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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2006 at 10:59
Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Scope Proves Worth With Darkhorse Snipers
Marine Corps News | Mark Sixbey | March 13, 2006

Camp Mercury, Iraq - Marine snipers here put the Corps’ latest sniper optic to the test and it proved to be spot-on. Proof is one less bad guy planting roadside bombs.

Snipers of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment proved the 3x12 variable-powered Schmidt & Bender M-8541 Scout-Sniper Day Scope’s usefulness in January when they killed an insurgent planting improvised explosive devices near Fallujah. It was the first recorded combat kill with the new optic.

“It was kind of a big deal with the sniper community to get the first kill with the new scope,” said Gunnery Sgt. Paul Starner, platoon sergeant for the battalion’s Scout-Sniper Platoon, who squeezed off the shot. “After the kill, we did a picture-perfect extraction. They didn’t even know we were there.”

The scope’s ability to allow Marines to target insurgents wasn’t a one-time stint, though. Marines in the platoon reaffirmed the scope’s combat utility seven times since then, according to Starner.

The new scope came into service in November 2005, but the battalion’s snipers didn’t get them until December, giving the platoon just one month to learn how to use it before the battalion deployed in January. The Schmidt & Bender scope replaced the aging fixed 10x Unertl scope Marines have used for decades.

“Right away, they said to learn on it, train with it, then deploy,” said Starner, 33, from Kansas City, Mo.

He said snipers in the Marine Corps had been asking for a variable scope for years, and the new scope was selected from a number of different models through field-testing by Marine sniper instructors in Quantico, Va., last summer.

Not every scout-sniper was initially impressed with the scope. Most of the shooters are tried-and-true gun nuts and convincing these Marines to part with proven products of the past was tough. Still, after seeing it in action, they have a new love.

“I was opposed to this scope for the simple fact that it’s metric and most Americans are used to yards,” Starner said. “But now that we’ve got it, launched it and used it, it’s an outstanding scope.”

He said snipers got around the difference in measurement standards by using a simple formula to convert yards to meters.

“I carry a calculator with me everywhere I go,” Starner said. “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.”

The new Schmidt & Bender allows better positive target identification, according to 2nd Lt. Jake Cusack, Sniper Platoon commander. The Schmidt & Bender scope has a greater light-gathering capability, boasting a 50 mm objective lens and illuminated mil-dot reticle pattern, better adapted to drop insurgents at a distance in low light conditions as well as daylight.

“The scope allows them to make more precise adjustments,” Cusak explained. “The variable power lets you look at multiple targets or moving targets and pick one then zoom in.”

The new scope is more durable than its predecessor, as well. It handles better in the field. Marines are rough on their gear and need equipment that can stand up to bumps and bruises expected in tough combat environments. So far, the new scope demonstrated less risk of losing sight alignment. It held a battle-sight zero through a variety of combat applications.

“With the old scopes, you’d lose the zero if you bumped it,” Starner said. “I haven’t had any problems with this one keeping its BZO.”

“It gives them more confidence in the placement of their shots, even if they’ve been out operating for a month or so,” Cusack said.

That confidence will aid the Marines’ mission, providing overwatch for patrols and interrupting IED emplacement in the area.

“On the battlefield we’re in right now, the sniper and his rifle is the most precise weapon system available to the commander,” said Cusack, 23, from Detroit. “With all of our concerns with rules of engagement, discrimination and engaging targets, the sniper can guarantee that he’s applying one 7.62 mm bullet to one very specific target.”

“We’re here to find the enemy and kill him, and that’s what we’re doing,” Starner said. “Any time you make them think twice about what they’re doing, you’re doing your job. I want it in their heads that we’re watching them.”

Every Marine in the platoon has at least one deployment under their belts, and all but two are formally-trained snipers.

The match of superior weapons, optics and highly-trained professionals is proving to be a boon for the battalion.

“It’s almost unheard of,” Starner said. “We’re the only platoon in the country with that many school-trained snipers. I’ve got numerous honor graduates, Instructor’s Choice, all quality Marines, hand-picked.”

They are veterans with cool-nerves of steel and practical experience behind their weapons. That spells nothing short of a death sentence for insurgents.

“I’m confident this is one of the most veteran and trained sniper platoons in the country right now,” Cusack said.

 

- Military.com

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2006 at 11:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2006 at 13:42
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Yep, I read that a week, or so, ago on Military.com.  Looks like at least in some cases, the Leuys, et. al., weren't all that highly regarded?  Kind of makes me feel glad I bought a PM II myself.

