September 21st, 2019

Optics Review: Sightron SIII 45x45mm ED Fixed Power Scope

Sightron 45x45mm siii scope riflescope james mock optics review

45X Fixed-Power Sightron Field Test

Sightron SIII 45x45mm Competition with ED GlassReview by James Mock

Sightron has introduced a new, high-magnification Benchrest scope, the SIII SS 45x45mm Competition. This new-for-2019 45-power scope now offers very high-quality glass. In response to consumer demand, for this model, Sightron has upgraded to premium ED (extra low dispersion) glass. This kind of superior glass has been available with other more-expensive premium optics brands, and now Sightron has joined the ED-Glass ranks.

Testing the 45x45MM ED Sightron Benchrest Scope
Most of my shooting is done at 600 yards now. New for 2019, Sightron has introduced an impressive new 45-power competition scope, offered with either a Target Dot (EDTD) or Fine Cross Hair (EDFCH) reticles. I was able to test the target dot model. With this model I can check the ED glass used by Sightron and 45X is certainly enough for the 300- and 600-yard competitions I shoot.

Although this scope lacks some of the new features found on the SVSS models, it is designed for the shooter who wants a quality scope that is light enough to be used in short range Benchrest. It seems that Sightron designed this scope for the short range Benchrest shooters. They skipped all of the frills and designed this scope for PERFORMANCE.

The Sightron SIII 45x45mm has a simple side-focus parallax adjustment that works very well. The ocular focus is like the older models in that it has a locking ring rather than the fast focus. It has a 45mm objective lens. The model that I have features a 1/10th MOA dot reticle while the click adjustments are 1/10th MOA. NOTE that — the clicks are one-tenth MOA, NOT the 1/8th MOA you might expect.

At 20.5 ounces this scope will allow shooters to make most of the weight requirements found in Benchrest shooting. With the superb Japanese ED glass, it equals or surpasses the image quality of scopes of equal magnification costing twice as much.

Although this scope lacks some of the frills, it has the features that serious shooters appreciate. It has 7-layer coating on all lens (termed Zach 7), 1/10th MOA adjustments, 1/10th MOA dot reticle (or fine crosshair), generous eye relief, life time warranty, and 30mm main tube.

Sightron 45x45mm siii scope riflescope james mock optics review

Testing Procedure for Sightron SIII 45x45mm
For testing the scope, I mounted it on my BAT/Leonard Benchrest rifle (shown above). The rifle is chambered in 6mm BRAI and I will shoot the rifle at 300 and 600 yards. The 300-yard match consists of three, 10-shot targets on the IBS 300-yard target. The 600-yard match consists of four, 5-shot targets. Both are shot for score only. So far the scope has performed flawlessly and the image is bright and the resolution was superb. One thing that I have dreamed about is a scope that will resolve 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. Since I have shot this scope only during the summer months in Louisiana I cannot see bullet holes at 600 yards. However, in fairness to the scope, I don’t think the Hubble telescope would resolve the holes in the mirage and heat evident this summer.

I have tested scopes that cost over $3000 and this Sightron (street price $900-$1000) held its own with those higher-priced models and surpassed many of them. I wish that this scope would have been available back when I was shooting short range Benchrest. It is truly a great value for today’s shooter.

The first test performed was “shooting the square” in which I fired five (5) shots in order, cranking the turrets from shot to shot. This scope passed test #1 with flying colors — the fifth and last shot went through the same hole as shot #1. Here’s the process. After Shot One (lower left), I then cranked the scope up 4 MOA and fired Shot Two. For the third shot, I moved the scope to the right 4 MOA followed by a 4 MOA adjustment down. Next, I adjusted 4 MOA left and fired the fifth. If the scope tracts properly, the fifth shot should hit close to the first. In fact, Shot Five went through the same hole as Shot One. Of course one must have the same aiming point and an accurate rifle.

Sightron 45x45mm siii scope riflescope james mock optics review

Shown above is the target that I shot at 100 yards. This was shot with my 6 BRAI rifle with 30.4 grains of H4895 and Bart’s 105gr VLD “Hammers” seated .006“ into the lands. This “square” shows perfect tracking and absolute accuracy in both windage and elevation adjustments. (However, note that the target itself was a little crooked as stapled to the backer). Sightron’s ExacTrac turret technologies shown below may be the reason for such great “shooting the square” results:

Sightron 45x45mm siii scope riflescope james mock optics review

The above picture was taken from the Sightron catalogue and it illustrates what may be the most important feature for Benchrest shooters. They named it the ExacTrack and it features a cone shaped contact point on the windage and elevation knobs that allow constant and even pressure on the erector tube. In the picture above the left side shows conventional scope erector tube contact (figures 1 and 2). Figures 3 and 4 show how the Sightron system works. This unique system solves the problem of a flat tip pushing a round tube. My tests showed that this scope holds point of aim exceptionally well.

Using the Sightron 45X Scope in Match Conditions
I recently tested the the 45x45mm Sightron in competition for the first time. In preparation for this match, I tried four loads at 200 yards. I was impressed with the positive and accurate adjustments without the “mushy” feel that many scopes with fine adjustments exhibit.

