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Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspective

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Unread 03-21-2006, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
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Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspective

DF, I also shrare your enthusiasm about the original Mk4. I still use a 10x M1 to this day and is still one of my all time favorites.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Unread 03-21-2006, 07:27 PM
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Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspecti

If I lived in Europe, there's no question that I'd own S&B. They are affordable over there.

However, the exchange rate to the US is such that the S&B's are simply over-priced here. If you were getting three times the scope, at 3000 dollars for an S&B versus 1000 dollars for a Leupold, you could still justify the S&B. But you're not getting anywhere near three times the scope...

I think Nightforce has the best scope for the best price in America. The tubes and lenses are made in Japan, and the scopes and their internal structure is made in Idaho, and assembled there. For around 1200 to 1400 dollars you can have a tougher scope than the Schmidt and Bender, and you've saved a considerable amount of money due to the difference in the exchange rate. I will grant you that the S&B's optical coatings provide a more appealing image to many people's eyes, but scopes are about aiming shots, not glassing the field. I'd rather have the Nightforce and it's unquestionable ruggedness over a scope of lesser construction which happened to have "sexy glass." [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

Many folks believe that if something from Europe costs more in America, it must be better. Not true. The Lexus automobiles from Japan have beaten Mercedes at their own game, and have outperformed them in every arena for the last several years--quality being first among the categories where Lexus really shines.

I don't squeeze up to Jap stuff either. I'm just calling a spade a spade here. Don't delude yourselves into believing that just because it costs more that it's actually better. Often, it isn't.

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Unread 03-21-2006, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspecti

I have been fortunate to own some highend telescopes. I owned a Astro-physics 155mm F/7 oil spaced triplet apochromatic refractor up to a couple of weeks ago. In the world of telescopes Astro-physics has an almost cult following, if you place an order today you will be on the waiting list for a minimum of 6 years. The most recent allocated run cost $8,500 people will buy this scope and after using it a couple of times will sell it on the secondary market for $12-14k, thats right they make $4-5k and have the use of the scope for a while and some owners keep them for good. In 1994 this same company produced the 8" version of the above scope and the estimates are that less than two dozen were made at the time they were $12,500 this by the way is for the OTA (optical tube assembly) or telescope tube & lens alone no mount (thats another $9,400) and no tripod. I have an aquantance who has one and when I saw it setting on the mount and moveable pier in his garage it stopped me in my tracks, because at present they are selling for $40-60k. So I had the 6" version and two years ago Orion came out with an 80mm version that was touted as an apochromatic made in China for $500 it was scoffed at by the apochromatic crowd as not possibly being of APO quality - until it was tested and bought by people and I was one. About three weeks ago the very last time I viewed with the AP 155 I was viewing Saturn non-stop for almost an hour at powers of 150x up to 271x and I can tell you that yes I could see more detail and it was brighter (for every doubling of aperture there is a quadrupling of light gathering) than the Orion 80ED. The Orion 80ED is so good that I have seen one manufacturer who was making an 80mm APO priced at $2800 stop producing this particular configuration. Although the 155mm is certainly impressive it's not $9k impressive and thats what I sold it for. Now the differences in my opinion by the top tier scope manufactures is even more miniscule. Lets look at some realities Nikon, S&B, and Leupold all of their tubes are made out of aircraft grade aluminum there might be a difference in the thickness, but I doubt it will be much; the lenses are all multicoated, the mechanics may differ somewhat, but again it has to be small or as I said the inferior version is going to be knocked out of the top tier market. I would be willing to bet it is very common as the earlier post mentions that someone with less expensive hardware who is "experienced" to outshoot someone with more expensive gear that is less experienced. All things being eqaul when the guy who is experienced moves up to the ultra highend I doubt his performance will improve appreciably because he was already using good optics to begin with. As far as ruggedness if your climbing a mountain and you drop your rifle I wouldn't feel overly confident about the scope being 'zeroed' still, but I know if the scope was really damaged and I believe S&B's will break just like anything; I know that this is one area where Leupold and Nikon excel is their repair and/or replacement warranty which is far superior to S&B. Again, if Leupold, Nikon couldn't handle the punishment and it was happening consistently then they wouldn't be selling the quantity of scopes that they do.

