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Sightron S3 6-24x50, dot reticle

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2009 at 18:43
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First and foremost, I am a tactical shooter; I prefer long-range precision to the detriment of other factors such as weight and size and ergonomics.  I own no safe queens.

 

I’ve heard great things about the Sightron 6-24 so thought I’d try it out.  Chris was gracious enough to ship one to me for evaluation.  Here’ are my first impressions.

 

I thought it’d be bigger.  I don’t do much with scopes in the +20X range, nor do I use many “bench rest” scopes.  I guess I assumed a 6-24 would be dramatically larger than, say, a 3-9.  Not so much.

 

My direct comparison for this evaluation is a Nightforce NSX 5.5-22x50 with NP-R1 reticle (SFP.)

 

The turrets are clearly marked on the tops, but no additional markings on the sides, for “reminding” us old-timers which way is up.

 

The turrets are capped, which is good, because these things turn with ease.  The clicks are audible, tactile, and very crisp and well-defined.  Personally, I like a little more resistance.   (Turret likes and dislikes are personal preference, my preference is for less sound, more feel, and a little more distance between clicks.)

Turrets are re-settable via 3 hex-head screws in the top, this is fine by me, tough to “accidentally” reset them.

 

The “side focus” has resistance to prevent accidental movement – I wish the turrets were more like the focus.  There is no range scale on the focus, just the word “focus” and stadia lines of ever-increasing length, till you get to the infinity symbol.  It’s simple, it works, no gripes.

 

The power ring has good resistance, it will not move without your intentional action.  Also, the numbers indicating power are slanted toward the shooter, so you need not come completely off the scope to know what power you are on. I like that.

 

All lettering and numbering on the scope is in a gold-ish/ orange-ish color, not my favorite. 

 

 

Now, the optics.

 

At 6X:

 

The scope is quite easy to get behind, the site picture is very clear edge-to-edge, the glass is almost indistinguishable from the 5.5-22 Nightforce to which I am comparing it.  The “sweet spot” seemed forgiving.  No optical flaws that I can see.

 

At about 12X:

 

(I say “about” because scope manufacturers only calibrate the maximum and minimum powers, they do not calibrate the numbers between, so “12X” might not be exactly 12X.)

 

The site picture isn’t quite as forgiving, the image is still plenty bright to be used effectively.  I didn’t feel “light-starved” but the image had softened a little more than the Nightforce at “about” 12X.

 

At about 24X:

 

Getting behind the scope is now a bit more challenging, position and distance are critical and not at all forgiving.

 

At 24X, the image has softened a bit more and the image is not as bright as I would like (though, at 24X, with an exit pupil of just over 2, that isn’t unexpected.)

The scope is still very usable – and, if memory serves me correctly, presents a MUCH BETTER image at 24X than my old (now gone) Bushnell 4200 at 24X – I got rid of it because the image was all but terrible at 24X.

 

At 24X, I did notice a fair amount of color shift, something to which I am very sensitive and others, not

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2009 at 19:32
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I am very curious to see what you range report will show.  As far as chromatic aberration goes, I am not entirely sure what you mean by "color shift".  Chromatic aberration usually rears its ugly head in a shape of colored fringes visible at the boundary lines between light and dark.

How did it compare to NXS at 20x-22x?

Generally speaking, if you are looking at the best performance at very high magnifications (i.e. 24x and above) larger objective lens helps.  With the Sightron S3 line-up, while I think 6-24x50 is the best allround choice, the 8-32x56 is perceptibly better at high magnification (I was told there is ED glass sued in the objective lens on that one).

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2009 at 19:58
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Yes, when I say color shift", I mean I see a blue or red edge on objects where dark contrasts with light background.  I've seen it in spotters and in some high-magnification scopes (and I hate it,)  It is an issue with this scope simply because the crosshairs are so thin.

I'll get the range report up ASAP.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2009 at 18:18
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The scope is now mounted and bore sighted on a Tikka .308 with Warne Maxima rings (I had forgotten how much I hate mounting a scope in Warne rings.)

Bright and early to the range, report to follow shortly.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 13:21
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Thanks for the review RC, I am looking forward to the range report. This time of year most of the scopes have problems with mirage at higher magnification here in Ks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 13:26
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For purposes of this evaluation, we'll use a working definition of "ambivalent" as "feeling strongly for both sides of an argument or item, both for and against."  This, in contrast to indifferent, which means you really don't care either way.


The setup:

Tikka T3 in .308, Warne Maxima QD rings, Winchester Silver tip 150-gr. ammo, 100-yard target, Sightron S3 6-24x50.  (Rifle normally wears a Trijicon 3-9 in Talley rings and shoots 1/2MOA or beter with hand-loads.)




The rifle was fired from a sand-bagged rest (so shooter error was minimized.)


The process:

We'll call the target on the right, Target #1, and the target on the left Target#2.  Disregard the zombie targets, I use those for resolution testing, I like them more than the technical charts.




I bore-sighted the rifle at 100 yards (down the bore, while in the rest, and adjusted the scope till it was looking at the same spot.)  The first round down the tube (cold bore, cold-shooter shot) was on Target#1, the 12:30 shot in the outer diamond of the bull.

