Originally Posted by guns_and_labs
Has anyone tried or played with the Barska "Benchmark" series scopes? They claim these are different from the K-mart specials that make up much of the Barska brand... it's also tough to find ANY FFP mil-dots...
Is the Barska Benchmark anywhere near the Schmidt & Bender PH/PM types or the mythical Meopta FFP mil-dot?
Well, just because someone had to do it, I bought one of the new Barska Benchmarks. The FFP 5-20x50, to be precise. I mounted it on identical detachable rings, and put it on my Blaser LRS2 .308 to compare with: Schmidt & Bender PH 4-16 FFP, Nikon Monarch X 4-16, Meopta Meostar R1 4-16, Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14X50 30mm mildot, and a Bushnell 4200 6-24x.
Full disclosure: actually, I bought one and had to return it. The crosshairs were 30 degrees off plumb out of the box. Not a good start.
I stared through them all, checked resolution 50-200 yards in daylight and at dusk, shot for groups, detaching and shaking the scope each shot, and shooting "the box" (3"x3").
OK, it's NOT an S&B. Let's get that out of the way. Unfair comparison. No comparisons with the S&B. S&B rocks. (and, I'm sure, Nightforce and USO equally rock)
Resolution: not as good as the Meopta, but on the same level as the Leupold and the Nikon. A bit better than the Bushnell, but not by much. I spent a couple of hours at home watching the birds at dusk, and it did just fine.
Durability: well, it held its zero just as well as any others, including after dropping it on the ground (not planned). It's a heavy sucker, though. Way heavy. I probably ought to mount it on the .375 H&H, just for kicks. Next week maybe.
Box test: Again the Meopta was a little better, coming back to essentially the same zero point after all four points (maybe it was 1/8" off -- tough to tell with three shot groups). The Leupold and the Nikon were also a bit better (at a quarter inch, maybe a little less). But the Barska did as well (or poorly) as the Bushnell, coming to about 3/8 to 1/2" of the starting point. A bit disappointing, though.
Bottom line: buy the best you can afford, etc. etc. But the Barska Benchmark wasn't a bad deal for taking to the range, plinking away, and getting general trigger time. And it IS 1/4th or 1/2 the price. But fit and finish, precision and quality control, are not up with the best, to be sure. And it's heavy. Good for recoil, I suppose, but not for carrying.
OK, all the the S&B guys, the NF guys, and the USO guys, can say "I told you so". But the test was fun, so I don't think the time was wasted. And I was curious.