I've got no problem with S&B in fact, I plan to buy one although I plan on it being an extra clean used one so that if I find there is the negligable difference that I believe there is I can resell it and someone else will have taken the hit on the depreciated value.

So if someone has a 4-16x50 to sell or a 3-12x50 or maybe a 3-12x42 let me know it needs to be reasonable in price. Remember I saw a non-parallax PMII 3-12x50 for $1400 and it was as close to new as your going to get.

I agree I never regret buying the best (that AP 155 cost me $5k so I came out ok) as long as it "really offers an appreciable difference" other than removing more money from my wallet. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

Here's a couple of links to what the AP 155 is capable from an imaging perspective, imaging is what they are really known for:

Here's a little imaging setup that runs close to $50k:

Finally a favorite:

When your out on your next hunt it might give you a little different perspective on the sky above.
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Unread 03-21-2006, 11:11 PM
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Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspective

Norhman, there's nothing wrong with US Optics. D-A was right, its the person pulling the trigger. Analyzing both our gear, I thought we're pretty even. We were both shooting 308. His was an HS Precision Tactical Rifle. Mine, a Gruning Precision built M24 type sniper rifle. He was shooting a handloaded 168 Sierra MK. I was shooting 155 grain Scenar. The difference between us boils down to how much precision shooting he have done in his life and how good was his handloads. Hitting a golf ball target with one shot at 500 meters was no easy task. He alluded later that his tactical training, according to him was irrelevant with this type of shooting. I had no formal training I told him. I just love to shoot and I shoot a lot.
To achieve the maximum possible accuracy, all variables must be remove or at least minimize.
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Unread 03-22-2006, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 953
Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspecti

On Target, WOW is all I have to say, and I thought that my glass cost alot. Those are awesome pictures, makes you realize how small we are. Interesting write up about your gear also..

I've got a lot of leupolds, and jsut got my first nightforce. I will say, to my eyes, the NF has a crisper image than my vx-III's and my mk 4's. I was concerned when I ordered it that it wouldn't be better, but I took it out, and I think that it is. Will it make me shoot better compared to a leupold of the same power, I don't think so, but I sure like it.

So if someone wants to spend the money on one, who cares. I would not look down on anyone not shooting high end glass...unless it was a tasco. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

carry on...
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Unread 03-22-2006, 06:06 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspecti

Wow!! Your opinion on glass has a lot of weight to it based on your experience. Thanks for sharing.
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Unread 03-22-2006, 01:35 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 149
Re: Ultra highend optics: Schmidt Bender vs. others and some perspecti

IAN M is right on target.

We travel through life hitting various low and high points. Both in the realm of personal finances, and real exeperiences gained doing something.

When I started shooting back in the 70's my equipment selection "criteria" was tied directly to my pocket book. However, I was never mad at folks who had the dime to spend, and never faulted them for their ability to buy and use, the higher end stuff. Tasco and Bushnell were my go to scope products early on. As I became more proficient, I quickly realized how insufficient they were for my use.

Now all these years later, I own and use nothing but Leupold, Swarvoski, Zeiss, and Night Force. Leupold being on the low end of the Greene Scope Spectrum.

I have a saying, "You don't know, what you don't know". If close range deer hunting is your only game, then any scope will get it done, under most conditions.

But a good while back, I had the opportunity to gaze through a Zeiss on the range. Unfortunately, that was immediately after looking through one of my comparable Leupold. Honestly, I have never looked back. Even within the lines of scopes, not all are equal in quality.

I went from a Private E-1, to a Major in the Army, and yes, the pocket feel a bit heavier these days. And yes, the scopes are abit brighter these days as well! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
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