Re: has anyone ever compared a u.s.optic to a nightforce or leupold at 2000 yards?
Here we go again is right... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
Hunter et al;
Assessing and comparing optics is an incredibly subjective thing - my normal vision is 20/10, so I prbably get greater benefit than a guy who is almost legally blind using the same scope. I cannot say that USO scope A appeared X lumens brighter that NXS scope B, etc. I can look through both scopes under the same conditions and tell you which one looked brighter to my eyes, or which scope provided better detail and resolution to my eyes (and my former teammates) when using a Zeiss test pattern.
During one T&E we compared Loopy mk4 16x and 10X, LR variables, two NSX variables and NF benchrest, a S&B PM, a IOR, two USO SN-3's and a ST10 10x fixed; we sorted scopes via objective size because a 56-58mm obj compared to a 44mm isn't fair to the smaller objective. We compared fixed scope to fixed scope since you can't dial down a fixed 10 power to 3.5X for greater field of view etc.
We box tested all scopes several times under various conditions on known guns that were sub .5 MOA shooters, we box tested moving through the variable power ranges to see if POA/POI would shift in the rear focal plane scopes compared to the front focal plane, etc. Testing was done in near darkness conditions, in the rain, on an overcast day, on a snowy day, etc. In addition to shooting, we used the various scopes on observation excercises from 50 - 1800 meters in various conditions. All in all this was a project which took almost a year to do.
In the end of all of this, USO came out on top to me and most of the other shooters. Was it a scientific test? Not at all, but I think it was a fair test since we compared stuff of similar design under the exact same conditions, for the full range of conditions the scopes would be expected to perform under.
Some things I learned from all of this, which is pretty much common sense:
a. Almost all scopes from the makers listed above look great under normal range conditions on a nice sunny or slightly cloudy day. Optical quality differences become very apparent when shooting in low-light or twilight conditions, or on overcast nights using illumination from headlights or a quick burst of light from a surefire.
b. Shooters with glasses or uncorrected vision worse than 20/20 did not notice as big a resolution difference between scopes - USO, S&B, and NXS all looked similar to them, with IOR and Loopy coming in behind the first three. Guys with 20/20 or better could more easily see a resolution differences between the makers, but the breakdown of makers was still the same as the guys with glasses.
c. Front focal plane variable scopes do not exhibit a POA/POI shift when moving through the power ranges - some rear focal plane scopes do have this, although it was minute on most scopes and not a significant operational concern (one Loopy LR had a problem with this).
d. Optical quality is also readily apparent when using a day scope in conjunction with a piggyback NVG system like the SIMRAD. USO scopes looked a lot clearer and cleaner to all of us when used with the SIMRAD compared to the other makers.
This testing is what sold me on USO and changed my opinion to give them another try after my poor customer service experience just trying to get a catalog. Years later after eating ramen noodles and saving my lunch money, I now use USO exclusively on my personal guns. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
That said, most shooters and hunters would be well served by a Loopy or NXS variable scope - they deliver the goods in almost all shooting situations, weigh less, and are cheaper than S&B and USO variables. If you prefer a fixed power scope (for whatever reason) then the USO ST10 is very competitive against the Loopy Mk4 - better IMHO.
If you are just a range or competitve shooter who will be doing most of your firing under nice conditions, then save your money and buy a cheaper scope - Loopy LR's are more than enough to fill this requirement.
With the recent price increase in S&B scopes, I can no loner recommend them - you can get a custom built USO SN3 for less and the optical qualities are similar to my eyes.
I think a big hole in the market right now is for a front focal plane NSX scope for the same price as the current models. This would give USO and premier reticle modified loopy's a run for their money. This scope would have better glass than loopy, and cost less than a USO - a nice niche IMHO.
Anyway, thats my experience with these scopes and makers, and more background as to why I wrote the article for the snipercountry board. There are dozens of other eductaed opinions out there and there always will be, because in the end, its a subjective thing.
Which woman is most beautiful - a redhead or a blonde? Latina or American? Blue eyes or brown? Its all in the eye of the beholder and always will be.
SCL in Bogota