Location: United States
I cut and pasted this from another forum..
" At the end of the main article, I also included the three sections that are boxed in the article, the picture captions and the tables.
If the pain calls. Whoever wants to shoot successfully at 200 and more meters, cannot get away from the acquisition of a high-quality long range sight. VISOR tested therefore nine optics from eight manufacturers in the middle to highest price range.
While the German and Russian snipers of WWII used 3.5 to 4X scopes, Unertl had introduced optics of up to 8X. Until 2005, the 10X magnification of the M24 and M40 had remained the top optics in the US Army. But times change and with new calibers and usage scenarios as well as increased ranges, more powerful optics have become the norm.
On the civilian side, there are many eager 300 meter shooters and visor testers for whom the use of sights with up to 25 power will be something they can appreciate and from which they will extract the last millimeter of precision, (from one of the test rifles.) At such distances, precision depends on the manufacturing process as well as the quality of the individual components. Visor has tested 9 riflescopes ranging from the medium price range (Nikon) to the most expensive (Zeiss) in the labs of riflescope manufacturer Schmidt & Bender of Bierbertaler, under the watchful eyes of this editor.
It’s about light: Beside the contrast and the image definition, the transmission (also called degree of light penetration) is one of the most important qualities for a high-performance optics. However the effects of small, proportional differences are in practice of a rather theoretical nature, because a difference of three to five per cent is really only seen by a trained eye, and then only under laboratory conditions and while doing direct comparisons. During our transmission measurement the difference was on the smallest side, with the reticle as far as possible to one side and down, so that the ray of light in the spectrometer (the daylight range is from about 370 to 780 nanometers) had clear path. With aligning in the "black box" the sight was rotated bit by bit, until one found the maximum value on the screen of the computer. Only then the program runs off the nanometer curve in increments of five and afterwards produces the curve, from which one can measure the maximum and the average value for daytime transmission and nighttime transmission.
"The maximum value of the curve will always be found within the brighter daylight range", explains Ingo Opitz, director responsible for quality assurance at Schmidt & Bender. This daylight range is with 500 to 650 Nm, with the majority reaching their optimum at 550 Nm. The Swarovski has a somewhat shifted optimum, at 600 and Nightforce it is even more shifted compared with the others: 650 Nm. With the Burris a small wavy course in the curve suggested, which was remarkable, that "the optics or the lens coatings was not perfectly coordinated with one another for the test sample." From the path of the curve one can judge the value of the applications. For a single coating of the lens a smooth path of the curve is typical. Multiple applications however exhibit maximum values with two different wavelengths. "With night-capable optics the transmission should be about 450 nanometers therefore still over 90 per cent", so the specialist. That results in then inevitably in dual peaks of the curve
The Impact of impact: Even if sport optics do not have to necessarily be military-hardened, they should be able to handle the impact of hundreds of rounds without problem. The firing or impact resistance tests are done on the scopes before they are mounted on the collimator. Four taps with a rubber hammer - on the objective lens, on the adjustment mechanism, on the right of and down on the main tube. Manufacturers allow a deviation of a centimeter at elevation and windage, but even at twice that, this is probably ignored when considering marksmanship or ammunition variation.
An annoyance is the click adjustment, which is not uniformly standardized world-wide. Thus the adjustment measure per clicks varies with the test candidates between 3.75 and 10 mm at 100 m. thereby one must still decide between a design with high-speed (target?) reticle adjustments (on the professional devices) or conventional adjustments, hidden under protective caps,. The cheapest scope in the test - the Nikon monarch 6.5-20 x 44 AO for 669 Euros - even brings along free high-speed (target?) adjustment knobs. We were best pleased with the clearly perceptible click stop adjustments when using the Leupold. In contrast to that the Docter was pulled down by its quiet clicks, which must be also made with a coin like Anno Tobak, with a screwdriver.
In this connection also the main tube diameter may not remain uncommented: If someone wants to go stay with the capabilities of 338 Lapua Magnum and 50 BMG (12.7 x 99 mm), he must before long quickly push the envelope of the test models to find one that is adequate. It is clear that a regular-size main tube cannot supply an adjustment range of over a meter. Thus the professional devices of Zeiss as well as Schmidt & Bender have a 34mm tube or larger, and even the Nightforce brings it with only 30 mm in diameter for the maximum adjustment of +/- to 140 cm. The only way for the 25.4mm sights to do this is by the employment of a canted scope rail.