I made a correction of 1 click left (the scope is 0.25MOA/click) and 8 clicks down - then began firing on Target #2.

The firing sequence is as follows

centered shot on bull (second diamond bull, 8 o'clock.)
20 clicks left, 20 clicks up, single shot
40 clicks right, single shot
40 clicks down, single shot
40 clicks left, single shot
40 clicks up, single shot
40 clicks right, single shot
40 clicks down, single shot
40 clicks left, single shot
40 clicks up, single shot
40 clicks right, single shot
40 clicks down, single shot
40 clicks left, single shot
20 clicks up, 20 clicks right, single shot
run turrets 20 left, 20 up, 40 right, 40 down, 40 left, 20 up, 20, right, single shot

The last 2 rounds of the day were on Target #1 at the upper right bull's eye, both rounds were fired without dope change.

18 rounds down the tube, 18 rounds on paper (I was going to make the final group  4 rounds but they called a cease-fire, and I wanted the target and didn't wanna have to wait around another 30 minutes till the next cease fire. I know, I'm lazy, but I'm OK with that.



Scope impressions.

1.The clicks need more resistance.  Several times I tried to turn 1-click and got 2 clicks.  So long as you are slow and intentional, it isn't a problem; but if in a hurry, you will make mistakes.

2.  The glass, for this price, is great.  I was pleased with the 6X sight picture, I was amazed at the 24X site picture.    I didn't take the Nightforce to compare, but I know the Nightforce isn't better, I'd saw they are on par.

3.  The groups don't look great, in the sense of <1 MOA; however, there was a significant dope change between each round fired (for all but the last 2 rounds of the day.)  No 2 shots went down range (except the last 2) without turret-spinning.  I'd say, given the rifle and the ammo, the tracking is good.  had this been a "dope change, 3 rounds fired, dope change, 3 rounds fired" box test, the groups would be significantly tighter.

4.The reticle is great for target-shooting, would be BAD for hunting or other open-field applications.  The cross-hairs are very thin, the dot in the center was great for pulling the eye to the bull's eye, simply float the black dot in the white circle, and squeeze.

5.  The parallax is very needed at all powers.  At 6X, I noticed a severe parallax issue that did not effect focus of cross-hairs or target focus, both were crystal clear - but moving my head from side to side, I noted a HUGE change in cross hairs-to-target aspect.  At 24X, the target was out of focus till parallax was out, and it was easy to tell when parallax was zeroed out.

6.  I really missed the markings on the front of the turret.  To make a dope change, you must come completely off the scope and rifle to make sure you are pinning in the proper direction.  I know, "learn the scope so you don't have to see the indicators", I too once thought that, then I started wondering why my dope changes on my new Zeiss scopes were wrong.  Now I own scopes that spin left for up and others that spin right for up, so now I always verify.

I like it!  For a bench gun, it would be almost perfect (and "perfect" is 3X the price.)  For a gun that will see lots of bench or prone shooting, you'd be hard pressed to beat this scope at this price.  Tracking is good, build quality seems strong, I'd like a little more resistance in the turrets - but it ain't a deal-breaker, and the image is significantly better than my old 6-24 Bushnell 4200 Tactical.

**Also, bear in mind, I let the barrel cool between strings, but this is not a heavy-barrel gun, when the barrel heats, POI changes a little.


Edited by Rancid Coolaid - August/07/2009 at 13:36
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 13:41
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Excellent THANKS RC.  I'm GLAD it worked out for you and Sightron.  They've needed a positive boost lately!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 14:12
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Good write-up, RC.  I am glad you liked the scopes.  I have been talking about the quality of the new S3 scopes for a little while, but with mixed results.  Some people went out and tried them, while others are convinced that I am paid by Sightron (patently untrue).

Personally, I think the S3 6-24x50 is best matched with a Mil-Dot reticle, but either way this a bench/varmint scope.

ILya


Edited by koshkin - December/12/2009 at 01:39
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 14:35
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Great write up, RC!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 15:03
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Nice review, Jeff!  Good job!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2009 at 21:18
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 That is a very good range report, Rancid.
 Thank you for the effort you put into it.
 
(Nice Zombie target BTW.  That will be a very common target in the days to come under our current Administration, I'm afraid.
 Does that target show the vital areas of Zombie anatomy, and if so, where can I get one?)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2009 at 09:21
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Everyone knows you gotta hit a zombie in the head, no other anatomical feature will do.
 
 
I'll post the digital copies of it for any and all to print.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2009 at 09:39
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  Sorry to distract you from the review with my Zombie nonsense!
 
That scope tracks very nicely, I would say.
 Pretty impressive for you to note that resolution is comparable to Nightforce, too.
 Once again- great review!
 
How did you rate to get ahold of an S3, anyway? I thought Chris only had the S2 up for Road tests...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2009 at 14:02
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I didn't "rate" it, Chris knows I can be a royal pain in the a$$ and, probably, decided it was cheaper/easier to just send me one than contend with my bitching/pissing/moaning/griping for the next year about not getting what I really wanted to test.