I shot 3-shot groups and the groups measured as follows: 1) 30.0 grains H4895/Fed 205/Bart’s Gungnir = .605”; 2) 30.5 grains H4895/Fed 205/Bart’s Gungnir = .945”; 3) 30.0 grains H4895/Fed 205/Berger 108gr BT = .459”; 4) 30.4 grains H4895/Fed 205/Bart’s Hammer = .309” (this is my 600-yard “go-to” load).

The 300-yard match saw 101° temperatures with light, switching head winds up to 5 mph. The mirage was very noticeable but I was still able to see bullet holes. The scope performed well (although I did not). The click adjustments were precise and positive with both tactile and audible indicators. This is a quality scope.

SUMMARY of Test — Final Impressions

I am more than satisfied with this scope and I believe it represents a great value for competitive shooters. It has great glass, with positive adjustments that hold point of aim. Because of the ED glass, the image has correct color and is sharp to the edges. The scope’s reticle features a 1/10th MOA dot. The turrets use 1/10th MOA adjustments that allow precise aim and point of impact adjustments.

Is there anything that I would change? No, not for short range Benchrest (100/200/300yards), but for 600-yard shooting, I prefer a more detailed reticle with MOA-based hash-marks. With vertical and horizontal hashmarks one can quickly determine the amount of clickes needed to correct impact. Also, a variable power scope is very handy for those days when mirage does not allow precise aiming. Readers should note that Sightron does make a variable power 10-50x60mm ED scope featuring a reticle with MOA-based hash-marks. That should be a good option for shooters who need a high-magnification, variable-power comp scope.

But for those who prefer a fixed-power scope, Sightron’s new SIII SS 45x45mm is a smart option, that is a very good value. If you are in the market for a fixed-power 45X benchrest scope, I can heartily recommend this new offering from Sightron. — James Mock

Short History of “Freezing” Benchrest Scopes
Several years ago, many Benchrest shooters were having trouble with their riflescopes holding point of aim. Cecil Tucker, Jackie Schmidt, Gene Bukys, and Bob Brackney modified some scopes to “freeze” the adjustments. This worked fairly well but it hindered a shooter’s ability to make fine adjustments quickly.

The late Ron Hoehn along with others started using small Delrin screws to stabilize the erector tube. This brought about my first use of Sightron scopes. I contacted Sightron and asked if they would furnish a scope for me to try this procedure and they agreed. A friend and I drilled the two holes and tapped them to apply the Delrin screws. Surprisingly, this system worked well on the Sightron 36X SII model. As a matter of fact, COL Billy Stevens won the Super Shoot using one of those SII Benchrest scopes. There was a drawback however. When one tightened the screw against the erector tube there was a slight point of aim movement. This was not too noticeable in group shooting but hampered the score shooters.

Sightron 45x45mm siii scope riflescope james mock optics review

The scope pictured above another Sightron I’ve used, a 10-50x60mm. This medium-priced scope offered excellent value-for-money and it sold very well. It performed superbly for me and in my opinion represents one of the best buys in a long range scope. About two years ago, Sightron decided to put out a more advanced scope. Sightron added locking turrets, 34mm tube, and a few more “premium” features. Of course the price reflected these changes but there was not a severe price increase.

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September 21st, 2019

3GN Nationals Coming to Florida October 12-13, 2019

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida
3-Gun competitors must be wicked fast (and accurate) with rifle, pistol, and shotgun.

What’s the most exciting, physically challenging shooting sport? An argument can be made that three-gun shooting (also called “multi-gun”) tops the list. To succeed in the 3-Gun world, competitors must be fast and accurate with rifle, pistol, and shotgun. They must exhibit blazing speed in the short-range stages plus serious accuracy during long-range stages.

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida

America’s top 3-Gun shooters held to Florida next month. The 2019 3-Gun Nation (3GN) Nationals take place October 12-13 at Southern Tactical Range in Holt, Florida. There will be plenty of fast action, plus some long-range accuracy stages. Watch the video below for a preview of the event:

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida

If you’d like to try your hand at 3-Gun shooting, you can still register for the 3GN Nationals, by visiting 3GunNation.com. This match will feature a minimum of 8 stages of fire over a 2-Day Format. Southern Tactical Range offers a mixture of natural terrain and bay stages, featuring a long range area with targets up to 1000 yards.

Blast from the Past — 3-Gun Nation Championship Shoot-Off 2013
In this video 2019 3GN Champion Dan Horner wins a dramatic shoot-off at 2013 3GN Nationals. Horner, after leaving the USAMU, now shoots for Team SIG Sauer.

Hardware for 3-Gun Competition — Guns & Gear

3GN 3-gun nation nationals

In this NSSF video, Top Shot Finalist Chris Cerino reviews the hardware you’ll need for multi-gun matches. Chris talks about carbine configurations — including barrel, handguard, and optics options. Cerino also demonstrates pistol techniques and explains the key features of a belt/holster rig.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical 1 Comment »