 

Chris

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2006 at 18:02
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Garrett - Don't break your hand patting yourself on the back. The S&B is a fine scope but think how many Super Sniper 10x scopes you could put in the field for the price of one S&B.  Did it really do something that a $399 Leupold Mark 4  3-9 PR wouldn't do?  For the cost of one S&B you could have two Nikon Tacticals or two Burris Tacticals or two Leupold Long Range Mark 4 Tacticals or two IOR Tacticals - So did you get twice as much?  I'm glad our guys are getting quality optics but I have seen a lot of military spending that was not cost effective. No business could run the way the government does except maybe Enron. I'm a little concerned about where we are going with the national debt.

 

Do I want our guys to have great optics -YES but do I think they got something that was that much better than the Leupolds you are putting down - NO

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2006 at 20:16
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UIF,

 

Using you're logic, I could get 20 Toyota Corollas for the price of one Ferrari F-430, which would get me from point A to B just as fine, just about every day of the month, so why should one bother?!  I have a very nice Leupold Standard Police (3.5-10x40 PR now) and I'm happy with it but I also appreciate nice quality and I'm willing to pay a premium for it from an aesthetic and mechanical POV.  Hell, I bought my Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 over the Nikon Tactical and saved about 300+, so I'm budget oriented myself if that's what it takes.  On the TRG 338, I felt the rifle deserved something a few notches up from 'pedestrian'.  Remember the famous words from Kelly LeBrock:  "don't hate me because I'm beautiful."  LOL.

 

As for your other comments about the military and what not, I'll just throw in this brief comment.  We both know full and well that the military procurement machine is all over the map, when it comes to quality, but I am tickled pink that they choose the SB PMII.  Hell, if it's good enough for the Marine Corps, it's damn good enough for lil' ol' me.  How come we didn't buy SN-3s?

 

Anyway, your posts are always visually informative, so keep up the good work.

 

Toodles, Chris

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2006 at 02:20
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First off, it seems to me that Schmidt und Bender won the USMC fair and square.

 

Not just the SOP of "let's get the cheap stuff", which is how I believe Beretta won the infamous M9 contract.  (I could preach on this one for a while.)

 

Secondly, I'm more than a little disappointed that US Optics didn't get the USMC contract.

The fact that they are a REAL American company and the fact that USO and

John Williams III have treated me personally so well just kind of hurts.

 

God speed to all the troops.

Congrats to S&B for winning the contract.  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2006 at 14:22
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There is no doubt that the S&B is a top quality scope. I personally would rather have the U.S. Optics SN3 but I would be willing to bet U.S Optics wasn't able to turn out the quantity needed quickly enough to get the contract.

I just get a little frustrated seeing the lack of common sense used in some of the military's spending. Example: they wanted to remodel a large concrete warehouse, and at huge expense went in and cut lots of portions of the concrete out and remodeled. I asked the contractor wouldn't it have been cheaper to bulldoze it and start from scratch. His answer - of course it would have been cheaper, but it is easier to get money to remodel than it is to get money to bulid new.  I hate to say it but I see a huge amount of waste and insufficient common sense used far too often. The worst of it is that it can be nearly impossible to get some valid needs funded at the same time as money is thrown away on other things. (Lots of bosses and no consensus among them.)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2006 at 16:00
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Hello UIF and CT,

 

I don't disagree that government bureaucracy blows our tax dollars left and right, as we have pork barrel spending all over the place.  This being said, I think Schmidt Bender has the production capacity to bring 'economy of scale' into the picture and even though the Euro is +~17% relative to the dollar, they can offer at a lower fixed cost is my guess, than USO can.  I think consensus holds that USO and SB PMII are the two premier day scope models available with a small group right behind depending on one's preferences I'd imagine?  Therefore, we're kind of comparing apples to apples and the Marine Corps went with the German maker.  Hell, FN~Herstal is making most of our crap anyhow, for the foot soldier so I'm not getting all teary eyed myself.  It's a global economy as they say.

 

Anyhow, we seem to be hoping for the creme de la creme in optics vs. getting more of the same, which seems to have not been working out for them if you believe those comments by actual users in the field, as stated in the article referenced.

 

I don't have all the answers, but as I said, as a new SB owner, I was happy to see them chosen.  I guess if I had bought a USO scope, I would have been in the same boat as you and CT.  Time will tell if it was a good choice or not.

 

Take care, Chris

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2006 at 16:08
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S&B still has a very small shop. Not a lot of employees, much like USO.