In the end, I am glad I got to try it out.  If the reticle were the mil dot (or if I needed a purely bench scope), she'd be staying here. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2009 at 11:04
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In reading back through my initial assessment, I thought one additional ncomment needed to be made.


The "color shift" I noted while looking at the sky and trees-with-sky-backdrop was not a problem on the range.  The reticle is thin enough to prevent the color shift from being noticeable, even at 24X.  In the wild, it might be a little more clear, but it isn't something I would worry about.


I really like the scope.  I am a huge advocate of "get better glass, not more power" and this scope serves a fantastic intermediary: lots of power, good glass.  For a bench scope, I'd highly recommend it.

It isn't as heavy and bulky as the NSX to which it was compared, but didn't feel flimsy or weak.

I like the scope! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2009 at 13:48
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Good report, Jeff.  Sightron provides us with another option to look at.  Even though ILya likes them, I was still a little off put by some of the comments I have seen.  Two users with good reviews like yours and ILya's make it something I will take a look at in the future.  However, I may decide I need to standardize on a scope brand.  After the loss of my data book, it really hit home that I have a number of different scopes, all different in style, function, etc and with all my data gone I just don't know that I have enough hours to recreate everything.  Now, when I pick up a rifle, I have to go "sight it in" rather than just check data and zero.  I'm a long way from being able to "hot swap" scopes like I used to. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/10/2009 at 14:47
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I am impressed with the S3.  If I didn't think my wife would divorce, me, I'd keep this one.

Soon, I will need a long-range (non-hunting) scope and will probably buy this scope with a  mil dot reticle.

For the money, the glass is great.  NSX is beefier, but not clearer, sharper, or brighter - and when you change power on the Sightron, the whole damned ocular doesn't rotate!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2009 at 10:51
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Thanks for your review. 
 
I own the SIII 6-24x50mm LRMillDot and it's the best scope available for my uses, in this price range - my opinion.  I wish Sightron would offer their SIIIs in a 4-16x50mm power range.  I would quickly buy two.
 
I also own two IOR 3-18x42mm tactical scopes with MP-8 reticles.  I have directly compared the IORs to my SIII.  The resolution with both scopes set at 18X was equal.  I spent 20 minutes going back and forth between the two scopes at the range and couldn't really tell any difference analyzing my target and bullet holes at 300 yds.  But the SIII transmitted significantly more light than the IOR, with both scopes set to 18X.  When I turned the SIII up to 24X, it was still razor sharp, and I could now see detail that was not captured with either the IOR or SIII at 18X.  Amazing detail at 24X.  Enough that I'll be leaving my spotting scope at the house on a mountain goat hunt coming up soon. 
 
I've purchased a second 6-24x50mm LRMD.  I'm that impressed.  Yippee
 
I have one of my IOR 3-18x42s up for sale.  They're simply too heavy (29 oz) for me and my style of hunting.  For those that think IOR has top notch glass, this should tell you something about the quality of the glass in my SIII, at least from my perspective, and based on my direct comparison.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2009 at 11:13
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Originally posted by PaulD PaulD wrote:

  But the SIII transmitted significantly more light than the IOR, with both scopes set to 18X.  When I turned the SIII up to 24X, it was still razor sharp, and I could now see detail that was not captured with either the IOR or SIII at 18X.


I bet that has a lot to do with the larger objective which equals more exit pupil.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2009 at 12:14
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Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

Originally posted by PaulD PaulD wrote:

  But the SIII transmitted significantly more light than the IOR, with both scopes set to 18X.  When I turned the SIII up to 24X, it was still razor sharp, and I could now see detail that was not captured with either the IOR or SIII at 18X.


I bet that has a lot to do with the larger objective which equals more exit pupil.

Spot on.  Still, SIII has very nice glass.  In its price range, it is probably at the top of the heap or close to it.

ILya
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I've always had my suspicions that my IORs, with their 6X power magnification range, might require an additional lens or two.  And I know that each lens will reduce light transmission.  I know they're heavy enough to have an extra lens or two in them.  Does anyone know if the 5, 6, or 7X power range variable scopes require an extra lens or two in order to provide the additional boost in magnification?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2009 at 14:21
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Addition of two extra lenses in a scope with proper coatings will decrease light transmission by ~1-2%.  You will not be able to see the difference with your naked eye.

Generally speaking, light transmission per se is one of the most frequently mentioned and one of the least important factors in image quality of modern optics.

For example, with Kahles KX and CL scopes, Kahles CL has better image quality.  Optical systems are somewhat similar and the coatings used are absolutely identical.  However, the higher performing CL has one extra lens in it.  

ILya
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I think IOR screwed up with the objective size of the 3-18x.  They could have went 50mm and it still would have worked just fine with low rings since it has a 35mm tube.  I realize they wanted a so called "compact" scope, but they compacted something that's end result only affected performance and it was negative affect.  Having that extra exit pupil would have made a ton of difference at 12x and above.

Oh well, back to the Sightron.  Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2009 at 14:30
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Thanks ILya.  Then the primary cause in the noted difference in light transmission is probably the 50mm versus 42mm objectives, as was already pointed out.
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