I just posted this in another thread, hope this helps. It's a great scope:
Hey everyone, I’ve had this scope for a while now and have spent some quality time behind it. I thought I'd share my thoughts and roll out some discussion points for the collective good. I’m certainly no technical expert but I have cycled through many an optic over the years and can offer a blue-collar assessment and commentary of how this scope performs.
As some within this league of extraordinary gentlemen may recall I wrote a review on the SS 1-4
when it came out in 2011. Figuratively speaking, these days host a metric ton of low power variables options to choose from. They range in quality from the spent toilet paper roll inside a 3rd world gas station to the finest mechanical artistry ever conceived by Earth’s most elite optical engineers.
I've long been interested in the SS series for a few reasons. Simply put I find them to have an excellent blend of features I expect at a price point that doesn't force me into a credit card. In 2011 I cobbled the following list of elements I found important when selecting a low power variable scope. While the prioritizations of these are certainly speculative – I think it still captures the multiple variables we suburban commandos sweat through the gauntlet of scope selection. After the dust settles I think the SS line rates pretty well.
•Eye Relief and Exit Pupil
In your travels…another kick ass venue to derive some comparative technical info is BigJimFish’s thread on low power variables
. I can certainly appreciate the effort that goes into that. He’s done a great job with it. Galileo and Newton would be proud.
Rolling on I was pretty psyched to learn of SWFA’s addition of a 1-6 version of their very successful 1-4 model. Sparing the politics of the infamous group buy, I’m very glad I hung in there while the realities of design, economics, and manufacturing settled out. I derived my patience from past experience, such as the infamous “Hey Magpul WTF is up with that UBR!” episode a few years back. Delayed shipping shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry. Good things come to those who wait. The SS 1-6 HD certainly compensates your endurance. If you liked the 4x version, you’ll really like the 6x. And that said, here we go…
The packaging is as expected from SWFA’s product line – Spartan. Open the box, take out the scope, and mount it to your gun. The scope itself mirrors the final construction design of the 1-4 versions, including the improved battery housing. Originally the first models of the 1-4 had issues keeping constant pressure on the battery under recoil – which caused the reticle to black out upon firing. SWFA fixed this rather quickly by simply adding pressure on both sides of the battery. Attached is an exploded view of the SS 1-6.
The turrets are pretty slick. The center bolt loosens to allow for initial zeroing. The clicks are deliberate yet easy to manipulate. Note the option of turret caps and/or thread protectors should you want the turrets exposed. The turrets correlate directly with the reticle and use a MRAD calibration, which keeps it simple. The housing accepts two batteries, one for use and one stored separately as a spare. I find the rheostat to be solid. The clicks are distinct but not overly difficult to crank from one brightness level to the next. I haven’t tested the battery life yet, but I would expect the same performance of the 1-4…somewhere around 8 hours of useful life before it dims far enough to warrant replacement.
The main tube and general construction is thick, solid, and highlights some tight construction. The 1-6 isn’t a featherweight. With the mount it rounds off at 24 ounces. Considering the overall mass of most low power variables this aspect doesn’t matter much to me. Is what it is.
The ocular is very robust and the mag dial is tight. The finish is matte black. It’s not immune to scratches and dings…but then again I haven’t met a scope that is. I put my 1-4 through the ringer and it shows some significant wear, although the glass quality and overall function is perfectly intact. I find this reassuring and in line with what one would expect from an optic straddling an AR15.
I would be remised if I didn’t recommend a cat tail to accompany the scope. The knurled dial is certainly useable on its own, but it is tight. Wet conditions will compound any difficulty to rotate it from 1X to 6X. I personally have little use for the magnification in between. The cat tail makes that completely disappear. Also, because this will likely come up – I used my 1-4 cat tail on the 1-6. It works just fine.
The reticle design is what makes this scope in my view unique. What SWFA did was make a FFP reticle that allows for CQB at 1x magnification and accurate targeting at 6x magnification. At the low end the SS 1-6 has a 60 mil circle over a bold crosshair. For reference, the 1x circle mirrors that of the Leupold CQ/T (the following two pics borrowed from JonA via Snipershide:)
SS 1-6 prototype version:
I really like this aspect as it fits well to what I intend this scope to do. Specifically – I don’t kick doors in for a living nor do I actively participate in competitive shooting. I want to be able to clear my house and hit tight groups as far as I'd want to go with a 5.56 cartridge. This reticle allows me to do just that. Beyond typical room distances I find the circle loses its usefulness. It becomes too large to effectively draw your eye to a typical 19” silhouette target. The focus then turns to the cross hairs, which I think are very well designed. While a floating LED dot is certainly preferred by many, I’d just as soon have a black and bold reticle where battery powered illumination is a supplement, not a requirement for the scope to be useful. That might just be the SHTF enthusiast in me, so feel free to disagree on that! Besides that debate, the LED technology jumps the price tag up considerably – which is a nonstarter for many.