I don't think the inability to crank out "quanity" had anything to do with it, Ufriend.

 

IMHO, the Marine Corps got the best scope, for the best shooters this country has to offer.

8541's, Marine Scout/Sniper's are the real deal. S&B PMII's are the real deal too. 

 

I think they flat beat a USO SN-3 head to head.

I hate to say that, let alone type it.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2006 at 09:27
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Boy - Cheaptrick - that must have been painful for you to say I know how much you love USOptics. 

 

I would rather see the government put money into a better quality rifle scope than some of the things I've seen them blow money on. I just wish we would  get away from .223 and go back to a .30 cal. battle rifle or something like .260Rem that will have more distance and more energy when it gets down range.  I have been hearing word back that a few M1a SOCOM's are starting to show up in the field and some .45acp' s are being reissued I hope that trend continues.

.

Garrett congrats on your scope and TRG338 combo - what kind of groups are you getting out of that rifle at distance and how is the recoil?  I'm trying to decide between a Tac Ops Echo 300wm or a GAPrecision Rock 300wm.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2006 at 10:37
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Boy - Cheaptrick - that must have been painful for you to say I know how much you love USOptics. 

 

Yeah.

 

Hey, I'm a former S&B owner too. ZERO problems. Wonderful performance.

Didn't have a PMII like Chris G. but loved my 3-12x42mm PH with lit L7 reticle.

 

Now if Barska or BSA would be providing our Marines with sniper scopes, I would have to slit my wrist!!   

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/29/2006 at 15:30
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Look at it like this guys, if you were on the front line (and before you ask, yes i have been...and more than once) serving in the UK Royal Marines 40 and 42 Commando for 12 years.

I had the fortune to use S&B scopes in anger and you appreciate the little extra it can give you, especially against opponents with less clarity, precision in adjustment or low light capability.

Never scrimp or try to save money where your armed forces are concerned, if your hunting or target shooting you never think of the fact they are going to try to out smart you then shoot back do you?

I have looked through the SSniper and can say value for money its a great scope, but its not in the same leauge as the Nightforce, S&B tactical scopes...just put yourself in the scenario that someone and his spotter is trying to locate you, he has the S&B PMII 5 x 25 and is 700 mtrs from you, its starting to get dark, you are equiped with the SS 10x42....be honest, what would you be comfortable with?

 

Also before you pass a comment that im in the UK and therefor favour S&B, i also have a USO SN3 Tpal and think its a fine optical resolution and an accurate mildot reticule and a few other manufacturers adorn my rifles inc, Leupold, Nightforce and B Lomb.....if i was recalled to rejoin my unit, the S&B and the USO would be packed straight away

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/29/2006 at 16:33
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RMsniper:

The Super Sniper has distinguished itself in Iraq and the guys over there seem to love it.

I presently own a 10x SS and wouldn't have any problems deploying with it.

 

It may not be a PM II, but it's probably (I'm guessing) killed more bad guys than the S&B or USO has.

The SS is a hell of a scope in it's own right and has served well the Squad Designated Marksman.  



Edited by cheaptrick
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/29/2006 at 17:11
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I can say honestly that i have never used a SS in anger, and that is where i base a lot of my opinions and experience and where im comfortable to comment. Its interesting to find out they are in Iraq and in acive service. In what roles are they used? short combatant role? up to 400 mtrs. Iraq in my friends experience is a street fighting and urban warfare environment where this scope may be the better compromise, in the fighting i was involved in (some urban and a lot of open countryside) the Schmidt was king. We also used B&L (supprisingly) 10x42....again a good street unit.

 

Always nice to see expert and informed opinions.

 

Yep, 40 and 43 Commando for 12 years and loved every minute of it untill i broke my ankle on excercise

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/29/2006 at 18:26
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I'm hardly an expert, but I do know a few guys that are.

 

I will say that to my knowledge, most shots taken by our troops appear to be less than 400 meters, and more like 100-150 meters.

(Anyone here that may be privy to better intel than me, feel free to correct me.)

 

If you look through the Optics Galleries here, you'll find a ton of of US troops sporting SS's on their weapons. A lot of these are on M14/M1A's it would appear.

They are VERY rugged and dependable.

 

 

Don't know for sure, but it would appear that these troops in the pics are Designated Marksmen for their platoon's and/or squads.  

Other members of Marine squads are using Eotechs and ACOGS, while the Army is using Aimpoints.

