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Review: Sightron SIII & Bushnell Elite 6500

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jetspeedz View Drop Down
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    Posted: November/26/2011 at 01:21

Rifle Scope Review:  Sightron SIII SS 10-50x 60mm Fine Crosshair & Bushnell Elite 6500 4.5-30x 50mm Mil Dot

I had the pleasure of choosing from a handful of rifle scopes to review. In the end, like my other reviews, I decided to focus on specific scopes which are the best of the bunch. Coincidentally both these scopes are not on the cheap end of the spectrum, while also not on the extremely high end either when it comes to price range. With optics, you really get what you pay for in most cases. I did not bother including the cheaper models from other manufacturers in this review, you cannot compare them with their shortcomings against a quality scope. If you purchase a cheap scope thinking it will work just as good as a high quality scope and spending more money is a waste, I urge you to reconsider that line of thought. I understand money is an issue in some cases, which is why I suggest, save up and be patient, instead of making an ill advised decision to purchase an inferior scope you will end up selling in the long run. Before making a purchase, do your due diligence in research and read as many reviews as possible and educate yourself on scopes if you are new to the sport. This general saying usually holds true in most cases: Buy cheap, spend twice.

 There are lots of options when choosing a scope from basic fixed power to variable power in tactical to target configurations. The idea is to pick the right scope with maximum versatility to meet all your shooting needs and buy it only once. Most quality scopes will last a lifetime and can be passed down to future generations. Choosing the right manufacturer which will honor defects and warranty issues is also important, so take time to read the fine print. Understanding how a scope works is critical to choosing the right scopes and there are a lot of helpful resources on the internet which in detail break down the inner workings of a scope. I will not get into details about the basic features of a scope, so I suggest you brush up on the basics before you get confused as you read on. If you need help or would like my suggestion feel free to email me. 

Sightron SIII SS 10-50x 60mm is made in Japan with high quality glass and made from Aircraft grade aluminum. SIII is a big boy with a 60mm objective and really a work of art with a 30mm main tube which is twice as thick as 1” models to provide durability and ruggedness. This particular model is a two piece tube joined at the bell compared to other SIII models of lesser magnification which are a one piece design. Sightron has patented windage and elevation system which is unlike any other system out there on the market. Their ExacTrack system prevents any drift due to the way the erector and adjusters interact with each other. If you would like more information on this design click on this link ExacTrack (http://sightron.com/index.php?action=view_document&did=1201831270). Like most high end scopes it is weather and waterproof. The lens is ZACT-7 seven layers multi-coated and is nitrogen filled to prevent fogging. It is also tested for shock and recoil as expected. SIII has high profile target turrets which are resetable to zero with supplied allen key and come in 1/8 MOA clicks at 50-MOA total adjustment in windage and elevation. The turrets come with aluminum black coated covers with no markings. SIII comes configured from factory to 0 diopters but it can be changed with the fast focus eyeball adjuster. Parallax side adjustment on this scope is configurable from 10 yards to infinity. SIII comes packaged with a set of flip lens covers similar to Butler Creek as well as instruction manual, allen key, cloth scope cover and lens cleaning cloth. Best of all it comes with a Lifetime Warranty and the customer service is second to none, which I experienced firsthand.

Bushnell Elite 6500 4.5-30x 50mm is made to Bushnell’s specifications by one of the leading optics factories Japan. The Elite is a one piece design with a 30mm main tube made out of forged aluminum to offer maximum rigidity. Elite is Argon purged even though their website is not updated and states otherwise. Since 2011 all of the Elite series scopes have been upgraded with Argon vs traditional Nitrogen gas. The advantage of Argon is the atom size is bigger than Nitrogen atom so there is less chance it will bond with oxygen and form water droplets. Elite comes with multi-coated lenses and waterproof as expected. It is also recoil tested with thousands of rounds of 375 H&H Magnum.  RainGuard HD is a big feature advertised for Elite series scopes. The patented hydrophobic lens does a superb job of preventing large beads of water from forming on the lens. The theory is smaller droplets of water scatter less light which makes the overall picture brighter and clearer. This link has additional details on RainGuardHD RainGuard HD (http://www.bushnell.com/rainguard/). Elite comes with finger resetable turrets which are 1/4 MOA clicks at 50-MOA total adjustment in windage and elevation. Out of the box the Elite comes with a 5” sunshade and plastic covers with bungee strings between them. Turrets come with aluminum covers and one of the covers has some gold colored markings and an engraved Bushnell logo while the other is plain black. There is a instruction manual with limited information and the Elite comes with only a one year no questions asked warranty and a lifetime warranty against defects.

