March 29th, 2009

Quick Review: Sightron SIII 6-24×50 LR Mildot

Review by LARRY BANEY

The Sightron 6-24×50mm Mildot is the latest in Sightron’s SIII line-up of side-focus, 30mm riflescopes. This follows the hot-selling 8-32×56mm SIII, which we reviewed last fall. While our 6-24x50mm test sample has a Mildot reticle, Sightron’s new 6-24x50mm scope is also offered with a fine cross-hair (FCH) with target dot reticle. Both Mildot and FCH versions are 14.96″ overall with a near-constant 3.6-3.8 inches of eye relief. Clicks are 1/4 MOA (15 MOA per revolution), and total elevation (and windage) adjustment is listed as 100 MOA (50 MOA on either side of center). That’s a class-leading amount of elevation, which should make the new 6-24×50mm popular with long-range shooters.

Sightron SIII Mildot

Shown above is the Sightron 6-24×50mm Mildot, flanked by a Leupold 8-25×50mm LRT and the Sightron 8-32×56mm. The controls on the 6-24 Sightron are identical to those of its big brother, but it is shorter, with a smaller objective. The shorter length and 50mm front objective allow a 2.8 ounce weight savings over the larger model (21.9 oz. vs. 24.7 oz.).

Sightron SIII Mildot

Sightron 6-24x50mm Quick Review
Assistant Editor Jason Baney has been evaluating the optical qualities of the new Sightron 6-24 Mildot scope. Jason also had a chance to test the scope’s real-world performance in a tactical match. Here is Jason’s report:

“When the new 6-24x50mm mil-dot Sightron SIII arrived, it looked like the little brother of the Sightron 8-32x56mm. Controls and “styling” are similar. This family relationship was made clear as my review of its performance progressed. It shared the same ergonomics, same superior glass, and same unbeatable tracking.

Sightron SIII MildotI had a Leupold 8.5-25x50mm LRT for comparison purposes. The Leupold, which is actually 24.3x at max power, is a popular scope with a good reputation for clarity and sharpness. However, the new 6-24x50mm Sightron seemed better in many respects than the Leupold LRT. The Sightron’s glass appeared superior, giving better color rendition, a brighter field of view, and better contrast.

Also, with the Sightron, there was no noticeable parallax lash in the side-focus system. There was no need to start the side-focus at a travel stop every time. You could simply dial the side parallax adjustment and get the observed target in sharp focus with minimal parallax. This has been a problem with some Leupolds (i.e. you can’t get minimal parallax and best focus at the same time.) While observing bullet holes in different colored targets at 300 yards, the Sightron also appeared to show slightly better resolution than the Leupold and therefore better ability to locate individual bullet holes in the paper.”

Field Testing at the Allegheny Sniper Challenge (ASC)
In any competition riflescope, precise, repeatable tracking is absolutely vital. When you crank-in elevation and/or windage you want the reticle to move the exact value you dialed. Then you want the scope to repeat exactly when you return to the original zero. To test the Sightron’s tracking, Jason did more than a simple range test. He tested the scope’s tracking in the “real world”, during a two-day tactical comp.

Jason reports: “The 6-24 was thrown into action right away at the Allegheny Sniper Challenge (ASC) in Seneca Rocks, WV in August 2008. This was a team match that I shot with my father. ASC entails interesting weather, and even more interesting shots. In a matter of two days, over 100 shots are expended and a scope’s adjustments are REALLY put to the test. Maintaining zero is very important, because there are no sighters to check your zero. Shots range from less than 100 yards to nearly 1200 yards, and in the end, everyone has clicked their scope up-and-down 40 times or more. This means 40+ up/down repetitions on the elevation knob. This is as tough a test of a scope’s tracking ability as you’ll find.”

Great Tracking Ability, Excellent Value
So how did the Sightron’s tracking rate? The new Sightron 6-24×50 returned from ASC with the EXACT same 100-yard zero as when it started. This scope maintained its zero as well or better than any other scope out there, including those costing $3000.00+. The scope’s great elevation range was also much appreciated. Jason reports: “With 100+ MOA of elevation available and a 20 MOA base on the rifle, I had enough ‘up’ to shoot all the way out to 1200 yards with no problem.”

