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Big Sky vs 4200 vs Weaver CE Test

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/06/2009 at 04:03
Boom Stick View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: August/29/2007
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Points: 20
Well, the girlfriend left me all alone tonight.  But no great loss, because it finally provided me the opportunity to have that foursome that I've been daydreaming about for quite some time now.  I went out on the balcony of my 11th floor apartment with a nice comfy chair, a table, and three lovely ladies just dying to be unwrapped.

The three ladies names are as follows (and the prices I paid for their services):
 
Bushnell elite 3-9x40 w/plex reticle ($182.30)
 
Sightron SII Big Sky 4.5-14x42 w/Hunter Holdover reticle ($485.37 after rebate)
 
Weaver Classic Extreme 2.5-10x50 w/Dual X illuminated reticle ($265.65)
 
Now before I get started, these tests were performed well after sundown and overlooking a Detroit skyline so please note that many of these observations were made whilst staring out at artificial light sources.  Also note, that I am no self-proclaimed optics expert, just a man with two eyes and an opinion (none of which serve me perfectly well 100% of the time.)  So with that being said, on with the show.
 
Fit and finish:
 
I've got no real complaints here of any kind.  All of these scopes appear to be very well made and none seem to have any inherent or obvious design flaws that would make me uncomfortable.  The only scope that seemed to separate itself from the pack in this category was the Weaver.  Holding this scope in your hand is all it takes to put a little smile on your face.  The thing is heavy, but I don't mean that in a bad way at all.  It was the only scope of the three that made me question whether in fact it should be mounted on the rifle or whether the rifle should be mounted on it.  The thing is a freaking well made tank, and I half contemplated throwing it off the balcony just to prove the point.
 
Knobs and adjustments:
 
Here is where the pack really started to divide.  All three scopes are finger adjustable, the Sightron and the Bushnell having covered adjustment knobs, and the Weaver having exposed adjustment turrets.  However, having covered adjustment knobs on the Sightron and the Bushnell is where the similarities end.  Adjustments on the Sightron feel a little mushy but not entirely imprecise, whereas the Bushnell adjustment knobs feel like you're breaking a small rod of glass every time you click.  The Weaver, with its exposed adjustable turrets, takes up a close second behind the Bushnell.
 
Eye relief and head positioning:
 
Well, all of the literature about these scopes held pretty true.  The Weaver and the Sightron both have generous eye relief while the Bushnell's is still adequate.  However, head positioning behind the Sightron was far more touchy than the other two.  The overall winner when both these things are averaged together is definitely the Weaver.
 
Reticles:
 
In this test I was looking to observe reticle visibility when contrasting against a dark background.  The Bushnell did a reasonable job but it did prove to be a bit of a struggle at some points and lowlight hunters would probably be much better served by its thicker firefly cousin.  The Sightron, though having thicker outer crosshairs and a center dot, was fairly disappointing.  The outer crosshair posts were definitely visible but not as much as one would think given how thick they are.  Also the center dot was virtually nonexistent.  The Weaver fared a little bit better than the Bushnell without illumination, but was fantastic with illumination.  The Weaver provides the ability to have a small (brightness adjustable) red dot at the center of the reticle.  In my opinion this is a good thing.  It is also my opinion that a fully illuminated reticle or triangle or whatever is just unnecessary for 99% of the hunting situations out there.  Most of your really lowlight shots aren't going to be at great distances so illuminated mildots (or other such fully illuminated reticles) are just unnecessary and sometimes detrimental as they can wash out the image.  As to whether the dot is slightly off-center like others have indicated, I'll be honest, I really can't tell.  And if it is, I'm for damn sure that it will never make the difference between dragging something out of the woods or watching it frolic away.  The winner here is definitely the Weaver.
 
Hydrophobic coatings:
 
Right out the gate I have to say that this test isn't fair because the Weaver just plain doesn't have any.  But, just like any good scientific test one must have a control so I took it along for the ride.  In order to test the scopes' ability to resist fogging up I used the tried-and-true breath test.  Now granted the temperature outside was a balmy 65° so I understand the rate at which the scope would clear up during hunting season may be different.   The Weaver actually did better than I expected and wasn't taken out of commission for as long as I would've thought after having breathed on it extensively.  Next on to the real test, the Sightron, and a slightly disappointing one actually.  After breathing on the ocular lens of the Sightron extensively and peering through it, I found the image completely unsuitable for taking a shot, and it fogged up much like the Weaver.  However, I did notice a far more rapid return to normalcy with the Sightron than with the Weaver.  Overall, the coating works, but it's nothing to write home about.  Lastly, and certainly not least, the Bushnell.  What can I say, the Rainguard coating found on the Bushnell just plain works.  Actually that's a bit euphemistic.  It really really really works.  There I was out on my balcony practically giving a scope fellatio, and for the life of me I couldn't make it lose sight picture even for a second.  And for the second time that night I contemplated throwing a scope off the balcony but this time out of frustration.  Instead, I decided that the scope had earned the win and decided to let it live.
 
Optical clarity:
 
Now onto the heart of the matter because these are scopes after all and not well made expensive paperweights.  In order to test the clarity and brightness of these three obviously different scopes I determined that testing them all on 6 power would be the fairest observation point.  I began reading license plates in the parking lot below and this is where things got interesting.  The first scope I looked through was the Sightron, and I gotta say, I was very impressed.  The images were very clear and very readable (despite my bad eyes.)  The next scope I looked through was the Weaver, once again, very impressed.  Almost too much so actually.  I immediately picked back up the Sightron and began playing a back-and-forth game between it and the Weaver in order to determine a winner.  Ultimately, and expectedly, the deeper pockets prevailed.  The Sightron was in fact a little bit more clear than the Weaver, but the Weaver is still very impressive.  Finally though, the Bushnel
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/06/2009 at 12:00
bugsNbows View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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bowsNbugs

Joined: March/10/2008
Location: Florida
Status: Offline
Points: 9290
Very nice review...and very interesting. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/06/2009 at 12:25
Dogger View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Knight
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Joined: January/02/2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 5348
Nicely done Boom Stick, well written.  Will have to give the Weaver a closer look.
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