 

If anyone has better intel, feel free to correct me.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/30/2006 at 02:45
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Up to 400 mtrs sounds about right for that type of scope, what is the FOV like?

Looking at the scope it looks good value for money.

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Originally posted by RMsniper RMsniper wrote:

Up to 400 mtrs sounds about right for that type of scope, what is the FOV like?

Looking at the scope it looks good value for money.

 

13 feet @ 100 yards for the 10x.

Good FOV.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/30/2006 at 12:09
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:


 


I think they flat beat a USO SN-3 head to head.


I hate to say that, let alone type it.


 


 



I have to say that based on my personal experience with the USO product and none with SundB, except looking through it at shows, it must be one hell of a scope!



Edited by Critter
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/31/2006 at 00:21
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Well, I've had mine for a couple of months now with 3 range visits for the combo and 220 rounds down the pipe, so I have some comments I can share. 

 

First off...the 5-25x56 PMII is a big scope.  It's not so much the length, as my B&L Elite 4000 6-24x40AO is pretty long, but it's just a massive hunk of engineering and at ~32 oz/2#, it's not all that light. 

 

Secondly, if you reload and shoot a bunch of different combos like I'm doing initially, the ZERO stop needs to be fiddled with, as I get 1.25 MOA depression out of this thing and sometimes that's not been enough.  As an FYI, I get 122.25 mechanical MOA on this particular scope, so there's plenty of room there.  My two local ranges are only 100yds, so basically, things are a waste, but I plan on road tripping to some longer ranges once I get the pet loads sorted out. 

 

Thirdly, whiile I've never seen a USO, I have a few decent low-mid level scopes (B&L Elite 4000/4200, Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50, Leupold Standard Police 3.5-10x40 (now PR) and a SA Government Gen 1) and the fit and finish on the PMIIs are superb, but that's to be expected for a scope retailing at close to three large.  I ended up with the P4 reticle and on high mag, at 100 yds, you do get some overlap on small dots vs. fine plex RFP type scopes, but that's just a nit.  I don't hunt, but the clarity is very nice as the sun starts to go down and there's really no eye fatigue.  Blackout doesn't seem to be an issue, either and this scope seems to be very forgiving in this regard relative to say the Leupold. 

 

Anyhow, as I've posted here, I'm a fan and have honestly wanted a SB since I held one at a gun show here in Miami in the early 90s.  Couple this with a 30 yr warranty and a free tune up/recalibration w/i the first 10 years and the support seems to be there on its face.

 

Take care, Chris

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/01/2006 at 13:26
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Like i say, im lucky enough to own both S&B and USO...so i think on comparisons there is little to choose from.

 

Ohhh BTW i collected both T3 Tacticals today so im gonna dress em up tonight and post some pics

 

My observations are only personal and as a *retired* professional shooter, take my comments with whatever dose of salts you wish.

 

Using extreem range (a power pylon) at 2 miles both scopes set on infinity the resolution is crisp and very clear both showing the insulators and disks as seperate items. If anything i would say the Schmidt has only a very slight edge...and i mean SLIGHT.

 

Turret turn, for some reason USO (as a lot of US scopes are) have counter clockwise turret movements. This has caused me many wrong adjustments at critical times....but it is an operational error on my behalf...no fault of the scope. The same would be said after a Canadian rifleman noted when i let him shoot my AIAW during a NATO excercise....so horses for courses as we say here.

Turret click and feel is good on both, the USO has slightly dampened feel to them where as the Schmidt is good for gloved fingers ( a must for any UK Commando unit because we fight in extreem cold climate) However for Civillian use and warmer climates the USO has good feel.

 

Both scopes are Milliradian so no problems there

 

Reticule....mmmmm, my personal favorite is the one i have in the AIAW Schmidt combo (not available to civillians and was Accuracy Internationals own design) but that comes through training with it for 12 years. But for clarity i give the USO thumbs up.

 

Power and useability. A lot of guys go for max power in scopes, im not a keen advocate of this philosophy and think that 12 is more than adequate for the hunting of the species humanous. But the USO scores here 100%. 17 power is a very good compromise on a hunting scope and not seen widely in Europe.

 

Fit and finnish on both (My USO is a Canadian sniper in green annodized) is what you would expect from these 2 camps...damn all between them. If however i was on the battlefield, i would go for the Black AR coating on the S&B...again its a personal choice.

 

Glass quality, well again the S&B and the USO in grind quality...bugger all between them in reality. Neither wins an outright prize in my book as its just too close to call.

