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Review: 4-14x Conquest, Big Sky, Monarch

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2009 at 03:51
jantzer View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: April/05/2009
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Finally got a chance to give some feedback on these scopes.
 
I have always believed in buying the best optics for the $.  For me, the mid-range was about all I could see spending on any optics.  I have always been a Monarch fan since I got my ATB binoculars several years ago.  At the time, I didn't think anybody needed anything better and I was set on buying the "best value" optics without regard so much to ergonomics, warranty, etc. 
 
The biggest thing I have learned is that optical quality isn't everything.  It's the most important, but sometimes you just like how a scope looks, feels, etc.  Onto the review....
 
The Monarch is a good scope no doubt.  The optics are clearly brighter and clearer than an entry level scope like a Bushnell 3200 or Weaver Classic.  I think the build quality is nice and I'm a big fan of side focus which it has.  Before I got the Zeiss and Sightron I was really happy with this scope.  I thought to myself I don't need anymore.  In fact the only reason I bought another scope was because I wanted a mildot and target knobs.  I highly considered another monarch.  The new scope was going on my long-range gun (204 cz) which would be my pride and joy varmint rig so I decided to go all out for the Conquest 4.5-14X50 and do it once.  As soon as I got the scope I spent an hour looking through it.  It was a big WOW.  When I went back to the Monarch for comparison, I realized some things about it that I never would have known had I not looked through that Conquest.
 
The first thing was the view.  The Conquest has a MUCH wider field of view.  The Monarch all of a sudden felt like I was looking down a tunnel.  It never even crossed my mind that there was so much black around the sight picture until I looked through the Conquest and came back to the Nikon.  I also don't like the overblown gold highlights on the nikon's, which of course is just asthetics.  The eyepiece is also big and bulky looking, which isn't a deal breaker but worth noting.  The reticle is not near as "black" so to speak as the etched reticle of the Conquest.  Any amount of light coming from the side or back will make the reticle go bronze.  The Conquest holds heavy black for the most part.  At 14x, the Monarch was also finicky about eye placement.  If you don't stay dead center, the edge of the picture gets a green hue which is annoying.
 
I decided for another build I wanted another 4-14 in a compact body for a nice 10/22.  After reading countless reviews I opted for the Sightron 4.5-14 Big Sky with SF.  I really like the build quality and think it looks better than both the Monarch and Conquest.  The eye piece is considerably smaller than the other two scopes, similar to a Leupold.  Immediately after picking it up and playing with it I realized how much I like the side focus.  It's a very quick focus wheel and seems to snap right into focus.  To be honest, I was willing to overlook the faults of the Monarch until I realized how poor the side focus was in comparison.  It's painfully slow and hard to bring into focus.  I find myself going back and forth trying to get it right.  The Conquest side focus is somewhere in between, but what is weird about it is that it seemed to always be closer to the focus point.  I don't really know why, but it was.  The Monarch side focus was also too stiff.  The Conquest was easy and very fluid and worked well.  The Conquest feels better from a quality stand point, like a fine video tripod head, but the Sightron focus just flat worked for me as it popped into focus.  For plinking around and shooting at various distances quickly it seems to be the ticket for my tastes.
 
To test the optics I looked at various yard ornaments at around 100 yards on 10 and 14x on each scope.  I also took them to the range and looked at 100/200 yard targets and out to 500 yards briefly.  Brightness wise, they are close.  What I did find is that the Conquest seemed a little brighter, but I don't know if that is because the field of view is bigger.  It's really deceiving.  I thought it was because I was using the 4.5-14x50 Conquest, but I also have a 44mm objective and it seemed the same.  In any case, in normal day light I would rate the Conquest the best and the other two about equal, but not far behind.
 
Overall clarity left the Monarch behind.  At 14x you could see it give a slightly more yellow haze to the sight picture.  It was obvious to me.  The Sightron was clear as was the Conquest.  This was seen looking at objects not directly in the sun.  I think the Sightron and Conquest are equal here as in both still about as clear at 14x as they are at 10x and below.  The Monarch picture was sharp, probably equally with the Sightron, but felt like looking through a slighly dirty lense.  The Conquest showed the best detail and was the sharpest of the bunch, but the Sightron wasn't far behind.  The Sightron did seems more critical with eye position than the Conquest, but not as much so as the Monarch.
 
                      MONARCH     SIGHTRON     CONQUEST
Appearance          3                   5                    4
Build quality          4                   5                    5
Reticle                   3                   4                    5
Ergonomics           2                   5                    4
Optics                   3                   4                    5
 
My conclusion is that the Conquest has the best optics, not outclassing the Sightron, but a notch above the Monarch.  But there is something about the ergonomics of the Sightron that I really like.  I have 4 Conquest scopes now, so I guess you can say I feel they are the best for the money.  But the Sightron is right there with them especially when you consider other things other than just optics alone.  The Sightron was lighter, more compact, more adjustment range at 80 moa.  The knobs are also sem
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2009 at 07:30
257WM_CDL-SF View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Joined: March/18/2009
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nice review  Which Sightron was it
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2009 at 09:34
hunter12345 View Drop Down
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That was an honest review.I have all three of the scopes and would say I like the Sightron Big Sky best.The climate control coating is a plus.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2009 at 13:25
jantzer View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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The Sightron is certainly a great scope, it's only 12.5" long.
SIIBSS451444MD
 
Right now I have the Conquest #1 and Big Sky #1A.  There are so many features of the Big Sky on that particular scope that I like better than the Conquest, but the field of view on the Conquest wow's me.  I plan to do some more testing over the next week.  I need to pick up a resolution chart of some sort.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/06/2009 at 13:57
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Optics Apprentice
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I have the Sightron big sky 4.5x14x42 HHR ordered
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