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Talking myself out of the SWFA SS 3-9X

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/19/2010 at 14:01
dhdoyle View Drop Down
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I have a dilemma. I really wanted to buy the SS 3-9X, but it doesn't quite have the upper end magnification I want. To be honest, I really don't want a tactical scope for tactical reasons. I want one in order to learn how to use a mil-dot reticule. The SS 3-9X appealed to me because the FFP and the mil/mil setup reduce the odds of a stupid math mistake. I wish I had the patience to wait for the rumored higher-magnification SWFA variable.

I'm going to scope my AR-15 for predator and varmint hunting and those little 6" prairie dogs are awfully small at 3-400 yards. I think I want something closer to 12-14X on the top end. 3-4X on the bottom end will give a good field of view for watching coyotes come in.

Two scopes have caught my eye as alternatives:
1.  The Bushnell 2.5-16X42 Elite 6500
ILya gave it great reviews on his optics thoughts web site. OTOH, it is a pretty standard moa/mil, SFP scope that will be just a bit more complicated to learn. I'm also 53 years old and my eyes are more particular than they used to be. Will a 16X view through a 42mm objective be bright enough for say, coyote hunting on an overcast, gray winter day when contrast is low?

2.  The Bushnell 3-12X44 Elite 4200
It has the mil/mil calibration and FFP reticule that I am looking for, but it's more expensive than I want. (I don't need the illuminated reticule). I'm also concerned that the optical quality isn't quite as good as the other scope, even though it's more expensive. OTOH, the slightly larger objective might be a little brighter.

Any comments, suggestions, alternatives?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/19/2010 at 16:38
jonoMT View Drop Down
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The SS 3-9X is a great scope, esp. for the price. For many tactical shooters and hunters the mag range is great on the low end and decent on the high end. But I would prefer something more like a 3-12 for longer shots. So I understand the situation you're in. Your first choice, being an SFP scope, will be much harder to range with unless you use only its ranging power. On a scope with lesser magnification (e.g. 10X) that's not a big deal. But if (as is typically the case) this scope's ranging power is at the highest setting, 16X isn't versatile.

FFP scopes always have the advantage of maintaining the same ratio of reticle to target size, regardless of magnification. In practical terms, if you can spot your first shot, you can just adjust your next shot through the scope. So painful as it may be, either consider an existing option like #2 or wait if possible. I'd take a good look at the Vortex 4-16 PST. Once those are readily available (w/out the minor early production issues Vortex is addressing) that would be a good alternative, esp. with zero stop.


Edited by jonoMT - July/19/2010 at 16:38
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/23/2010 at 19:47
koshkin View Drop Down
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These are somewhat orthogonal purposes.  For learning to use MilDot reticle, I would say get the variable SS and never look back.

However, for shooting small things a bit further out, you need more magnification.  Also, for that purpose, SFP is a little easier to use.  FFP reticles can get a little too big at high magnification.

If you are looking for a jack-of-all-trades scopes, Elite 6500 2.5-10x42 is a very good way to go and would be my recommendation.

Variable SS is a little better optically than Elite 6500 when they are both set on the same magnification, but you obviously get more versatility with the Elite 6500.

With the 3-12x44 Elite 4200, I do not think there is enough difference compared to the variable SS in magnification.  Between these two, I would go with variable SS.

Aside from the scopes already mentioned, there really aren't all that many scopes I can recommend that are in the same price range.  If you are really itching for higher magnification FFP scopes, Weaver Tactical 3-15x50 may be worth a look.

Ultimately, if you can spend the money, the scope that would really suit your needs is this one:

IOR's FFP reticle also get large at higher magnifications, but since it has an open center with a dot for aiming it is still well suited for shooting small targets.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 01:31
Sapper524 View Drop Down
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I run a 3.8-22 USO SN3 on my Varmit AR ... the little bastards don't have a chance ... as for the reticle getting to thick when dialed up?  Yah its not a SFP reticle by any means but I was hitting prairie dogs at 350 and with my SN3 at 20x it was fine.  The GAP reticle bracketed them nicely Big Grin
 
If you are looking for an optic to learn the Mil Dot system and want to varmit hunt ... a FFP will work but yes the reticle will be thicker.  You can learn the Mil Dot system with a SFP just remember to range on the proper magnification setting.  Im a believer in the KISS method.  You didn't mention a budget but if you can swing a USO ... you will never look back.
 
As to the 3x9 FFP - good optic and a LOT of bang for the buck.  I have one on a M1A Super Match and its found a home for sure.  I would prefer to have a USO 1.8-10 on it but if I dropped another 2k on a scope I would be homeless I think ...  In the sub 1k optic market the SWFA SS line is the only game in town, my personal opinion.  I MIGHT have been able to get hits on prairie dogs this weekend with the 3x9 SS if it was on my varmit rig.  A friend with me had a SS 10x on his 204 and I was spotting for him and he got a nice center mass hit at about 275.
 
I would prioritize your applicaiton first and let that pick your optic.  The FFP Mil/Mil options are growing a lot lately.  Keep an eye on the for sale section over at the Snipers Hide forums.  Might find a deal.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 18:01
dhdoyle View Drop Down
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Thanks for the additional comments, folks. I'm not in any real hurry, so I'll just keep saving and looking around. I have an arm in a cast for the next six weeks and seasons will be changing  by then (short summers in the high country). I have all winter to think about it. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2010 at 18:55
pyro6999 View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dhdoyle dhdoyle wrote:

Thanks for the additional comments, folks. I'm not in any real hurry, so I'll just keep saving and looking around. I have an arm in a cast for the next six weeks and seasons will be changing  by then (short summers in the high country). I have all winter to think about it. 

are you going to be good to go for elk season in mid october??
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 20:47
dhdoyle View Drop Down
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Originally posted by pyro6999 pyro6999 wrote:


are you going to be good to go for elk season in mid october??

I hope so! For an on-topic reply, that's with a Remington 700LH in 300 Win Mag with a Leupy Vari-X III 2.5-8X32. Since you asked, hunting season here has me fairly worried. This area had a troubling number of grizzly encounters last fall during hunting season and they have been very obvious all summer. The Feds closed a very popular fishing and camping area for a while last month to overnight camping. It's an entirely different hunting experience when you come up on one of these signs:



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2010 at 21:11
pyro6999 View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dhdoyle dhdoyle wrote:

Originally posted by pyro6999 pyro6999 wrote:


are you going to be good to go for elk season in mid october??

I hope so! For an on-topic reply, that's with a Remington 700LH in 300 Win Mag with a Leupy Vari-X III 2.5-8X32. Since you asked, hunting season here has me fairly worried. This area had a troubling number of grizzly encounters last fall during hunting season and they have been very obvious all summer. The Feds closed a very popular fishing and camping area for a while last month to overnight camping. It's an entirely different hunting experience when you come up on one of these signs:




yeah i read about it on the roundup's webpage, its nothing new for up there, they have always had grizzly trouble north of you since i can remember.
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