 

Night use....Schmidt all the way, for some reason (and im not sure why) the USO does not deliver the last 10 mins of useable light very well. I have checked this with both scopes set on 8 power and side by side comparison....go figure??

 

Eye relief...bugger all in it

 

So to sum them both up, and i can only comment on the 2 i own for the no nonsense purpose built sniper market, I would happily take either into the hunt. Experience has shown me many different scopes, fitted to soooooo many rifles that it comes down to your own preference and what you feel comfortable with, and the time you spend behind the scope giving familiarity and confidence is what makes that shot just a little easier.

 

Both are fine optics, both have merrits and only a few (if any) faults. I know you guys dont always plumb for the European exotics, and we dont always have access to companies like USO and the products. I have spoken to USO and have been absolutely won over by the supream customer service and that counts for hell of a lot. I know people who have had bad times with them....but again, its personal service and its priceless value to any purchase.

Value for money.....USO for me, comfort factor with the customer service (i have never tried to return either S&B or USO products) i feel USO have done me proud.

I know a guy here in the UK who bought a combat scope from USO for his AR15...he loved it but it had a rail fit problem, USO offered to take his rail and machine both parts to an exact fit for ZERO cost.....i bet S&B wouldnt

 

Thats it from me for now....off to build up my rifles and get em ready for the weekend

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/01/2006 at 21:54
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For stagnant positions with a bolt rifle in a real deal situation I'd go hands down with the  S&B.  Clarity is amazing and with any light at all it's almost a servicable night optic. 

The SS loses discernable image right about dusk, the Leupold 10x MkIV adds 20 minutes service time to that.  The uso 10x loses color resolution as well as clarity about the same time as the MkIV, making all those dedicated daylight scopes.
Closest thing to the S&B is the XOTIC, which can  be used in the same lighting as the S&B.  The Nightforce varminter scopes are a close 2nd.

For the DMR role, anything over 4x is overkill, and the lower magnification would  greatly help the low ambient light target ID.  If the SS was offered in a 4x or 6x fixed it would be the perfect under $2500.00 scope for the DMR role.  With BDC setup it would be the absolute best on the market period for the DMR job.

Having said all that, the 10xSS units are a damn good optic for severe usage daylight operations.  Seems like one unit has about 200 of these with no failures going into year 2.  That ain't bad by any standard. 

 I've worked amazingly hard at trying to intentionally abuse these to failure and all I could do is wear one out by usage over an 8 year period.  I've broken every other optic I own.

  Just don't get durability confused with best mission choice...........there's a difference and I'm with RMSNIPER on this.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2006 at 03:45
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Good stuff Mike..

 

That's quite a testimony for the XOTIC!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2006 at 06:16
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Interestingly enough i was looking at a B & Lomb 10x42 with 30mm tube on a mates BLR custom job....and it looks identical to the SS, is it the same scope? if it is, Accuracy International used to fit them to the AIAW untill the tie in with S&B. I have used the B & Lomb 10x42 and its a decent scope.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/02/2006 at 12:17
ChrisGarrett View Drop Down
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Hello,

 

The orgin of the SS scope is somewhat hush-hush around here, but the pedigree is fairly obvious.  B/L dropped them a few years back, only to have (parent) company Bushnell rebadge a cheaper Elite 3200 10x as their new tactical model.  The quality between the old and new tactical models I don't think is all that close.  I've got a couple of the B/L Elite 4xxx scopes and I can't argue with clarity or fit and finish.  I don't know the specifics behind the older 10x Tactical as used on the AIAW, but I think Light Optical Works out of Japan was (still is?) responsible for manufacture of the upper end B&Ls (now Bushnell).  I spoke with somebody at Bushnell last summer and that person said that the two marquees were/are produced by the same vendor, but who knows?

 

Take care, Chris

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/03/2006 at 05:16
Critter View Drop Down
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RMSNIPER:

Excellent review. Want more of same.

Usually reviews are based on basis of no experience with competitive unit or hearsay. Great to hear from someone that has used both.

The particular example shown in my post above has a lit Horus H-25 reticle and when combined with Horus palm ATRAG2 software and KESTREL 4000 is essentially a semi-automatic fire control system. Elevation knob is a .1 Mil EREK. A lot of fun to play with. M40A3 clone has LILJA three groove #7 pattern 3 groove 10 twist barrel and 1# Jewel trigger. List price of totally loaded SN-3 3.2-17x44 Lit Horus H-25 34mm tube TPAL Metric EREK with rings is about US$3500.

Edited by Critter
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