With parallax adjustment there are two designs - in front of the objective, the other one in on the side of the main tube in a third knob. The latter offers advantages to the sniper, since it has adjustment with the target in the view and it can be used from position. With the adjustment at the objective one must look away from the target - for sporting purposes with the fixed ranges of fire, this represents no genuine dilemma. Swarovski even differentiates between meters and yards at the objective, with Nightforce and Leupold however unfortunately the desirable third tower comes without a scale - focusing becomes a guessing game.
Seal & truth: All samples of this price class are supposedly waterproof and tight. They had to begin the test however, with a one hour water bath, which took place at a depth of one meter. They passed it - with one exception: the Burris had earlier had its parallax adjustment come apart, after the tiny set screw was broken. The consequence of this for the sample was that after one hour the American challenger was declared "land under", since the eyepiece was filled with water to approximately one fifth. As a member of the Beretta group explained - that importer Manfred Albert explaining in addition: "I would like to address your concerns with the tested Burris sight 6-24 x 44 a model, that is not yet available in Germany." VISOR procured itself the sight directly from America. Manfred Albert: "the test performed is therefore not necessarily relevant to the German market; in particular, the sight did not go through the quality inspection of the German import firm."
On top of that, the image could no longer be focused properly at the different distances because of the defective parallax adjustment. Clearly that along with other tests likes the diopter setting and the focal point deviation when it is determined that the reticle is no longer in the second image plane could not be done. There was not enough time to procure replacement.
After that, all except the Burris went into the climatic chamber – it lasted one hour wit the temperature at -25ºC. Afterwards some models displayed difficulties during operation - frozen magnification rings or parallax adjustment showed up several times, while this treatment left the "Big Three" completely cold. The heat cure at 50ºC made for fewer problems. If at all, there was easily crunching thread, because the grease will lose it lubrication characteristics at these temperatures and then ooze from it.
Then determining the minimum and maximum field of view yielded surprising results: The scopes were focused at 100 meters and read off and projected then on 10 m with a resolution lens the minimum and maximum field of view. Despite having smaller magnification some scopes carry out more than indicated; the Nikon had about the same minimum field of view with 1.75 m as the Swarovski with 24X magnification. Thereupon in these two examples the magnification was examined - and it remained at 20 and 24 power. The field of view however results from the effective screen sizes and the focal length. If one selects these sizes skillfully, a very good field of view is possible also with a twenty fold magnification
Next the testers dedicated themselves to the focal point deviation when the reticle in the second image plane. Because the reticle is located in the back in the eyepiece image plane, runs the reversal lenses before it. If a misalignment is there, that affects the focal point deviation. The most precise manufacturing is therefore required. The reticle stands however in the first (objective), remains without influence. There to prefer, pull tight European optics manufacturers do not variable-size reticle (second) to sport contactors however those such as S & B and Swarovski now with this original US building method.
A view risk: We evaluated the optical efficiency among other things with the Siemens Star and the resolution board. Straight one to the edge reveals the Siemens Star weaknesses of the picture. Because if the picture becomes indistinct there, one has the feeling that the Siemens Star turns
The 72mm Zeiss is somewhat calmer at the edges (if one moved the head) than the smaller scope. Both leave nothing to desire in things like contrast, image definition and color reproduction – as one can expect with the price. The Siemens Star and resolution board were clearly recognizable and free to smallest details from turns. In comparison to the Schmidt & Bender the pictures take themselves however nothing. Only at the smallest magnification with the top model from Biebertaler a line-by-line tunnel effect was to be discerned. The Swarovski was on an equally high level, as expected. With the Docter, the Siemens Star is still well recognized and free from turns, while the smallest elements on the resolution board did somewhat flicker. The very sensitive exit pupil was remarkable; if one only moves back a bit, the picture fades off laterally. The effect strengthens, as the magnification increases. The Nikon shows a good imaging capability at the edges; however it exhibits a little more jerkily in the picture center with the resolution board. Here and with the Siemens Star the Leupold scores well, only to lose somewhat due to the sensitive exit pupil. The latter applies also to the Nightforce, which supplies an otherwise perfect picture despite a soft sharpness. With the Burris defects at the screen were remarkable - there jagged elements within the outside range came up here. A narrow yellowish ring surrounds the edges with the test sight – especially if one looks into the sky. Otherwise both the Siemens Star and the resolution board were well recognizable
Where does the journey take us? Meanwhile the optics manufacturers have already revealed the next generation - both Zeiss as well as Burris and Bushnell now put more emphasis on a sample with integrated laser rangefinder. And in the next two years more manufacturers will surely come up to this trend. There also Udo Mayer, director responsible for production is secure with S & B,: "ever more electronics in the sight - that is the trend." The space on the inside is however limited, so some manufacturers are already thinking about external adjustment mechanisms.
