Originally Posted by scf
Finally got a chance to compare some scopes. Unfortunately the 52mm March was on a rifle that was at the smith having a Manners T2 fitted. I compared the March 2.5-25x42 tactical, Swarovski Z5 3.5-18x44 BT, and a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56. The scopes were all mounted on rifles and sat on a SEB NEO front rest with a large Edgewood rest bag (this is my F class setup). I used two different eye charts at 119 yards. The time was 7-8 AM. With all scopes set at 18X to match the max setting of the Z5 I observed the charts over an extended time period switching them as the light conditions changed. For me it was difficult to establish a clear difference in resolution between all 3. If I had to rank them I might give an ever so slight advantage to the March with the Z5 a very, very close second with the NXS right behind. The differences in line resolution between all three is minor at best and it took me about an hour to finally reach that decision. Moving the March on up to it's max setting of 25X did gain some resolution. All three of these are great scopes and they all have distinct features suitable for given applications. Overall I would choose the March because of it's 10x zoom range, illumination and weight. If I were building an ultra lite ounce counter mountain rifle that I did not intend to push beyond about 800 yards I'd pick the Z5 plus it is also the lowest priced. If I didn't have a hammer and needed something to drive nails I'd use the NXS. I also took a look through a Leupold VX III 4.4-14x50 and this scope didn't compare to the others at 14x but neither did the price. Finally I took a peek through my spotter. The Nikon Fieldscope 20-75x82 set at 20x put all of the fine scopes to shame but that wasn't really a fair comparison. Hopefully when I get the 52mm March back I will be able to do some low light testing.
Great info, thanks for the writeup!. What I take from this, is that the March scopes are in fact in the lead with the entire package. I don't think it will be any comparison with the 52mm tactical... I would guess that sucker is going to be the clear winner here based on overall performance and for one heck of a great weight for a Long Range rig. However, it also sounds like the Z5 and the NXS are very, very close in optical performance. Also interesting comparison to the VX III and how it does not compare.
Big problem I have with the March 52mm tactical, is the price! I am literally drooling over that scope, but I just don't think I can part with that kind of $$. I think once price comes into the equation, the 5.5-22x56 for $1980 ends up being the winner... but you pay for it with an extra 7.5 ounces of weight.