Sightron SIII Mildot

In Jason’s opinion this scope will be very hard if not impossible to beat in its price range in many aspects. The new Sightron 6-24 certainly rivals the overall optical quality of the Sightron 8-32×56, and that’s saying a lot. But since it is a Mildot scope there is another level of scrutiny needed. This scope is not a purpose-built tactical scope, but it represents a good base on which to build if Sightron offers enhancements in the future. If a shooter wishes only to use the mil-dots for holdover, he will be well served, but a Front Focal Plane (FFP) reticle would be more useful for serious tactical work. An illuminated reticle would also be welcome, and Jason would like to see a different reticle design with half-mil markings.

Also, some tactical shooters would prefer to have mil-based click values, rather than 1/4 MOA clicks. In raising these points, we need to stress that the $800.00 Sightron 6-24x50mm Mildot is affordable and works well as a general-purpose scope with reticle marks that allow hold-overs. This scope was not designed to compete with a $2700.00 Schmidt & Bender PMII. Jason explains: “I just want the serious tactical guys to understand that the Sightron won’t give you all the features of a dedicated FFP mildot optic with mil-based clicks. However, at about $800.00 average retail, the Sightron 6-24x50mm costs less than a third of what you’ll pay for high-end tactical scopes from S&B or U.S. Optics.”

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics No Comments »
March 29th, 2009

Report from South Africa: Ty Cooper wins Individual Match, South Africa Wins Team Comps

Spc. Tyrel Cooper of the USAMU won the individual championship at the South African Bisley Union (SABU) 80th Anniversary Match. For the past two years, Ty has been one of the best long-range shooters in the world. In 2008 he won the Target Rifle Overall Aggregate at the Spirit of America Match. Congrats to Ty for outstanding shooting in South Africa!

South African Bisley Union Rifle Match Anniversary

Shooting in very challenging wind conditions, the host South Africans took first place in both the Invitational 8-man team match (score: 2314-209v) and the SABU Int’l Anniversary 12-man team match (score: 3516-350v). The United States 12-man team finished second with a 3469-303v score. Reporting on the Anniversary Team Match, Walt Walter reported to the NRA Blog: “At 800 meters, South Africa extended their lead in ‘very very difficult’ wind conditions. Almost all of the time allowance was used with sighters from later firers being fired early to assist the coaches with their wind calling. Once again, South Africa used their local knowledge to increase their lead with some excellent shooting and equally good wind calling. Going back to 900 meters, the wind remained just as tricky and with the South Africans averaging solid 70s scores, they finished an impressive 49 points of the USA.”

Individual Ranking TEAM Ranking Anniv. Match
1. Ty Cooper (USA) 208-20v
2. Alwyn McLean (Ireland) 208-15v
3. Jane Messer (England) 207-25v
4. Andy Wilde (England) 206-22v
5. David Luckman (England) 206-20v
1. South Africa 3516-350v
2. USA 3469-303v
3. England 3461-293v
4. Ireland 3442-274v
5. Wales 3419-255v

Note: In South Africa, the “v”-count is equivalent to the “X”-count in North America.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
March 29th, 2009

Bargain Prices on Refurbished Nikon Scopes at Midsouth

Right now, Midsouth Shooters Supply has some great deals on refurbished Nikon hunting scopes. If you’re looking for a bargain price on a medium-magnification-range zoom riflescope, CLICK HERE. Remaining inventories are low for many models, so you should act quickly. Here are some of the current offers:

Nikon ProStaff 3-9X50mm (Nikoplex Reticle, Matte)
Item No: 125-6313B | Price: $124.46

Nikon Buckmaster 4.5-14X40mm (BDC Reticle, Side-Focus, Matte)
Item No: 125-6453B | Price: $228.74

Nikon Monarch 2.5-10X42mm (BDC Reticle, Matte)
Item No: 125-8411B | Price: $283.92

Nikon refurbished scopes

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