Result: The German market is still for many optics manufacturers a genuine challenge. One can see cracks in the "one installs Zeiss or nothing" mentality in view of the empty pocketbooks, but if one sees how long it took Leupold to earn the acceptance of the German hunters and shooters, can one figure out how difficult it becomes for a new player such as Burris. Nikon surely arrived there slowly, but - not least by its achievements, the older tests (see VISOR 3/02) as well as was revealed by the current ones, in which the most inexpensive sample came out in the competition with the best transmission values and good mechanical achievements as secret tip.
Sights of the professional class like of Zeiss, Schmidt & Bender and also the Nightforce NXS do find their well-heeled supporters - whether official users, for whom only the best is good enough, or whatever group of the "Wannabees" who only want to have what police and military Special Forces use. This is different with sporting scopes such as Swarovski and Docter: As usual the Docter offers a nice price/performance ratio; however important aspects such as transmission, focal point deviation second and adjustment range has the Swarovski clearly in front - whether it is worth 485 Euros more, everyone must calculate.
A Small Optics A.B.C.:
Image plane: The reticle can be placed in the first or second plane and/or in the objective or the eyepiece image plane. In it becomes larger when increasing the magnification up also, in the second the reticle remains constant with the change.
Diopter adjustment: With it the under-corrected visual efficiency of the human eye becomes balanced.
Click adjustment: The adjustment of the reticle effected at elevation and windage by slots and is internationally not standardized.
Parallax: One speaks of parallax, if the axis of two optical systems (eye and sight) run at an angle to each other. The point, at which they cross, is parallax freedom. One recognizes parallax by the apparent movement of the reticle in relation to the target, if one moves the eye behind the eyepiece on and off. If the target and reticle are firmly connected, one can reach parallax freedom at a certain distance (with us 100 m, in the USA 100 yds). The firing deviation due to parallax within hunting distances of 50 to 150 m goes down with 7 to 10 mm however regarding the protecting and ammunition dispersion. In addition, parallax adjustment has still another function - it serves the attitude of the sharpness of picture and reticle when high magnifications. By an added adjustment (at the objective or at the main tube) the parallax freedom can be set with long range sights for distances from ten meters to infinity. So that no target misalignment results, the resolution, which takes place via shifting lenses in the sight, must have the highest precision.
Transmission: Expression for the light permeability.
Remuneration: Evaporating reflection-reducing coating on the lenses reduces reflection losses and increases the transmission. Multi-layer and Broadband remuneration belong today to the equipment of a high-quality optics.
Centered reticle: In the main tube reticle is accommodated in a second, mobile tubing body. Subjectively one notices no more change of position while adjusting. In olden times the reticle moved from the center while adjusting.
Drum examines, who commits itself (eternally):
The acquisition of a riflescope actually resembles setting up a good stereo system or the purchase of a car. Just like good Hifi equipment, high power optical equipment for ranges of fire beyond the 200-Meter range should eat up at least half the purchase price of the rifle. Beyond that one must also always see the deal with an eye on the resale value: Just as one can load up a VW Passat hatchback with CL-equipment, the purchaser of a Sako Varminter with cheap optics from the Far East will only pay for the rifle and mounts while a Zero Comma sight will never appear on a KK rifle, with any luck. However and above all not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on a targeting device, which is why another comparison test of samples of the inexpensive class will follow shortly in VISOR.
USMC decides for the PM II:
The US Marine Corps infantry has been using Unertl 10-power optics for nearly 25 years. In 2004 they initiated a series of rigorous tests to which the scopes from the best manufacturers in the world were subjected and judged for over one and a half years. The Schmidt & Bender 3-12 x 50 PM II was the only one that fulfilled all the critical demands and the specifications of the USMC without fail. This resulted in a seven year contract for a total of 7000 units. Schmidt & Bender will deliver that together with an American partner. The selected PM II "double turn" is equipped with a modified MILDOT reticle, the so-called Gen II MILDOT, which was developed and patented by Premier Reticles, and which will be in the first focal plane. The unit also has exchangeable elevation adjustment caps, which allow the user to make appropriate adjustments for different weapons. This year, the first available units are used on the sniper rifle M 40 A3 and the 50 cals. Since the original USMC version is naturally not generally available, in 2006 a somewhat similar 3-12 x 50 PM II with the GEN II MIL DOT will be available to civilians.
