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Comparison SWFA 3-15x42 and Weaver Tactical 4-20x5

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2013 at 15:33
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Picked up these two scopes recently and did a side by side review.  I'll need to figure out how to take pictures, but wanted to share my initial thoughts.  This is a knuckledragger's evaluation of the two scopes, so don't look for the technical lingo that you see quite often from the more qualified members .  I barely understand the terms and would butcher the definitions if I tried to use them.

First up the SWFA 3-15x42

Specs 

Matte Finish
First Focal Plane
Patented Mil-Quad Reticle
30mm Tube
Side Focus (6m-infinity)
.10 Mrad Turrets
Mounted on an SPR AR-15 in a Aadmount.
SWFA Price - $699.95

For not being HD glass, the optics quality is excellent.  At the low end, field of view is excellent and no distortion when panning on the Harris bipod.  Not as good as the SWFA 1-4x, but no slouch either.

Reticle is still useful for close in targets, but would like to have had illumination.

At 15x, you have a very slight loss of picture clarity.  I was ranging a water tower at 1585 meters and you could see very slight distortion around the edges, but image in the reticle was very clear.

Color contrast was also very good and could easily separate targets in a treeline.

Weaver Tactical 4-20x50

Specs:

Matte
Mil-Dot
30mm
Side Focus
0.1 MIL
First Focal Plane Reticle
Mounted on a 308 DPMS SASS in an American Defense AD Recon mount
SWFA Price - $774-95

Glass quality on the Weaver was generally as good as the SWFA.  At the low end, field of view was also excellent and no distortion when panning on the Harris bipod.  

This one doesn't have illumination either, but the mildot reticle worked just fine.

At 15x, the edge distortion was greater than the SWFA and slightly more at 20X.  Looking at the same water tower, the picture quality was not as good but still very functional.  Contrast seemed to also suffer, but not significantly.

Overall, both scopes are excellent given the price point.  I'll take them to the range and run them through the paces but expect each will  help me achieve the purposes each rifle has.  If I had to pick between the two, the SWFA would get the nod.  Even with the additional 5x magnification range on the Weaver Tactical, I still preferred the image on the SWFA at 15x to the Weaver on 20x.  The picture clarity and better contrast on the SWFA overcame the disadvantage in the magnification range.

If you are considering either of these scopes, both a winners but sure makes me wonder about the SWFA 5-20X though.

Pictures and range report to follow.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2013 at 16:33
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Good deal. Standing by for AAR. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2013 at 21:30
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I have both the 3-15, and the 5-20 HD, and the 5-20 IS better! Both will get the job done in bright day-light, but the 5-20 really starts to pull ahead in low light situations. The knobs on both are great, but I prefer the 10 mil per turn of the 5-20, Which, by the way, is enough to get the 300 WSM that it is mounted on, all the way to trans-sonic range...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2013 at 22:47
Marine24 View Drop Down
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I can see my 308 bolt gun setup or a new long range rig wearing one in the not to distant future.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/31/2013 at 04:57
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I haven't tried the Weaver, but certainly agree with your assessment of the SS 3-15. While I'd pay extra for HD glass and shorter turrets, it's already a great scope for the money. While on a 300 yard range Tuesday with sun glaring off the snow and the targets in shade I could spot my bullet holes...with some effort...but I could see them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/01/2013 at 09:46
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Zeroed both scopes with a laser boresighter in preparation for doing some shooting tomorrow.

Rotating the turrets to zero was pretty standard on the SWFA.  Remove the three screws, pop the turret and reinstall.

Weaver was a little unique.  In order to make adjustments, you have the pull up on the turret and then dial the adjustments.  Interesting feature that is a good in between exposed and covered turrets.

Zeroing the turrets on the Weaver is even simpler.  Just unscrew the top cap and the turret pulls off.  Adjust to zero and back on.

I tried to take pictures using my iPhone and Sony pocket camera, but didn't have much luck.  No sure how you all do it, but looks like I'm going to need some kind of tripod or rest to work with.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2013 at 09:36
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Any hints on taking pictures using a hand held camera?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/02/2013 at 17:01
verminator View Drop Down
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the S.W.F.A is gunna have a better image on 15x than the weaver on 20x the more mag the smaller the exit pupil...Marine24 did you try them on the same mag?or better still try the weaver tac 3-15 then you have a apples for apples testExcellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 10:34
Marine24 View Drop Down
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I did run both on 15X and SWFA had the better image.  The edge to edge clarity was better and image contrast sharper.  The difference wasn't significant but still noticeable.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 11:22
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pity you could not have tried the 3-15 weaver tac as a direct comparison as  there is more glass  in the higher mag scope which could affect light transmission
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 11:53
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Originally posted by verminator verminator wrote:

pity you could not have tried the 3-15 weaver tac as a direct comparison as  there is more glass  in the higher mag scope which could affect light transmission

Any specific experience with the Weaver Tactical 3-15x?  Picked up a 223 Rem bolt action rifle that I need to scope.