I was impressed by the matte black finish and quality on both scopes.  It is worth while mentioning, scopes which are more expensive, such as NightForce, also get their glass from Japan. I would not be surprised if they come from the same source Sightron or Bushnell uses but is finished in house. Both scopes have an adjustable eye piece so if you have flip lens covers they rotate with the eye piece which can be bothersome until you get it dialed in. This is the most popular design and I would assume this was an engineering decision based on tradeoffs between cost and design. SIII is a larger scope and weights about 8oz more than Elite. With a standard ring mount, the SIII 60mm objective might have clearance issues depending on the mount used and platform. I had these scopes mounted in one piece cantilever quick disconnect mounts, such as the

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 01:23

Video of turret clicks Siii vs. Elite

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Urimaginaryfrnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 07:41
Thanks Excellent  I moved this to where we keep the tests and reviews that makes them easier to locate.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote 338LAPUASLAP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 09:09
Note:
 
Their are two models available within the SIII line up.
 
Non exposed Turrets Is the tell tale of the old system.  That is mushier still more clicky than most but not even in the same ball park as the newer system they have.
 
Vs.
"
 
Exposed Target Turrets. 
These are much more Crisp or Snappy.
 
The above scope is a "Tactical or Exposed Target Turret"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 10:37
With the S3 scopes, the new exposed turrets are a MAJOR improvement over the old ones.  I think they solidified Sightron S3's position as the best target scope below $1k.

ILya
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 11:07
Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Thanks Excellent  I moved this to where we keep the tests and reviews that makes them easier to locate.


Thanks

In terms of the new SIII models if they come out with a FCH version I will try and get one to review against the current SIII model. 

I did not experience any of the mushy clicks you describe at all, i would me amazed there is an improvement to these turrets since it is by far the most crisp knobs i ever felt even comparing it to nighforce. But I'm curious and this new model must have just came out as I was conducting my review. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 11:14
The exposed knobs became available this year.  For the record, the covered knobs were also improved at the same time.  Historically, they have been too light, but this years model have better calibrated tension.

ILya
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2011 at 11:18
I see, well I just received this scope not too long ago so I would think this has the upgraded knobs with better tension calibration. When i read mushy I was a little shocked, but If older models had issues it makes sense.

I'll give Sightron a call Monday to see if i can get one of the exposed scopes for a review and compare the two.

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2011 at 18:03
Ok I received confirmation from Alan Orr at Sightron, the first batch of the SIII models had softer tension which some might have experienced. But since all the batches after the first batch all have the same identical stiffer tension as the exposed turrets released not long ago. So there is no different in the Exposed turrets and the Covered turret SIII models other than the obvious turret style exposed vs covered. The glass, materials, and everything else is exactly the same for those interested.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote atomiclab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 22:51
great review

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 22:52
Thank you Sir
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rustic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2011 at 23:55
Goodness that is a long review.Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 338LAPUASLAP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2011 at 17:56
well I'm glad they changed the mushy crap out...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/10/2011 at 18:34
Me too, it's too bad i never had an opportunity to see how much mushy it was but the current tension is as good as it can get in my opinion better than any scope I felt even scopes costing much more.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/11/2011 at 11:43
The original turrets on the Sightron S3 were not mushy if memory serves me right.  They were quite light, but not mushy.

ILya
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/23/2011 at 16:03
Gotch ya, what is important is now is they are all made to spec with tighter tension. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Txhillbilly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/24/2011 at 09:49
I have 3 Sightron SIII 6-24x50 LRMD scopes and an older SII 4-16x42.None of the turrets seem too soft/easy to turn to me.I just received a 6-24x50 MOA-2 scope,and I really do like the new exposed Turrets that it has.They are more crisp than the older style.
 
I don't know if I like the MOA-2 reticle,the lines are very fine and may not work very well for any type of hunting.It may just turn into a target only scope. I'll find out once I get it out in the field for some trials.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/08/2012 at 17:06
Sorry guys pics were moved to a new server since photobucket has limited bandwidth. Here are the pics again. If i could edit the original post i would but i can't.

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JAG980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2012 at 10:33
WOW !!!  Amazing review.  Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2012 at 13:45
My pleasure,

I'm working on a new build as we speak so check out my youtube channel for updates.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tman1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/01/2012 at 14:02
Nice! Thanks! Excellent
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetspeedz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 18:21
No problem 
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