must be flawless and no water can get in.
Needles to say, after seeing all this, I was truly amazed and even more passionate about my “old” Meopta Artemis 2000 & 2100 scopes. Even more eager to get my hands on newest MeoStar R2 line. My believe is that Meopta is making products which are affordable, but dependable. Furthermore, they provide many features of much more expensive alternatives on the market. Taking into account my previous experience and all of what I have described above, I believe that current line of the rifle scopes, monoculars and binoculars is build to last. Their 30 year warranty is proof of that on its own. Company and its employees believe in products they are making and they are proud about them. As I mentioned before, it is obvious when you walk around the factory.
About Meostar R2 series
At the very end, we were talking about their Meostar R2 series. Especially about 2.5-15×56 Model, which is very versatile product. It is evolution of previous models like Artemis 2100 3-12×50, which is crowning one of my rifles today. It provides low light capability, maximum magnification is appropriate for medium to long range shooting applications. Also fast target acquisition is possible at lowest magnification setting as scope provides wide field of view.
Multiple accessories are available, but by far most interesting is Ballistic Hunting Turret R2. This accessory allows very precise and fast elevation adjustments for long range hunter. Even better, it is designed to be used with Meopta’s own Mobile phone application, which can calculate ballistic solution for the hunter, helping him harvest animals humanely. I am really looking forward for the opportunity to test it in the field. I will be posting product review very soon!
Sorry for very long article, but I wanted to share all of this with you. I would also like to let you know that MEOPTA IS NOT PAYING ME, so what you are getting is really honest information. Reach out to me if you would like to learn more.