Easy answer is going with the SWFA 3-15X, but for a few dollars more the Weaver Tactical provides illumination.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 12:38
verminator View Drop Down
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got the weaver 3-15 and its on a howa B/A RIFLE in .223 excellent scope nice clear glass works well with the nv mono on the back right across the mag range. not seen the new 3-15 S.W.F.A not available here..but sounds like a good scope from the reviews..i have a brand new xotic which was a S.W.F.A scope..i would say the weaver is a close call glass wise..best a luck with your new purchase
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 12:49
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Just sent a price match request to SWFA for it.  As much as I like the SWFA 3-15X, the larger objective and illumination on the Weaver make it an easy decision to give it a shot.

Based on what I saw in the comparison between the SWFA and Weaver bigger brother (4-20X), the differences are very subtle.

It will be interesting to do an "apples to apples" comparison between the SWFA and Weaver.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 13:03
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The SWFA  SS 5-20x50 is the nicest scope I have.  Some day I hope to have a better scope but Heinsoldt is still out of my price range.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 13:09
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

The SWFA  SS 5-20x50 is the nicest scope I have.  Some day I hope to have a better scope but Heinsoldt is still out of my price range.

Totally agree.  I picked up one of SWFA's Black Friday deals and couldn't be happier.  It will be going on my 260 Rem build that is in the works.

For my 223 Rem rifles, the SWFA and Weaver 3-15x is more than enough for the 1-400 yard ranges they will be used for but no comparison to the SWFA 5-20X.  The HD glass makes a very notable difference.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 13:16
verminator View Drop Down
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yep be great if you could compare the 2...I'd dare to say the weaver would be better in low light...best a luck
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2013 at 13:54
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this baby..Meopta ZD 6-24x56 RD also has notably better glass than the all the scopes I own. but its expected considering the price difference. be nice to see a comparison with the S.W.F.A 5-20 HD..
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/03/2016 at 17:23
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My 1st post here.

I have an SWFA 5-15 x 42 (non HD) scope I luckily got on sale for $537. with shipping at $100. off. 

It's mounted on my 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger American Predator with Burris 6 screw "tactical" rings on an aftermarket 20 MOA Pic rail. I'm using it for mule deer and antler-less elk. 

To me it was a good budget scope for a good budget rifle. I wanted FFP and mil/mil with side focus. I got all that in this scope. Had I looked harder I may have bought the Weaver tactical scope with virtually the same features but I kept hearing about the SWFA's good lenses and I was not disappointed.
Plus I really like SWFA's mil diamond/hash mark reticle. 

Perhaps I'll tape the scope turrets once I zero it at 200 yards and re-zero the turrets. The tape will keep the turrets from getting accidentally bumped out of place. Does the Weaver Tacticle have locking turrets?


Eric B.



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 13:22
Marine24 View Drop Down
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Weaver Tactical does have locking turrets.  You pull up, make the adjustment and push back down.

Mojave Desert - What a wonderful place.  You obviously aren't hunting mule deer or elk there.  When I was stationed there in the 80s, only thing to hunt was crack houses and coyotes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 14:41
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Marine,
Yes, the Mojave is not a great hunting ground but we do have Desert Bighorn and in the nearby Spring Mountains are mule deer and elk. 

I go to northern Nevada to hunt because that's where the NDOW gives me tags. This year I got cow and calf elk and buck mule deer, all in the same area. 

This year I'll be taking my 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Amer. Predator with that SWFA 5 -15 x 42 scope. That combination has been shooting 1/2 MOA groups with Hornady 143 gr, ELD-X ammo. As Hornady says, it it truly match grade hunting ammo.

Eric B.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 15:07
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BTW, looking at the Weaver 3-15 x 50 tactical scope I see it has first focal plane, 1/10 mil turret clicks and a small mil-dot reticle. No zero stop and a $760. price from Midway.

This is the closest scope in features and price to my SWFA 5 - 15 x 42 scope and I'll still take the SWFA for its good glass. 

But Weaver should be congratulated for putting out a decent scope at a decent price. It should sell very well to hunters that want FFP and mil/mil with side focus, as I do.
Maybe the "FFP, mil/mil" demand is growing. Certainly PRS and other long range competitors who have these features on their expensive competition scopes will like the lower priced scopes like this for hunting.

Eric B.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/25/2016 at 15:31
Marine24 View Drop Down
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See your on the cosmopolitan side of the Mojave desert.  My stomping grounds was down in 29 Palms.

I think you are making the right call on going with the SWFA.  I had both and drew the same conclusion.  Both are good scopes, and I still have both, but I prefer the SWFA scope.  Have to agree with you that Weaver did it right with the lockable turrets.
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