Page 1 Left (close up)
Hide and seek: This is what is under the protective caps of the adjustment knobs for the Docter, Burris and Nikon (from left to right). With the Docter, the click adjustment is still made in a somewhat the old-fashioned way with a coin or screwdriver. Nikon even provides replaceable high-speed (target?) adjustment knobs.
Page 1 middle
You can’t hide the military origin of the Zeiss Victory 6-24 x 72 T * (2). The diameter of the objective was dictated in the past by the use of the NSV 80 for night vision. The 6-24 x 56 T * (1) followed for the civilian market. From S & B, the new 5-25 x 56 PM II/LP double turn (3). Maximum adjustment range, illuminated reticle and rapid adjustments are offered by the Nightforce NXS 5.5-22 x 56 (4)
Page 1 right
At the movies: The (light) transmission was checked from 370 to 780 Nm (visible light) in a spectrometer. The path of the curve shows the values for day and night.
Page 2 Top
The Burris Signature SELECT 6-24 x44 (1), the Leupold VX-III Long range 6.5-20 x 50 (2) and the cheapest sight in the test, the Nikon monarch II 6.5-20 x 44 AO (3) all come with sun shades. While parallax adjustment is done at the objective with Burris and Nikon, one makes the adjustment with the Leupold on the left of the main tube - unfortunately the scale is missing from the knob.
Page 2 Middle
Making it sharp: Diopter adjustment are done with most sights in the test via a rotating eyepiece. Only with Leupold and Nightforce (the red arrows) is the adjustment done with a fine thread with guard ring - turning worm (?) included.
Page 2 Bottom
With Zeiss and Nightforce (arrow) the reticle illuminates, if one pulls the third knob. S & B offers 11 levels of illuminating intensity. Between the stages the light is ooff, a small twist is enough to achieve the desired brightness.
Page 3 Bottom left
Missing far: Parallax adjustment takes place either in front at the objective (l.) or with the third knob on the main tube. The latter method is preferred by (sharp -) shooters, since it is possible to view it from prone without changing position. With the Nightforce (M.) a scale is unfortunately missing.
Page 3 middle
These two sporting scopes get by completely without illuminated reticle: Swarovski 6-24 x 50 p-sport (1) and Docter VZF 8-25 x 50 M/R (2). With both, parallax adjustment is done in front at the objective. Also diopter adjustment is made with them in the back by a rotating and rubberized eyepiece - protection from the recoil of strong calibers.
Page 3 Top right
Lucky Strikes: Ingo Opitz, director/responsible for the quality assurance with S & B, tests with four hits from a rubber hammer (objective, down on the adjustment mechanics, right and then down on the main tube) whether the samples deviates afterwards in elevation/windage from the prior setting.
Page 4 Top left
Half Turn: In the ideal case the magnification change from the smallest to largest setting can be done with a twist of 180 degrees. It so happens that with the Burris (r.) the whole eyepiece rotates as well.
Page 4 Bottom left
Top of the flagpole: The diameter of the main tube 25,4 or 34 mm dictates the adjustment range: / - 30 to 130 cm. With 30 cm one sometimes already starts to worry at 300 m, then only a pre-canted mounting rail will help.
Page 4 Top middle
VISOR thanks Schmidt & Bender for two days of extensive assistance with tests and measurements in the firm laboratories.
Page 4 Bottom middle
Let there be Light: With Nightforce the entire reticle is illuminated, with both Zeiss models (picture) it is the inner wires with the ranging dots and with Schmidt & Bender only the actual crosshair up to first dot (is illuminated).
Page 4 Middle right
Freeze-dried: All samples were cooled down to -25°Celsius - with some, the adjustment knobs moved with greater difficulty or not at all. Others remained completely unaffected.
