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SS 3-9...yet another review

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2010 at 15:32
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Last Friday I received one of these to try out and this morning had the opportunity to take it to the range. You can add my name to the long list of admirers of the Super Sniper 3-9X42. I'm quite impressed with the construction, optical quality and repeatability of this scope - all in a mil/mil package for under $600.

My first impressions of the scope is that it has a well-thought-out design and is easy to figure out. I didn't mess with the reticle focus since it was already good to my eye. Otherwise, I tried running the knobs all the way up and down and turning the magnification ring. The clicks are good and the knobs feel right...not to hard to turn but not mushy either...just nice and solid. Although the SS lacks zero stop, it at least has markings so you know how many turns up or down you are (unlike my NF 2.5-10X32). I'll confess ignorance here because I don't know (and couldn't find) exactly how much elevation the scope has but it seems to be a little over 25 mils. That's more than enough though to take my 20" LTR loads out past 1000 yards. The 5 mils per turn is just fine, although I still like the double-turn knob on my Premier better. (But let's not forget the 4X price differential).

As far as the appearance goes, the SS doesn't appear quite as refined as my NF or Premier scopes but it certainly looks and feels well-engineered without being over-built or too heavy. I did notice a slight smear of adhesive on the windage assembly, but only on close examination. Not something that would ever bother me with a scope that's meant to be used. The only thing I found myself wondering about would be whether I'd dislike going between my other scopes and this one since their magnification rings run the other direction.

I brought three rifles to the range this morning - two .308s and my .22 (for something to do in between cold barrel shots). One .308 has a Premier 3-15X50 mounted on it and the other normally has the NF 2.5-10X32. Since I recently bought new rings and a base for the LTR, it was perfect timing to test this scope out then mount the other for re-zeroing. After setting up two targets I did an informal optical comparison, putting all three scopes on 9X. The Premier, not suprisingly, was a little brighter and was the only one that could resolve numbers along the edges of the targets. However, the SS was not far behind. I could almost make them out and in no way did it take a back seat to the NF. In actual use, I found no difference between the three.

I was curious to see the tunneling effect at low magnification that others have mentioned. It was visible but not bothersome. For me, the effect almost went away at 4X and certainly was gone at 4.5X. At magnifications that low, I would just be using the reticle like a duplex anyway and there still seemed to be plenty of FOV...no less than the NF @ 9X. I found the reticle thickness just fine at various magnifications. Granted, I couldn't go out beyond 300 yards today, but it felt comparable to the Gen II reticle in the Premier. Zeroing was easy...done with two shots...and reaffirmed the wisdom of matching reticles and turrets. Unlike my mismatched NF when I remounted it, I just ignored the target grid, using the reticle instead to measure how many mils off I was in both directions. Furthermore, using an FFP scope you never have to wonder if you're exactly 100 yards from the target or exactly on your ranging magnification.

Today was nice and sunny with no wind so no challenging conditions to face. All three scopes and the two rifles were able to nicely pepper a 6" gong @ 300 yards. The SS held its own. I found its eye relief a little more forgiving than the NF...maybe a function of the larger objective? And because those two scopes used the same rifle and load, I felt like the comparison was pretty close. I actually got a little more accuracy with the SS, but I was feeling a little worn out by the time I got the NF remounted. I shot both @ 9X. I should mention that both these scopes show a little fringing when aimed at high-contrast objects, such as some patches of snow against a background of dark trees or the light yellow trim on my neighbor's dark green garage. The Premier doesn't have that problem.

To sum it up, this is a scope that I feel can mechanically go head to head with two scopes costing 2 and 4 times as much, respectively. I am not faulting SWFA in any way when I say I wish it was a 2.5-10 or 3-12. I completely admire their willingness to go to the trouble to design and market a scope at this price point that blows anything else below a grand right out of the water. The low end is great and is where I leave my scopes almost all the time. There are just some times when a little more on the high end is nice. However, 3-9 on a .308 is great from 50-600 yards, IMO. You've really, really got to want/need illumination and features like zero stop to justify paying more than $600. I'm not sorry that I have one uber-scope like the Premier and like the compactness and other features of the NF not to part with it, but I can only think of two scopes that would get my consideration besides the SS 3-9. That's the upcoming Vortex PST 4-16 and whatever new variable SWFA introduces down the road.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2010 at 15:53
SVT_Tactical View Drop Down
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Great review Jon.  Thanks for the write up.  Always good to hear SS praise

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/17/2010 at 21:24
tahqua View Drop Down
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Nice review Jon. I've been using one lately. I'll post my observations later, but my experience is similar to yours.
I'm looking at this scope for hunting purposes and I can say that, like you, when I crank it up above 4X the reticle is very easy to use. I have been able to pick up a whitetail behind the shoulder in heavy cover well past legal light. Things are really drab this time of year and I didn't think the SS would work, I'm impressed. I've had it side by side, at dusk, many times with a 3-9x40 Monarch and a 2.2-9x42 Kahles L. I'll report later on this. But, for $600 this scope is excellent.

Doug


Edited by tahqua - March/22/2010 at 20:37
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