(Manufacturer/Brand/Model) |(Length mm) | (Diameter mm) | (Weight grams) | (Reticle type)
* Burris Signature 6-24X44 | 418 | 25.4 | 620 | Various
* Docter VZF 8-25X50 | 416 | 25.4 | 796 | Plex, MILDOT
* Leupold VX-III LR 6.5-20X50 | 366 | 30 | 556 | Various
* Nightforce NXS 5.5-22X56 | 387 | 30 | 918 | Illum. Various
* Nikon Monarch II 6.5-20X44 AO | 377 | 25.4 | 602 | Various
* S&B PM II/LP double turn 5-25X56 | 422 | 34 | 1104 | Illum. Various
* Swarovski PV-S 6-24X50 P-Sport | 397 | 30 | 686 | Various
* Zeiss Victory Diavari 6-24X56 T* | 389 | 30 | 812 | Illum. Various
* Zeiss Victory Diavari 6-24X72 T* | 383 | 34 | 1034 | Illum. Various
Manufacturer |(Transmisson day%)| (Transmission Night %)| (FOV min. m/100m) | (FOV max. m/100m) |(Parallax 50-300m)| Diopter | (Focal Point De. 2nd plane)
* Burris | 88.4 | 85.1 | 1.70 | 5.40 | Ok | Not Meas. | Not Meas.
* Docter | 86.0 | 78.4 | 1.50 | 4.30 | Ok | 0.1 | 2 cm
* Leupold | 92.2 | 87.2 | 1.85 | 4.75 | No Scale | 0.1 | None
* Nightforce | 88.2 | 85.1 | 1.55| 5.90 | No Scale | 0.3 | None
* Nikon | 93.3 | 91.4 | 1.75 | 5.20 | Ok | Ok | 1 cm
* S&B | 93.1 | 91.0 | 1.65 | 5.40 | Ok | 0.1 | First Plane
* Swarovski | 90.9 | 88.2 | 1.75 | 6.10 | Ok | Ok | None
* Zeiss (56) | 92.0 | 88.8 | 1.68 | 6.00 | Ok | 0.2 | None
* Zeiss (72) | 92.1 | 88.8 | 1.70 | 6.10 | Ok | 0.2 | 1 cm
Remarks: The minimum and maximum values for the field of view were measured on the 10-meter board and then extrapolated. Parallax adjustment was tested for the following distances: 50, 100, 200 and 300 m. With Leupold and Nightforce this is more difficult because of the scaling missing. The diopter constant is determined on 100 m with the change from the lowest to the highest magnification. Focal point deviations occur only with samples with reticles in the second plane - and this also is measured at 100-m by changing from the lowest to the highest magnification.
Climate-proofing (-25 Celsius)
Manufacturer | Eyepiece | Magnification |(Illum. Reticle)| Parallax
* Burris | --- | --- | --- | ---
* Docter | Good | Good | --- | Difficult
* Leupold | Good | Frozen | --- | Good
* Nightforce | Good | (Very difficult) | Good | Good
* Nikon | Difficult | (Very difficult) | --- | Frozen
* S&B | Good | Good | Good | Good
* Swarovski | Good | Good | --- | Good
* Zeiss (56) | Good | Good | Good | Good
* Zeiss (72) | Good | Good | Good | Good
Remarks: After the water leaked onto the Burris it was not placed in the climate chamber. After the cooling shock all samples were heated to 50° Celsius. The grease then became liquid, the threads and fitting surfaces could squeak. That was easy with both the Zeiss and the Schmidt & Bender to notice. With the Docter the magnification ring squeaked, but the parallax worked now somewhat more smoothly."
tests for transmission, differences in shock amounts on POI, false or stray light etc...
This is a test comparing zeiss, NIKON, S&B, KHALES, Docter, Swaro, etc
how about how the new leica crf 1200 stacks up against the swaro LRF?
Even if someone don't like to read tests done by huntingmagazine i will quote one recent test.Unfortunately i don't have all the details. The finnish hunting magazine "Metsastys ja kalostus"(hunting and fishing) nr 3/2004 made a test of many variable scopes.The purpose of the test were to test how late they could see details with the scopes.Not necessary how late they could shoot.So the reticle has nothing to do with the results.Unfortunately i don't have the exact model names of the scopes.
4 persons made the test in the autumn, and in the winter with snow on the fields. They looked at a "paper deer" and a vision chart.
The scopes have been ranked in groups.
Karls Kaps 2.5-10x56
Group 1 was 2-3hours better than group 6!